Monday, February 08, 2010
Terps Stomp Tar Heels; Carolina 2-6 in ACC Play
Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning Super Bowl XLIV, 31-17, over the Indianapolis Colts. But, while the pre-game festivities were taking place in South Florida, some developments on the basketball court were noteworthy.
#3 Syracuse (sure to move up in this week's poll) turned a close game into a rout with a late, second half run, dumping the Cincinnati Bearcats, 71-54. The 'Cuse now has the best record in the nation, at an impressive 23-1, and is 1/2 game to the good over Villanova in the Big East standings. The 9-1 Wildcats suffered their first conference loss of the season Saturday at Georgetown. SU is 10-1 in the conference.
With the Big East looking to send 7 or 8 teams to the NCAA tournament, one of the ACC standard-bearers has fallen on very lean times. On Sunday, the North Carolina Tar Heels suffered their 6th loss in 8 conference games, this time to a heady bunch from Maryland, who whipped North Carolina, 92-71. The 21-point margin was the worst of the season for the Tar Heels, but should propel Maryland (16-6, 6-2) - encamped in second place in the ACC - into the ranks of the Top 25.
The Terps took a 7-6 lead early in the game and never again trailed, widening their lead at various points of the game. Greivis Vasquez, who had 35 against the Tar Heels when the Terps beat them last season, proved Heel-killer again, scoring 26 points, including 6 of 11 3-pointers, and dished 11 assists. A talented senior guard who should be playing pro ball this time next year, Vasquez leads the Terrapins in both scoring and assists.
Currently, the ACC only shows two teams in the Top 25: #10 Duke and #21 Georgia Tech, but, while the Blue Devils lead the ACC at 7-2, the Yellow Jackets are tied for 6th place in the conference at 5-4.
As for the Tar Heels, don't look for them in the NCAA Tournament this year. The Maryland loss was their 10th of the season, against just 13 wins, and other teams in the conference are hungry to get at them. Having dominated the conference for so long, this Tar Heel squad enters conference games with targets on their backs. Other teams know their weaknesses - particularly on defense, and aren't opposed to exploiting them. North Carolina simply don't guard well individually and don't work well together, a recipe for disaster in any competitive environment.