On Tuesday, two important games and one that’s not but is still interesting.
First, Virginia visits Raleigh. UNC drops by Atlanta to see if the Thriller Dome is back up and running yet while Pitt heads to Clemson for an interesting first matchup between Jeff Capel’s rising program and Brad Brownell’s very stubborn Clemson Tigers.
Almost no one is giving State a chance here and we think that’s a mistake.
First, Kevin Keatts is still getting his program off the ground. Second, before Virginia recovered and pulled away last year, State had ripped off an 11-2 run - at Virginia. And third, there’s 2017.
As you may recall, Keatts’ UNC-W gave Duke trouble in the 2016 NCAA tournament and then came right back in 2017 and lost to Virginia 76-71.
Keep a few things in mind about that: first, Wilmington scored 71 points on America’s toughest defense. Second, the Seahawks were up 28-14 and third, even after Virginia asserted itself, Wilmington came back again.
Finally, unless we’re missing something, Keatts has encountered Tony Bennett twice now. On neither occasion did he have superior talent or the homecourt.
Virginia is clearly favored but Keatts has woven a prizefighter mentatlity into his program’s DNA. State is not going to roll over.
Like Virginia (and Duke and Louisville), UNC has just one loss in conference and like Virginia, is playing an opponent in Tech you’d better not take lightly as Syracuse and, nearly, Duke learned recently.
UNC has shown a certain tendency to let its intensity flag this season and that could be costly in this one. Tech is capable of playing superb defense and we’ll have to see how UNC responds.
A loss by either team will shake things up at the top.
That’s not the case with Pitt at Clemson but these programs, right now, are not that far apart. For Capel and company, winning at Clemson would be an important measuring stick. For Clemson, it would be a lifeline. Things have not gone well this season. This isn’t likely to be a pretty game but it should be intense and rewarding.
Things haven't gone well for Miami either of course and the ‘Canes got more bad news Monday as the NCAA rejected Dewan Hernandez’s appeals and ruled him out for the season.
If he had come back he would have also been out for 40% of next year too so he did the logical thing and quit trying. He’ll be in the NBA next season.
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- UVa men’s basketball: Diakite surpassing Cavs’ expectations so far
- Justin Robinson named ACC BasketballPlayer of the Week
- NC State’s Braxton Beverly on his game-winning 3-pointer
- Saunders: Pitt’s Facilities Not Providing Level Playing Field
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