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ACC Notebook

December 10, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Atlantic Coast Conference Notebook

by Michael Protos

Welcome back to Earth – the ACC’s fast start finally slowed

After torching the college hoops nation from coast to coast, the ACC finally ran into a wall of competition, yielding seven losses this past week. But six of those seven losses came to ranked teams. The other loss occurred when 10th-ranked Maryland succumbed to soon-to-be-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish stormed Washington, D.C., in the BB&T Classic this weekend, soundly defeating Maryland and No.2Texas.

The highlight of this past week was the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. For the fourth straight year, the ACC claimed the most victories between two of the premier conferences in college basketball.

By far the most intriguing match up was the rematch of last year’s national championship game between Maryland and No.12 Indiana. Maryland jumped ahead of Indiana early, but the Hoosiers retaliated with a run that put them down only four points at halftime. After battling back and forth the entire second half, the final minute provided a flurry of activity. With the game tied at 68, senior guard Steve Blake scooped up a loose ball and heaved it more than 50 feet at the buzzer. Swish. The miracle finish for Maryland was too good to be true, however, as the ball left Blake’s hands a fraction of a second after the second half expired. In overtime, senior guard Tom Coverdale and the Hoosiers out-scored Maryland 12-6 for an 80-74 victory.

No.21 Michigan State and No.22 Virginia finished what they started last year when melting ice at the Richmond Coliseum forced the game to end with Virginia leading 31-28 in the second half. This year, Virginia’s biggest troubles on the court came from an overpowering 17-0 Michigan State run in the first half. The Cavaliers played catch up the entire game but fell short, losing 82-75. Junior transfer Todd Billet hinted at future success this season by dropping 28 points on the Spartans.

In other news:

The Roller Coaster Ride Hits a Drop for the Tar Heels

Two humiliating thrashings within a week have taught the North Carolina Tar Heels a few lessons. First, their youth movement cannot and will not win every game they play. Wins against No.11 Kansas and No.20 Stanford prove they can beat anybody, but losses to No.19 Kentucky and No.24 Illinois showed several weaknesses. Primarily, the Tar Heels need to find someone to help out freshman forward Sean May. When teams attack May, he will get into foul trouble. The Tar Heels played a competitive half in each loss, but the second halves were disastrous. Coach Matt Doherty can study his roster to heal the wounds while his players study for finals.

Players Take the Week to Focus on Trials and Tribulations of Final Exams

After a successful opening month of basketball in late November and early December, ACC players will fulfill their academic duties off the court. It’s finals times for the first semester. Next weekend the players will return to the hardwood for six games. The best match up will be between No.7 Florida and No.10 Maryland on Saturday. Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest will try to preserve their perfect records.

ACC Player of the Week

In one game against previously undefeated Wisconsin, Wake Forest senior forward Josh Howard led the Demon Deacons to a 90-80 victory with 31 points and nine rebounds. Howard may be the ACC’s most talented senior but must avoid injuries that hampered his off-season progress if Wake Forest hopes to continue its early success.

ACC Rookie of the Week

Georgia Tech freshman forward Chris Bosh proved his worth again this week in two games against No.17 Minnesota and Marist. He combined for 28 points, 23 rebounds and six assists.

ACC Coach Watch

After making national headlines, North Carolina must adjust its strategy to return to their previous winning ways. Coach Matt Doherty has a week and a half to find a solution to problems in the paint before playing Vermont on Dec. 19.


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