ACC Notes – 1/3/05

It was a rough week for the ACC. NC State had two bad losses. Well, actually one horrendous loss to St. John’s where they scored a whopping 10 points in the first half and were down at one point 39-14. You might recall that St. Johns is pretty bad. The next loss came just three days later when West Virginia whacked the Wolfpack on their own court. In fairness, State was without Julius Hodge, but they should be versatile enough to overcome that, especially after being embarrassed just a few days earlier. Currently, State is in last place in the Big East.
Florida State had a bizarre week to go along with their bizarre season. First, they lost badly to a mediocre LSU team. Then, they rose up over the weekend to beat their rival, Florida. If you’re keeping score (and you should be), that’s 2-0 for the ACC Florida teams against the Gators. The Seminoles are about as schizophrenic a team as I can recall. I think I wrote the same thing last week, but they are still confusing me. Are they a good bad team or a bad good team? Either way, I’m still not too impressed with what Leonard Hamilton is doing with this squad. He clearly hasn’t figured them out yet.
Georgia Tech just missed out on a great road win against #2 Kansas. You can’t really complain about an overtime loss against a team like the Jayhawks, but the Yellow Jackets had that game. It would have been a great coup not just for them, but for the whole conference. As good as the ACC has been this year, they really haven’t had too many good non-conference wins. For some reason, mostly a combination of poor scheduling and bad luck, there just haven’t been as many marquee matchups as in years past. Outside of the ACC-Big Ten challenge, you had UNC beating Kentucky, Georgia Tech losing to both Gonzaga and Kansas and Wake beating Arizona and Texas. It seems like there should have been more. Duke played a surprisingly ho-hum early schedule
Duke had a tough break on Sunday when key reserve Reggie Love broke his foot (get it? Tough break? I kill me.) against Clemson. With Shavlik Randolph out with a bad case of Internet Rumoritis, or maybe it’s mono, Duke was already thin in the frontcourt. Anytime Clemson leads the Blue Devils in the second half in Cameron, you know things aren’t well. Duke is probably going to have a tough time against the better conference teams who are going to beat them up inside. I will say this for coach Krzyzewski though, he has done well in the past with a hampered lineup. Remember a few years ago when he went small after losing Carlos Boozer to a broken foot? That was extremely effective, so maybe he’ll do that again. He just needs to find another Shane Battier.
Lastly, if you didn’t see Sunday’s Virginia – Wake Forest game, you probably think the Cavs turned back into a pumpkin and took a beating from the Deacons. Wake did win by 19 points. That wouldn’t be accurate though. Virginia actually gave Wake a pretty good game, particularly in the first half, even without team leader and leading scorer Devin Smith (he has a bum ankle). The Cavs didn’t have the offensive power to stay with Wake, but they still looked pretty good. Wake just played their best game of the year, spreading the ball, rebounding and hitting open shots. When the Deacons play like that, there are only a couple of teams in the country that can beat them.
All-in-all, it wasn’t the greatest week for the conference, except for one thing – the intra-conference schedule really got going. Now that is good news.

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