State appears resigned to playing at Miami without Lorenzo Brown and will rely on Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis to man the point.
Purvis, being physically more ready and more experienced, will get first crack. He tells the N&O that "[p]oint guard is something I played in high school and AAU. So playing the point guard or playing the two guard is basically the same thing for me."
There's no chance he can play it the same way Brown does, but it's possible he could play it faster.
This continues a surge of unexpected roles in the ACC this season: at Duke, much now relies on the development of Amile Jefferson.Â UNC's Jackson Simmons, a preferred walk-on, is getting much more time than anyone probably expected. At Miami, Julian Gamble moved into the lineup when Reggie Johnson broke his thumb and has stayed there while the 'Canes have moved to the top of the ACC. Dez Wells has been at Maryland a fairly short time and has become the indispensable man. At Wake, Devin Thomas looked early like a quality player who would develop later; he's torn that plan into tiny pieces and is playing lately at a near All-ACC level.
We're not going anywhere here; it's just interesting to see how things change.
On a similar note, it's always guess work, but we're guessing that the ACC's dropoff point for bids comes right under UNC - maybe.
As of right now, we'd guess that Miami, Duke and State are pretty strong and UVa is building a solid case if they're not already in. UNC is improving and will likely make it, if only because they are such a strong draw. If it's a tie between, say, UNC and say, Loyola Marymount, UNC's going to win that marketing battle.
Note that they are improving though - it probably won't come down to anything like that.
Not that it's just UNC that's improving. We saw how much better Wake is this week and while it's somewhat under the radar, Clemson is getting much better too. Virginia Tech continues to be competitive though limited, Georgia Tech has a pulse and BC has been in most of their games lately, though Virginia and UNC won by double digits.
Interestingly, only BC is under .500. At roughly the same point last season, BC and Georgia Tech were both underwater, while Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech weren't far away from it.
As various teams rise and fall and sometimes bob up and down a bit more, some of the secondary games, at least in public perception, grow more interesting.
So it is this weekend with Wake and Maryland. Wake's Thomas is developing at light speed, while Maryland sees a promising season slipping downhill at a faster and faster pace.
The ACC always gets interesting when desperation kicks in and it's just about here for Maryland.
They had a potentially nice mini-pack on the way, but losing to FSU mucks it up. They get Wake, at Virginia Tech, then Virginia at home.
That was a four-game stretch they could have controlled and profited from. Now the margin of error has been reduced and Wake is correspondingly bigger. You would reasonably expect the pressure to be higher as well. There's nothing as compelling in the ACC as a team which is rising which has to claw by a team which is talented but falling.