Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Southern hospitality

Posted January 5
Updated January 6

Duke Blue Devils Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on January 4, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Duke 79-77 in their first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference game. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)

1. Duke and NC State have the distinction of giving the newest conference members their first ACC wins of the season in football and basketball. 

The Blue Devils lost in a high-scoring affair to Pittsburgh four weeks into the football season and dropped a conference road basketball game at Notre Dame on Saturday. The Wolfpack allowed 362 yards on the ground in a loss to Syracuse in the middle of the football season and were victims of a second-half rally at the hands of Pittsburgh in their conference basketball opener this weekend. 

The only thing missing from Notre Dame's and Pittsburgh's ACC welcoming gifts were Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q party packs. 

Wake Forest beat North Carolina, but they're not new to the conference. No Eastern-style pork products for you, Demon Deacons. Y'all can still get a balloon.

2. NC State and Duke lost under similar circumstances. For starters, they were simply outplayed by their opponents. The Wolfpack and Blue Devils also have defensive issues to varying degrees. 

Worse for NC State, they had no response when Pittsburgh threw a counterpunch in the second half. The Panthers got into transition and racked up points off turnovers. The Wolfpack failed to challenge Pittsburgh at the rim, and matters only got worse when they played zone. 

How could NC State go from cruising in the first half to back on their heels in the second half? Head coach Mark Gottfried didn't have an answer.

Mark Gottfried Pic Post-Pitt Gottfried: We looked stunned

"It was kind of like a prize fight," said Gottfried. "Somebody knocks you a couple times, you better make a decision whether or not you're going to respond. We did not respond today with their aggressiveness."

The Blue Devils struggled to find consistency on defense entering conference play and it bit them against the Irish as they gave up gave up 44 points in the paint. Drives into the lane for layups or straight up dunks off assists, Notre Dame got theirs against Duke. 

Then again, it might boil down to the hottest sport take thrown Duke's way after a particular kind off loss.

3. While North Carolina has been predictable in its unpredictability this season, let's take a moment to recognize a rather solid start to the season for Wake Forest. While it might pain folks, especially the subset of Demon Deacon fans who have thrown money into newspaper ads and billboards to voice their displeasure, maybe head coach Jeff Bzdelik can get a little credit as well.

However, the sweet taste of victory over North Carolina probably turned bitter for the anti-Bzdelik group when they realized the win negates any current momentum for their desired change.

4. Wake Forest was the better team on Sunday night, but the Tar Heels still had an opportunity to escape Winston-Salem with a win late in the game. 

Marcus Paige made a 3-pointer and pulled the Heels within five with 2:49 left. The sophomore guard had been 2-10 from the field and 0-7 from beyond the arc up when he gave UNC some life. J.P. Tokoto pulled down a missed layup and followed it up with a dunk, leaving North Carolina down three points with 2:00 on the clock. 

The Heels continued to make stops and could have brought the deficit down to one point, but Tokoto's subsequent steal and missed jumper led to Wake's Travis McKie getting points in transition and the foul. After making the free throw, the Deacons were up 67-61 with a minute left in the game. 

Missed opportunities turned out to be a theme for North Carolina all night. 

In the first half, the Heels only produced seven second-chance points despite 17 offensive rebounds. North Carolina couldn't get to the line, and their perimeter shooting is almost non-existent when Paige isn't draining shots (he's accounted for 67 percent of their made 3-pointers this season). Throw in all the turnovers and UNC had a recipe for disaster. 

5. Jabari Parker is human after all, but Duke can still win when opponents keep him in check. The Blue Devils have other parts to the machine that can produce, whether it's Rodney Hood going 8-17 for 27 points or Quinn Cook finishing 7-14 for 22 points against Notre Dame.

The same can't be said for NC State. When T.J. Warren has an inefficient outing, the Wolfpack suffer.

"The other guys have to step up," Gottfried said. "They've had opportunities. We have to have better percentages from everyone on the floor."

6. Bzdelik had to be dropping serious sarcasm during his halftime interview on ESPNU. Must have been.

Right?

Maybe my sarcasm meter is broken. 

16 Comments

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  • heelsforever Jan 6, 6:44 p.m.

    New tide for the ACC, no longer is Duke, UNC and NC State power houses of ACC Basketball. ... View More

    — Posted by rk1115

    Wow, only one weekend into the conference schedule and making those kinds of proclamations...

  • Obamacare prevails again Jan 6, 12:34 p.m.

    Syracuse is going to win the ACC this year. They might dominate the conference like newcomer Florida State did in football 20 years ago.

  • rk1115 Jan 6, 12:23 p.m.

    New tide for the ACC, no longer is Duke, UNC and NC State power houses of ACC Basketball. Syracuse, PITT and Nortre Dame are the new big dawgs on the street and they will steamroll through all the ACC teams.

  • dubious Jan 6, 11:48 a.m.

    I was at the State game. How do you have a 15 point lead, then turn around and lose by 12... View More

    — Posted by BubbaDukeforPresident

    Gottfried hit it right on the head. Lack of toughness. The first ten minutes, Pitt looked like they had just rolled out of bed. When Pitt finally woke up, State seemed stunned and did nothing to elevate their own intensity. State's kids have got to learn that good teams will come back when they fall behind and that no lead is safe.

  • baldchip Jan 6, 11:47 a.m.

    When was the last time that UNC, State, and Duke all lost ACC games in the same weekend??? Answer may be never!! Do we have parity-or weak local teams-or both??? I know Syracuse has a great team-and Miami almost beat them.

    This will be interesting!!

  • Honesty first Jan 6, 10:51 a.m.

    I was at the State game. How do you have a 15 point lead, then turn around and lose by 12... View More

    — Posted by BubbaDukeforPresident

    You answered your own question. State Game!! I expect that NCSU may struggle to make the NIT.

  • UpChuck Jan 6, 10:46 a.m.

    well the dook loss was no surprise, they're just not use to playing TRUE road games. the heels... View More

    — Posted by HEELSrocknU

    You mean kind of like how Chapped Hole proclaims to be a school with atheltic academic integrity..oh, wait...nevermind.

  • utedder Jan 6, 10:33 a.m.

    What a stupid story. Waste of time.

  • dave437 Jan 6, 10:08 a.m.

    Triangle goes 0-3 to kick off the conference hoops schedule.

  • IRISH281 Jan 6, 9:57 a.m.

    Get ready ACC, HERE COMES THE IRISH!!

More...

 

 

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
3rd
MIA 66
CHA 61
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
12th
NYM 3
ATL 3
 
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
12th
PIT 2
MIL 2
 
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
11th
TAM 1
NYY 1
 
9th
KAN 3
MIN 8
 
7th
CHC 0
CIN 8
 
6th
TEX 2
CWS 8
 
3rd
OAK 2
HOU 0
 
4th
LOS 0
ARI 0
 
3rd
COL 1
PHI 3
 
3rd
SDP 0
SFG 4
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
3rd
MIA 66
CHA 61
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
2nd Intermission
BOS 3
DET 1
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3