ACC Basketball: Super Bowl Sunday Upsets show Conference Weakness Is Overstated


Tar Heels escape trap Saturday, while Duke gets caught in one of their own.

As many began to prepare over-sized meals, and snack treys for guests arriving for their annual Super Bowl Party, I was eagerly watching an upset occur at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In fact I will not soon forget being that it was the day of a marker event like the Super Bowl. With the greatest rivalry in sports approaching Wednesday between UNC and Duke, both had interesting match ups this past weekend. The Heels went into Maryland, where many including myself thought this could be a potential let down game. Maryland played competitive most of the game until the Heels size was inevitably too much late as UNC pulled away in a hard fought 83-74 win. The fact that the game was in College Park, MD was most of the reasoning behind the trap game talk. UNC very well could have overlooked the Terps, and ACC leading scorer Terrell Stoglin, knowing the magnitude of what lies ahead. But Coach Roy Williams would not let that happen.

For most UNC fans and players alike, the UNC-Duke rivalry is something they dream of playing in, and winning. That alone may have been what caused this young and inexperienced Duke team to lose at home Sunday before the Super Bowl. Being that the game was 1 of few sporting events televised nationally today, I can only imagine a good portion of America also watched this ACC upset. Coming into the game, Miami had never won a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Never in the history of their basketball program had they won their so to say Duke was set up for a trap just wouldn’t make sense. A trap game to me would entail a game on the road against a lesser opponent. The trap then comes because of the better team looking past the opponent in front of them. Hence, Duke looking forward to UNC instead of playing hard against the Hurricanes.  Obviously though, front court of the Blue Devils didn’t expect Miami (or a guy who looks out of shape when you see him on the court at first) to come out and play hard. Miami was up by as many as 16 points with less than 15 minutes in the 2nd half, only to relinquish the lead late and allow Duke to crawl into overtime. Overtime wasn’t enough for Duke, they still lost to an inferior opponent 78-74. Only their second ever win over Duke since joining the ACC it was fitting that the player of the game was North Carolina native, big-man Reggie Johnson. The 250 pound junior had 27 points and a career high 12 rebounds as he looked unstoppable at times in the low post.

The win was Miami’s 4th straight overall and their third straight win on the road. This will be the Hurricanes biggest win thus far and it sure will look good if they can continue winning in conference come March. Though they sit in the middle of the pack in the ACC (5-3 conference, 14-7 overall), the Hurricanes have an opportunity to use this win as momentum to finish out the conference schedule. If they can finish no lower than 3rd or 4th in conference to end the regular season, and then win two or more games in the ACC tourney, The U may be a bubble team. Either way, if they continue to play how they played against Duke on the road in a crazy environment with that toughness they showed Sunday, the conference better be prepared. More prepared than Coach K had his Duke Blue Devils on Super Bowl Sunday.

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