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In their Wake: Will upset propel shaky 'Noles?


Jan. 19, 2005
All the "experts" said the winner of the Wake Forest-North Carolina game would put an end to the competition in the ACC race. Wake defeated the Tar Heels 95-82 on Saturday, going a perfect 32-of-32 from the foul line.

But look at what happened in Tallahassee on Tuesday night.

Leonard Hamilton
Florida State beat Wake Forest, and it wasn't Bobby Bowden's football team that prevailed. It was Leonard Hamilton's young Seminole basketball squad, one that has been up and down, including losses to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Florida International. Yet Florida State upset Wake Forest 91-83 in overtime after the Demon Deacons had handled a Tar Heels squad that was on fire.

In the loss, Wake Forest set an NCAA record with 50 consecutive free throws, passing Indiana State's 49 in 1991. The bottom line was that Taron Downey couldn't make it 51 straight after hitting a huge 3-pointer that tied the game late in regulation. Downey was fouled on the 3-pointer, but his free-throw attempt for the rare four-point play rattled in and out.

We know that hitting the trifecta is so important, and the 'Noles hit 12-of-24 in the upset.

In overtime, it was the Todd Galloway show for Florida State, following a brilliant first half by Von Wafer. What a big win. Psychologically, this could propel the Seminoles toward a solid showing in the rest of the ACC campaign.

College basketball is so interesting and unpredictable -- you never know when a shocker will take place. Another Upset City occurred Tuesday night, this one at Madison Square Garden.

So much for the ACC season being over with one game.
St. John's was supposed to be at the bottom of the Big East, and Pittsburgh was supposed to be a contender. But suddenly coach Jamie Dixon's Panthers are 2-2 in league play after a 65-62 loss to St. John's. Darryl Hill scored 26 big points as coach Norm Roberts got his first conference victory, a stunner.

Look at how Georgetown battled at Syracuse, taking the Orange to overtime before coach Jim Boeheim and Co. pulled it out. I have such a passion and love for this game, and the unknown makes it exciting.

So much for the ACC season being over with one game (Wake's Saturday win over Carolina). ESPN play-by-play man Brad Nessler and I talked on Tuesday night's telecast about how absurd that statement was. Life on the road in the ACC is never easy.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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