Saturday, February 16, 2008

ACC for the Weekend

UNC @ Virginia Tech - So there's a distinct possibility that the Heels will be 6 deep for this game - Thompson, Hansbrough, Ginyard, Ellington, Thomas, and Graves. We could even get a Mike Copeland or Greg Little sighting. I think Green, Stepheson, and Lawson are all technically questionable, but last I heard, they weren't playing. The question is, will it matter? The Hokies are not a fast team, they don't have good point guard play, and Jeff Allen can't contain the inside all by his lonesome. AD Vassallo will need to have a big, big game to keep the Hokies in it. It may be a lower scoring game than the Heels are used to, but when push comes to shove, they're still the better team (even missing three guys)

Clemson @ NC State - The Pack is now 4-6, and entering the must-win part of their schedule. They have home games remaining against UNC, Duke, and Clemson (and FSU). Their road schedule is relatively easy (at Virginia and at Wake). If any of the teams outside of the top-4 can make a run at the NCAAs, it's the Pack. They have a chance for 3 marquee wins. Realistically, they need to go 5-1 - NC State has been sufficiently underwhelming that 8-8 is not going to get the job done. Beating both Duke and UNC seems unlikely, so the win over Clemson becomes essential. Unfortunately, the Pack got slaughtered by the Tigers in the last meeting, losing by 16 and turning the ball over 36% of possessions. Cliff Hammonds has taken a much larger role in the offense recently, to good results. I like the Tigers in this one.

FSU @ Maryland - Maryland just has to avoid losing the games it's supposed to win, and their dance card will be locked up. They've won 6 of 8, and will likely be favored in no fewer than 5 of their remaining games. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Terps run the table - they have FSU, VT, and Clemson at home, and Virginia, Miami, and Wake on the road. They'll have every opportunity to play themselves into the #3 (or even #2 - since they hold the tiebreak with UNC) spot in the ACC. As for FSU, Matt Zitani played 20 minutes on Thursday night. That pretty much tells the story of FSU's season - attrition through injury (Alabi, Swann), transfer (Breeden), and idiocy (Reid).

ACC Sunday

Miami @ Georgia Tech - It's a shame Paul Hewitt couldn't have played Miami's schedule - they might have 18 wins right now instead of 11. He got snakebitten by scheduling for a team that would include Crittenton (and perhaps Young) and playing that schedule without both guys. At 11-12, they need to win out. Miami is in pretty much the same boat, but could possibly get it done with 6-1. Their problem is a very tough schedule - the next four games are @ Georgia Tech, Duke, Maryland, and @ Clemson. Ouch. Winning three of those four games would give the Canes both momentum and quality wins, both of which the team desperately needs. In this game, Georgia Tech has to avoid getting killed on the glass, and needs to turn Miami over. The latter is something they do very well at home. The last game Miami won at the free throw line - if they're as cold from outside as they were in the first game (2-19), they'll need to get back to the line to do some damage.

Virginia @ Boston College - I think this is a game the Cavs can win. BC is on at outside shooting streak that probably won't last - just under 50% from 3 in the last 3 games. John Oates is particularly ridiculous - he's hit 18 of 25 threes in conference play - that's 72.2%. That kind of performance is unsustainable, and bound to change at some point. And the teams actually match up very well - excellent point guards who can score and distribute, decent play from the wings, and no offense at all from the post. This could turn in to Singletary v. Rice, which would just be fun to watch. There's a legit chance that the two combine for 50+ points and 15+ assists.

Duke @ Wake Forest - tune in tomorrow.

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