Three games on Tuesday and all of them interesting in one way or another: NC State goes to Syracuse, Notre Dame to Virginia to see if it can shoot over the Pack Line and UNC will play at Wake Forest.
It’s the first game for UNC since Duke cut the heart out of its beating chest on Saturday with a stunning comeback and comes after any number of devastating losses earlier.
Worse, it’s not clear if Garrison Brooks will play. The big man has been a bright spot for the Tar Heels in a dismal season but he suffered a scratched cornea and may or may not be ready.
And to all of that add this: Wake Forest has been playing much better lately. True, they've been better for about 35 minutes a night, falling short in the last five, but that’s not as big a problem vs. this UNC team as it might be in other years.
We don’t know what UNC’s mental state will be going into this one but we’re pretty sure that Wake Forest is, like the rest of the conference, thinking this is a good year for some payback after being tormented by UNC for, well, decades (Duke fans remember this humiliation well from 1995).
There were tremendous sights for Duke fans Saturday night but for UNC it was a night of misery. We will leave that with one comment and one image.
The image was of Leaky Black on the bench with his head bowed, hidden in his arms. It was a picture of total despair. And the comment? That was Armando Bacot saying that when UNC was up 13 he was still “scared to death” that UNC would lose the game.
We’ll see what happens in this one but right now it feels like a great situation for Wake Forest.
Notre Dame and Virginia are both getting better and while Tony Bennett is a masterful defensive coach, Mike Brey is pretty great on offense. Neither team has slid off the bubble completely so this is a big game for whoever wins and a problem for whoever loses. We’re inclined to take Virginia here. As much as we admire the defense though when Brey’s offense is working it’s hard to overcome.
As for State at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim has done a tremendous job turning a collection of spare parts and nepotism into a dangerous group.
State is probably underperforming lately which is too bad. We’re not sure they’re up for this win so we’ll take Syracuse here. However, the offense is built around the defense, so the fact that D.J. Funderburk and Jericole Hellems are both getting over injuries and might not play is not as critical as it might be otherwise.
Speaking of NC State, the school has heard back from the NCAA about the Adidas/Dennis Smith case. The NCAA seems to feel it has a very strong case but the Wuffies still say “you got nuffin’ coppers!”
Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be true. We’ll know more at some point soon. We can promise you this: if State gets hammered while UNC walked, State fans are going to lose it.
The new polls were released Monday and the ACC has three teams in the Top Ten and no one else got a vote. According to the Coaches Poll, Louisville is #5, Duke #7 and Florida State #8. AP matches precisely.
Also getting votes: Duke-slayer Stephen F. Austin.
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