ACC Capsules: Virginia can’t afford letdown

If Virginia is going to make a push for an appearance in the NCAA
Tournament, it needs to make Sunday’s win over North Carolina count.

The
way not to do that is by following the impressive victory by falling at
a Wake Forest team that could finish last in the ACC. A loss to the 7-6
(0-1 in ACC) Demon Deacons on Wednesday night would basically cancel
out the win over UNC, and would join Virginia’s baffling loss to Old
Dominion a few weeks ago as major strikes against its NCAA chances  

Virginia
(11-3, 1-0) getting point guard Jontel Evans back was huge against UNC.
He had six assists and no turnovers in the second half. Moving forward,
he may have been the final ingredient to a team that can achieve its
goals.

‘He’s not where he needs to be defensively, but he still
could come up with some plays tonight,” Bennett said Sunday. “He could
body as an older guy. He bodied (UNC’s Marcus) Paige a couple times. His
ability to put pressure on the paint and get in there stood out. He
made one floater and some drives.

“He got us some great looks, and that makes all the difference in the world.”

Wake,
which is coming off a decent week in which it defeated a struggling
Xavier team and lost by 18 points at top-ranked Duke, will be desperate
for a victory, so Virginia should expect Wake’s best effort.

Pick: Virginia 64-57.

Jan. 8

Clemson (8-5, 0-1) at Duke (14-0, 1-0)
When:
7 p.m.
Full Court Press:
The outcome of this game won’t have nearly as much to do with Duke as
it will Clemson. Duke is going to win -– no way this Clemson team leaves
with a victory. Whether or not the Tigers are competitive depends on
their ability to get off quality shots and fight Duke on the glass.
Otherwise, it could get real ugly.
Pick: Duke 78-54.

Jan. 9

Boston College (8-6, 0-1) at Virginia Tech (9-5, 0-1)
When:
7 p.m.
Full Court Press:
It’s tempting to pick BC because the Eagles are playing better
basketball than the Hokies. But the Hokies’ resume is much more
impressive, and if that team re-emerges, Erick Green and Virginia Tech
should win. And picking BC to win on the road is just too dangerous.
Pick: Virginia Tech 81-76.

Georgia Tech (10-3, 0-1) at N.C. State (12-2, 1-0)
When:
8 p.m.
Full Court Press:

This should be an interesting game because the Yellow Jackets have a
lot of bodies, most of whom are high-caliber athletes, and North
Carolina State has a thin bench, and as a result the team occasionally
takes off segments of games. Georgia Tech also won in Raleigh a year
ago, but as much progress as the Jackets have made, they don’t have
enough to overcome the Wolfpack’s fire power. Richard Howell and C.J.
Leslie could post huge numbers on Georgia Tech’s youngish front line.
Pick: N.C. State, 86-72.

Florida State (9-5, 1-0) at Maryland (13-1, 1-0)
When:
8 p.m.
Full Court Press:

The general feeling among the ACC media is that Florida State will get
things straightened out and make a strong push in league play. At the
same time, many still question Maryland’s worthiness as an ACC
contender. Some of those questions can be answered Wednesday night, and
this should be a terrific battle as the teams sort through this. Both
clubs have something to prove, but the deeper and more proven Terrapins
should notch the victory.
Pick: Maryland 73-66.

Jan. 10

Miami (10-3, 1-0) at North Carolina (10-4, 0-1)
When:
7 p.m.
Full Court Press:
The Hurricanes are an NCAA Tournament team even without Reggie Johnson,
whom they won’t have at the Dean Dome on Thursday. A lot of the media
believes North Carolina isn’t an NCAA Tourney team. This corner,
however, sees the Tar Heels making the dance. The point is that Miami is
probably the better team right now, especially after watching UNC do so
little in executing the intangibles of the sport in falling at Virginia
on Sunday. That said, expect a fired up North Carolina team to take
advantage of Miami’s occasional silliness on offense.
Pick: UNC 70-65.

Season record: 122-22