Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Virginia Tech a Serious ACC Contender after Win over Wake
Malcolm Delaney, the ACC's leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, upped his average and helped the Virginia Tech Hokies overcome a 9-point second half deficit and roar back for an 87-83 win over Wake Forest.
Delaney scored 31 points before fouling out late in the game, but by then he had helped push the Hokie lead to 7 points. The Deacons scored six points nearing the end of the game, but could get only to within three points as Tech players hit 3 of 6 free throws. His point total was the second highest of the season, just one short of the 32 he scored in a 61-50 loss at Temple, back on November 27. The junior guard hit 9 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 8 3-pointers and converted 10 of 13 free throws. He also added nine boards and 3 assists.
The win improved Virginia Tech to 22-4 overall and 8-3 in the conference, a game back of 9-2 Duke, setting up a showdown for the league title on Sunday, when the Hokies invade Cameron Indoor Stadium to play the Blue Devils. The tip is slated for 7:45 pm and is will be available to cable subscribers of Fox College Sports - Atlantic (FCSA) and MSG Plus (MSGPL).
Notable: Kentucky's freshman sensation John Wall certainly has to be considered for Player of the Year honors after his cool determination helped the #2 Wildcats secure an 81-75 OT win at Mississippi State Tuesday night. Wall nearly had a triple-double, with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Kentucky's 25-1 record is the best in the nation, along with #1 Kansas, though the Wildcats face a tough schedule down the SEC stretch with a trip to Vanderbilt on tap for Saturday. Following that contest, a rematch with the only team to have beaten them - South Carolina - Thursday, Feb. 25 and another road trip, to Tennessee, on the 27th. The wildcats finish up with a game at Georgia and a home finale with Florida.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Upsets Predominant In Wide-Open ACC
The big news in the Top 25 Wednesday night was #24 Clemson's smashing performance over #12 North Carolina, in which the Tigers took advantage of 27 Tar Heel turnovers, including 14 steals, mostly by Clemson guard Tanner Smith and forward David Potter, each of whom had five. Clemson took an early lead and dominated the entire game, winning, 83-64. The win improved Clemson to 2-1 in the conference and a highly respectable 14-3 overall.
Later in the evening, two more upsets verified that the ACC, one of the top two or three conferences in the nation, was loaded with quality teams. Virginia slipped by 20th-ranked Georgia Tech, 82-75, while Virginia Tech was absolutely hammering #23 Miami, putting their offense on cruise control in the second half after taking a 50-23 lead into the break. The Hokies eventually finished off the Hurricanes with an 81-66 rout, improving to 13-2, as junior gaurd Malcolm Delaney hoisted up a game-high 28 points, to go with 9 assists and 4 rebounds.
All of the ACC upsets occurred on the home floors of the winners. With strong fan bases and generally loud crowds, college basketball presents one of the most challenging environments for visiting teams, especially in the hotly contested ACC.
The scramble already on at the top and middle ranks of the conference, all of the confusion adds to 14-2 Duke's strong position at 2-1, with their only ACC loss coming just this past Saturday, as Georgia tech stepped up for a 71-67 win. The Blue Devils' only other loss was to Big Ten powerhouse, Wisconsin, another 4-point defeat, making the Blue Devils just four buckets short of perfection at 14-2. Duke held court at home over Boston College, 79-59.
NOTABLE: Senior guard Andy Rautins led five doble-figure scorers with 23 points, as the #5 Syracuse Orangemen improved to 16-1 with an 81-65 spanking of Rutgers. Rautins had one of the best all-round games by a single player this season, grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing 9 assists and snatching 5 steals.
Pittsburgh, the only team to have beaten Syracuse this season, continued to vie for first place, going to 4-0 in the Big East - along with Villanova - with a 67-57 defeat of a highly suspect UConn team. The Huskies are already 2-3 in the conference and 11-5 overall. While it's still early in the season, the huskies have the look of a definite bubble team when time comes to pick the 65 competitors for the NCAA tournament.