Saturday features another great slate of ACC games. From the top: Can State salvage a bid? Or will the Yellow Jackets cripple that hope further? Will Notre Dame be vulnerable after the great effort vs. Duke? Will BC be able to challenge Clemson at Littlejohn? Who wins in the battle of bottom-dwellers Virginia Tech and Wake Forest? Just how much has UNC improved since nipping Louisville at home - and can the depth-robbed Heels have legs when Louisville presses hard?
As always, Duke is covered separately, but the story lines in this game are amazing.
For State, Mark Gottfried wants more from Cat Barber. The point guard has been demoted and is now coming off the bench. Gottfried wants passes from him, sort of like what Tyler Lewis was doing last year.
Beejay Anya is also lacking. He can block shots but his offense is woeful. He's just not as far along as he could be, and it's not just because he's still overweight. He's also underskilled.
For UNC, injuries have bit to the point where UNC has a hard time scrimmaging. Marcus Paige is playing through his injury, while Joel Berry and Theo Pinson are out. Nate Britt should play as his lip should be getting better. Stilman White and Luke Davis, both valuable practice players, are also recovering from injuries.
For the other guys, Louisville hopes to do a better job on the boards.
We think there's a reasonable chance of a Notre Dame letdown at Pitt. The Irish were sky high for Duke; you can't keep that emotional level as a constant.
As for Clemson and BC, this is an interesting game between two limited teams which are both being coached at a very high level. Both have come a really long way since the beginning of the season.
Wake Forest appeared to hit a new level, or at least flirted with it, but now the Deacs are in survival mode. Just 9-13, the rest of the season may be about learning as much as possible for next season. And Wake has had some very tough breaks too.
By contrast, the Hokies are really getting better, and with minimal talent. It's somewhat reminiscent of Kentucky's Unforgettables though clearly not on that level. Still, for this team, with those players, to be competitive is a real accomplishment. Buzz Williams is doing an amazing job.