The questions surrounding Wake Forest's ability to concentrate against lesser foes were legit after the young Deacons lost to lightweights Georgia Tech and NC State. How would Wake handle Florida State, a team that doesn't have the sexiness of those Tobacco Road schools but has climbed into the national rankings with a 6-3 ACC mark?
Wake was up to the challenge, taking control of this one fairly early and looking again like one of the ACC's elite. Wake jumped out 8-0, had a 12-point lead at the half and eventually built it to 30 en route to an impressive 86-63 win (RECAP | BOX). Freshman Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17 points and sophomore Jeff Teague had 15.
Wake is two games behind North Carolina and does not play the Tar Heels again, so a regular-season ACC title is probably out for the former No. 1 team, but a No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament is certainly possible if Wake can sweep Duke. The Deacons will get their chance next Saturday in Cameron.
Big doings in the Big 12
Kansas weathered a difficult road test against a hot Kansas State team, snapping the Wildcats six-game winning streak with a gutty 85-74 win in Manhattan (RECAP | BOX). Last season, with a team that would go on to win the national championship, Bill Self watched his Jayhawks go down to a Michael Beasley-led KSU team 84-75, complete with court-storming and a bit of postgame trash talking. This game turned on a silly technical foul by Kansas State guard Denis Clemente, who otherwise played a fine game with 26 points and five rebounds. Clemente threw an elbow into Brady Morningstar's back after Morningstar was called for a block. The technical gave Kansas two shots and the ball, and the result was a five-point play that increased KU's lead from 53-51 to 58-51. Kansas State never came all the way back after that.
Want to know the most impressive thing about Blake Griffin's 40-point, 23-rebound domination in Oklahoma's 95-74 win over Texas Tech (RECAP | BOX)? He sat out the last 4:35, folks. It was the first 40-20 performance for a Sooner since 1983-84, when Wayman Tisdale went for 61 and 22 against Texas-San Antonio. Get your Wooden speech ready, Mr. Griffin.
Nebraska missed a chance to stay solidly in the bubble discussion with a 70-47 loss at Missouri (RECAP | BOX). The Cornhuskers were swarmed under in the second half against the Missouri pressure and never threatened in the final 15 minutes. The Huskers (15-8, 5-5), who entered the game with an RPI of 66, had some momentum after last week's win at Texas gave them three in a row. Nebraska travels to Kansas next Saturday and will have a final opportunity to make a big splash in the regular season. Nebraska has not reached the NCAA tournament since 1998, the longest draught in the Big 12 by five years.
Around The Nation
Davidson's Stephen Curry dropped in 25 points in 29 minutes, but appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury. The Wildcats won 75-60 over Furman, but Curry's health certainly will be the main concern coming out of the Davidson locker room. ... Georgia broke through with its first SEC win of the season, upsetting Florida 88-86 thanks to Terrance Woodbury's career-high 32 points. Florida's Nick Calathes recorded his third career triple-double in defeat, posting 16 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. Florida trailed by as many as 14 points but battled back and took a 77-76 lead with 8:03 to play. Georgia didn't wilt and held Florida to two points in the game's final 5:57. It was the first win for interim coach Pete Herrmann, who took over after Georgia lost to Florida five games ago. ... Cal coach Mike Montgomery avoided getting swept by Stanford, his former employer for 18 years. Cal prevailed 82-75 after losing earlier this season at Stanford. ... Chicago State, a team that has never had a winning record in 24 years of Division 1 play, moved to 15-12 with five games remaining with a win over N.J.I.T., 84-68. The Cougars will not play in a conference tournament since they are an independent, so two more wins will lock up the winning record. ... No. 21 Utah State lost its first WAC game 66-56 to Boise State, dropping its record to 23-2 and 12-1 in the conference. The Aggies topped Boise State 79-65 in January, but the Broncos, defending WAC champs, took the rematch thanks to 20 points off the bench from Mark Sanchez. Utah State probably will need to win out to clinch an at-large berth, but that shouldn't be difficult. The toughest game remaining is St. Mary's in a BracketBuster game next Saturday, and the Gaels are not the same without star point guard Patrick Mills, who is out with an injured wrist.