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ACC Roundup

Although it's not a vintage year in the ACC, in one sense the race is really interesting: Miami seems likely to finish in first, barring a collapse. Duke is alone in second.

No Thursday Games
School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Miami 13-0 1.000 22-3 .880
Duke 9-3 .750 22-3 .880
NC State 8-5 .615 19-7 .731
North Carolina 8-5 .615 18-8 .692
Virginia 8-5 .615 18-8 .692
Maryland 6-7 .462 18-8 .692
Florida State 6-7 .462 14-12 .538
Clemson 5-8 .385 13-12 .520
Georgia Tech 4-9 .308 14-11 .560
Boston College 4-9 .308 12-14 .462
Wake Forest 4-9 .308 11-14 .440
Virginia Tech 2-10 .167 11-14 .440

After that, though, things bunch up quickly.

State, UNC and Virginia are in a three-way tie at 8-5 and Maryland and Florida State are tied just below them at 6-7. Georgia Tech, BC and Wake Forest are one notch down, all at 4-7, while Virginia Tech is alone in the cellar at 2-10.

All things considered, the top and bottom aside, it's pretty unsettled.

For instance, State and UNC play on Saturday; obviously one goes up and one down.

An improving Clemson plays at Maryland Saturday; lose that one and the Terps can just about kiss a bid goodbye.

They'll also fall into a tie with the Tigers.

The interesting thing, with all the new coaches and the typical roster turnover that involves, is how the younger teams are progressing (UNC is young, too, but for very different reasons).

Wake has learned to win at home on a regular basis, though not on the road. Clemson is an unusually well-coached team and while they struggle offensively, they've come together nicely. Boston College has improved a great deal since last year and the sophomore-dominated team usually competes at the least although, like Wake, better at home.

Georgia Tech has a ways to go but are better than they were at the beginning of the season.

Maryland and FSU may both be regressing. Maryland got it up for Duke, but, as usual, lacks intensity for most conference matchups.

UNC looked awful early, but Roy has stabilized the team and they are now improving. We're still not sold on PJ Hairston, but he's had a couple of pretty good games lately, at least offensively.

Miami's having an interesting week: although the NCAA has had issues of its own, they let Miami know what they were in trouble for, boiling down to a lack of institutional control.

This has resulted in much hooting from the media, including John Feinstein, who would prefer to simply dismantle the NCAA.

A more likely scenario is that the power conferences simply secede and make their own arrangements.

Feinstein aside, people in Miami are livid: how dare you point out the mote in our eye!

President Donna Shalala issued a strongly worded reply suggesting that the NCAA was full of it, they hadn't proved very much and anyway Miami has suffered quite enough already.

She also called Nevin Shapiro a liar, which is surely true but would be easier to swallow if Miami hadn't been so happy to take money from Shapiro. In fact, they gave him some astonishing perks.

We understand the frustration with the NCAA, particularly in light of their own integrity issues, but it's a bit unseemly to go on the offensive like this. It's not like Miami has been a squeaky clean program over the years.

Miami basically is showing a lot of chutzpah.

Up in Alaska-on-the-Mississippi, Maryland is too: after cutting programs to deal with their debt, after citing their debt and hoping to get out of it with their Big Ten money, the Terps have decided to buy every scholarship athlete an iPad.

Maryland has 763 athletes (the article above pegs the number at 500 and the outlay at around $300,000).

Assuming they're buying the full-sized, retina version, Maryland is laying out somewhere between $380,737 and $708,827. That's a heck of a burden when you're crying poverty. We assume they're getting a bulk discount.

Then again, this is the sort of logic that got Maryland into this mess in the first place. But look on the bright side: at least they'll have something to do when they pull into Iowa City in February.