Only one game in the ACC Thursday night as Virginia Tech traveled to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels.
UNC went down by 16 in the first half, but fought their way back in the second half to win, 64-61.
Carolina dominated the inside, limiting Jeff Allen to just four points. Malcolm Delaney scored 28 for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech had no answer for Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who combinedÂ for 33 points and 17 rebounds.
The loss drops Virginia Tech to 10-5 overall andÂ 1-2 in the ACC. Nonetheless, with a roster decimated by injuries, they are earning a lot of respect for showing fortitude under challenging circumstances.
There are no games until Saturday when there are several conference matchups and also Maryland plays Villanova.
There's been a lot of criticism of the ACC and talk that the conference is down, which is pretty undeniable.Â Part of this is due to injuries: Virginia Tech has been decimated, Duke has a key injury, State lost Tracy Smith for several games, Virginia has lost Mike Scott for the season, Wake Forest has lost rookie point guard Tony Chennault for the season thus far, Clemson has seen Demontez Stitt get 'scoped, and that's just from memory.
Early entry also hurts on an annual basis. This year,Â Georgia Tech lost two dynamic big men and are consequently under .500.Â Wake Forest also lost their best player to the draft.
Third and most critically,the ACC is undergoing a coaching transition. This has been, to our mind, the key to understanding what's happening in the ACC.
Coach K, Roy Williams and Gary Williams are all outstanding coaches. Beyond that, things are murky. El Sid has not proven himself, Paul Hewitt's career is in decline and has been for some time, Leonard Hamilton is an excellent defensive coach but his teams have never masteredÂ offense, Frank Haith -- well, the jury is still out, Seth Greenberg has been adequate but certainly not outstanding, and Wake Forest wisely replaced Dino Gaudio after last season, which was the second year in a row he seemed to lose control of his team.
We'll see if things go with the current crop of new coaches. Tony Bennett has shown himself to be a solid tactician and an energetic recruiter. He should do well.
In Beantown, Steve Donahue is off a sensational start, and at Clemson, Brad Brownell is doing reasonably well in his rookie season.
Jeff Bzdelik is off to a rocky start which lead you to ask this question: what would Gaudio do with this bunch?
To be fair to Gaudio, he was hired in a desperate situation after Skip Prosser shockingly died of a heart attack. That said, he did little to distinguish himself. He had trouble managing talented teams, so what indicates that he would've handled a less talented and very young bunch?
There's an excellent chance that after this season the ACC may have new coaches in Atlanta, Raleigh, and possibly Miami, where Haith, who is not on the hot seat, has steadily inquired about other positions.
Just as an exercise, imagine if John Calipari had not toyed with State when they asked him about their position.Â We are glad he went elsewhere, but it would've made the Triangle immensely competitive had he chosen State.
On a similar note, it would be really nice to have a competitive ACC franchise if you will in Atlanta, which is a key city in a number of respects, not least of all as a TV market.
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