ACC Review – 1/5/07

With my holiday travels, I didn’t really get to see much basketball over the past couple of weeks. I’m just now starting to catch up to what I missed as we head into the meat of the ACC season (five conference games this weekend). Since I saw few of these games, my comments probably will be a bit thinner than usual.
Friday, Dec. 22
Ga. Tech 78, Georgia 69
A nice win for the Yellow Jackets, who had been on a skid. It’s always nice to beat an in-state rival, but this game actually meant even more for Tech. The Bulldogs were the third top 50 (Pomeroy) that Tech has beaten. That’s a pretty nice non-conference record.
UNC 69, Saint Louis 48
Not the Tar Heels’ best effort, but check out the points allowed. If this team can play defense, watch out.

Wake 72, Richmond 59
Any win over the Spiders is a good one, especially for this Deacon squad.
Saturday, Dec. 23
Cincinnati 80, N.C. State 71
The ACC continues to struggle against the Big East this year. 3-7.
Clemson 103, Western Carolina 60
FSU 76, St. Peters 63
Maryland 66, American 54
Kansas 84, BC 66

Oof. Kansas is a good team and all, but you’d like to think that an experienced BC squad could stay within 20. Is it too early to declare the preseason prediction of a third place ACC finish was too high for the Eagles? I don’t think it is.
On the flip side, Sean Williams had a monster game with 19 points, 15 boards and 7 blocks. Where did that come from? Will we see it again?
Louisville 82, Miami 59
Louisville really isn’t that great. Miami just sucks. 3-8.
Va. Tech 94, Campbell 70
Thursday, Dec. 28
Ga. Tech 85, Troy 55
Duquesne 98, BC 93 (OT)

Losing by 22 on the road against Kansas is bad, but somewhat understandable. Not many visitors come out of Allen Fieldhouse with a W. But losing to Duquesne at home? What’s wrong with this team? Maybe I underestimated the calming influences of Craig Smith and Louis Hinnant.
Upon further review, BC was without Jared Dudley, so this loss is at least somewhat excusable. Also, Sean Williams had another huge night with 19 points, 10 boards and 13 (!) blocked shots. It’s hard to understand how he can be playing so well but the team still losing.
UNC 87, Rutgers 48
Hey, a Big East win! 4-8.
N.C. State 64, ECU 57
Clemson 75, Georgia 60

God bless the Bulldogs. They are providing the ACC some of their best non-conference wins. Clemson is becoming quite the media darling this year. I hope they can live up to it.
Maryland 91, Mount St. Mary’s 50
UVa 91, American 70

Normally I wouldn’t bother to comment on a game like this, but given the Cavaliers’ struggles in Puerto Rico, it’s worth pointing this out. Beating American shouldn’t mean much but the fact that Sean Singletary erupted for 33 and JR Reynolds went for 26 is promising. Those guys are really the only two constants on this team – or they should be. As I mentioned in a previous post, Singletary seemed to be trying to get his teammates involved earlier this season and it just wasn’t working. The other players weren’t stepping up and his lack of aggressiveness was hurting everyone. Well, 33 points on 16 shots, including 13 of UVA’s first 15 points shows me that he had a change of heart. That’s good.
Friday, Dec. 29
South Florida 75, Wake 67
Is it just me or is it the new Big East teams that are causing so much trouble? 4-9.
FSU 92, Providence 62
Hey, a big win against the BE! 5-9. For the Seminoles, it’s their eighth straight win, although six of those wins were against terribly bad teams. Could this be the year that Leonard Hamilton finally gets on the right side of the NCAA bubble?
Saturday, Dec. 30
N.C. State 72, UNCW 51
Marshall 59, Va. Tech 58

Ouch. The Hokies were supposed to be better this year. The problem is that they still can’t win close games. Their four losses are by 3, 5, 1 and 1 points. I think Seth Greenberg is a good coach, but something’s going on there.
Nebraska 82, Miami 67
That would have been a great football game about 15 years ago. The Hurricanes are now just 7-7.
Ga. Tech 87, St. Francis (Pa.) 43
Sunday, Dec. 31
Duke 70, San Jose State 51
Was this game necessary? Couldn’t Duke find a scheduled win that didn’t require the patsy to fly across the country?
Maryland 94, Siena 75
Clemson 67, Ga. State 57
UNC 81, Dayton 51

That win is more impressive than it appears at first blush. First of all, Dayton’s not a bad squad. Beating them by 30 says something. Second, it’s the fourth opponent the Tar Heels have held under 52 points. Given their early defensive frailty, I’d say I have a good idea what Ol’ Roy’s been working on in practice.
BC 87, Northeastern 82
A close win over a bad team is always better than a loss. Dudley missed this one too.
Monday, Jan. 1
Wake 81, ECU 65
ECU is really bad. I wonder if Terry Holland has the stones to fire his former player, Ricky Stokes?
Tuesday, Jan. 2
Duke 73, Temple 55
State 95, UNCG 93 (OT)

Whew! That would have been embarrassing. With their six-player rotation, State needs to avoid overtime games. Four different players scored at least 18 points in this game. Supposedly Engin Atsur will play in their next game against BC tomorrow. That should help a lot, as you just can’t keep running guys that much at this level.
Miami 72, UMass 71
Well, well. A nice win for the Hurricanes!
Wednesday, Jan. 3
BC 72, Yale 56
Clemson 68, FSU 66

A road win to start the ACC for the Tigers! That hasn’t happened too often. Hell, any road ACC wins are rare for Clemson. Maybe that 15-0 actually does mean something this year.
GT 97, Winston-Salem State 46
VT 65, Richmond 53
UNC 102, Penn 64
UVa 108, Gonzaga 87

I watched this game last night on the TiVo and enjoyed the hell out of it. Let me point out that the 21-point margin of victory is misleading. The game wasn’t nearly that close. The Cavaliers, led by Sean Singletary, jumped on the Bulldogs from the opening seconds and never let up. I can’t recall a Virginia game quite like that since the early Pete Gillen days when they trounced #4 Tennessee with a suffocating press. In this game, Singletary came out firing, hitting deep threes, knifing through traffic and stripping the ball from the hapless Zags throughout. It was as dominant and individual performance as I’ve seen all year. The rest of the Cavaliers seemed to feed off his play, nailing 18 threes for the game (beating the school record by 5) and leading by 34 points at the half. Remember, this same Gonzaga team beat Carolina earlier this year and gave Duke a good run a couple of weeks ago.
I think it’s fair to say that Dave Leitao identified and fixed whatever was broken in Puerto Rico. Does this mean that Virginia is a great team? Far from it (it was Gonzaga’s fourth straight loss), but with impressive wins now over Arizona and the Zags, the Cavaliers have shown that they can compete with anyone.
Thursday, Jan. 4
Maryland 88, Iona 57
The Terps have kind of quietly put together a nice 14-2 record. Six of those wins have been against teams ranked 200+ or worse, but still. Like a lot of the ACC squads, we’ll really see what kind of team Maryland has in the next month as they get into the ACC schedule. I tend to think that they are an upper-tier squad, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on that.

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