THE WEEK THAT WAS
• It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for Marcus Paige, the North Carolina guard who often made it look easy last season. First he entered the year with the pressure that comes with all kinds of grand expectations. Then, recently, injuries have taken their toll. But Paige looked a lot like his old self at N.C. State last Wednesday, when he scored 23 points in leading the Tar Heels to victory.
• Speaking of N.C. State, the Wolfpack showed a lot of fight in making things interesting in the final minutes against UNC, and then followed that up with a road victory at Florida State. That FSU game was exactly the kind that past Wolfpack teams would lose. N.C. State has alternated wins and losses in its past 11 games but at 4-2 in the ACC it’s exceeding expectations.
• Ah, the dangers of relying on freshmen. Sometimes you’re losing a pair of ugly games against N.C. State and Miami. Sometimes you’re going on the road and beating Louisville. Good Duke – the one that played Sunday at Louisville – shows up a lot more often than Bad Duke. But the wild swings can’t be comforting, especially given the early NCAA tournament exits in recent seasons.
• Imagine the outcry had N.C. State won against UNC last week. With one minute, 20 seconds to play, the clock stopped for 15 seconds – giving the Wolfpack, in effect, extra time for its comeback attempt. How can it be possible that not one person of consequence – a coach, player or official – noticed the clock stopping for 15 seconds? Good question. But it happened.
THE WEEK AHEAD
TEAM TO WATCH
The Hurricanes appeared to be headed nowhere fast after consecutive losses to Eastern Kentucky and Providence last month. Since then, though, they’ve lost only twice – to Virginia in double overtime and at Notre Dame by five points – and, oh, yes, there was that 90-74 victory at Duke last week. Miami enters the week 2-2 in the ACC, with tough – but winnable – games this week against N.C. State at home and at Syracuse. It’s a prime chance for the Hurricanes to move to the top half of the standings.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Duke at St. John’s, Sunday, 2 p.m.
If Duke beats Pittsburgh at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night, the Blue Devils could give Mike Krzyzewski his 1,000th career victory with a win against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Think that’s a fitting enough stage: Coach K going for win No. 1,000 at the Garden?