The three teams that sit atop the ACC standings have 1-0 conference
records. They also are located in the state of North Carolina. That is
where the similarities between Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina end.
Duke, the No. 1 team in the nation, is undefeated with a 9-0 record. Wake
Forest, the only ACC team with a new coach, is still adapting to Skip
Prosser’s offensive and defensive systems. North Carolina, perhaps on its
way towards the worst season in school history, is 2-4 with home
non-conference losses to Hampton, Davidson and Indiana. Although these three
prestigious universities are the most noteworthy ACC schools at this early
juncture of the 2001-2002 season, there are many other interesting stories
brewing up and down the Atlantic Coast.
Duke (9-0, 1-0)
Week games: Won on Sunday 93-51 vs. North Carolina A+T
Recap: The wins just keep on coming. The dream of a perfect season will be
tested when the Blue Devils play Kentucky in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday
in New Jersey. The game will be much tougher for Duke if star guard Jason
Williams, who strained his groin against A+T, does not play.
Interesting note: Duke has now won 19 straight games, the longest
streak in the nation. The school’s last loss came at home against Maryland
on February 27, 2001. Also, the Blue Devils are 26-2 in December since
1997-98 and have not lost a home game in the month since Michigan beat them
Wake Forest (7-2, 1-0)
Week games: Won on Sunday 93-72 vs. Florida State
Recap: Skip Prosser opened his first ACC season on a positive note, as the
Demon Deacons rolled over Florida State. Darius Songaila (29 points) and
Jamaal Levy (15 points) both scored career-highs in the win. Wake Forest’s
next ACC game will come at Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels on January 5th.
Interesting note: The Demon Deacons are ranked 20th in the latest
ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The other ranked ACC teams: Duke (1), Maryland
(2), and Virginia (6).
North Carolina (2-4, 1-0)
Week games: Won on Sunday 61-60 vs. Binghamton
Recap: Any win for this UNC team is a big one. The second of this season
came against a Binghamton team that is playing its first year in Division I.
The Tar Heels have very little talent compared to their rivals, something
that will cripple them come ACC season. It will be a challenge for this group
to win in double digits this year. This is something much different from the
past, when North Carolina has won more than 20 games in 31consecutive seasons
and advanced to 27 straight NCAA Tournaments. Both streaks will likely be
snapped emphatically this season.
Interesting note: 7-foot-5 red-shirt freshman Neil Fingleton
announced before the Binghamton game that he will transfer after he takes his
last final exam this semester. In the six games this year, the British
center has only been on the floor for a total of four minutes, with his only
action coming against Davidson. Fingleton’s probable destination: Holy Cross
in Massachusetts. He attended high school down the street from the school.
Week games: No games
Recap: Although the Cavaliers are undefeated, the team really has not played
any quality opponents. The school’s best wins have come at home against
Virginia Tech and at Auburn. The schedule will get much harder very soon.
Interesting note: Virginia should have played six games by now,
but its ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against Michigan State was postponed early
in the second half. The reason: ice from under the playing surface at the
Richmond Coliseum caused condensation that made the basketball floor
extremely slippery. The game will not be rescheduled.
Week games: Won on Monday 91-55 vs. Monmouth
Recap: In coach Gary Williams’ 250th victory at Maryland, his team pulled
away in the second half and cruised against Monmouth. The Terrapins have won
eight consecutive games since opening the season with a loss at Madison
Square Garden against Arizona.
Interesting note: The win extended the Terps’ non-conference home
win streak to 82 games, the longest in the nation.
N.C. State (8-2)
Week games: Won on Saturday 92-54 vs. UNC-Asheville
Recap: Coming off a solid win against Syracuse, the Wolfpack defeated a
fellow UNC system school, UNC-Asheville. The team plays Charleston Southern
and Houston before opening up its ACC schedule against Maryland on December
Interesting note: Coach Herb Sendek is feeling better after
receiving treatment for a ruptured disk in his lower back. The fifth-year
coach expects to receive two more injections in hopes of alleviating the
discomfort. He says that surgery after the season would be a last resort.
Clemson (7-3, 0-1)
Week games: Won on Saturday 88-78 vs. Elon
Recap: Clemson’s lone game this week was a win against Elon. Jamar
McKnight, the only senior on the team, led the Tigers with 23 points on 9-14
Interesting note: Although sophomore Chris Hobbs only scored 5
points against Elon, he continues to lead the Tigers in points per game with
13.6. Before Saturday’s game, the native of Chapel Hill, N.C. led the team
in scoring the previous five contests.
Georgia Tech (4-5, 0-1)
Week games: Won on Sunday 96-80 vs. Syracuse
Recap: The Yellow Jackets showed their potential on Sunday, crushing a good
Syracuse team in Atlanta. Four players scored at least 17 points vs. the
Orangemen, with Clarence Moore scoring 20 points, a new career-high.
Interesting note: Only 7,116 people showed up for the nationally
televised game at Philips Arena. Also, the game was the nightcap of the
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl doubleheader. This young team and rising coach Paul
Hewitt deserve more fans.
Florida State (3-4, 0-1)
Week games: Lost on Sunday 93-72 at Wake Forest
Recap: The Seminoles have now lost back-to-back games. Before losing to
Wake Forest, FSU was upset at home against Western Carolina. It was the first
Western Carolina victory over an ACC team in 21 seasons and just its second
in 36 tries.
Interesting note: The scoring for the Seminoles is extremely
balanced, with the five leading scorers averaging between 8.7 and 10.3 points
per game. The five, in order of highest scoring average:
Delvon Arrington, Nigel Dixon, Antwuan Dixon, Monte Cummings and Anthony