Remember in the offseason when I declared NC State the class of the ACC, followed by North Carolina, Maryland then way down the list was Duke? Yea, well, the theory of Austin Rivers being addition-by-subtraction came to fruition, and the Blue Devils’ experience has been key to an impressive 6-0 start. Wins over young Kentucky and loaded Louisville (which was without Gorgui Dieng) were impressive. And beating a solid VCU team was a quality win. Duke, as usual, looks fantastic early.
NC State? Less so. The Wolfpack were drilled by Oklahoma State, 76-56 and then narrowly escaped UNC Asheville, 82-80. The team hasn’t looked crisp (31 turnovers the last two games). Senior CJ Leslie is off to a slow start (10.8 ppg) and somewhat surprisingly, their leading scorer is freshman reserve TJ Warren (14.8 ppg). The sky isn’t quite falling in Raleigh (it’s only November), but a poor performance on the road, especially with a solid UConn team on the horizon, will surely have folks in Raleigh freaking out.
I’ll go with Trey Burke and Michigan, 69-53, followed by panic amongst NC State fans.
The second game of the night: UNC at Indiana. When we last saw UNC, the Tar Heels were getting drubbed by Butler in Maui, trailing by as many as 29 before losing by a somewhat respectable 11. James Michael McAdoo, one of our preseason All-Americans, is putting up 16.8 ppg, but after that, the offense – as expected – lacks punch.
Tonight they’ll be without gunner PJ Hairston (10.8 ppg, knee injury), and on the road it could get ugly against No. 1 Indiana, which is favored by -11 (opened at 7.5). Indiana, has won games by 43, 26, 54 and 48 against cupcakes, but athletic teams (Georgia and Georgetown) were able to hang with them before Indiana pulled away late and in overtime.
Seeing as how disciplined Butler took UNC apart, it wouldn’t surprise me if Indiana did the same. Hoosiers 84, Tar Heels 67.