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
· 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
· 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
· 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
· Good luck to those that choose this conference’s
· 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
· 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
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.