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Full-Court Press

The Good, the Bad And All the Rest

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page D12

As the ACC tournament visits the Washington area for the first time since 1987, it's a good time to take a look back at the season that was, with some highlights and lowlights.

Best player: J.J. Redick, Duke. College basketball hasn't seen a better shooter since Indiana's Steve Alford. North Carolina's Sean May might have played better down the stretch, but no player was as valuable to his team as Redick.

_____ ACC Tournament _____
 ACC tournament
Terps set to face Clemson with a sense of urgency that could not be much higher.
Each of the 11 schools competing in Washington this week has something at stake.
Virginia is treating the ACC tournament as a new season.
Few will enjoy the ACC tournament more than Georgetown transfer Tony Bethel, now at North Carolina State.
Full-Court Press: News and notes
Maryland-Clemson capsule
Miami-Virginia capsule
N.C. State-FSU capsule

_____ Thursday's Schedule _____
(8) Md. vs. (9) Clemson, Noon
(7) N.C. St. vs. (10) FSU, 2:30
(6) Miami vs. (11) Virginia, 7 p.m.

__ Tournament Preview Section __
 ACC tournament
The MCI Center plays host to the ACC tournament, considered by some to be the biggest event in college basketball.
John Feinstein: The tradition of the ACC tournament is what makes it so special.
Bracket and schedule
Although he is one of the ACC's best players, Tar Heels freshman Marvin Williams remains humble.
News Graphic: Freshman who might play big roles this week.
The improved play of center Eric Williams gives the Demon Deacons a potent inside-outside game.
Lee Melchionni has taken advantage of increased playing time and given Duke a major boost.
News Graphic: Tournament information, map and records.

_____ Team Capsules _____
Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

_____ On Our Site _____
ACC in D.C.: Dan Steinberg reports from the ACC tournament.
Where to go: Check out the best places to watch all the action.
An interactive guide to the hot spots around the MCI Center.

Best performance: Sean May, North Carolina. His 26-point, 24-rebound effort in a 75-73 win over Duke in the regular season finale was one of the greatest single-game performances in ACC history. Grabbing 24 rebounds against lesser teams is impressive, but doing it in college basketball's greatest rivalry -- and against Duke's Shelden Williams nonetheless -- was remarkable.

Worst performance: Elton Brown, Virginia. His 3-for-13 performance at the foul line in the Cavaliers' 92-89, double-overtime loss to Maryland on Feb. 19 was almost laughable.

Best finish: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech. The Tigers trailed, 64-61, with less than 10 seconds left on March 1 but tied the score when Olu Babalola made a three-pointer with 9.4 seconds to play. The Hokies drove for the game-winning shot, but Jamon Gordon's bounce pass in the lane was intercepted by Shawan Robinson, who frantically fired a half-court pass to Sharrod Ford, who dunked with two-tenths of a second left to give Clemson an improbable 66-64 win.

Best coaching job: Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech. The Hokies were picked to finish next to last in their first season in the ACC, but went 8-8 in league play and earned a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. Greenberg and his staff have done a remarkable job in recruiting, landing two starters from Florida, one from Georgia and one from Louisiana.

Worst coaching job: Pete Gillen, Virginia. No one ever questioned Gillen's coaching ability when he led Xavier and Providence to the NCAA tournament eight times in 13 seasons. But for whatever reason, Gillen and Virginia just haven't been a good fit. The Cavaliers had the talent to compete in the ACC this season, but they never seemed to mesh on the court.

Scariest moment: Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski collapsing on the sideline. Krzyzewski fell during a first-half timeout in the Blue Devils' 82-65 win over Georgia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 5. Krzyzewski said was dizzy after rising to his feet too fast; opposing fans claimed he was shocked officials called a foul on one of his players in his building.

Best offseason plans: More than a few ACC underclassmen -- North Carolina's Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants and May; Duke's Williams and Redick; Wake Forest's Eric Williams and Chris Paul; Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack; and Maryland's John Gilchrist -- all could become instant millionaires after entering the NBA draft.

Worst offseason plans: Clemson has qualified to play in the National Invitation Tournament, which might not necessarily be a good thing for the Tigers. Nine Clemson players have until May 15 to complete 100 hours of community service or they'll be dismissed from the team. That was the school-mandated punishment for their roles in a fight that involved 23 students Sept. 6.

Best arena: RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C. For a program such as N.C. State's, the RBC Center is a Taj Mahal.

Worst arena: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C. Obviously, architecture isn't a major field of study offered at Clemson. How else to explain a court on the first floor and locker rooms on the third? Nothing like an elevator ride at halftime.

-- Mark Schlabach

© 2005 The Washington Post Company