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ACC Musings

 


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/ Feb. 21, 2005

Some random ACC thoughts over the past couple of weeks:

· Don’t look now, but Mr. Automatic, J.J. Redick, doesn’t lead the league in free-throw shooting—Maryland’s Chris McCray does (93.6%).

· Georgia Tech’s Isma’il Muhammad jumped OVER North Carolina State’s Ilian Evtimov en route to another highlight- reel dunk. If you haven’t seen this video, get your hands on a copy.

· Last summer, Reggie Love was trying out for the Green Bay Packers. This past week he was named one of Duke’s tri-captains along with Daniel Ewing and Redick. The senior forward is a prime example that hard work and determination can pay huge dividends.

· Why is Wake Forest playing Longwood this late (2/23) in the season?

· Riddle me this: Maryland wins at Duke, then loses by 15 at Clemson and then loses at Miami in overtime. Maryland goes on to beat Duke at home, then loses by 19 at NCST and survives in double-overtime at Virginia. Why can’t the Terps get up for anyone besides the Dukies?

· Rashad McCants’ attitude is the only thing that will keep North Carolina from a trip St. Louis in early April.

· Seth Greenberg should be the ACC Coach of the Year. At the beginning of the year, nobody outside of the locker room in Blacksburg thought that Virginia Tech would be tied for fourth in the ACC this late in the year or would have beaten Duke, let alone have a realistic shot for an NCAA tournament bid.

· Duke is 1-0 against Top 5 teams when Patrick Davidson (One of the random token ‘I don’t play, but I made the Duke basketball team’ guys on the end of the bench) starts. Looks like this Coach K fellow knows what he’s doing after all. Starting Davidson, Love, and Patrick Johnson to break a two-game losing streak? Whatever it takes…

· Davidson actually set the tone early against Wake, believe it or not. He got right up on Chris Paul after the opening tip, and fouled him five seconds into the game. As ridiculous as it may seem, it sent the message that Duke would be playing a physical game. Duke’s physicality actually rattled some Wake players and got under their skin. Keep an eye out to see if other teams use this strategy come tournament time.

· Virginia’s freshman point guard Sean Singletary is going to be a stud in the ACC for the next few years. In his 23-point, nine-assist performance in the Cavaliers’ double- overtime loss to Maryland, Singletary made quite the impression on viewers. He shook defenders with show-stopping ball handling that’s found on the And-1 Mix Tape Tour, not in organized basketball, and made play after play down the stretch to keep his team in the game.

· B.J. Elder is healthy again, and just dropped 22 at Florida State, including two free-throws with his team down one with under a second to go to give the Yellow Jackets a much needed road win. If Tech gets on a roll, they could be the most feared 7 or 8 seed in the NCAA tournament’s history.

· Good luck to those that choose this conference’s first-team members.

· Redick’s favorite colors outside of Dukie Blue must be black and gold. In the Dukies’ 102-92 home win over Wake Forest the junior guard had a career-high 38 points. In Duke’s 92-89 loss at Wake on Feb. 2, he scored 33 points.

· Your ACC Freshman of the Year: North Carolina’s Marvin Williams. Williams averages 11.3 points per game and grabs 6.8 rebounds a game—in just 22 minutes a contest. He shoots 53 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range, and 84 percent from the free throw line. If he stays in school he could become one of the best to play in a Carolina jersey.

· North Carolina has the inside track on the conference’s regular season crown. Ironically it’s Duke that gave them the advantage by breaking the Tar Heels first place tie with Wake Forest after the Blue Devils’ recent win over the Demon Deacons.

· Florida State has lost four games, each by one point; two games, each by two points; and two games, each by three points. I guess every possession really DOES matter.

· North Carolina State looked like they were headed for the NIT, but it looks as if Herb Sendek’s crew is going to give it the old college try one last time before becoming a disappointment. Against Maryland, for only the second time all season, the Wolfpack had their full roster healthy, and it showed as they handled the Terps by 19. The Pack host three of their last four games, and at 5-7 in the conference, three wins, including ones over Wake and UNC, would put the Pack at 8-8 in conference and would have to garner attention from the selection committee. It’s a tall order, but the Wolfpack have been playing well, and could be peaking at the most opportune time.

· If Miami and Virginia Tech can come into the ACC and play as well as they have, how well can Boston College do next year? The Eagles, headed for a 1 or 2 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament, return all key components of their roster next season, barring any unforeseen jumps to the NBA.

· This has little to do with the ACC, but with all the East Coast bias in college basketball, Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire deserves more recognition. He’s all the shooter that Redick is, and maybe more.

· Miami was in great position for an NCAA bid, but losing to Virginia Tech really set the Hurricanes back a step. Now they must beat Florida State and either win over re-energized Georgia Tech at home or at Cameron Indoor against Duke to make it to the big dance. Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite must bring their A-games, and a third scorer, whether it’s Anthony Harris, William Frisby, or Anthony King, must emerge if this is going to happen.

· And to think, J.R. Smith, New Orleans Hornets rookie and owner of that sensational behind-the-back-in-the-air dunk at this past weekend’s NBA All-Star dunk contest, would be at North Carolina if not for the lure of The Association.

· As Billy Joel wrote, “They say there’s a heaven for those who wait.” Clemson fans might want to adopt this as their new mantra. They have a slew of young players— freshmen Cheyenne Moore, Cliff Hammonds, Sam Perry, James Mays, and Troy Mathis, and sophomore Vernon Hamilton— that are contributing now, and will all deliver big-time in the future. The Tigers are taking their lumps now, but will be a player in the ACC in the next few seasons.

· As we head down the final stretch of the regular season, make sure you watch the following five ACC battles:

Duke at Georgia Tech, 2/23—The Yellow Jackets are 0-3 against the RPI top 50, and with Elder back in the mix, a win over Duke could do wonders for postseason positioning.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina State, 2/26—Both teams will be fighting for their postseason lives, with the loser probably headed to the NIT. Should be filled with tons of intensity.

North Carolina at Maryland, 2/27—Maryland lost by 34 in Chapel Hill a month and a half ago. Think Gilchrist, Caner- Medley, and Co. forgot? Plus, a win over UNC could boost the Terps to the 5 seed range. A win for UNC just strengthens their case for a 1 seed.

Georgia Tech at Wake Forest, 3/2—In keeping with the revenge factor, Wake left Atlanta with a bad taste in their mouths after the 102-101 overtime loss to Tech a month ago. The Screamin’ Deamons will be in full force for this one.

Duke at North Carolina, 3/6—Like you need an explanation. Easily the best rivalry in college basketball. If you can’t stand either team, tune in, root for both to lose, and treat yourself to an instant classic.

. Enjoy the rest of the ACC regular season. The conclusion should be a dandy.







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