UNC and Duke are mired in the middle of an upside down ACC.
Let’s see, there is a three-way tie between 3-0 Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia. Way down in the standings, you’ll find 1-2 Carolina and Duke, the two favorites in the regular season.
They may wind up on top by early March but not like they’ve played so far. The Tar Heels’ only win was unimpressive against Wake Forest, one of five other teams tied for seventh place. Duke barely beat Florida State, one of those seven teams that have lost two of their first three games, beating only UNC.
Sound like scrambled eggs? Well, look at how these two local powers have played while getting there after two weeks of conference competition. Roy Williams said after the excruciating 12-point loss at Virginia that his team looked like it had never been coached, and he was right on that count.
You can’t turn the ball over against Virginia’s pack line defense, which basically blocks off the lane, but the Tar Heels gave it away 19 times, leading to 25 Cavalier points. They did force an admirable 11 turnovers by a team that had only committed seven in its last three halves going into the game. But the Heels gave it right back on seven of those occasions.
For the third straight game, they got almost nothing from their three freshmen big men and, walled off by the pack line, Carolina shot 29 percent for the game and actually a little better from three-point range. Williams hinted he might have to go more with a four-guard lineup and Luke Maye in the middle, so at least the five guys out there have proven they can score.
It could be worse. We could be Duke, which lost at N.C. State after the depleted Wolfpack got blown out at Notre Dame. The Blue Devils can score but haven’t been able to stop anyone from scoring. They lost their opener at Boston College, gave up 93 points to Florida State and made the Pack look like Monte Towe, David Thompson and Tommy Burleson. Well, maybe not that good.
No matter how many McDonald’s All-Americans Duke has, Mike Krzyzewski refuses to play more than six guys, if that many. The Blue Devils are second in the nation in offense and No. 75 defensively, so they aren’t doing so well with who does play.
Duke has a laugher at last-place Pitt and Wake Forest at home before going to 15th ranked Miami. UNC has the BC team that beat Duke and then goes to Notre Dame. Start coaching ’em, Roy!