Roy Williams sounded exhausted on Monday, for good reason.
Sunday's draining 103-93 double-overtime win over Clemson left No. 5 North Carolina facing a short turnaround before tonight's game at Virginia and scarce little time to prepare. Williams estimated he left the Smith Center at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday and was back in during the early hours, grading tape and looking at the Cavaliers.
"The ACC, fellas ... " Williams sighed. "Got to turn right back around and get on the bus again."
The Tar Heels (22-2, 7-2 ACC) are set to tip off at 8 p.m. against the woeful Wahoos (11-11, 1-8), the first time they'll see Virginia this year. Williams said he had no idea of how to match up against the Cavs -- most notably, star guard Sean Singletary -- because he hadn't got that far down the tape.
He also said the continuing saga of the Heels' point guard remains undecided. Ty Lawson sat out his second straight game Sunday with a sprained ankle, and if he can't go against Virginia, that leaves the duties again up to Quentin Thomas, who had nine assists against the Tigers but also five turnovers.
"I don't know that there is a timetable (for Lawson's return)," Williams said. "Sometimes things have to be perfect before they come back. We're just going to have to wait until it stops hurting."
Marcus Ginyard, who has logged some minutes at the point, is also hobbled with a sprained ankle and a sore toe but should play tonight.
• STREAKING: Second-ranked Duke (21-1, 9-0) stayed perfect in the ACC last week, winning its rivalry match with UNC and surviving a shaky outing against Boston College. The Blue Devils host Maryland (16-8, 6-3), who they beat 93-84 on Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
"Big week for us," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
The Terrapins are playing solid basketball, having won four straight and six of seven, and are always eager to face the Devils. Duke has been behind at halftime in three of the past four games but has found the answers in the second half each time.
"There's no letup," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "Hopefully we can meet the challenge this week."
A big reason for Duke's inspired play has come from guard Greg Paulus. Scorned at times because of his supposed inability in the clutch, Paulus has averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 assists and 1.6 turnovers during his last five games. He's also nailed 19 of his 36 3-point attempts (52.7 percent).
"Last year, he broke his foot the second day of practice, came back real early and played the whole year, had an operation right after," Krzyzewski said. "I'm proud of where he's at right now, and I think he can still become a lot better."
• IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING: Krzyzewski wasn't talking about a perfect ACC season, not with seven games to play. But his Devils were the last team to pull off the feat, going 16-0 in 1999.
Duke's the only team to do it in a 16-game season, but North Carolina (1957, 1984, 1987), N.C. State (1973, 1974), South Carolina (1970) and Duke (1963) each played 14-0 ACC seasons.
• BAD WHEEL: Clemson point guard Demontez Stitt returned from a two-game absence against the Tar Heels, coming off the bench to score 13 points before fouling out in overtime. Coming back after minor knee surgery that shelved him for the Tigers' wins over Boston College and Virginia, Stitt had five assists but six turnovers.
Clemson (17-6, 5-4) hosts Georgia Tech on Thursday before traveling to N.C. State on Saturday. Coach Oliver Purnell said that while it's not definite, Cliff Hammonds will probably start at point guard again against the Yellow Jackets.
• 3-POINTERS: Maryland's Grievis Vasquez continues to lead the ACC in assists (6.71) while Florida State's Toney Douglas (2.83) is tops in steals. ... Duke holds a two-game lead on UNC in the ACC standings but Maryland is only a game behind the Tar Heels and Clemson's a game back of the Terps. ... Could the best pure shooter in the league be Miami's Jack McClinton? He's leading the league in free-throw percentage and 3-point percentage while averaging 15.9 points per game. ... The ACC remains the only league in the country without a team with a losing record. Virginia and Georgia Tech (11-11) are at .500.