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ACC Roundup

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Let's start with a look at the up-and-comers, shall we? In particular Virginia Tech.

Sunday's ACC Action!
Teams Times TV
Maine @ Florida State 4:00 p.m. ESPNU
Saturday's Results
  • Boston College 72, St. Francis (NY) 64
  • Maryland 61, South Carolina State 46
  • NC State 80, Cleveland State 63
  • Virginia 67, Mississippi Valley State 39
  • West Virginia 68, Virginia Tech 67
  • Georgia Tech 73, UNC Wilmington 66
  • Seton Hall 71, Wake Forest 67
  • North Carolina 78, ETSU 55
  • Arizona 66, Clemson 54
School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 0-0 .000 9-0 1.000
Maryland 0-0 .000 8-1 .889
Virginia Tech 0-0 .000 7-1 .875
Miami 0-0 .000 5-1 .833
Virginia 0-0 .000 8-2 .800
North Carolina 0-0 .000 7-2 .778
Georgia Tech 0-0 .000 6-2 .750
NC State 0-0 .000 6-2 .750
Clemson 0-0 .000 5-3 .625
Florida State 0-0 .000 4-4 .500
Boston College 0-0 .000 4-5 .444
Wake Forest 0-0 .000 4-5 .444

We seem to have misjudged them. In our Fan's Guide Prediction, we picked them dead last, on the assumption that a lack of depth, size and an unseasoned coach would be too much to overcome.

So far, we're absolutely wrong and that's fine by us. We want all the ACC schools to do well.

Our issues with the Hokies have largely been issues with Seth Greenberg, as the former head man was prickly and unpleasant.

Apparently at least some of his former players agreed with that assessment, at least judging by tweets at that time. And Johnson, who left Tech for a position at Clemson before Greenberg was fired, may agree: though Greenberg sent a best of luck tweet after he was hired by Clemson, last we heard he had still not congratulated his former assistant upon his ascent.

That's just part and parcel of Seth Greenberg. A gifted man in many respects, he alienated some of his players and, ultimately, his boss.

So it wasn't just us. We're happy to see a new direction, and Johnson has his guys playing hard every night, just as they did Saturday at West Virginia.

This is not a vintage Huggy Bear team. Huggins has some talent, but not gobs of it. His point guard now is Juwan Staten, who caused great damage at Dayton with his prima donna act. It won't go over well with Huggins.

Nonetheless, Staten hit the critical shot in this game, putting West Virginia up 68-67 with six seconds left.

Erick Green had a chance to live out every kid's fantasy, but his shot missed with 0:01 left.

Too bad, but still, Tech is now 7-1. In Greenberg's era, he would lose the easy games and compete in the marquee matchups - and then demand respect through the media.

Johnson's team is earning it on the floor. They've earned more respect in seven games than Greenberg earned in all his years in Blacksburg.

Your Season Long Guide To Duke Hoops!
Duke| State | UNC
I was just glad to find a magazine about Duke basketball. I thoroughly enjoyed the magazine. It was well written and very informative. A must read for any diehard Duke fan.Camille H
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"If you haven't purchased the Fan's Guide yet, what are you waiting for? It contains marvelous old-school content in a new-school format." Jerry K.
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Okay, what do these numbers have in common? 63, 45, 59, 43, 44, 64, 54, 51, 38, 39.

Those are the scores of Virginia's opponents thus far. Not all of them are good, but still, you have to have some discipline to suppress scoring to that point. We thought Virginia might really be in trouble too. So far, they're doing pretty well.

Not that Mississippi Valley State offered a huge challenge: the Delta Devils, forever linked to Duke after their gritty, passionate effort in the 1986 tournament, are still winless.

UVa kept MVSU to just 16% shooting in the first half and 19% for the game: 11-58. We know they're lousy, but come on: that's pretty impressive.

Akil Mitchell had 20 points in 16 minutes; Darion Atkins finished with 14 and Justin Anderson had 15 points and nine boards.

Clemson hung with Arizona deep into the second half: with just 5:22 left, Arizona was up by just four, 51-47. But Clemson managed just two baskets in the last 8:45 and that won't usually get it done.

Clemson, though, is showing signs. Their defense is really good. They just need their young players to mature and to keep improving the talent. They'll be a pain soon.

Georgia Tech had to work to get by UNC-W, but they did. A year or two ago, they'd have blown a game like that. Robert Carter racked up 19 and Tech held Wilmington to 39.3% from the floor. Freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt has scored in double figures in every game except one. He had 10 against the Seahawks.

We'll know more once the ACC season starts, but from the cheap seats, we see progress.

As for Wake, a tough game. They played well for most of the game, but when Seton Hall turned on the press, Wake fell apart: they had nine turnovers in the last 10.5 minutes. It might be a good learning experience eventually but no doubt it hurts. No one likes to lose like that: they got punked.

BC beat St. Francis, but not by that much, just eight points. Patrick Heckmann had 18, Olivier Hanlan 13 and Lonnie Jackson added

In the land of the already competent, UNC held ETSU to just 12 points in the first half and utterly crushed them throughout. Leslie McDonald has scored at least 17 in four of the last six games.

PJ Hairston continues to struggle offensively, shooting just 2-9.  Brice Johnson hit 12 and fellow rookie PJ Tokoto scored nine.

UNC gets criticized for defense, but you hold a team to 12 points in 20 minutes, you're playing defense.

And in Raleigh, State continues to put their season back on track with an easy win over Cleveland State. When they're on, State's frontcourt is really, really good. Richard Howell had a double-double, CJ Leslie had 19 on 7-8 shooting and TJ Warren shot 6-8 for 16.

After the game, Cleveland State coach Gary Waters said this: "If we hadn't turned the ball over unnecessarily, we could have been right in this game. That's one of the things that I'm trying to correct with these young kids. When you've got nine freshmen and sophomores, it's become a teaching game instead of a coaching game. Eventually, if they don't stop turning the ball over, then I'm not doing a very good job as a teacher."

Compare that to the comments we've passed on recently by Wake's Jeff Bzdelik, where he basically puts the responsibility for failure on his player's shoulders.

We prefer Water's approach.

Up in Blacksburg, the Roanoke Times spoke to Virginia Tech A.D. Jim Weaver, who had some comments on the ACC and expansion. Among other things, he says this:

"We are more concerned of being in a home where we believe it's the right match for our academic institution as well as the athletic aspect of our institution and where it makes sense for us to be. When you analyze some of the moves that have been made, some people have a lot of travel to do.

"I don't think you make the decision based on money alone. I think you've got to ascertain, 'Do you have enough funding? Are you able to continue as you are without falling backwards?' I think it's those type of approaches that have to be reviewed, as opposed to saying, 'Oh, they're getting $6 million more a year than we are, we need to go there.' Because team travel can eat up some of that money really quickly...It's going to be all eaten up in travel costs. When we were in the Big East, we never had any money to reinvest into the Olympic sport programs because we were spending all that money to get them to their competitions."

He also argues that joining the SEC wouldn't necessarily be advantageous either, because SEC stadia seat a lot more than Virginia Tech's 65,632 and 15-25,000 more tickets helps the bottom line.

Alabama season tickets are $395 and their stadium sits 102,000 (rounded). That's 36,000 more than Virginia Tech, which works out to $14,220,000. That's a lot of ground to make up.

Tech, he says, is in the black, so they're happy.