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ACC Roundup

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With UNC's win over Maryland, the ACC returns to what has become it's (recent) traditional balance: Duke and UNC on top down the stretch, a few other teams fighting for bids, a few in NIT range and one or two long gone.

No Games Until Tuesday!
School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 12-2 .857 26-3 .897
North Carolina 12-2 .857 22-6 .786
Florida State 10-4 .714 20-8 .714
Virginia Tech 9-5 .643 19-8 .704
Clemson 8-6 .571 19-9 .679
Maryland 7-7 .500 18-11 .621
Boston College 7-7 .500 17-11 .607
Miami 5-9 .357 17-12 .586
NC State 5-9 .357 15-13 .536
Virginia 5-9 .357 14-14 .500
Georgia Tech 3-11 .214 11-17 .393
Wake Forest 1-13 .071 8-21 .276

We haven't done the math on this (we'll leave it for our betters), so it's speculative, and even harder to figure out with the unbalanced schedule, but when you have such a dominant duopoly, how hard is it for the midrange teams to excel?

Take Maryland for instance:  the Terps are 7-7, but take Duke and UNC out, and they're 7-4.  It doesn't work that way of course, but it's still worth looking at.

Clemson has two losses to Carolina and certainly won't be favored in Cameron on Wednesday.   Boston College has three (to to UNC and one to Duke), State has four and Miami three (Virginia Tech only played UNC once -- at home -- and Duke once).

The main answer is for the other teams to become more competitive and consistent.  Virginia Tech for instance hurt themselves by losing to Virginia twice; Clemson lost to Virginia and State.

As we've been saying, coaching is the main problem with ACC right now, one that we believe is being corrected.  With new guys at BC, Clemson, Wake Forest (although that one hasn't born any fruit yet) and Virginia, and quite possibly at State and Georgia Tech, up to half the coaches will been replaced in about three years.

Here's an interesting question: if you had to choose a guy strictly as a shot blocker, would you choose Ralph Sampson or John Henson?

Instinctively, most people would probably say Sampson.  After all, the guy was 7-4 and an athletic freak.

After watching Henson against Maryland, we're not so sure about that.

The guy racked up seven block shots in 31 minutes.  Admittedly, Maryland is not a huge team and at times they were foolish to challenge Henson. Still, the guy has it.  He's built for shotblocking and he's really just beginning to scratch his potential. Someone should seriously sit him down with Bill Russell and talk about the art.

One of the things we really admire about Henson is that unlike a lot of guys, he's not a violent shot blocker.  He tips it to a teammate or away from the basket but doesn't generally pass it out of bounds like some of his contemporaries do. And that's exactly what it is: when you catch a ball and willingly throw it away, it should really be counted as a turnover as well as a blocked shot.

As far as the big man battle goes, Jordan Williams finished with  16 points and 19 rebounds -- very impressive.

However, Tyler Zeller finished 10-16 from the floor for 25 points and grabbed six boards, while Henson finished with 10 and 15. Unusually, he was also 4-4 from the foul line.

Total it up and UNC got 35 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocks out of their big men.

When you look at it like that, it's pretty impressive that Maryland only lost by 11 points (and don't forget this team has almost zero three point shooting).

Partly this was because a brilliant performance by freshman Terrell Stoglin, who scored 28 points on 11-20 shooting.

Compare that to Harrison Barnes, who took almost a third of Carolina's shots and finished 9-23 with 21 points.  Stoglin's performance was just more efficient.

We weren't aware that former Maryland star Larry Gibson had a serious accident in 2004.  He's very fortunate to have a devoted wife and loyal friends who have stuck by him.  We're sorry he's had such a struggle, but impressed by his recovery.  May it continue.

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