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ACC Roundup

Florida State kneecaps Pitt.

Jersey Retirement Day didn't work out the way PItt's Lamar Patterson hoped.
Jersey Retirement Day didn't work out the way PItt's Lamar Patterson hoped.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Not all that long ago, things looked pretty rosy for Pitt. When Duke made its first trip to Pitt's pit, the Panthers were 18-3.

Monday's Games
Teams Times TV
Syracuse vs. Maryland 7:00 ESPN
  • FSU 71 Pitt 66
#14 Virginia 14-1 -- 23-5
#1 Syracuse 12-2 1.5 25-2
#5 Duke 11-4 3 22-6
North Carolina 10-4 3.5 20-7
Pittsburgh 8-6 5.5 20-7
Clemson 8-6 5.5 17-9
North Carolina State 7-7 6.5 17-10
Maryland 7-7 6.5 15-12
Florida State 7-8 7 16-11
Miami (FL) 5-9 8.5 14-13
Notre Dame 5-10 9 14-14
Wake Forest 4-10 9.5 14-13
Georgia Tech 4-10 9.5 13-14
Boston College 3-11 10.5 7-20
Virginia Tech 2-12 11.5 9-17
Schedule | ACC Stats |
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If you want to point to a single moment when Pitt's season changed, you might look at Quinn Cook's second half three which bumped Duke's lead from three points to six with 8:50 to go.

From there, the lead just grew and Pitt shrank as Duke outscored the home team 26-15 down the stretch.

The Panthers, who had been pretty cocky up until that point, have had a tough go of it since.

Virginia nipped Pitt in the next game, then Miami and Virginia Tech took Jamie Dixon's team to overtime and double overtime before losing.

Syracuse added a second stinging defeat to Pitt's first near miss when Tyler Ennis hit his amazing 35 foot three point shot to give Syracuse a remarkable win.

Chapel Hill was not a pleasant visit, and now Florida State, a program built on defense but unable to play it very well lately, came into the Petersen Events Center and took a game away from a team which should be a mirror image of toughness, winning 71-66.

Pitt fans, who were so excited when Duke came through, have stayed away. Against Florida State, the school invited people who were sitting upstairs to move down with the students so that the seats wouldn't be empty on ESPN.

Florida State harassed Pitt into 37% from the floor. Lamar Patterson was just 8-21 and Cameron Wright 5-11. Patterson and Wright had 22 and 12; no one else scored more than seven.

Pitt has now lost three straight and five of the last seven. Still on tap: road trips to BC and Notre Dame, an expansion team with its own woes, NC State at home, and a final game at Clemson, where the Tigers, in grand ACC tradition, will be looking for payback after getting clobbered at Pitt by 33. Pitt fans need to understand that that trip is going to be really, really intense.

And the third expansion team, Syracuse, whose fans did get just a bit cocky after a fast start, has run into difficulties as well. The Orange memorably lost to woeful BC then lost again in Durham to a tough-minded Duke team.

Monday night, Syracuse heads down to College Park for a one-and-done meeting with the Maryland Terrapins. We can't find the quote again, but Jim Boeheim said something like it was odd that Maryland got the weekend off before Syracuse.

Not really. The ACC has done Maryland no scheduling favors, but the biggest blow is not having Duke in. The break before Syracuse is coincidental. If the ACC could have made it tougher, the league office might have done so.

The bigger issue for Syracuse is that Maryland folk, lacking a Duke fix, are seeing Syracuse as a reasonable facsimile.

One hopes that doesn't mean passing through the normal gauntlet of heated pennies and thrown water bottles. Whatever it is has the potential to upset ples

Also, it's a chance for Maryland make a strong impression on the Committee: beat Syracuse and then Virginia on Saturday and who knows?

Incidentally, Pitt's loss did Duke and UNC a considerable favor: it's going to make it that much harder for Pitt to earn an ACC Tournament bye. Duke and UNC both have four losses to Pitt's five, and both teams have a tiebreaker with Pitt if needed.