And at the end of January there was Duke, UNC and everyone else.
NCSU Shows Some Fire at Duke: The first half against NCSU went very much like the first half versus Maryland where Duke struggled on both ends of the floor and find themselves down at halftime. In the second half, the other team folds up, in this case beginning at the PG position and Duke finds their offense to take the game with a fair amount of comfort. It is interesting to note that a pattern of hard fouls and rough play seems to be following Duke around. We originally assumed it was bad blood between the Blue Devils and the Hokies last week but after watching this game it is clear Duke is doing something that I cannot quite out a finger on to provoke physical games and reactions from the opposing team. It is possible, given Duke's lack of interior play they are opting for straight-up physical play to compensate. In other words, it will be interesting to see how this plays in Chapel Hill against a team with all the weapons to attack Duke. As for NCSU, they are getting better and I really do not care to see them in RBC later this month.
Only Three Losses: Georgia Tech and Clemson did not play during the week but Virginia Tech, Maryland, Boston College and Wake Forest did with three of those teams winning. The best looking of the four was Maryland who handled Virginia at home and show no ill effects from the loss to Duke. The Cavs are sinking into oblivion which is amazing considering Sean Singletary is on that team. Wake Forest is a continual surprise getting the close win over Miami who is riding a roller coaster of epic proportions. VT sent FSU own to the cellar and chances are the Noles are not coming back up.
2 and 10 and The Weekend Schedule: I see no discernible difference between anyone in the group below UNC and Duke. Those two are going to have it out in that bitter divorced couple sort of way next week. Meanwhile the rest of the league tries to sort out who is 3rd. If I had to pick one right now it would be Georgia Tech and it turns out that the schedule is going to help us out a bit here. GT-MD is a huge game in sorting this mess out as is BC-Clemson. The winners of those two games will rise a bit and get somewhat tangible grip on the spots behind the boys in blue. NCSU needs to salvage what's left of the season by beating Wake Forest who would like to stay relevant in that battle for the top six in the ACC. Virginia Tech gets Virginia again only a scant few weeks after playing them the first time. VT also could hang around a three losses with a win. The Florida schools get Duke and UNC who both will try not to look ahead which would be dangerous, especially for UNC on the road at FSU.
Saturday, February 2nd
MD at GT, Noon
UVa at VT, 1 PM
Miami at Duke, 3:30 PM
BC at Clemson, 8 PM
Sunday, February 3rd
WF at NCSU, Noon
UNC at FSU, 2 PM