Some teams start to get untangled from the weeds.
Grab a Tiger by the Tail: The Tiger survived a huge test in holding off Miami after jumping out big on the Hurricanes earlier in the game. The upside for Clemson is they are a game up in the loss column on Maryland who they face on the road this Sunday night. The downside, Oliver Purnell has to be worried at his team’s penchant for blowing huge leads. Clemson led Miami by 17 at halftime and allowed the Hurricanes to close it to one. Eventually Clemson got separation much the same way they did at NCSU. However, the inability to get ahead and keep distance on opposing teams is going to come back and bit Clemson in the NCAA Tournament. Miami is not necessarily done as an NCAA Tournament team but they need to win their final three to get to 9-7 which is doable versus UVa, BC and at FSU. Beyond that at least one ACCT win is needed maybe even two.
Maryland and Wake: Let me first thank WRAL-TV in Raleigh for sticking this game on one of their digital channels so I could not see the game. I appreciate that. Secondly, Maryland stopped the bleeding and won at Winston-Salem over Wake Forest which is not an easy task, just ask Duke. Maryland now is 8-6 in the ACC and really could use two more wins and a 3rd place finish to get off the bubble. Wake is in much the same boat as Miami. The Deacs need to win their last three for an 9-7 mark and probably one win in the ACCT, two if they can get it.
Yes Duke Won But…: I think the Devils are still showing signs of offensive struggles versus a Georgia Tech team not playing the best basketball in the world right now. Duke won that game because they turned GT over repeatedly and also because GT missed about 10 point blank range layups that literally rimmed out. And I am not even going to get into how bad the officiating was in general for this game. Duke keeps pace with UNC and goes to play NCSU where I expected they will see about 20 minutes of competition before the Pack calls it a day.
NCSU Woes: And finally, what is to be done in Raleigh? Sidney Lowe apparently became fed up with the effort of certain players that he called the starters “awful” in the postgame press conference after the Pack lallygagged their way to a loss at home over an FSU team they previously bested on the road. There appears to be a clear delineation between the players who were recruited by Lowe(Tracy Smith, Trevor Ferguson, Javi Gonzalez) and those leftover from the Herb years(Courtney Fells, Gavin Grant, Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley) when it comes to the effort shown during games. Add to this the chirping J.J. Hickson made this week about being ready for the NBA and what you have is a full blow program in crisis unable to find itself. Lowe is being criticized by some for saying what the fans have been saying all season and that is certain players are not playing with an ounce of heart or effort on the court. At the same time, it is evident Lowe is still feeling his way through coaching a college team and also struggling with the fact he has a mix of personnel which precludes him from installing his offensive style. At this point no one is expecting NCSU to win again this season which will put them at 15-16 once they are eliminated from the ACCT. If that is the case, if I were Lowe, I would put the five guys on the floor who give a crap, it is not like you are winning with the other players. Needless to say Wolfpack nation is restless…well more restless than normal and the whispers of Lowe being done are already starting.