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ACC Roundup

Ugly game in Littlejohn, but for FSU, a win is a win

Clemson Tigers forward K.J. McDaniels (32) drives to the basket while being defended by Florida State Seminoles center Boris Bojanovsky (15) during the second half at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson Tigers forward K.J. McDaniels (32) drives to the basket while being defended by Florida State Seminoles center Boris Bojanovsky (15) during the second half at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the Clemson-Florida State game was a grueling slugfest, with just 15 baskets made by Clemson (30%) and 26 by FSU (47.3%).

Other than KJ McDaniels, who had 14, no one for Clemson scored more than six.

For FSU, Ian Miller had 15, Aaron Thomas 10 and Devon Bookert 10.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell told The Post and Courier that he was disappointed: "We played awful in the first half, had 16 points, we're down five. I mean, I'm trying to cheer our guys up at halftime. 'Hey fellas, we played terrible. Let's move on, let's get on to the next deal, and be ready to go win.' ...Our  youthfulness showed tonight. Disappointing."

Duke fans shouldn't read too much into this. In fact, the lesson should be the intense defense Clemson brings. It gives you a puncher's chance in any game. If Duke can't manage more than 56, like FSU did, the Devils will be vulnerable on Saturday. Remember all those backdoors Notre Dame got? Duke's defense is still very vulnerable.

According to the players, UNC is struggling because of internal problems, not because of opponents. That might be true. We'll be really interested to see what happens at Syracuse Saturday.

There's no doubt this team can play with anyone; the problem is it can also lose to just about anyone.

Life would be better with PJ Hairston, assuming he had no issues. However, he won't be back on the team and now he's withdrawn from school as well.

No games Friday but a good slate Saturday. Duke is at Clemson and UNC at Syracuse as we mentioned previously.

Notre Dame trips down to Georgia Tech for its first ACC road game, BC visits Virginia Tech, Wake heads to Pitt for a like whooping and UVa travels to Raleigh.

BC and Virginia Tech is pretty blah but a chance for each team to claim a much-desired win. Pitt is likely to strangle Wake the same way baby Hercules choked the snakes that invaded his crib.

Georgia Tech has a chance at home against Notre Dame. Tech's not awful, just limited. It's a reasonably well-coached group. Unless Wake grows up fast, Pitt is going to pound them like Popeye on a bender.

The Virginia-State game is pretty interesting really, featuring a really good defensive system against an emerging and also good offensive system.

It's interesting in a sense how both programs have gone back to their basic DNA. Terry Holland established that a tough, defensive-minded Virginia could compete with the major ACC powers, while Everett Case long ago established that the Wolfpack was a running program which thrived on thrills and passion, qualities Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano built on.

Now, Tony Bennett plays a defense absolutely no one wants to deal with, while at State, Mark Gottfried has imported the UCLA offense, which was created by John Wooden.

Wooden and Case were born 10 years and about 70 miles apart, each about equidistant from Indianapolis, although the Woodens later moved closer to the big city.

Wooden might well have read about Case as a high schooler when Case started winning high school titles in the Hoosier State.

Both guys started as college coaches within two years of each other, though Wooden went on until 1975 while Case's health forced him to retire in 1964.

Anyway, we're sure the offense wouldn't have surprised Case in the least. He may have coached against it or picked up elements of it in his high school career. In fact, we assume it's possible they coached against each other.