This past weekend saw the ACC dive into conference play with six games played over Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps the marquee matchup of the weekend featured the Duke Blue Devils against the Maryland Terrapins in the only game played on Sunday. While the Terp faithful look to these matchups as a high point of the season, Duke fans look at the North Carolina Tar Heels as their real rivals. Nevertheless, these two usually play exciting games and they usually are tough battles. Duke got its first conference test as Maryland fought hard, but eventually succumbed 71-64. Seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith led the way for Duke, while Jordan Williams had another strong game for the Terps. For the Terps, it was yet another case of coming up just short against a ranked team, similar to close losses to Pittsburgh and Illinois earlier in the season. Another chance awaits on Saturday as the Terps take on Villanova of the Big East on Saturday.
In the five conference games that were played on Saturday, home teams held on for victories except for the Virginia Cavaliers, who lost to North Carolina 62-56. After one week of conference results (though some games were played in December), there are four unbeaten teams in the conference race: Duke, Boston College, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Four teams are winless in conference play: Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Miami and Maryland. There will definitely be one less winless team in the conference standings as Maryland travels to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest.
Ten conference matchups are scheduled for the coming week. Some of the games to watch: by the end of the week, there will be one less conference unbeaten team as the Wolfpack meet Boston College tonight. Duke will take on two matchups to see if they can remain unbeaten as they travel to meet Florida State on Wednesday and welcome the Cavaliers on Saturday to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Virginia Tech can gain some respect with a win over the Tar Heels; a victory will enhance their candidacy for a tournament bid come March. The Tar Heels will also face Georgia Tech on Sunday.