Posted: 12:50 a.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013
On Wednesday, we didn’t give Georgia Tech a chance at Miami. Shows what we know: Georgia Tech gave Miami a hell of a game and on the last play, Marcus Georges-Hunt drove, missed, and tipped in his own shot.
|Thursday’s ACC Action|
|Virginia @ Florida State||9:00 PM||ESPN2|
Final score: Georgia Tech 71, Miami 69.
Brian Gregory, a good diplomat, tried to argue that beating Georgia was a bigger deal and perhaps emotionally it is. But as a validation of his program’s direction? Not even close.
Going down to Miami, with their full-grown team of seniors, fifth and sixth year as well, beating the #6 team at their place – that’s a huge win for a program trying to find a way back to the top of the ACC. Now he has something to point out to recruits. It’s huge for this program. Toss in the sparkling rebuilt arena and some good talent already in town and you have a lot to sell.
We should say this as well: you don’t see this kind of upset in every league. Miami is a very, very good team; Georgia Tech is a few steps behind. The competitive nature of this conference, the relentless desire to pull a team down a peg or two, means that upsets like this are not only possible, not only likely, but inevitable.
The UNC-Maryland game was a bit of a dilemma for us: we can’t really pull for UNC, but with Maryland leaving, who cares if they lose? So the resolution: one of them has to lose and it’ll feel good.
So it felt nice to see Maryland fall and the despair deepen: with a miserable RPI (70), the Terps have no margin for error. Losing to UNC, at home, was a huge blow.
Despite UNC’s small lineup, Alex Len continued to struggle, much to Mark Turgeon’s dismay, which he didn’t hide: when a reporter asked about Len’s start, he said this: “Good start to you, maybe not a good start to me, OK? We got him a wide-open lob and then he had two pick up loose ball dunks. When we threw him the ball, not much happened.”
Len said it was because he was double-teamed: “They were double-teaming and I couldn’t play one-on-one, so I was kicking back [passes]. It was good for us getting open shots but we weren’t making them.”
In other words: don’t blame me, coach.
Now the Terps admit they basically have to win the ACC Tournament to earn a bid. Raleigh native Dez Wells says that “I feel like we have to do really good [in Greensboro]. I don’t want to put any pressure by saying that on my team. We all know that. Just take it one game at a time.”
For UNC, putting PJ Hairston in for one of the unpolished big men has had great dividends. The Heels have won every game since they came to Cameron with their new lineup. It gave Duke trouble then and it will give them more on Saturday night.
State had little trouble with Wake after the first few minutes, beating the Deacs by 15.
CJ Leslie had 19 points and 10 boards, while seniors Richard Howell and Scott Wood finished their home careers with nine and five points respectively. Howell also had five boards.
So after going 6-1 over their last seven games, here’s what you can say about State: their two seniors had mediocre games and they still romped.
Lorenzo Brown finished with 11 points and seven assists, while TJ Warren added 15 points and six boards. Fellow rookie Rodney Purvis had 14.
On Thursday, Virginia tries to keep their hopes for a bye alive as they visit Florida State.
As far as the tournament goes, while we’re not going to figure out every scenario, we can say that currently Duke would play the winner of Florida State and Georgia Tech.