With the holiday and exam break over, ACC teams return to the court Saturday. Seven teams (other than Duke of course) are in action.
|Saturday's ACC Action!|
|Western Michigan @ NC State||12:00 PM||ESPNU|
|Delaware State @ Maryland||12:30 PM||ESPN3|
|Virginia Tech @ BYU||2:00 PM||ESPNU|
|UNLV @ North Carolina||2:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Holy Cross @ Boston College||2:00 PM||ESPN3|
|Florida State vs. Tulsa||2:00 PM||FSN|
|Fordham @ Georgia Tech||7:00 PM||ESPN3|
Some of the opponents are really interesting for various reasons. The weakest are likely Western Michigan Â and Fordham.
Western Michigan is usually a competent program, but State's frontcourt - CJ Leslie, Robert Howell and rookie TJ Warren are all shooting over 60%. That's really remarkable, even against weaker competition.
We remember Delaware State's visit to Cameron a while back and though they lost, we were impressed.
Maryland is 10-1. Stony Brook gave them a game before Christmas; if they're rusty, Delaware State might prove more no-nonsense than they might like. We're not predicting an upset and Maryland could easily crush them. But they haven't exactly played a rugged schedule to date and DSU is tougher than they might appear. Certainly they're well coached.
Virginia Tech appeared to run out of gas before the break, but presumably they've rested and recuperated. However, they're taking a very shallow bench to Provo, where the elevation is 4,549 feet, better than double Blacksburg's 2,080 feet.
It's not a good recipe for success. We'll be very impressed if a running team with a seven-man rotation manages to win at that altitude.
You'd normally pick BC over Holy Cross, but it's taking a while to get the Eaglets up to speed and BC, while no great shakes, has been reasonably competitive. BC has had injuries to Ryan Anderson and Dennis Clifford, while the rookie backcourt of Joe Rahan and Olivier Hanlan, though talented, have taken some freshman licks.
FSU has been highly erratic so far, while Tulsa debuts Danny Manning as head coach. The guy got a rep as a solid big man coach, but his basketball vision is not limited to the frontcourt. Manning was remarkably versatile and truly understands the game. We'll be interested to see how well he teaches and leads.
Still, the most interesting game will be UNLV at UNC.
Normally this would just be another good game against a fine opponent for the Heels, but this is, so far, not a normal season.
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The post game is greatly weakened from last year. The point is in the hands of a talented but skinny freshman who has not really fully established himself.
Win this one and UNC regains some credibility. Like UCLA, Kentucky and Kansas, UNC can regain status quickly, but if they lose here, confidence could be become an issue. And as we've seen in the ACC at times, when there is blood in the water, the sharks are ready.