If we had to pick three ACC games of importance the last couple of days, Duke aside since we deal with Duke on the main page, this being a Duke site and all, we'd pick these three: Virginia Tech's loss to Syracuse Wednesday, Wake's loss to Dayton on Thursday and B.C.'s loss to St. Louis, also on Thursday.
|ACC Friday Action!|
|Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State||2:30||ESPN|
|Miami @ Ole Miss||4:00||FSN|
|Florida State vs. Harvard||4:30|
|Boston College vs. UC Riverside||5:00||ESPNU|
|Elon@ NC State||7:00||ESPN3|
|Florida Gulf Coast @ Maryland||7:00||ESPN3|
|Furman @ Clemson||7:00||ESPN3|
|Green Bay @ Virginia||7:00||ESPNU|
|Wake Forest vs. Arizona State||7:30||ESPN2|
|North Carolina vs. South Carolina||10:00||ESPN2|
You might be tempted to say: wait, they were all turkeys (sorry) because they all lost. Well yes, they did, but that's not the main point here. The main point is that all three programs took on challenging games and showed considerable improvement and moxie.
We've already talked about Tech's loss to Syracuse in which they showed a lot of heart, and that they may well be a tournament team come March (finally).
But what about Wake? After a disastrous season, after losing some players to things other than graduation, Wake gave Dayton a heck of a game.Â The game was tied with just over a half a minute left before Dayton hit a key shot and Wake made a key error.
You might think: Dayton? Really, DBR?
Well, yes.Â Unbeknownst to many ACC fans, or for that matter, Big East, SEC, Big Ten, PAC 12 and Big 12 fans, there are some programs out there who have been solid for decades. They have immense tradition and pride.Â Among these are schools like Ball State, St. Mary's, East Tennessee State, Davidson, UTEP, Tulsa, Akron, Detroit and yes, Dayton.
Secondly, we will not be at all surprised to see Archie Miller rise through the ranks just like big brother Sean.Â Both guys grew up with a father who was an outstanding coach. Archie is learning, of course, but he comes to the job with many gifts in place.
So while Wake lost, they showed stuff they didn't show last year, and that's worth noting.
Wake got hammered on the boards (41/15 to 29/7) but compensated partially by forcing 18 turnovers. Surprisingly, to us anyway, Wake got no assists from point guard Tony Chennault. Travis McKie scored 20; CJ Harris added 18 and sometimes-maligned recruit Chase Fischer came off the bench for 12 , all on three point shots.
If Archie Miller is a promising coach, Rick Majerus is a Jedi Master whose Billikens have looked pretty good thus far.Â B.C., by contrast, has looked anything but.
Yet they made a game of it, which, after the last couple of teardowns, we really didn't expect.Â Steve Donahue deserves some credit for sticking with his kids and teaching them.Â It's also worth mentioning that he hasn't publicly ripped them like Maryland's Mark Turgeon.
Mark Turgeon is not happy with his new team, as we have noted here before:
"The kids have got to care more. Theyâve got to care a lot more than theyâre caring. You canât run it run 10 times two days ago and then run it wrong three times in a row two days later. Thereâs a lack of commitment there to what were trying to do. Thatâs why Iâm saying this is the biggest challenge Iâve had in coaching with this group.
"Iâve taken over programs before that were picked low in their league, but the guys did what theyâre supposed to do."
He continues in the Post:Â "I think our guys lack the understanding of what it takes to win. My question is: Are we willing to work to know what it takes to win? I keep telling them: âItâs easy to be bad. Itâs hard to be good.â Right now weâre taking the easy way out. We donât run the defense because thatâs hard. We donât box out because thatâs hard. We donât execute our plays against pressure because thatâs hard. .â.â. Are we gonna toughen up? Weâll see. If we donât, itâs going to be a heck of a long four months."
It'll be even longer if he keeps blaming the players.Â It's his job to make sure they get it; if they don't, it's his failure. It's their fault too, but he's responsible for the team.
They'll all get a chance to improve against Florida Gulf Coast.Â If they don't win that game, take it as a bad sign.
In other Friday games, Virginia Tech gets another legit opponent (weird to write it after years of patsies) in Oklahoma State, Miami travels to Ole Miss, BC should be able to pick up a win vs. UC Riverside, Elon travels to State, Clemson gets local toughie Furman, Tony Bennett gets a nostalgic reunion with Green Bay, Wake takes on the familiar and boring system of Herb Sendek, and UNC travels all the way to Vegas to take on South Carolina.