If you like chaos, you've come to the right place.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Teel Time: North Carolina's Kendall Marshall on record assist pace entering game at Virginia Tech
- Teel Time: Virginia coach Tony Bennett wasn't quite the scorer Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory recalls
- Teel Time: First 0-2 ACC start in six years doesn't bode well for Virginia Tech
- College Sports
- College Basketball
- Florida State Seminoles
See more topics »
Clemson fell to the College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina at home. Clemson whipped Florida State by 20.
Boston College lost to Holy Cross, Boston University and Rhode Island. After home wins over Clemson and Virginia Tech, Boston College owns the ACC's second-longest active winning streak: 2 games.
In successive home games, Wake Forest lost to Wofford by four, beat Virginia Tech by two and lost to North Carolina State by 36.
Florida State senior Deividas Dulkys scored 32 points against North Carolina. He'd scored 32 in the Seminoles' previous 10 games combined.
Even conference leader Duke (15-2, 3-0) stumbled unexpectedly, at Temple. The Owls are a credible 11-5, but they did lose at 7-9 Bowling Green.
Still, Duke and Virginia are rare beacons of ACC consistency. The Cavaliers (14-2, 1-1) played poorly in wins over Seattle and Towson, but their only setbacks are to Duke and Texas Christian — two days later, TCU lost to Norfolk State.
Such is life in a college basketball world where most teams lean on at least one freshman and/or 3-point shooting. Few things in life are as unreliable as a college freshman and a contested 19-foot jumper.
This Virginia Tech knows all too well. The Hokies have lost consecutive games to Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College, by nine points combined, in large measure because they missed 36-of-48 from beyond the arc.
This from a team that ranks fourth in the ACC in 3-point shooting at 35.7 percent.
Rookies? Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech's most acclaimed freshman since Dell Curry, has started every game, leads the team in rebounding by a wide margin and embodies unselfish and coachable. But he was scoreless at Wake and Boston College.
"Well, thank goodness he's continued to rebound the ball," Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. "He got another eight rebounds the other night. He's got to be more aggressive. … He's got to get more than four shots in a game if he's going to play 30-plus minutes. He's got to be attacking more. He's got to try to make more happen and not just facilitate."
Coaching turnover also creates inconsistency, and Miami's Jim Larranaga, Maryland's Mark Turgeon, Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory and North Carolina State's Mark Gottfried are in their first seasons. Wake's Jeff Bzdelik, Clemson's Brad Brownell and Boston College's Steve Donahue are in their second years.
That's 58 percent of the conference still adjusting, as Larranaga noticed while preparing for Wednesday's game against Clemson.
"I think Clemson and Virginia are very, very similar," he said. "I would say there is one major difference, and that is Tony Bennett's been there for three seasons, and Brad's been there for two. As your players learn the system, they become more familiar, more confident and basically become more accountable. They know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it."
North Carolina has no such excuse. Not with a Hall of Fame coach, Roy Williams, who's led the program to a pair of national championships in eight previous seasons, and not with future first-round draft choices John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes.
Williams called Saturday's 90-57 beatdown at Florida State — the Seminoles scored 88 points combined in regulation time in losses to Harvard and Princeton — his worst coaching job, and two days later on the ACC coaches' teleconference, he wasn't any happier.
"We were so bad on Saturday," Williams said. "If I emphasize that too much, it takes away from a great Florida State win, and Dulkys was off the charts. Fantastic day for him. You like those kind of moments for everybody, but you don't like it when it's against your team.
"They beat us in every phase of the game. We're not excited about the way we played, but we better be excited about getting better. … I don't want to overreact. But that was a real butt-kicking that you can't ignore, either."
Eighth-ranked North Carolina (15-3, 2-1) next plays Thursday at Virginia Tech, hardly ideal timing for the Hokies. Convention says the angry Tar Heels will roll.
Convention this season rarely has been right.
David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/sports/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP