The ACC had a mixed day Friday, with Duke losing to #15 Lehigh and Virginia losing to Florida, 71-45, while State, UNC and Florida State all won.
Virginia's loss should get an asterisk, because they lost so much this year to injury and transfers.
Virginia, basically, was out of gas and everything else. Mike Scott hit for 15; no one else managed more than eight.
We saw the potential of Tony Bennett's team early in the year; it's just a shame it got blown to bits.
We didn't get to see the State game but listened on the radio and obviously the Pack was solid, and in particular Richard Howell had a great game.
Here's a weird stat: Howell, arguably a poor man's Buck Williams, shot 10-12 but grabbed just two rebounds. Normally he's State's best inside guy.
UNC struggled in the beginning with Vermont but they were never a serious threat to the Heels.
Florida State tried to blow their game against St. Bonnies but held on to win, 66-63.
Bernard James had 19, Luke Loucks 13 and somehow, Michael Snaer was shut out.
In the other games, Cincy started out like they were going to destroy Texas, but the Horns made an interesting game out of it before losing 65-59. Creighton nipped Alabama, 58-57, Georgetown messed up a lot of brackets by beating Belmont 74-59, Norfolk State shocked Mizzou 86-84, Saint Lous got by Memphis 61-54, Ohio suprised Michigan 65-60, Purdue took out St. Mary's 69-72, LIU Brooklyn fell to Michigan State 89-67, Temple got thumped by South Florida 58-44, Xavier knocked off Notre Dame 67-63 and Kansas knocked Detroit out 65-50.
So this sets up some really interesting games going forward. We think K-State has a real chance against Syracuse. Vandy and Wisconsin present two really different styles and something has to give. Wisconsin's style is so stodgy yet effective, while Vandy has always been something of an oddball among college programs, usually guard-oriented and somehow looser than most. At least compared to Wisconsin.
This is about the point where, according to some cosmic law, Gonzaga has to fail, and why not? Ohio State is a tough nut (pun intended) to crack.
Ohio has more oomph than we realized, but South Florida's defense has proved to be pretty nasty thus far. We look to them to emerge as a Cinderella.
We're very intrigued by Iowa State and think that if they get into a tight game with Kentucky, they might have an advantage.Â UK has not played particularly well lately - they beat a tired Western Kentucky by 15, but struggled in the SEC Tournament (at least relative to the standard set earlier this year).
They're a tough out for anyone, but ISU is interesting.
We won't be at all surprised to see VCU beat Indiana. The players are different, but it's a wonderfully coached team.
Colorado/Baylor is a grudge match of sorts as the Buffs bailed on the Big 12 to join the PAC-12 this season.Â These guys know each other pretty well and it'sÂ one-shot deal.Â Call it a tosss-up with Baylor favored.
New Mexico and Louisville - wow.Â Maybe Louisville?Â Maybe not?
And finally, we'll take Marquette over Murray State.
There's a very interesting matchup on Sunday as Harrison Barnes and the Heels take on Creighton, starring his former high school teammate, Doug McDermott, who has outperformed his more celebrated former teammate at this level. And the other ACC matchups are equally interesting: State vs. Georgetown and FSU vs. Cincy.
But we'll look at those on Sunday.
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