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Andrew Carter’s top 10: N.C State’s still in it, plus UNC vs. Duke is must-win for Tar Heels

Editor’s note: Andrew Carter is one of the AP Top 25 college basketball poll voters.



•  Just when it seemed like N.C. State’s NCAA tournament hopes were pretty much a memory, the Wolfpack comes through with a victory on Saturday at Louisville. That win, like the win against Duke on Jan. 11, is a good indicator of N.C. State’s potential, but the up-and-down swings have to be maddening for coach Mark Gottfried. No matter. With a strong finish – read: victories in highly winnable games against Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson and Syracuse – the Wolfpack should be in good shape on Selection Sunday.

•  There was a neat moment before North Carolina’s game at Pittsburgh on Saturday when, during a moment of silence for Dean Smith, members of the Pitt student section uncurled a large banner with one of Smith’s favorite quotes: “You should never be proud of doing the right thing. You should just do it.” Said UNC coach Roy Williams: “Everybody gets to beat up college athletics a little bit about money and all this kind of stuff. But that was a pretty neat thing – what those kids did out there.”


•  As touched as Williams was by tributes to Smith at Pitt, he had to be equally dismayed by his team’s performance in an 89-76 defeat. The Tar Heels travel to Duke on Wednesday, and if they lose, then all of a sudden, they’ll have lost four of their past five games entering the stretch run. The Tar Heels seem to have hit a bit of a wall, and that’s concerning approaching March.

•  Remember when Georgia Tech had as respectable a program as just about any in the ACC? It seems like ancient history now, what with the Yellow Jackets laboring through another long season under coach Brian Gregory. The Jackets’ latest woes leave them an ugly 2-11 in the league. Georgia Tech’s past five losses have come by a combined 15 points. But still.