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From Hunter to the Hunted in the East

Alex Len

Len's shot with .09 remaining knocked off #14 NC State.

What makes college basketball so unique is how quickly things can change in just a matter of days or even hours. Unlike college football, where teams typically have a week to process big wins or upset losses, teams in those same situations often have to get right back on the court with little time to react.

Such was the case this week for the North Carolina State WolfPack. On Saturday, NC State played one of their biggest home games in quite some time when top-ranked and undefeated Duke came to Raleigh. Although I though the Blue Devils would escape with a narrow win, the WolfPack pulled the upset and the crowd rushed the floor in celebration.

On Wednesday night in College Park, NC State needed to re-focus on 13-3 Maryland who isn’t what Maryland once was, but they are improving. So how did Coach Mark Gottfried handle the situation? Apparently not well enough as NC State was beaten at the buzzer 51-50 by the Terrapins. And wouldn’t you know it? The Maryland students and fans rushed the court! Apparently rushing the court rules have changed since I was a kid. Typically you did this after upsetting a top team, not after upsetting the team that recently upset the top team. But I digress…

This same lesson that NC State has learnd has been applied many times before and will be again. The top team in the ACC is now Miami who at 4-0 are the only unbeaten in the conference. The Hurricanes beat Boston College by one Wednesday night and guess who they host next? The Duke Blue Devils come to Coral Gables where they will now be the hunter and the ‘Canes the hunted.

Speaking of Duke, they look to get back on the winning side of the ledger against a struggling Georgia Tech team who came to Durham last night. The Bule Devils should take care of the Yellow Jackets in convincing fashion, but they’ll need to figure out how to press forward without senior Ryan Kelly. His absence was glaring in their loss to NC State in my opinion as the WolfPack handled the glass and had better looks than most teams Duke has faced.

Greg Whittington

Whittington's suspension hurts the Hoyas' on offense even more.

Notes from the East… Syracuse reportedly will retire Carmelo Anthony’s jerseyin February. Did he even wear it long enough to get it dirty?… Georgetown’s already struggling offense took another hit when 2nd leading scorer Greg Whittington was declared academically inelgible this week… The ‘Bi-Polar’ conference of the week is the MAC where 2nd place in the West Division would barely be good enough for 4th in the East. Ohio, Akron and Kent State are the class of that conference.

Games I like heading into the weekend

 Georgia Tech at #3 Duke – In their first game after losing to NC State, Duke will host Georgia Tech who is struggling at 0-3 as of today in the ACC. This should be a good ‘get healthy’ game for the Blue Devils and I expect a double-digit win over the Yellow Jackets.

#6 Syracuse at #1 Louisville – Should both teams survive the week, we could have a top five match-up on our hands. The Orange will presumably be without James Southerland again due academic ineligibility and the Cards survived a trip to Storrs I thought would be tougher. Syracuse has played only a handful of games on the road but they’ve won those, but this will be a different animal altogether in Louisville. I love the way Peyton Siva plays and runs the show for the Cards and I like them to win at home.

Rutgers at #20 Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish return home after an early week upset loss at St. Johns by four. Rutgers is 2-2 in the Big East and beat the very same Red Storm last week that defeated the Irish. I expect Notre Dame to be focused and ready to take the faithful’s mind off a certain linebacker and his fake girlfriend. Take the Irish in this one.

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