Boston College Takes Care of Business, UNC Need to Do the Same, Duke-FSU II, Miami Must Win at Maryland
Boston College 80 Wake Forest 65
Take notice NC State and UNC, Boston College took care of business on their home court last night. Of course Wake Forest was never a threat to the Eagles, but it underscores the importance of defending your home turf. Boston College clinched a first round bye for the ACC Tournament, a BC win this weekend and a UNC lost either tonight against Virginia or at Duke on Saturday would give the Eagles the #2 seed in their first ever ACC Tournament. It should be noted that Florida State recevied the #2 seed in their first year in the conference and were dispatched by #3 seeded UNC(who they swept in the regular season) in the 1992 ACC Tournament semi-finals.
Virginia at North Carolina, Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC, 9:00 PM
It is Senior Night at UNC with David Noel and Byron Sanders playing their last game in Chapel Hill. UNC lost to UVa earlier this season 72-68 in Charlottesville for their only road loss in the ACC. Cavalier guards Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds lit up UNC for 18 and 16 points respectively in the January meeting. Statistically speaking the Tar Heels had advantages in most every area but both teams shot poorly from the floor. UVa got to the free throw line 15 more times than UNC and parlayed that into a 13 point advantage from the charity stripe. Also in January, UNC has just lost to Miami at home and was in the midst of some inconsistent offensive performances. Despite the play against Maryland, UNC comes in playing its best basketball of the season. UVa, who beat Boston College at home, proceeded to commit 29 turnovers in a 26 point trouncing at Clemson effectively ending all hope of an NCAA bid. A win in Chapel Hill would push them in the right direction, but they still have work to do. UNC has to be careful not to look ahead to their game at Duke on Saturday night. I think Senior Day/Night games are a mixed bag and may produce more anxiety than is necessary. Look for another solid defensive effort and a return to consistent offensive execution similar to the NC State game.
Prediction: UNC 84 UVa 63
Duke at Florida State, Tucker Center, Tallahassee, FL, 7:00 PM
There are basically two pieces to this game: The first is Florida State's uncanny ability to beat Duke in Tallahasse while the Devils are ranked #1. It has happened twice in the series history with FSU teams probably less talented that this one. The second angle is the earlier meeting in Durham which Duke won 97-96 in OT. That game was extremely physical and it basically turned the flicker of a flame over the Duke/Referee controversey into a full blown inferno. Duke enjoyed an excessive advantage on fouls called and free throws attempted. In fact Duke was not whistled for a foul during the last nine minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime. FSU's Alexander Johnson received a technical foul along wth Duke's Shelden Williams which resulted in Johnson's fifth foul. The problem was Johnson did not do anything to warrant the T and the ACC ended up suspending the crew because of the mistake. As it pertains to angles which actually matter, FSU needs a win to keep hope alive for the NCAA Tournament. Beating the #1 team in the nation should help their cause. Duke is in pursuit of 16-0 for the second time in ACC history. Duke teams do not tend to get caught looking ahead and another point of interest if how well J.J. Redick shoots the ball considering his lackluster performances at both Georgia Tech and Temple.
Prediction: Duke 88 FSU 79
Miami at Maryland, Comcast Center, College Park, MD, 9:00 PM
It's real simple: Miami needs a win, in fact Miami needs two wins to get to 9-7 in the conference and probably needs at least two wins in the ACC Tournament to even get on the board in Kansas City. Of course if they get to 9-7 they would likely be the #5 seed and end up playing the #4 seed NC State. A win over a ranked opponent there could be enough to get them in. Then again I am getting away ahead of myself. For Miami to win the guards need to hit shots since Maryland will most likely enjoy a rebounding advantage. Maryland is playing for dignity at this point. The Terps are playing to show that despite the fact they will miss the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year, there still is life and hope in College Park. Of course the players may also be playing to see if Gary Williams might physically implode before our very eyes. At any rate , this game is best billed as the Hopeful vs the Hopeless.
Prediction: Miami 77 Maryland 74
Clemson at Virginia Tech, Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA, 7:00 PM
I really could care less. However if you are interested in watching what is sure to be a low scoring, turnover ridden, poorly executed basketball game, then this is the one for you. Of course Virginia Tech can pull themselves into 9th place and a shot at the #9 seed and a potential game with Maryland in next Thursday. Of course then they would have to face Duke and based on what happened in Cameron earlier this year, anything could happen. So, I take it back, I do care. I want VT to win tonight, win their 1st round game next week and scare the living daylights out of Duke come next Friday.
Prediction: VT 80 Clemson 68
Last Wednesday's Record: 4-1