ACC Capsules: Tech-Miami opener looms large
JAN 04, 2013 8:16a ET
Of course, the Yellow Jackets haven’t racked up many quality wins -- vs. St. Mary’s and Georgia at home -- but they have shown a great deal of improvement from last season. And with a good showing in ACC play, Georgia Tech could be in the NCAA discussion come March.
That push begins Saturday with Miami (top-20 RPI ranking) visiting Atlanta. A win over the Reggie Johnson-less Hurricanes (9-3) would be a terrific start to league play for the Yellow Jackets, who boast a pair of freshmen scorers (Marcus Georges-Hunt, Robert Carter) and recently added Stacey and Solomon Poole to the roster.
Guard Mfon Udofia (9.7 points per game) and junior forward Kammeon Holsey (9.5 ppg, 5.0 rebounds per game) have also embraced their supporting roles with Tech, winners of six straight. Of their last five contests, the Jackets have consistently scored between 73 and 75 points.
Pick: GT, 70-63
Wake Forest (7-5) at Duke (12-0)
Full Court Press: Coming off perhaps the best win of coach Jeff Bzdelik’s three seasons at Wake (a 66-59 victory over Xavier on Wednesday), the Demon Deacons will try to avoid being swallowed whole in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Young teams (Wake has seven freshmen) usually succumb quickly to the frenzied arena environment and/or intensity of the Blue Devils' defense. For Wake to survive, it'll need to consistently hit perimeter shots and crash the boards. But it still won't have enough to beat Mason Plumlee and company.
Pick: Duke, 83-57
Virginia Tech (9-4) at Maryland (12-1)
Full Court Press: The Hokies started 7-0 and were a rock-solid 8-1 before losing three of four to Georgia Southern (home), followed by blowout road routs to Colorado State (36 points) and BYU (26 points). Maryland is deeper, stronger up front, better coached, more talented and has the home-court advantage. Unless the Hokies shoot the lights out, they stand no chance.
Pick: Maryland, 77-64
N.C. State (11-2) at Boston College (8-5)
When: 4 p.m.
Full Court Press: This is a focus-and-intensity game for the Wolfpack, who have had problems at BC in the past. Ryan Anderson and the Eagles have won five consecutive games, including one over Providence, so this is no gimme for Mark Gottfried’s squad. N.C. State's two biggest keys to victory: Lorenzo Brown (12.4 ppg) managing the offense and Richard Howell (13.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg) avoiding foul trouble.
Pick: N.C. State, 69-60
Florida State (8-5) at Clemson (8-4)
When: 4 p.m.
Full Court Press: A battle of unpredictable teams that have recently suffered perplexing losses. Florida State is coming off a terrible defeat at Auburn after seemingly putting things together, and Clemson -- which hung 92 points on the Citadel on New Year's Day -- may still be stinging from a blowout loss to Coastal Carolina on Dec. 19. The Tigers have the edge over the Seminoles, playing at home and presumably getting a great effort out of senior Milton Jennings, who apparently saves maximum effort for name opponents -- like FSU. Ian Miller played 10 minutes at Auburn, but Florida State will need him on the floor for at least 30 minutes against Clemson.
Pick: Clemson, 65-61
North Carolina (10-3) at Virginia (10-3)
When: 8 p.m.
Full Court Press: North Carolina has gotten clobbered in three quality games away from home this season -- Butler, Indiana and Texas. The Tar Heels have an opportunity to pick up a quality road win Sunday in Charlottesville, but it will require defensive discipline and quality shot selection. On the flip side, the Wahoos must crash the boards, limit turnovers, and keep Carolina from getting into its transition game. Joe Harris (15.0 ppg) needs to have a monster game for Virginia, which also must be tougher than UNC in the paint.
Pick: UNC, 74-68
Season record: 119-19
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