After this week’s games, all of the ACC teams will be at or just the middle of their conference schedule. Things are still a bit murky in the middle, but a few clear strata are developing. Duke is by itself in the top-tier. NC State, UNC and BC form the second tier. Maryland might have been in that group, but I need to see how they play without Chris McCray. The middle is filled with Miami, FSU, Clemson, Maryland and Virginia. Wake, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are in that bottom group, but all have shown the ability to rise up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the basement team wins four games this year.
01/31/06 Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Va. RSN/ XM 191 7:00 PM
Can the Hokies capitalize on their shocking win at Wake Forest on Saturday? I honestly don’t know. It will depend in part on whether Coleman Collins is back. One thing is for certain – given the way these two teams play, this one won’t be pretty.
01/31/06 Wake Forest @ Miami – Coral Gables, FL RSN/ XM 192 9:00 PM
Do the Demon Deacons have any residual pride from the Chris Paul years? If so, I haven’t seen it yet and Miami might be a tough place to find it. Their trio of guards (and do NOT call them Lethal Weapon 3 – that’s a disgrace) should give Wake’s young backcourt fits. I think the Deacon slide will continue.
02/01/06 Virginia @ NC State – Raleigh, N.C. RSN/ XM 192 7:00 PM
I keep doubting the Cavs and they keep surprising me. I don’t see any good reason why they should win this game, but State always seems capable of a stinker. Given how poorly they played last week against Seton Hall though, I think the Pack will be focused and their spread offense will expose Virginia’s inexperience.
02/01/06 Clemson @ Florida State – Tallahassee, FL XM 191 7:00 PM
How do you predict a game like this? These teams seem capable of anything. Both are in the very rare territory of having NCAA bids still a possibility this late in the season. Although they don’t have much of a home court advantage, I’ll go with the Seminoles and their surprising #30 Pomeroy rating.
02/01/06 Duke @ Boston College – Chestnut Hill, Mass. ESPN/ XM 193 9:00 PM
Now this should be a great game! The BC fans were calling for Duke late in their narrow win over Georgia Tech. They have the horses to beat Duke, no doubt. Set your TiVo for this one!
02/02/06 North Carolina @ Maryland – College Park, Md. ESPN/ XM191 7:00 PM
Another good game! I love the effort that Tyler Hansbrough gives North Carolina. The whole team seems to feed off him (most of the time, that is. Rayshawn Terry often appears to be more interested in checking out the ladies in the crowd than in actually playing.). Maryland should be able to force enough pressure to create a lot of turnovers. The question is whether they can turn those around into points.
02/04/06 Florida State @ Duke – Durham, N.C. RSN/ XM 192 12:00 PM
The Noles have played pretty well this season, but I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to predict them to win in Cameron. Duke could win this one by a ton.
02/04/06 Wake Forest @ Virginia – Charlottesville, VA RJ*/ XM 193 1:30 PM
Hmmmm. One team has two blue chip, proven ACC talents but no heart at all. One team has one blue-chip talent and a bunch of pick-up players but tons of heart. For the sake of what’s right about sports, UVA should win this game. At some point though, I think Wake will wake up.
02/04/06 Miami @ Georgia Tech – Atlanta, Ga. RJ*/ XM 191 1:30 PM
I think the Jackets will take this one. They just seem due.
02/04/06 Clemson @ North Carolina – Chapel Hill, NC RJ/ XM 192 4:00 PM
Is this the year that Clemson finally ends their perfectly imperfect record in Chapel Hill?
02/04/06 Boston College @ Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Va. XM 191 7:00 PM
This wasn’t even a good game when it was a Big East matchup. This has a slight hint of upset to it though. Don’t be shocked.
02/05/06 Maryland @ NC State – Raleigh, N.C. FSN/ XM 191 2:00 PM
Big week for Maryland – UNC at home and on the road against State. The program is clinging tightly to the memories of the Dixon/Blake/Baxter years. They see themselves as an elite program, but they need to consistently win games like this over the conference upstarts if they want to make that vision a reality. Me, I think the ties to those great teams were completely broken last year and that Gary Williams has already missed his window of opportunity to take Maryland to that Syracuse, Michigan State, Arizona level. It’s still a very good program, but just not quite national elite. Still, they could win this game.
But they won’t. State will be focused against the Turtles and will slowly take them apart with their passing.