It isn’t worth delving into Maryland’s 106-55 destruction of Longwood as it wasn’t much more than a scrimmage for the Terrapins. It is worth noting that James Padgett had a nice game after Gary Williams suggested it was an important opportunity for the freshman. Padgett is still struggling with his freethrow shooting (just 2/6 in the Longwood game) but his ability to score in the low post is superior to Dino Gregory. He grabbed 7 rebounds in addition to scoring 10 points. Maryland really needs Padgett to grow into more of a threat off the bench as they get deeper into ACC play with Gregory struggling to produce any scoring for the number of minutes he is playing. Fellow freshman Jordan Williams also had a nice double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Longwood didn’t have any player who could match up with Williams and he accordingly dominated. The freshmen duo won’t have the same easy opportunities against ACC opponents but perhaps this game will serve as a confidence boost for them.
N.C. State continued to show that the ACC conference title race is as wide open as it has been in many years as they defeated Duke with surprising ease. Duke’s defensive effort was as poor as I’ve seen from a Blue Devil squad in a long time. I think this Wolfpack team has better chemistry than the last few years but doesn’t have near the talent to beat Duke by 14 points when you consider they have already lost four homes games. This Wolfpack team doesn’t seem to quit as easily as last year’s squad but I think it will be a real long shot for them to upset Maryland on Saturday.
North Carolina dropped another ACC game last night in losing to Wake Forest at home. Their recent games were certainly difficult: at Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest but two of those were home games. With only five home games remaining this young Tar Heels squad will have to find their composure very quickly or they could be relegated to the NIT before the ACC Tournament starts. The lack of leadership by seniors Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard has to be a huge disappointment for Roy Williams.