Clemson, bobbing along at just barely over .500 overall, at 11-9, and 3-3 in the ACC, visits Virginia, but without Milton Jennings, who has been suspended indefinitely for academic reasons.
It doesn't sound good either way you can take this, but when was the last time Clemson suspended someone for academics?
Of everyone on their team, Jennings seems like perhaps the least likely to encounter academic turbulence.Â He's reportedly quite smart and quite disciplined.
One hopes he clears it up soon. Clemson will have a tough time without him, but as Dean Smith pointed out long ago, a team often responds to a missing player with a great game or two before feeling the hurt.
With or without him, this is going to be a very intense game defensively. Brad Brownell prefers a defense which treats opposing players like pinballs; Tony Bennett for his part would just as soon shrink wrap and suffocate you. This is going to be a great game in coming years. This year it might or might not be great, but it sure will be interesting.
In the nightcap, UNC gets Wake Forest. What are Wake's odds? What may we infer from their recent games?
Well...they lost to Maryland by just six, State by 36, Duke by 18, beat the Eaglets by 15, lost to FSU by 23 and Clemson by 11.
They've managed to beat the two least successful teams in conference play, Virginia Tech and B.C., by an average of 10.5 points, but have lost to the rest by an average of 18.8 points.
There's a great scene in Patton where the good General says "the Germans haven't mounted a winter attack since Frederick the Great...therefore, I believe that's exactly what they're going to do."
We'd like to find some equivalent for Wake Forest, but what is there? The Deacs haven't gone nuts from three point range since, what, Randolph Childress went Shaolin in Greensboro?
Tim Duncan's not coming through that door, folks. You never say never, but we just can't see a way for them to pull this one off.
Look, they're improving, and they could conceivably double their win total from last year. We're not saying they will, just that it's not impossible. There's a long way to go for them, though.
Can we say it? We've missed State lo these many years, and lately, we're missing Wake Forest.Â It's a proud program and they absolutely love sticking it to the Triangle schools.Â Doesn't look likely this year though.
Wake's bringing in six players next year, most critically Codi Miller-McIntyre. Sounds like an airport, but the word is that Wake caught on to how good he was significantly before the rest of the herd, and if so, they're lucky to have him. A solid point guard makes everyone much better.
Incidentally, he's from the same home town as former State guard Ishua Benjamin.
Tyler Cavanaugh may help as well: the 6-8 New Yorker, who is still growing, is said to have point guard skills.
Devin Thomas and Aaron Rountree should bring some athleticism and power.Â And while Andre Washington will take some time, he is 7-0 and 220, and as they say, you can't teach that.
But that's next year. This year, while better than last year's nightmare, is dragging on and is not a lot of fun.
Speaking of future ACC players, as you've probably gathered by now, we're not huge Maryland fans.
Nonetheless, after reading this article in the Post about Shaquille Clear, well, we're sold. We're going to pull hard for this kid unless he gives us a reason not to. He's incredibly impressive.
As an aside, if Alex Len improves substantially next year, Maryland's frontcourt could be monstrous.
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