Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) - This week, Coastal Carolina joins Duke, Virginia, Tennessee and several other big name schools at PNC Arena for a weekend of games as the NCAA Tournament is off and running. TomorrowMore >>
Chants take the floor for a practice in Raleigh before taking on top-seeded Virginia Friday night.More >>
(RNN) – It's hard to believe we still have another five weeks of watching teams beat up on each other in conference play.
Frankly, some of the bruises are already starting to show.
Winning streak. What winning streak? Unless you're Miami, you had better not even mention those words. And even the Hurricanes' time will come eventually.
What's the old saying in basketball? It's March that matters.
That may be true, but teams don't really change during tournaments. They are just the beneficiaries of tighter schedules, hot streaks and a subjective seeding system.
If you really want to see what teams are made of, now is the time to pay attention.
Boston College at Miami, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
Talk about a pair of teams going in totally opposite directions. The Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0) are surging and getting love from tournament eggheads coast to coast. The Eagles recently stopped a five-game swoon by beating Clemson, but they came up on the short end of every game they played the last month.
Boston College (10-11, 2-6) looks like a deer standing in the way of a semi truck right about now. Freshman forward Ryan Anderson is the team's leading scorer and its only true threat in the post. He has the unenviable task of battling a two-man Miami rotation that, on average, has a 2" and 25-pound advantage over him. You have fun with that, fella.
Then there's recently healthy center Reggie Johnson, who made the winning tip-in and scored 15 points against NC State this past weekend.
BC doesn't defend well enough or shoot well enough from the outside to threaten anywhere else on the floor, so umm, yeah, let's not bet that Miami's unbeaten conference record will take a hit.
Wake Forest at North Carolina, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST, ESPNU
The Baby Blue Roller Coaster, otherwise known as the North Carolina men's basketball team, is rounding yet another dangerous curve.
Wake Forest (10-11, 3-6) has lost five of its last six, but this is still not the type of team you enjoy playing. Just ask Duke.
On paper, North Carolina (15-6, 5-3) should dominate this game, but it's probably safe to say that on paper, Rocky should have lost most of his fights.
In case you haven't heard this about North Carolina yet, we will reiterate: Do… Not… Trust… This… Team. Watching them play basketball this season is scarier than a blind date with someone who has "tons of personality."
Florida State at Georgia Tech, Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST
This would have been a great matchup in football… What? Did I say that out loud?
It should not have been that surprising that the Yellow Jackets (12-8, 2-6) knocked off Virginia. They have a more than sufficient defense, and they were playing a team that is not exactly a scoring machine.
The only things preventing Georgia Tech from becoming really dangerous are two subjects most people hate – chemistry and math. The more games they play together and the older Robert Carter and Marcus Georges-Hunt get, the brighter this squad's future will look.
Enter the Seminoles (12-9, 4-4), a team with a severely inconsistent offense and near the bottom of the nation in rebound margin. Musical chairs is a fun party game, but when you're using it to determine your team's leading scorer every night, it's not hard to back yourself into losses.
Clemson at Virginia, Thursday, 7 p.m. EST, ESPN2
Does anybody remember way back in the day when Virginia lost to George Mason, Delaware and Old Dominion? It seems like it happened only three months ago.
When Virginia (15-6, 5-3) lost to Georgia Tech, we got reminded of some important things. First, defense in basketball is not the same as defense in football. In a game where possessions immediately turn over, you have to help yourself out by putting the ball in the basket consistently. Second, the Wahoos have a tendency this season to sandwich impressive wins (Wisconsin, NC State) around losses that make you go, "Whaaa?"
Oh by the way, Clemson (12-9, 4-5) beat Virginia by 15 points three weeks ago. That's kind of worth mentioning.
Clemson is the most interesting team you don't care about. They take good care of the ball and shut down the paint. Only three of the nine teams that have beaten the Tigers scored more than 70 points.
Maryland at Virginia Tech, Thursday, 9 p.m. EST, ACC Network
This will probably be the most entertaining college basketball game since the 1985 NCAA championship.
Actually, that was total sarcasm. Or it's a complete and utter lie, whichever sounds better. There are plenty of good reasons to watch this game, and most of those reasons will wear Maryland uniforms.
This team could have beaten Kentucky, would have beaten Miami and should have beaten FSU twice. But their Achilles heel all season has been turnovers. They are capable of absolutely locking down opposing offenses, so imagine where they could be if they didn't give the ball away so liberally.
By now you know that the Hokies (11-10, 2-6) have the one player in the country no one can stop. You and 12 guys on his team have something in common – you like to watch him work. If you didn't get the joke, take another look at Virginia Tech's record.
NC State at Duke, Thursday, 9 p.m. EST, ACC Network
If Duke is the team we all thought it was in October, they will beat NC State like it stole something. Here's why:
The Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2) really are as good as we thought they were in October – well, they're close to it anyway. Even without forward Ryan Kelly (13 ppg/52 percent 3-point), this is far from a team you look forward to playing.
And remember, Duke's loss to NC State was the first game Kelly missed after injuring his right foot.
The Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4) is clearly not the same team without point guard Lorenzo Brown, and it showed in the loss to Miami. Up six with 2 minutes to play, there is no way they should have lost that game. But back-to-back turnovers kept them from putting the game away.
And that's your game folks: Duke's got 99 problems, but ball handling ain't one.
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