The Duke-UNC match-up certainly was the highlight of the ACC this past week. With the win, Duke is the clear front-runner to win the ACC with UNC the only team with a legitimate shot at catching them. If both teams win the rest of their games, that end-of-the-season game will be tremendous with the Heels trying to tie Duke for first place.
As I have already mentioned, UNC and Duke have solidified themselves as the Top two teams in the ACC. No bones about it. I really do not believe there is a close No. three so I will not bother with a power rankings this week. The teams in the middle are just too hard to figure out.
With UNC and Duke playing this week, the top team in the rankings is still up to grabs, but Duke would stay on top, for now, in my book due to their collective season.
That being said, it is interesting that ACCSports.com lists UNC higher than Duke in their weekly power rankings. They even have this to say, "With Kendall Marshall (16 assists against FSU) now in full control of the offense UNC looks like a team with Final Four potential." That is quite high praise.
There is no doubt that North Carolina has improved and is a team to be reckoned with. We will know who is atop the ACC Wednesday night.
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Duke and Maryland will play tonight at the Comcast Center in what is traditionally a great game. The last time Duke and Maryland played, Maryland hung in there for most of the game before falling 71-64 to the Blue Devils.
Going into the season, Harrison Barnes would have been voted most likely to be named the ACC Rookie of the Week the most, yet this is his first one.
He was not even the first Tar Heel to be given this honor since Reggie Bullock was just named a Rookie of the Week as well. This is a great accomplishment for Barnes as we sense him breaking out.
His game winning shots against Miami, and his 25 point game against N.C. State are the reasons for this honor.
1. Duke-Despite a loss to St. John's, they are still the team to beat in the ACC.
2. North Carolina-The Heels are the second best team in the ACC behind the improvement of Harrison Barnes.
3. Virginia Tech-The Hokies continue to play well, even through injuries.
4. Maryland-When you have a player like Jordan Williams, you stay in the top of the ACC.
5. Florida State- The 'Noles suffered a devastating loss to Clemson Saturday, but will continue to win with their defense.
6. Clemson- The Tigers had a very good week with wins over N.C. State and Florida State. Watch for Clemson to move up the rankings.
7. Miami- Miami still has a good shot with a good backcourt.
8. Boston College- Reggie Jackson is very good, but still cannot get over the hump.
9. N. C. State-After a blowout loss to North Carolina Sidney Lowe is just trying to hang on.
10. Georgia Tech-Paul Hewitt is definitely on the hot-seat.
11. Virginia- Still better than Wake Forest despite losing to them.
12. Wake Forest-Finally got a win!
What an incredible weekend of basketball in the ACC!
First, Wake Forest, who was on track to be the first 0-16 team in ACC basketball history, finally got their first win against Virginia. Most analysts had deemed it their final chance to win an ACC game.
Next, Florida State got trounced by Clemson setting up the top of the league to be an UNC vs. Duke battle. Of course, FSU can get back into the race easily with another slip-up by Duke or UNC
Speaking of slip-ups, Duke fell flat on their face against St. John's at Madison Square Gardens. While not an ACC loss, some feel that this loss may have moved Duke to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Furthermore, it highlighted the lack of quality post play for the Blue Devils. All of a sudden Brian Zoubek is looking real good.
North Carolina solidified itself as the No. 2 team in the league, for now, with consecutive wins over Miami and N.C. State this week. Riding Harrison Barnes stellar week, the Heels have only one ACC loss despite being down early to Miami.
It was a busy week in the ACC, and do not expect the action to lessen anytime soon. Stay tuned!
The last two season have been, well, not what is expected of UNC basketball. Tar Heel basketball is about being atop the ACC and college basketball. It is about National Championships and Players of the Year. It is about Dean Smith and Michael Jordan.
Sure, UNC basketball fans are used to winning and demand it, but how soon we forget how great the not-so-distant past was.
Just because the last two season have not gone according to plan ( and this season has a lot more history to write) does not all-of-a-sudden mean that UNC basketball has reached rock bottom or that Roy Williams is a bad coach. We hear that last one a lot after every UNC loss.
But how soon we forget just how good that 2009 team was and how good of a coach Roy Williams was that year. Sure, UNC had as much talent as any coach could ask for, but do not forget that Ol' Roy was the one who brought that talent in. Do not forget all of the headaches Roy had to endure with that team to make sure everything came together for a brilliant National Championship run.
Let me remind you of some of those headaches. First, he had to wait and see if Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green would test the draft waters or come back to school. They opted for school. He also had an instance of Ty Lawson getting caught intoxicated while driving a car, and on top of that he was underage. Good Ol' Roy had to deal with serious injuries to Marcus Ginyard and and Tyler Zeller. To top it all off his floor general and ACC Player of the Year had an injured toe at year's end and was not even able to play in the ACC Tournament.
Yes, Roy Williams had his headaches with this team, but found a way to bring the team together by winning a National Championship. Roy will be back with a team that can compete for National Championships. He will hit the recruiting trail and coach the players he currently has.
Recently, I have criticized Roy for some of his coaching, but I failed to remember how good he really is at what he does. He knows how the game is played, and will find a way through these "migraines" he is currently facing.
Tar Heel fans: do not forget what Roy Williams has brought to this university, nor what 2009 meant to all of us.
The Tar Heels are coming off of an exhilarating and tough win against Miami in Coral Gables. Harrison Barnes provided the heroics with a game winning jumper as the shot clock expired with six seconds left on the clock. Clutch!
Now the Heels must ride that momentum back home to Chapel Hill to face rival NC State (12-8, 2-4 ACC). The Wolfpack have had a disappointed season which was brought to fruition with a loss to Clemson after the Pack had a 19 point lead. Sidney Lowe's is definitely sitting on the proverbial "hot-seat" and is quite possibly a "lame-duck."
The keys to winning this game if you are the Heels is to limit the production of Tracy Smith, who recently returned from knee surgery, and not to allow L.J. Leslie to have a career game. Leslie has recently been removed from the starting lineup, but has the talent to have a big game.
Also of importance will be freshman point guard Kendall Marshall against freshman point guard Ryan Harrow. Both have recently played themselves into the starting lineup, and Marshall needs to control the game more than Harrow for UNC to be given the best opportunity to win.
Finally, UNC has typically allowed other teams to shoot the three very well this season, and they must limit Scott Wood who is a very efficient three-point shooter for State.
Neither UNC or NC State are the powerhouses that Tobacco Road is accustomed to, but UNC should certainly win this ball game.
This game has equal importance to the football team. Not only will the 2010 football team be honored at halftime, but several marquee football recruits will be in town. A good show at the basketball game would go a long ways in making these players Tar Heels.
At any rate, this Tobacco Road match-up should be a very interesting game to watch in Chapel Hill tomorrow. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 and can be viewed on ESPN.