Finally, A Win on the Road in the ACC; Can Terps Go on a Roll?
Two great things happened for
On Saturday night,
On Sunday night, right around the same time that Peyton Manning changed his legacy for forever, Duke (18-5, 5-4) lost its second straight league game, this time at home, 68-67 to a very dangerous and talented Florida State (17-6, 5-4) team.
So it goes in this year’s ACC. As soon as you think you have it figured out, the next set of games changes perceptions. Look at Saturday’s results – on that day, of the five ACC ballgames, only
Georgia Tech beat suddenly reeling Clemson in Atlanta, 80-62 (Clemson is 1-5 since staring the season 17-0); in Boston, BC drilled Virginia Tech, 80-59; and the most surprising result of the weekend came from Raleigh, where N.C. State beat mighty UNC, 83-79.
Now, I know most people who follow college hoops saw those scores. But what I want to underscore is what they mean, and that’s this – no one – not you, me, Dick Vitale, or Digger Pheps – has any idea (after
It’s safe to say
The Heels are the class of the league, even if they are technically in third place as I write this on Sunday night.
And then there is, literally, everyone else. Yes, I know that UVa is hot,
So, where does all this leave our beloved Turtles?
Well, thanks to the road win Saturday night (whew!), they are at least back in the conversation to get back to the NCAA tournament. If nothing else, the win at Wake gave the Terps a dose of confidence heading into a HUGE week with home games against UVa on Tuesday night and against Duke on Sunday. And if we have learned nothing else this season, we have learned that junior James Gist just might have turned the corner from good to great.
The starting seniors – D.J. Strawberry, Mike Jones, and Ekene Ibekwe – have all had their moments, but none has proven to be consistent or talented enough to lead
The last time
The good news is that UVa is not a very good road team, 3-5 on the year, though they have won their last two in conference at
It’s a great opportunity for
Speaking of Duke, let’s take a look at this year’s squad and whether or not they measure up to the powerful Blue Devils squads that we have gotten so used to hating over the years. Short answer: they aren’t all that. For the first time in a while, there isn’t one player on Duke who is, for lack of a better word, scary.
Junior guard DeMarcus Nelson leads the team in scoring at around 14, and he’s a nice player, but he’s not anything like the assassin that J.J. Redick was in college. Point guard Greg Paulus does a very nice job running the Duke team and can score (he had 22 against
Up front, it’s all about sophomore Josh McRoberts for Duke, who averages 13 points and 8 rebounds. And to that I say, so what? Those aren’t much different than Ibekwe or Gist’s numbers. McRobert is a solid player, he can handle the ball and get his opponent in foul trouble, but again, not a guy who makes your heart sink when he touches the ball. Bottom line: Duke can be had this year, no doubt about it.
Overall, my theme for this week’s column is this: things are not that bad for
UVa at home on Tuesday, Duke at home on Sunday. Two wins and you might even see