Everyone who was favoured to win on Thursday did so, and there were few surprises, just smiling players and coaches moving forward. Here’s what the winners did, and what they have to look forward to …
The first day of the ACC Tournament offered few surprises.
GAME 1 at Noon:
Boston College, (7-11 in-conference & 16-16 overall) beat Georgia Tech handily (84-64) behind an incredible 41 point performance by the ACC Rookie of the Year, Olivier Hanlan. They will meet …
Miami, (15-3 in-conference & 24-6 overall)
Miami has had a penchant for losing games against teams they should have handled in conference this year, and B/C was almost another on January 16th.
If Hanlan can continue the hot hand he had today, it could be a long afternoon for ACC COY, Jim Larranaga, who will have his work cut out for him, to keep his squad on track to advance.
GAME 2 at 2PM:
NC State, (11-7 in-conference & 23-9 overall) proved to be more than Virginia Tech could handle, 80-63. Even their ACC POY, Erick Green, was frustrated in his final ACC performance, shooting 5-19 on the day.
The Wolfpack’s balanced attack by their starters will be next tested by …
Virginia (11-7 in-conference & 21-10 overall)
In the only meeting between the two (2) teams, Virginia’s Joe Harris led the Cavaliers on a 13-6 run in the final minutes of the second half for a two (2) point victory on January 29th.
NC State has a lot to prove before getting to the Big Dance, in what has been a topsy-turvy season, after starting the conference season 12-2 and winning their first three (3) games in-conference. It will take another excellent defensive effort, this time against Joe Harris, to move forward and secure the win.
GAME 3 at 7PM:
Maryland, (8-10 in-conference & 21-11 overall) dispatched Wake Forest 75-62, whom they had handled easily twice previously. This time wasn’t so easy for them, but the ACC is always bound to bring out the fight in teams. On this occasion, the chance for the Terps to meet their next opponent might have gotten them the win. They next meet …
Duke (14-4 in conference & 27-4 overall)
The teams split their previous meetings with each winning on their home courts. This meeting will not only be different because of the neutral venue but because Duke will have Ryan Kelly this time . That changes plenty for the Blue Devils.
The biggest question in the mind of this writer is the match-up of the “bigs.” In their last meeting, Alex Len, a Sophomore, dominated his Senior opponent, Mason Plumlee completely. Kelly’s presence always spreads the defense, but if Len has the game he did in College Park, everyone else will have to compensate for Duke to prevail.
Duke is unblemished with Kelly, and I see that continuing.
GAME AT 9PM:
Florida State, (9-9 in-conference & 18-14 overall) once again had to depend on “The Michael Snaer Show” to win their game against Clemson 73-69. Snaer had struggled behind 3-13 shooting, but his 4-4 shooting from the Charity Stripe in the last 20+ seconds made the difference.
In a repeat of a controversial game last year, this time on a neutral floor, they meet …
North Carolina, (12-6 in-conference & 22-9 overall) who was soundly beaten by Duke at the Dean Dome this past Saturday. The Tar Heels won both their meetings with the Seminoles.
This game will hinge on how well Carolina can bounce back from their second convincing loss to Duke and if FSU can keep it close enough for another episode of Snaer’s rescue review.
Bermuda Bob is a contributing writer for Duke Sports Blog and an avid Duke fan. You can follow him on Twitter @TheBermudaBob.
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