College Basketball

Coach K: Spread out ACC’s marquee basketball games

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

THE WEEK THAT WAS …

DUNKS

▪ Kudos for Mike Krzyzewski for speaking out about the ACC’s odd scheduling, which is responsible for bunching two Duke-Syracuse games and two North Carolina-Duke games toward the end of the season. As Krzyzewski said Saturday after his team’s victory against Syracuse, the scheduling wrinkle adds “a load” for the teams involved. The days of yore – with the balanced, round-robin schedule – are long gone. But the ACC at could least make these imbalanced schedules balanced in the sense that marquee games – like Duke-UNC – are more spread out.

▪ If you missed it, and maybe you did because this game was in Florida and between teams that have spent much of the season off the mainstream radar, then you missed one of the great individual performances in ACC history. Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 points during the final 4 minutes, 38 seconds of Wednesday’s 81-77 loss at Miami.

BRICKS

▪ It couldn’t have been a surprise to long-suffering N.C. State fans, but the loss at Boston College on Saturday had to be no less infuriating. Beat UNC in Chapel Hill for the first time since 2003 and then go on the road and lose to the ACC’s last-place team which now no longer is by itself in last place. The Wolfpack’s streak of 10 consecutive ACC losses following victories against UNC has to be one of the more baffling streaks of futility in league history.

▪ Dick Vitale wasn’t a part of ESPN’s broadcast crew for the first UNC-Duke game in Durham, and he won’t be a part of the broadcast for the rematch in Chapel Hill this week. It’s probably not too far-fetched to conclude that Vitale has called his last UNC-Duke game. If so, that’s a shame. Vitale has been the voice of ESPN’s college basketball coverage for going on four decades and he has been the voice of the UNC-Duke rivalry. He deserved a proper sendoff from his favorite annual game.

THE TOP 10

Each week I’ll share the top 10 teams on my ballot for the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

1. Kentucky (29-0); last week: 1

Georgia and Florida are the only teams standing between Kentucky and an undefeated regular season.

2. Duke (26-3); last week: 3

The Blue Devils survived in overtime at Virginia Tech and have won nine in row and 12 of 13.

3. Virginia (27-1); last week: 4

Road games against Syracuse and Louisville represent a difficult finish for the Cavaliers, but the schedule favored them this season and they took advantage of it.

4. Arizona (26-3); last week: 5

If they weren’t already, the Wildcats are a favorite for a No. 1 seed after a victory against Utah over the weekend.

5. Villanova (27-2); last week: 6

Make it 10 in a row for Villanova, which has been tested just once – in a three-point victory against Butler on Feb. 14 – during its winning streak.

6. Wisconsin (25-3); last week: 2

Badgers drop out of the top five – on my ballot, anyway – after losing at Maryland. In a weak Big Ten, it’s sometimes difficult to tell how good Wisconsin really is.

7. Kansas (23-6); last week: 8

The Jayhawks lost at Kansas State but move up, anyway, thanks to losses by Gonzaga – and Iowa State, Notre Dame, Utah, North Carolina and shall we go on?

8. Gonzaga (29-2); last week: 7

The Zags have been overrated all season, but you can’t drop them too far after losing against Brigham Young. The No. 1 seed talk, though, always was silly given the lack of competition.

9. Wichita State (27-3); last week: 15

The Shockers vault into the top 10 after an impressive victory against Northern Iowa, but, how good is Wichita State, really?

10. Maryland (24-5); last week: 20

The Terrapins are only 35th in the Pomeroy rankings, but the victory against Wisconsin will carry a lot of weight with the humans who seed the NCAA tournament field.

THE WEEK AHEAD …

TEAM TO WATCH

N.C. State

Where does the Wolfpack go following that debacle at Boston College? N.C. State needs victories at Clemson and at home against Syracuse to feel good going into Selection Sunday and, even then, the heart rates will be high in Raleigh while the tournament field is announced.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Duke at North Carolina, Saturday, 9 p.m.

The first game between these two was among the most memorable of the season. Can we get an encore?

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