Despite the ugly ending to the Duke/UNC game on Sunday*, we have entered the greatest two weeks of the year — Conference Tournaments and Round One of the NCAA tournament. This week especially should be declared automatic personal time, or at least legislate every business maintain multiple television screens worth of games during the work day.
This has been a great year for the ACC — on any given night, anyone can really beat anyone else (with the possible exception of Miami). There have been no gimmie games anywhere. I believe for the first time the tournament is being held in Florida this year, after making stops in Washington and common home of Greensboro, NC. It will interesting if a little home court boost is given to Miami in their opening round against Maryland. However, Maryland has been on a tear recently, and while the odds of someone who is playing on Thursday winning it on Sunday, they are going to be a very tough out.
Georgia Tech I think has already played its way into the tournament, capped with its win over UNC, but regardless, just to be sure, they need to take care of business against Wake. The opening game between Clemson and Florida St. has a lot riding on it. I think Clemson needs two wins to make the tournament, given their slide from 17-0. Florida St. I think needs one win with their point guard back healthy to show the committee that they deserve a spot. Because their paired for the tournament opener on Thursday, I think only one of them will make the NCAA’s.
Duke vs. State will a really tough game against two strikingly similar teams in terms of depth and personnel. I still see Duke winning in a close contest as long as they get back to lock down defense that has helped them all year, yet abandoned them the previous two games against Maryland and UNC. Coach K will be stressing defense this week, so I believe they will come out with fire on the defensive end.
I’ll be in California starting on Thursday, so it will probably be tough for me to catch every game (thank $DEITY for ReplayTV—Tivo… I’ll at least be able to watch the good ones later… but it’s never the same).
- — This has been discussed ad nauseam, and I have no real wish to delve into it separately. Next Play.