On some vague, unprosecutable level, it's criminal that TJ Warren, despite topping 30 points eight times, despite carrying his team on his back, has not once been named ACC Player Of The Week this season.
|Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse||7:00||RSN|
|Miami vs. Clemson||8:00||ACCN|
|Virginia Tech vs. Maryland||8:00||ACCN|
|FSU vs. BC||9:00||ESPNU|
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Not that there haven't been other compelling players. Jabari Parker's phenomenal season merits enormous respect. He's as fine a basketball player as this league has seen in some time, and by that we mean the breadth and depth of his knowledge of the game. He's a brilliant young player, years ahead of where he should be.
Marcus Paige has totally transformed his game in order to help his team succeed. KJ McDaniels is a freak athlete the likes of which we rarely see (anyone else think he might get some NFL offers?)
But Warren deserves respect too. He's carried his team and been highly efficient while doing it.
Take his huge performance in State's performance against Pitt: Warren scored 41 points on 16-22 from the floor.
He outscored the rest of his team by eight.
It was, truly, a brilliant performance by an underappreciated star.
No one is coming near David Thompson, but the rest of the State galaxy of stars? Even this early, it's worth considering his place.
Rodney Monroe? Chris Corchiani? Kenny Carr? Hawkeye Whitney? Julius Hodge? Thurl Bailey?
The best of those was Kenny Carr, and Warren is having a bigger impact than Carr. He stands up reasonably well to all State stars other than Thompson.
State should beat BC in the regular season finale. If the Pack can win two games in the ACC Tournament, it might be back in the bubble discussion.
By the way, Pitt closes out the season on Saturday at Clemson. Assuming the Tigers can take Miami at home on Tuesday, then the rematch in Littlejohn will be for fifth place.
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You may remember that Clemson lost to Pitt, at Pitt, by 33. That won't happen again.
In Chapel Hill, Notre Dame held Marcus Paige mostly in check, but he provided a defensive checkmate when he blocked Eric Atkins drive on the final play of the game.
His frame brings other great, skinny ACC guards to mind: Johnny Dawkins, Juan Dixon (imagine those two going head to head), Craig Neal - that's pretty good company.
State fans were distraught over the UNC loss, and understandably, but people should be very cognizant of what Mark Gottfried has accomplished over there. This is his third team. Remember, he mostly inherited his first team from Sidney Lowe. His second team underachieved but still made the tournament. And this year, with just three players back, he's got his bunch at 18-11.
There was some grumbling after last season, but all in all, State's as solid as it's been since, well, since before things went bad for Jim Valvano.
Obviously if Warren leaves after this season it gets even tougher. But just as obviously, the guy can coach.
Four games on tap Tuesday as league play winds down. 13-16 Georgia Tech visits Syracuse for a likely loss, offensively challenged Miami takes on the defensive savants of Clemson, and that phrase explains what you can likely expect, while FSU visits Boston College and Virginia Tech heads over to Maryland.
We would expect FSU to win, but aren't completely sold on Maryland, for a couple of reasons.
First, the Terps have struggled lately, and not just a little. Secondly, Virginia Tech has found a bit of a spark lately, and after falling to Florida State by 20, have been in each game. Pitt was a double OT loss. The Hokies fell to Miami by 7 and Virginia by four.
State was a 7 point loss. Duke nearly ran Tech out of Cameron early, but the Hokies fought their way back and were impressive late. And of course UNC nearly fell to the ACC weakest team.
So who wants to say it's impossible? Surely not.