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ACC Roundup

What a wonderful game State and UNC gave us Wednesday night.

N.C. State's T.J. Warren pointed to a win over the Tar Heels and fell just short.
N.C. State's T.J. Warren pointed to a win over the Tar Heels and fell just short.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

State and UNC have put on some classic games over the years, but nothing lately is much better than the matchup we saw in Raleigh Wednesday night. It was pretty much a match for both Duke-Syracuse games, and Syracuse-BC, at least at the end when Marcus Paige and TJ Warren went on a personal overtime duel.

No Thursday Games
Wednesday's Results
  • Virginia 65 Miami 40
  • Notre Dame 65 Georgia Tech 62
  • UNC 85 NC State 84
  • Pitt 66 Boston College 59
#12 Virginia 15-1 -- 24-5
#4 Syracuse 13-2 1.5 26-2
#6 Duke 12-4 3 23-6
#19 North Carolina 11-4 3.5 21-7
Pittsburgh 9-6 5.5 21-7
Clemson 8-7 6.5 17-10
North Carolina State 7-8 7.5 17-11
Florida State 7-8 7.5 16-11
Maryland 7-8 7.5 15-13
Notre Dame 6-10 9 15-14
Wake Forest 5-10 9.5 15-13
Miami (FL) 5-10 9.5 14-14
Georgia Tech 4-11 10.5 13-15
Boston College 3-12 11.5 7-21
Virginia Tech 2-13 12.5 9-18
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In the OT, Warren scored nine and Paige scored 10 - and that was after missing his first three shots. He didn't even score until 3:17 in.

It brought back memories of classic ACC duels: Len Bias and Michael Jordan. Johnny Dawkins and Mark Price. Ralph Sampson and Buck Williams.

It was a great, great game at least in the last 15:00 minutes or so.

State has a longterm (meaning a year or two) problem if TJ Warren opts to leave after this season, but if he returns, the Pack is building nicely. Mark Gottfried has done a really solid job. Remember, this team had three - just three! - returnees. And he could still win 20 games? That's pretty extraordinary.

Even if Warren doesn't return, State is bringing in Abdul-Malik Abu (6-8/235) and the Martin twins, Caleb and Cody. Interestingly Caleb is listed 15 lbs. heavier, which is a bit unusual for twins but could be great for State.

Like UNC's Kennedy Meeks, BeeJay Anya arrived as a big tub of goo, but like Meeks, he's getting better and has good instincts. A summer of serious conditioning will make him a force.

Forwards Lennard Freeman and Kyle Washington are both making real progress. Desmond Lee and Ralston Turner are both contributing a lot now on the wings, and Tyler Lewis, Cat Barber and Trevor Lacey should all be available.

If we're State fans, we're looking at that group and thinking of how the twins will fit into the UCLA offense - Caleb is probably ahead of Cody and has excellent range - and how much the returnees should improve, and we're jazzed. State's future is really, really bright.

That doesn't make Wednesday any easier for the Pack faithful, needless to say, but maybe Duke can give them something to cheer about in Cameron next Saturday.

In the other conference games Wednesday night, no surprises but a couple of close shaves: Notre Dame got by Georgia Tech, 65-62 and Pitt bounced BC, 66-59. Only Virginia cruised, crushing Miami, now coached by former Terry Holland assistant Jim Larranaga, 65-40.

This of course sets up another intriguing ACC game, Saturday's regular season title showdown between Syracuse and Virginia.

We'll get back to that.

In Wednesday's game, UVa held Miami to 26.1%. To keep it in perspective, Miami struggles offensively anyway. Still, that's pretty intense.

Virginia's standouts are Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon, Mike Tobey, Akil Mitchell and Justin Anderson. But the guy who caught Larranaga's eye was freshman London Perrantes.

"We were concerned about Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon, but when Perrantes starts making those shots, we thought `Oh, whoa. He played a terrific game and is a great player."

Perrantes is also a control freak in a positive sense: on the season, his first season, he has 107 assists to 29 turnovers. That's really impressive.

Unlike most ACC teams, Georgia Tech opted to defend Garrick Sherman one-on-one. Perhaps Tech thought that his recent slump meant he wasn't dangerous. If so, big mistake: Sherman, recovering from an injured pinkie, has his groove back and burned Tech for 21. He also shot 10-15.

For Tech, Robert Carter, Jr. returned to the starting lineup, shot 8-10 for 19 points and grabbed 10 boards.

Pitt's back on the winning side, snapping a three-game losing streak with a win over the Eagles. Talib Zanna scored 21 and Lamar Patterson chipped in 16.

Olivier Hanlan scored 25 for BC.

The Syracuse win was an amazing bright spot, but as it turns out, it looks more like a meteor than a turning point.

With Wednesday out of the way and no games Thursday or Friday, the decks are cleared for a classic showdown on Saturday in Charlottesville.

ESPN and everyone else has spent so much time pitching Duke-Syracuse or Duke-UNC or whatever angle of the week they want that no one has really thought much about the possibility of this being a really important game. And in fairness, in December, who thought Virginia would be here?

Remember Wisconsin? 48-38? Remember losing to Green Bay? And the 25 point crushing by Tennessee?

Things change. Since the UT game, Virginia has lost only once, at Duke, and if you'll recall, the 'Hoos nearly came back to win that game too. This is a really good team.

With the lack of time to pimp the game, it might not be fully understood that there's not just one really good point guard here but two: Perrantes has had a huge hand in Virginia's success this season.

Incidentally, he came off the bench against Tennessee, but started the next game, the ACC opener against Florida State, and he's been impossible to get out of the starting lineup since.

The matchup between Perrantes and Tyler Ennis should be subtle and sublime. It's going to be special.