Thursday's ACC games went mostly as you might expect: #8 Notre Dame ripped Virginia Tech, 85-60, Virginia slapped Georgia Tech down, 57-28, and NC State and Miami...well, there wasn't really an expectation there, more of an adventure.
And so it was for the Pack. State may have found a major contributor in Abdul-Malik Abu, who scored the Pack's first 12 points and finished with 19.
It was a tremendous game for the freshman, but it wasn't enough as Miami prevailed, 65-60.
State has the potential to be really good by March, but the Pack has a couple of problems. Abu may be about to solve one - reliable scoring from the frontcourt - but point guard is still a concern.
Anthony Barber is much better than last year, but he still is wispy, still tends to play around the edges, and still has trouble taking the game over.
Just look at the end.
In the last :20, Barber fouled, then he had a turnover, then another foul as he pushed off trying to get a shot off with five seconds left.
It's something that a more rugged player might not have needed to do.
This was somewhat underscored when a Miami fan felt secure enough to shove him back towards the court when he ended up beside him on the baseline.
Needless to say, Barber was angered by the classless move; anyone would have been. He gets credit for keeping his temper in check. Pushing back would have been a pretty human response.
He's much improved from last year and it's not like he's awful. But imagine where the Pack would be with, say, London Perrantes or Cody Miller-McIntyre.
But he's not intimidating, a
Keep an eye on State. This is a group which could click suddenly.
Poor Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are now 0-6 after Wednesday night's unpleasant victim to Charlottesville.
Virginia shut down the three (0-12) and limited Tech to 12-49 overall.
Playing Virginia is like playing a python because the Cavs never stop squeezing you. Tech coach Brian Gregory said that the defense was superb and “in the second half, it was another level. ... What they do is every open shot you get, you have to make and we struggled to make open shots tonight.”
Too bad he doesn't have some of Notre Dame's offensive talent. True, the Irish played Virginia Tech, hardly a huge challenge this year although the Hokies are showing a lot of heart. The talent is at a low point and at times you can't overcome that.
The Hokies also parted way with Joey van Zegeren Thursday. He had been suspended for being disruptive and now he'll be moving on.
Closer to home, UNC has another headache to worry about: the school and the NCAA have been sued by former football player Devon Ramsey and former women's player Rashanda McCants, sister of you-know-who (this is getting silly; maybe everytime someone says McCants people at UNC should react like the horses in Young Frankenstein).