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ACC Roundup

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Miami's Malcolm Grant has understandably struggled since his older brother, Yatti, died of a heart attack in December. Jim Larranaga has been working closely with him though to help him deal with that heartbreak, and Grant responded with a solid effort against Clemson, with 16 points on 4-7 shooting, leading Miami to a 76-73 win.

Thursday's ACC Action!
Virginia @ Georgia Tech 8:00 PM ACC Network
Boston College @ NC State 8:00 PM ACC Network
UNC @ Virginia Tech 9:00 PM ESPN/ESPN3
Wednesday's Results
  • Miami 76 Clemson 73
School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 3-0 1.000 15-2 .882
Florida State 3-1 .750 12-6 .667
North Carolina 2-1 .667 15-3 .833
NC State 2-1 .667 13-5 .722
Boston College 2-1 .667 7-10 .412
Maryland 2-2 .500 12-5 .706
Virginia 1-1 .500 14-2 .875
Miami 1-2 .333 10-6 .625
Wake Forest 1-2 .333 10-7 .588
Georgia Tech 1-2 .333 8-9 .471
Clemson 1-3 .250 9-9 .500
Virginia Tech 0-3 .000 11-6 .647

Afterwards, he said "I want to thank Coach L for talking to me so much and telling me so many great stories to relax me, and also my teammates and my family back home. I felt relaxed out there, felt like I’m back."

Miami was up 74-66 with 1:49 left when Clemson rallied. Shane Larkin hit a one-and-one with 5.4 left for his only points of the game to give Miami their final margin.

Miami big men Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji racked up nine fouls between them. Tanner Smith led Clemson with 23.

On Thursday night, three ACC games:

BC at State, Virginia at Georgia Tech and UNC at Virginia Tech.

Obviously the attention will follow UNC after their devastating loss at Florida State.

Roy Williams is worried about a shooting slump, but there's not much chance that the Hokies will derail them. They don't have the size to deal with John Henson and Tyler Zeller, and even contact-shy Harrison Barnes has a significant size advantage over most of the guys who might defend him, not least of all the admirable but terribly thin Dorian Finney-Smith, who entered the season at 192.

On the other hand, UNC has a history of letting people go off from three point range and Tech has three guys who could conceivably do that: Erick Green, Jarell Eddie and Dorenzo Hudson.  And the Hokies are getting desperate: 0-3 with UNC in town is not a great place to be.

The Heels should be mad as heck for this one and Tech will have to earn anything they get. We'd be shocked if UNC wins by less than 15.

Notice anything odd or unusual in the pairings?

Well, it's not really odd and it's hard to avoid: the other two games all feature coaches who either brand new or still fairly new and who are still building their programs.

Tony Bennett has already won considerable praise for his efforts at Virginia. Georgia Tech is improving and has arguably bottomed out and is heading back up even if the record doesn't reflect it yet and a significant talent infusion awaits.

Steve Donahue is in his second year at BC while Mark Gottfried is in his first ACC tour at NC State.

None of them have coached against each other in ACC play before Thursday.

And you could extend the theme back to Wednesday as well, where Brad Brownell faced Jim Larranaga for the first time.

And while the ACC is down, consider the promising glimmers at all four of these programs: Bennett, in his third year, has UVa ranked.  Steve Donahue has taken an overwhelmingly freshmen dominated team and made them competitive. Brian Gregory has toughened up Georgia Tech and is proving a formidable recruiter, while Mark Gottfried has rather quickly turned State, for the first time in years, into a team which must be taken seriously.

Ok, DBR that's great. What about tonight's games?

Glad you asked.

Georgia Tech will find Virginia's defense dense and hard to crack.  They'll also have to deal with Mike Scott, who has been superb to date and who can play inside or out.

It'll be closer than most people think, but we expect UVa to win.

We can't overstate how much we respect what Steve Donahue has done with his team. He's working with nine freshmen, two sophomores who have become more or less irrelevant, one junior transfer and three seniors, of whom one is a grad student transfer, one who's averaged about a minute a game and one who played a few minutes last year but who really wasn't a factor.

In recent games, they've developed an identity and a surprising toughness.

All four teams have, really.  They've all hired competent coaches and talent is beginning to follow. In the next 2-3 years, all four will be vying to be ranked.  The talk of a down ACC is not going to last for long.

As prospects for BC, Maryland, State, Georgia Tech, Miami, possibly Wake Forest and most of all Virginia, pressure is going to rise for Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg, who is looking at yet another year of missing the tournament.

At this point, early though it is, separation has already occurred: Duke, UNC and Virginia, barring collapse, will get bids. Florida State appears to have righted the ship and may get one. State is 13-5 and gets extra credit for playing a tougher schedule than in the recent past, and doing reasonably well against it.

Maryland and Miami are far less likely invitees, but it's not impossible.

It is for BC (7-10), Wake (10-7), Clemson (9-9) and increasingly difficult for Virginia Tech (11-6).

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