Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
With all due respect to Wake Forest, North Carolina's three biggest basketball programs laid a pretty big egg this weekend.
North Carolina State appeared to be turning a corner after suffering an early-season loss to North Carolina Central—which doesn't seem anywhere near as terrible now as it did at the time, but it's still pretty bad. In the past month, the Wolfpack had a convincing win over Northwestern in the ACC/B1G Challenge, a road win over Tennessee that could loom large in March and a near upset over Missouri.
In the first half against Pittsburgh, it seemed they were continuing that trend in the right direction, only to get blown out of their own building in the second half. Where a win might have earned them a couple of votes in this week's poll, the loss pretty much assures they won't be on anyone's ballot at any point in the next month.
Later that same day, Duke somehow managed to lose to a 9-4 team—playing without its leading scorer—that needed overtime to beat Canisius earlier in the week. Jabari Parker scored just seven points and spent the final minutes of the game on the bench despite no fouls and no injury.
“He wasn’t playing well," Mike Krzyzewski said, via GoDuke.com. "For any kid who is not playing well, you should try to find a kid that is playing well. But that happens. Sometimes kids don’t play well throughout the game. He just wasn’t having a good game.”
Far be it from us to question Coach K's methods. Perhaps it was a misguided attempt to prove to the rest of his players that they are capable of winning without riding on Parker's coattails. Whatever the reasoning, that one was a tough pill to swallow for Duke fans, and it sent the Blue Devils spiraling from No. 7 all the way down to No. 16.
Last but definitely least, North Carolina barely even bothered to show up against Wake Forest on Sunday night. The Tar Heels dominated on the glass—finishing the game with a plus-19 rebounding margin—but were completely lackadaisical in every other aspect of the game.
Of course, this is just business as usual for the Tar Heels, who have made a habit of only looking good when playing the best teams in the country.