In Tuesday night's ACC action, Georgia Tech came close but lost ugly to Clemson, 45-41, while Maryland went down to Chapel Hill for one final stab at the Heels, only to fall behind quickly, 17-3, and though the Terps matched UNC in the second half 36-36, Maryland never caught back up. The Terps had 16 turnovers and launched 23 treys, missing 17.
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Predictably, and enjoyably for UNC fans and what has come to be known as Tobacco Road, at the end of the game the Dean Dome resounded with taunts of "ACC! ACC! ACC!"
All Maryland partisans could do was to wait for it to end and prepare for passionless trips to Penn State and Rutgers, and then to the true powers of the Big Ten like Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, where more beatdowns await.
But hey, the checks will be good!
Back to the Dome on the Strange: Marcus Paige led the Heels with 25 including a personal stretch of nine straight points towards the end of the game.
Leslie McDonald celebrated his 23rd with nine points of his own.
We're not sure if it's permanent, but behemoth Kennedy Meeks supplanted behemoth Joel (Krypton pronunciation please: Jo-El) James in the lineup.
James is 280 lbs. and very powerful, while Meeks is 280 lbs. and a big tub of goo. But he's a very skilled tub of goo, and he understands the game. You can see how he would have fit perfectly at Georgetown.
James sort of lumbers around the court and doesn't have nearly Meeks' insights into the game.
When Meeks is transformed by UNC's rather skilled and somewhat frightening strength coach, he's going to be a load.
Not a lot of big guys really understand the whole game. Meeks gets it. He may never fly like Kevin Durant, but his gifts are intellectual. We're not saying Durant's aren't, because one of his greatest gifts is his self-discipline and imagination isn't far behind, but he has physical gifts Meeks will never have.
His gifts could take him far, though, if he can run hard for 40 minutes.
UNC is still a flawed team - JP Tokoto, like James, is still learning the game, and James Michael McAdoo still treats the foul line like an episode of the Twilight Zone: the ball could end up in a cornfield full of twisted kids or a diner with William Shatner where the mysterious table top device might offer advice on free throws from Rick Barry or perhaps Wilt Chamberlain.
You never know what you're getting when he goes to the line, but it's entertaining.
Well, unless you're a UNC fan, that is.
For the first time in a while, Brice Johnson had a nice game offensively, scoring 19.
UNC's rotation, so often extravagantly deep under Ol' Roy Williams, is shockingly small, at least in this game: all the starters other than Mt. Shasta pulled at least 27 minutes, with three going at least 35.
Johnson came in for 22 productive minutes, but otherwise, the lumbering James was down to six, Nate Britt eight, and Desmond Hubert a measly two.
For any potential transfers, Rutgers could use some help.
Mark Turgeon's birthday is Wednesday, and he gets this stinker of a present, and Maryland fans taunting him with shirts reading "Purge The Turge."
At the end, Turgeon was left to point to Duke-Syracuse-Duke-Syracuse! - as cause for Terrapin optimism, telling the Washington Post that "North Carolina’s one of the premier programs in the country. It’s a chapter that’s going to end. We’re just trying to win the game. I think coming off the Duke-Syracuse game the other night, there’s new rivalries that can be born. We’re going to lose a great rivalry here with North Carolina but I’m sure we’re going to have a few good ones in the future."
They'll never have what they're walking away from again, though.
In Clemson, a more pedestrian game, in every sense: the Tigers and the Yellow Jackets were lucky to get over 40, and given Clemson's defensive style, there were no doubt many muggings on the strolls up the promenade.
Georgia Tech played without Solomon Poole, who was dismissed from the team prior to the game, with Tech citing "conduct and accountability issues."
What we're hearing is that Tech wanted Poole to play a slower, more disciplined style, and Poole resisted.
That's not in the papers, but our source has been pretty accurate, and what's more, that's almost exactly what happened at Dayton with Brian Gregory, now at Tech, and Juwan Staten, who landed at West Virginia, where he's averaging 18 ppg, 5.8 reebies and 6.0 assists.
Staten left Dayton with more than a little bad blood. His father got involved and had some very unpleasant things to say about Gregory.
Control freak? Couldn't say, really. But a better question is this: do two disaffected point guards make a pattern?
Three games on Wednesday, none compelling: BC visits Virginia, Pitt gets early spring break at Miami as do the Hokies in Tallahassee.
BC and Virginia could conceivably be intriguing because of the clash of the styles, and we wouldn't rule out a Miami upset, which could be interesting if only to see the bile Dejan Kovacevic produces for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, but really, might as well rewind the Duke-Syracuse game and wish the Terps well on the upcoming trips to Lincoln, Iowa City, and other such cornfed winter wonderlands. Bon Voyage!