College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The big news in the Top 25 Wednesday night was #24 Clemson's smashing performance over #12 North Carolina, in which the Tigers took advantage of 27 Tar Heel turnovers, including 14 steals, mostly by Clemson guard Tanner Smith and forward David Potter, each of whom had five. Clemson took an early lead and dominated the entire game, winning, 83-64. The win improved Clemson to 2-1 in the conference and a highly respectable 14-3 overall.
Later in the evening, two more upsets verified that the ACC, one of the top two or three conferences in the nation, was loaded with quality teams. Virginia slipped by 20th-ranked Georgia Tech, 82-75, while Virginia Tech was absolutely hammering #23 Miami, putting their offense on cruise control in the second half after taking a 50-23 lead into the break. The Hokies eventually finished off the Hurricanes with an 81-66 rout, improving to 13-2, as junior gaurd Malcolm Delaney hoisted up a game-high 28 points, to go with 9 assists and 4 rebounds.
All of the ACC upsets occurred on the home floors of the winners. With strong fan bases and generally loud crowds, college basketball presents one of the most challenging environments for visiting teams, especially in the hotly contested ACC.
The scramble already on at the top and middle ranks of the conference, all of the confusion adds to 14-2 Duke's strong position at 2-1, with their only ACC loss coming just this past Saturday, as Georgia tech stepped up for a 71-67 win. The Blue Devils' only other loss was to Big Ten powerhouse, Wisconsin, another 4-point defeat, making the Blue Devils just four buckets short of perfection at 14-2. Duke held court at home over Boston College, 79-59.
NOTABLE: Senior guard Andy Rautins led five doble-figure scorers with 23 points, as the #5 Syracuse Orangemen improved to 16-1 with an 81-65 spanking of Rutgers. Rautins had one of the best all-round games by a single player this season, grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing 9 assists and snatching 5 steals.
Pittsburgh, the only team to have beaten Syracuse this season, continued to vie for first place, going to 4-0 in the Big East - along with Villanova - with a 67-57 defeat of a highly suspect UConn team. The Huskies are already 2-3 in the conference and 11-5 overall. While it's still early in the season, the huskies have the look of a definite bubble team when time comes to pick the 65 competitors for the NCAA tournament.