Conference Stock Report

This week the league places five teams in the RPI top-25 and eight teams in the top-50. The down side is the league no longer holds the top spot in the polls. UNC is the highest rated by the humans at #3. Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, however, currently has the league sending eight teams to the big dance.

Buy

North Carolina (21-2, 7-2): The Tar Heels are closing in on the top-seed in the ACC tournament. A win next Wednesday at Duke could very well sew it up for them. A big reason for their recent surge is the play of guard Wayne Ellington. He is 23-of-45 from three point land over the last six games. He has also scored more than twenty in four of those games.

Florida State (18-5, 5-3): FSU needed a signature win to boost their tournament resume. They got it last week with a big win at Clemson. "We've been looking all year for a signature win," said FSU sophomore Jordan DeMercy. "And for us to get it on the road against a great Clemson team is unbelievable. The resume just boosted itself." The ‘Noles host Virginia tonight and then head to Wake on Saturday.

Miami (15-8, 4-6): Jack McClinton earned ACC Player of the Week honors Monday following an impressive week against two of the country's top-10 ranked teams. "Some of the little things that we didn't do in the second half that we can correct, and that's the good thing about basketball—you live to play another day. We can correct those things," said Senior G Jack McClinton, after the loss at Duke. If they expect to play in March, they better fix those things now, starting with their game against UNC.

Sell

NC State (12-9, 2-6): The Wolfpack is pretty much out of it at this point. Halfway through the conference and they need to run the table to make the post-season. They are starting to get healthy. Javier Gonzalez is finally over his ankle injury and forward Tracy Smith is expected back after missing time with a knee. A little better health and better guard play and this is a team that could create some trouble in the second half.

Georgia Tech (10-12, 1-8): Sometimes, a team is better than their record. That may be the case here. Tech keeps giving teams a scare, but they keep coming up short. This week is a good example. They lost on the road at FSU by four and then lost at home to Maryland by one. Somewhere before the season ends they are going to catch someone napping again. A team that can beat Wake can beat anyone, if given the chance.

Virginia (7-12, 1-7): When the season is circling the drain, you have to find something positive. For coach Leitao that would be Sylven Landesberg. He is averaging 17.9 points per game and is just a freshman. He has been used as a shooting guard up to this point, but will be tried at the point the second half of the season. If it works, the Cavs may end up with the best PG in the country.

Maryland (15-8, 4-5): On paper, the Terps look like a bubble team. They are within striking distance of eight wins and could break 20 wins for the season. In reality they have gone through the easy part of their schedule. The last seven include four against top-15 teams and two teams that are in the hunt for a tournament bid.

Hold

Duke (20-3, 7-2): Not too long ago the talk was of Duke getting the number one seed in the tournament and playing at home for the first weekend. After two losses, including a 27-point shocker at Clemson, it is all about winning the conference now. That goal could be decided on Wednesday when the host #3 North Carolina.

Wake Forest (18-3, 5-3): The jury is still out on Wake as they continue to struggle here in the mid-season. An unforgivable loss at Georgia Tech was followed up by a blowout loss at Miami. Then, they bounced back and beat Boston College at home. The key seems to be Chas McFarland. In their losses, he got into early foul trouble and averaged just 13 minutes a game. Against BC he played 22 minutes and they won.

Clemson (19-3, 5-3): At this point, Clemson has shown they are for real and can last into the late part of the season. Their 27-point thumping of Duke proved that point. Of course, blowing a big lead to FSU and dropping an easy game, shows they still have some work to do. "Now we have to go on the road and use the lessons from what Florida State did today, and what we've done in the past," said Coach Oliver Purnell, after the loss to Florida State.

Virginia Tech (15-7, 5-3): On paper, the Hokies appear to be in good shape for a tournament bid. A closer look shows the opposite. They have five games against top-25 opponents, all at the end of the season. Their next three are GT, MD and VA, but two are on the road. Getting those three wins may be tougher than it would seem.

Boston College (18-7, 6-4): The conventional wisdom says the Eagles need two more wins. They have some impressive wins and have a respectable RPI. With Duke and Clemson up next, they have a shot to add a late season signature win. Failing that, the final four is manageable, at Miami and NCST and home against FSU and GT. They need at least two wins and could really use a third. Otherwise, they may have to earn their bid in the conference tournament.


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