The College Basketball Notebook

January 21, 2010 11:05 AM

Collapsing Carolina

The ACC race got even more chaotic last night as North Carolina and Duke both suffered double-digit losses. Carolina is now in full-scale collapse, having dropped its third conference game, mixed in with a non-conference loss to Charleston. When I saw the 82-69 final of their game with Wake Forest my first reaction was that it was likely another backcourt failure. I was only part right. Roy Williams didn't get much from the guards on either side of the floor, as Wake's backcourt of Ishmael Smith and C.J. Harris each hit for 20 points. But his frontcourt was equally outplayed, getting beaten to the boards.

Duke's 88-74 loss at N.C. State was decisive, but the long-term trends aren't quite as bad. The Blue Devils continue to outrebound their ACC competition, but in this case the Wolfpack shot 58 percent from the floor. Forwards Tracy Smith (23) and Jeff

Horner (21) each had big games offensively and there are times when you're going to run into an offensive buzzsaw.

The Big East race tightened up when Georgetown went into Pittsburgh and came out with a 74-66 win. The game was pretty evenly played, with the key difference being that the Hoyas hit just a few more threes. Chris Wright led the way, scoring 27 points, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc, as G'town showcased a nicely balanced offense.

And in the Big 12, Baylor showed both that they are for real, but that they are also a little bit away from being a bona fide championship contender. They got a lot of what they needed at Kansas. The Bears had big games from LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter and matched up with the Jayhawks in rebounding--in fact outperforming them. But they turned the ball over twenty times and you will never beat a well-coached team that way. While I'm skeptical of Kansas as an elite team, there is no

question they are well-coached and they used the turnover edge to win this one 81-75.

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