Correction: we failed to factor in tournament play for Sunday's ACC action. So Miami plays Arizona at 11:30 (ESPN2) in a most interesting Diamondhead Classic matchup and Virginia Tech gets Colorado State in the Las Vegas Classic, also at 11:30. ESPN lists the TV as CCS.
Saturday's results can be split into three categories: relatively easy wins, tight wins, and one that got away. And one, Miami at Hawaii, that may be too late to comment on.
|Sunday's ACC Action|
|South Carolina State @ Clemson||2:00 PM||ESPN3|
Somehow Virginia managed to lose to 1-10 ODU, their third loss this year to a CAA team (they also lost to George Mason and Delaware).
Tony Bennett and company are upset about the defensive effort. Freshman point guard Teven Jones critiqued himself thusly, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress:
âHonestly, we were just being lazy. The coaches saw it on film [from the Morgan State win]. A couple of times I stood up and my guy went past me and got a bucket. I was disappointed in myself. Iâm the point guard. I have to speak up and lead the team. I feel like Iâm doing a horrible job of that right now.â
ODU's Dmitri Batten, who has been an offensive non-factor lately, lit UVa up for 23.
Former State super sub DeShawn Painter had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
It's a head scratcher for the 'Hoos. No doubt they're praying for the full return of Jontel Evans.
A young Demon Deacons team has had some really tough games so far this season, but the game against Wes Miller's Greensboro squad was a success as the Deacs won comfortably, 84-70.
Wake has rarely drawn well, but only 3,482 people showed up at Greensboro Coliseum. On the 11:00 news, we couldn't see a single person in the end zone seats.
Not good news for Jeff Bzdelik.
On the bright side, four Deacs were in double figures with Travis McKie scoring 19, Devin Thomas hitting for 12, CJ Harris 11 and Chase Fischer 13 off the bench.
The Deacs shot 52.9% and won almost every statistical battle.
In the big scheme, beating Greensboro is not a big deal, but for a fragile young team, getting good reps is important. Maybe Wake takes a lot out of this game.
The Texas game made Roy Williams ill and then he got sick for real for McNeese State, not that it mattered much.
Rebounding, a subject of much angst lately in Chapel Hill, was not a problem here: the Heels pulled down 52 total and 20 offensive to 36 and 15 for the Cowboys.
UNC shot 47.3% overall, 46.4% from three point range, and just 63.6% from the line.
PJ Hairston led the way with 20. Hairston, who came to UNC as a reputed sharpshooter, is up from last year's 30.8% but only to 36.4%. Three point shooting is up from last year's 27.3% to 32.8%.
There are still a lot of questions about both Wake and UNC, but in Raleigh, the Pack seems to be answering the concerns people had.
Since their disastrous outing against Oklahoma State, the Pack had a rocky game against Asheville then lost, respectably, to Michigan. Since then, State's won their games by an average of 14.4 ppg. Lorenzo Brown, who was not playing very well early, has really come on. Richard Howell has been superb, although not Saturday. TJ Warren has been a spectacular freshman, and Rodney Purvis, while having some room to grow, brings an electrifying talent to the court.
Scott Wood is a known quantity at this point, a gifted shooter, at times phenomenal.
The question, to an extent, has been CJ Leslie: has he really left his freshman immaturity behind? He still has his moments of foolishness, a bit of sulking here, a tantrum there, but no one questions his talent. And against St. Bonnies, he really put together a great game.
Leslie was 10-13 from the floor and 13-18 from the line. He also had eight boards.
Good thing, because Howell's foul troubles re-emerged: the heart of this year's Pack had 5 fouls in 12 minutes. In all seriousness, that's hard to do, or should be for a senior.
It's a serious problem for State: In 11 games, Howell has fouled out of three and finished one game with four. That's getting close to foul trouble in 50% of State's games.
TJ Warren backed up Leslie, shooting 6-9 from the floor for 13.
Scott Wood had one of his nights, going 8-10 from the floor and 5-7 from three point land.
