ACC action gets underway in earnest on Saturday with five matchups: UNC travels to Virginia, Wake Forest visits State, Florida State heads up to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech jets to BC and Miami tussles with Clemson.
Everybody's got something to prove, so each game has some interest.
In the first game, UNC tries to continue their momentum while Virginia tries to overcome a distinct lack of size.
Wake Forest to shake off a lousy start but State is trying to prove themselves tournament worthy.
Florida State got embarrassed at Auburn and Virginia Tech seeks to overcome staggering injuries.
Georgia Tech and Boston College are both trying to reach credibility; Steve Donahue seeks to establish himself in the ACC while Paul Hewitt seeks to simply keep his position.
Clemson is still trying to master Brad Brownell's system, while Miami, often impressive early, needs to build on their case for the tournament.
UNC may be playing without Reggie Bullock, whose grandmother died and he may not be there for the game.Â Miami will absolutely be without Donovan Kirk, who you will recall has decamped for DePaul.
Could Virginia possibly win this game? Well of course, but it won't be easy. First, they have to be hitting their threes.Â Second, they have to slow the game down and keep Carolina from running. And third, they have to defend Tyler Zeller and John Henson.Â And we're not even getting into the rest of the team.
There's no question thatÂ State should be favored in their game given Wake Forest's pathetic season so far. However, consider this: Wake's offense is not that bad and potentially even explosive. The problem has been defense, and that's not necessarily State's strong point either. We'll take State and a close game, are at least closer than people think.
Florida State and Virginia Tech is an intriguing matchup, but we'll take an angry really good defensive team over and occasionally erratic bunch. Florida State by five.
Talent wise, Georgia Tech probably has the advantage over Boston College. Coaching wise, there's not much question who is better. Paul Hewitt had a tough time with a great talent like Derrick Favors and hasn't really excelled for the last few years.
However, talent is talent and a certain point talent usually trumps coaching. We don't think it's in this game, so we'll take the Eagles by eight.
Normally, we would take Clemson over Miami if they're playing at Clemson, but we are really not sure that matters this time.Â Miami was bound to have gained some confidence from the Duke game.Â TheyÂ Â have a powerful inside presence in Reggie Johnson, a guy who seems about to break through to a different level, a great backcourt and tons of athletes.Â Expect Miami to prevail, but if Johnson gets in foul trouble, all bets are off.
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