Wow! What a night.
North Carolina 99 Virginia 54
We have all heard all season how UNC lost seven players and 91% of the offense. We have heard what a phenomenal job Roy Williams has done to not only get the freshman to play up to par but to get serious production from David Noel, Reyshawn Terry, and Wes Miller. But to truly frame this victory and state of the team at this point in the season lets take a look back at the first game of the season:
UNC 83 Gardner Webb 80
Yes, in the season's first game, the Heels needed a three pointer from David Noel to beat an Atlantic Sun school which current has a 16-11 record and losses to Stetson, UNC Greensboro(my alma mater), Campbell, and Lipscomb. This is the same UNC squad that lost Pac-10 middler USC by 15. This same UNC team which went to Virginia and lost 72-68.
That UNC team no longer exists because tonight the Tar Heels completely destroyed Virginia in every facet of the game winning by 45 points! This is after they beat NC State in Raleigh by 24 and did the same to Maryland in Chapel Hill. North Carolina is now 20-6 and 11-4 in the ACC. They have clinched at least the #3 seed in the ACC Tournament and will go to Durham Saturday night with a legitimate chance to knock off Duke, except for one little problem...
Florida State 79 Duke 74
...It is highly unlikely that Duke will drop two straight. Florida State came out and hung tough with the Blue Devils. The foul calling was titled very much in favor of the Seminoles and they also made some key plays down the stretch. FSU ended Duke's run for a second 16-0 season in the ACC and at the same time finally made the case to the tournament committee that they belong in the Big Dance. FSU moves to 8-7 in the ACC and if they beat Miami in Coral Gables on Sunday plus pick up one more on the first day of the ACC Tournament, it should be enough to get them in.
Some general comments on the game. I will come out and say that I think FSU fans are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Storming the court with time left on the clock illustrates a serious lack of awareness. FSU officials could have done a better job securing the crowd, knowing that such a thing was going to happen if they beat Duke. I also think that if ESPN had any integrity at all they would pull Mike Patrick off Duke games from now on. We all know how Dick Vitale feels about Duke but Patrick should make an effort not to be so transparent. The kicker for me was when he complained about how "crazy" the fans were in storming the court. Something tells me if Duke fans do the same thing Saturday night it will be seen as another stellar example of those wonderful Cameron Crazies. Hey, Mike, they just beat the #1 team in a revenge game, of course they are going to storm the court and if it means jumping over your table to do it, that is how it is.
Maryland 65 Miami 61
Well there is life in College Park after all. Miami has two jobs left: The first is two play spoiler for FSU on Sunday and the second is get ready for the NIT. Maryland has some hope but it will take beating UVa on Sunday and probably reaching the ACC Final which would likely require beating two ranked opponents en route. Otherwise, Maryland and Miami can look for each other in the N.I.T.
Clemson 86 Virginia Tech 81
This was surpise to me, I thought VT would handle the Tigers. Of course the biggest news of the night actually comes from a former Clemson coach and as a UNC fan I am honor bound to trash Rick Barnes at any juncture that presents itself. Rick Barnes' #7 Texas team was at Texas A&M in what turned out to be a horrid game devoid of decent offense. Anyway with 18 seconds left in the game and 10 seconds on the shot clock Texas had the ball with the game tied at 43-43. Barnes calls timeout to set the play and Texas inbounds to point guard P.J. Tucker who proceeds to dribble the shot clock out. It seems Tucker was caught looking at the game clock and not the shot clock. Texas A&M regains possession and hits a three at the buzzer to upset Texas 47-44. Now, how does Tucker not realize the shot clock is running down? How can he be that unaware of the situation in the game? People talk about "basketball IQ" it is pretty obvious after that play that Tucker's basketball IQ is lower than fellow Longhorn Vince Young's Wonderlic score. That being said, how does Rick Barnes not convey to his team what the game situation is? This ranks right up there with Steve Fisher not telling Chris Webber how many timeouts Michigan had left against UNC in the 1993 NCAA Final. For a coach to call a timeout and then have his point guard dribble out the shot clock is inexcusable. In short Rick Barnes is not a good coach, in fact maybe he should call Dean Smith and get some pointers on coaching end-of-game situations.