All in all, State is coming together nicely and St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt, who saw State pull off a nailbiter at his barn last year, sees a considerable difference: âTo me theyâre playing better, together, more unselfish. Theyâre a year older. They understand. And theyâve got a couple of (future) pros on their team.â
The State-Duke game, coming on January 12th, is about to get hyped beyond belief.
Before they get to Duke, the Pack will have to play Georgia Tech, and we must confess a great curiosity about how this team is developing.
To be clear, the Citadel has some real athletic limitations. A military school is not of interest to everyone, obviously, and the Citadel is famous, or notorious depending on your point of view, for the way the cadets discipline.
So it's clear they're not in Tech's class.
Still, Tech is recovering/rebuilding, and last year they weren't much further along than Wake or BC. This year? Things are looking a bit different.
They held Presbyterian to 38 and Rice to 36 and gave Mike Montgomery's Cal and Illinois credible games. A lot of their games are the sorts that rebuilding programs schedule, but they're winning them, and, usually, with ease.
Again, quite different from the last couple of years.
Holding Citadel to 16 first half points isn't the same as doing it to Kentucky, but it's still impressive. You have to put some effort into defense to do that.
The Poole brothers are getting minutes now - Stacey pulled 21 and Solomon, the mid-year rookie point guard, got 12. Stacey was just 2-9 but did grab five boards. Solomon had four assists, two boards and one steal in his 12 minutes.
When you stop and consider the athleticism, it's improved markedly. Mfon Udofia, with his various weaknesses, is certainly athletic. Kammeon Holsey, Julian Royal, Marcus Georges-Hunt, Robert Carter, Chris Bolden and the Pooles give Tech a reasonable core. And don't forget Jason Morris, who is struggling with plantar fasciitis.
If State looks ahead to Duke, Tech, a no-nonsense team, could make them pay.
The close games: since last year, we've periodically seen flashes from BC. We have a lot of respect for Steve Donahue's coaching ability, and he seems to have found a star in Ryan Anderson: when fully healthy, the guy has had rebounding games of 19,17 and 14 so far and scored 29, 25, 23 and 23.
An ankle injury disrupted his progress (and BC's), but he appears to be back on track.
Donahue is nurturing a baby backcourt (both Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon played 40 minutes against Providence).
This game is notable because Providence has more talent than they've had in awhile. It's a great win for the Eagles not least of all because it was tight at the end. Rahan found Anderson twice late. And check this: 6-4 Hanlan had 12 rebounds - very impressive for a guard.
You know, come to think of it, State better be wary of BC and Tech. By the end of the year, BC could be very dangerous.
We will say, we don't fully get this year's FSU team. At the beginning of the season, Leonard Hamilton said his team deserved the respect of a team like Duke or UNC, and he had a point. But right now, they don't deserve it.
Charlotte is a good but hardly great team. So why was this a three point win? Florida State had a nine point lead with 5:30 left but couldn't maintain it.
Good thing Michael Snaer is back because FSU loses this without him: he had 30 points in his return from a one-game suspension.
Surprisingly, Charlotte won the rebounding war 30/12 to 27/5. Hamilton and Roy Williams can commiserate on their offensive rebounding woes.
If you want to argue Erick Green should be the ACC Player Of The Year so far, it's a reasonable argument. Green has been outstanding, and was again against Bradley in the Las Vegas Classic. Green scored 31, a new career high, including the winning basket. He's now the second-leading scorer in the country.
And people should be paying attention to the job that James Johnson is doing. Seth Greenberg had his strong points, but he rarely had his teams consistently ready, particularly for lesser games.
We grew to truly dislike the Hokies under Greenberg. They were at times truly nasty, brutish, and oh, well, tall. Can't have everything.
We can't help but admire this team. They're down to seven scholarship players and still playing well.
They'll get Colorado tomorrow night and we'll see how they do back-to-back.
On Sunday, only one game as South Carolina State visits Clemson. You'd expect the Tigers to win, but you never know.