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Dec. 13, 2005

The spirit of the ACC captured in first few games

by Payal Patnaik, Online Editor-in-Chief
With the start of the ACC season, the followers of the conference were in for a surprise.

Duke, ranked number one in the nation with an undefeated record, was almost overpowered by Virginia Tech, an unranked team with a 5-2 record at the time. Yet only a few days later, Duke slaughtered the number two Texas Longhorns 97-66, the third largest margin of victory in NCAA history in a 1-versus-2 game. In the game against Tech, Duke was down by a point and Virginia Tech was just about to overthrow their formidable opponent. But in the last second, Sean Dockery made a desperate 43-foot shot, giving Duke a two-point lead over Virginia Tech and dashing Tech's hopes of defeating the nation's top basketball team.

But with unranked Tech so close to defeating Duke, we wonder, is the King invincible this season? Tech played admirably against Duke, going toe-to-toe with the Blue Devils like they were having a ball at a country square dance. The display of basketball that first ACC Sunday was indicative of why we love ACC ball.

Duke has an amazing squad this year, with seniors JJ Redick and Sheldon Williams leading the team and freshman Josh McRoberts delivering the shots. But their narrow victory showed that no one in the ACC is invincible. Duke is simply a duke in the feudal system that is the basketball court, where no true kings can exist. In the ACC, we find ourselves at times cheering for the underdog, for sometimes the underdog beats the big bulldog. Like a Cinderella story, the big guys are the evil stepmothers, and the little guys are the ones who turn heads. They get the media's attention, they make us realize that they are a force to be reckoned with, and they force us to remember that rankings are never set in stone in college basketball.

That is the true beauty of college ball. There is no dominant force. When asked about which team is the most forceful in basketball history, many will readily answer "Duke." But in the past ten years, even when Duke was ranked number one in its NCAA Regional Division, the team has won one only national championship. The number of upsets is larger, and college ball keeps the followers constantly on their toes more than in the NBA.

It was suitable that the game that opened the ACC season demonstrated the spirit of the conference.

Even though Tech did not manage to beat Duke, the team is definitely on the radar screen. Rankings, for some reason, never determine the real outcome of games in the NCAA. I have got to make a note to myself when I fill out my brackets in March; the sure way to lose money is to depend on rankings instead of anticipating upsets. Take last night's Maryland game against Boston College as an example. Number 19 Maryland managed to beat Boston College, previously number six, 73-71. With 2.2 seconds left in a two-point game and the ball in Boston College's hands, Maryland managed to steal and hold the ball for the final second before the buzzer rang and another upset was recorded in ACC logbooks. The captivating spirit of ACC basketball is back, and it has shone stronger than ever in the first week of conference play.





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  • hey on December 13, 2005 at 2:23 PM
    what about the BC-UMD game on sunday?
    jont was a classic
  • upset special on December 13, 2005 at 7:33 PM
    watch out for carolina. even if they fall out of the rankings down the stretch they will play spoiler and could be a threat in the tourny at the end of the year.
  • duke fan on December 13, 2005 at 11:02 PM
    David McClure is not only getting sparse playing time, but he's also a sophomore. Redick and Williams have accounted for the vast majority of Duke scoring, with some help from senior guard Sean Dockery and freshmen Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus.
  • blazer turned terp on December 14, 2005 at 10:04 AM
    whoa there... so you spend like four paragraphs talking about duke and put in like three sentences for maryland and then call the article "the spirit of the acc captured in first few games"???

    it seems like you're too busy praising duke to be actually looking at the rest of acc in the "first few games", buddy
  • basketball not my thing on December 14, 2005 at 6:02 PM
    duke rocks
  • . on December 16, 2005 at 9:54 PM
    i don't think the writer was praising duke...in fact she was talking about how you can't say duke is all that great. and also, if you know anything about the acc, there were only three acc games played by sunday night. duke, umd, and something else, i forgot. so yeah, buddy, shut up and get a life.
  • maryland 4eva (View Email) on December 18, 2005 at 2:28 PM
    go maryland if u like duke move 2 north carolina
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