With Saturday’s 72-70 win over previously undefeated Virginia, the Blue Devils reopened their case for the No. 1 seed in Charlotte and maybe even the No. 1 ranking on Monday. ACC supremacy is an open question, and Duke has as many answers as anyone, anywhere.
The NFC and AFC conference championship games Sunday each feature an intriguing matchup of youth vs. age at quarterback. The Saints-Rams and Patriots-Chiefs also both feature two of the game’s best offenses.
Duke’s 95-91 overtime loss to Syracuse had just about everything, but the real loss for the Blue Devils is what they were missing by the end. Point guard Tre Jones’ shoulder injury is a huge blow for the No. 1 team in the country.
Tuesday night might as well have been Mardi Gras the way everyone was still hungover four days later. While North Carolina blew a tire against Louisville in Chapel Hill in its worst home loss since Matt Doherty was in charge, N.C. State had to dig deep to squeak past Pittsburgh.
If watching Jeff Skinner score against the Carolina Hurricanes – for the first time in his career – was painful, wait until Micheal Ferland does it later this season. The Hurricanes may have to move the impending free agent before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, 35, says he isn’t ready to retire but that the team has informed him it is going to move in a “different direction.” Davis will try to catch on with another NFL team in 2019.
After all the upsets N.C. State has pulled under Keatts, the hunter has become the hunted. Whether expectations weighed on N.C. State is tough to say, but the Wolfpack started the game the way you’d expect a team that felt that weight to play in Tuesday’s 90-82 loss to North Carolina
With its hustle and defense, the Wolfpack knows exactly what it has to do to be successful, and plays with the confidence of knowing that. And North Carolina is still grasping for that sense in almost every respect, right down to the basics.
Brad Brownell probably didn’t need to be reminded of what slipped through his fingers with Zion Williamson but he got it anyway Saturday. Duke probably did need to get knocked around by a team like Clemson as a welcome to ACC play and the Blue Devils absolutely got that in an 87-68 win.
Dave Sarachan’s appointment as North Carolina FC manager is part of a vision for a single path to a pro career from pre-teen to first team and beyond. Sarachan also knows none of that is going to work very well unless there’s a winning team leading the way.