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ACC Roundup

Georgia Tech pulls a stunner.

Mar 4, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Kammeon Holsey (24) looks to shoot the ball with Syracuse Orange forward C.J. Fair (5) defending during the first half of a game at the Carrier Dome. Georgia Tech won the game 67-62
Mar 4, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Kammeon Holsey (24) looks to shoot the ball with Syracuse Orange forward C.J. Fair (5) defending during the first half of a game at the Carrier Dome. Georgia Tech won the game 67-62
Rich Barnes

We'll admit it: we didn't think Georgia Tech could pull it off. We knew Jerami Grant was still having back problems, but thought that Syracuse had enough to do it without him.

Wednesday's Game
Teams Times TV
Duke vs. Wake Forest 7:00 ESPN2
Tuesday's Results
  • Georgia Tech 67 Syracuse 62
  • Maryland 64 Virginia Tech 47
  • Clemson 58 Miami 54
  • Florida State 74 Boston College 70
TEAM CONF OVERALL
Virginia 16-1 25-5
Syracuse 13-4 26-4
North Carolina 13-4 23-7
Duke 12-4 23-6
Pittsburgh 10-7 22-8
Clemson 10-7 19-10
Florida State 9-8 18-11
North Carolina State 8-9 18-12
Maryland 8-9 16-14
Miami (FL) 6-11 15-15
Notre Dame 6-12 15-16
Wake Forest 5-11 15-14
Georgia Tech 5-12 14-16
Boston College 4-13 8-22
Virginia Tech 2-15 9-20
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Evidently not.

Georgia Tech, despite injuries, flaws and limitations, had enough to squeeze the Orange.

CJ Fair and Tyler Ennis were effective, scoring 46 of Syracuse's 62 points. But without Grant, teams can focus more on Trevor Cooney, who was limited to seven points, and Rakeem Christmas, who had 10 boards and four blocks, managed just two shots and three points.

Tyler Roberson had been busy saying he was ready for his chance, but he finished with two.

The bench, now made up of Baye-Moussa Keita and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije, scored just four points and five rebounds in 37 minutes.

While we're thinking about it, Roberson talked a lot about his opportunity, but Gbinije has had his too, and hasn't made much of it.

He was fairly passive at Duke, really, and isn't much more aggressive at Syracuse.

With one game left at Florida State, Syracuse could finish as low as fourth.

It's a bit of a comedown and it underscores something we've been saying since the ACC invited Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame to join the conference: there is a real difference between the ACC and the old Big East.

The Big East was highly competitive at the top, but the bottom was, well, the bottom. You didn't see a lot of upsets from the likes of Seton Hall, Rutgers and DePaul.

In the ACC, as all three schools have learned, anyone can beat you. You can be having a historically dreadful year, like BC, and knock off the #1 team in the country.

And worse, when you appear to be weak or wounded, the intensity of the attack increases.

Remember 1995?

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Clemson upset Duke, Coach K was forced to sit out for health reasons, and things just imploded.

First it was Clemson, then Wake Forest, Virginia, NC State, Florida State, Maryland, Carolina and Clemson again.

Every team that beat Duke in 1995 enjoyed stomping the Devils, enjoyed inflicting pain, reveled in the basketball equivalent of regicide.

Who could ever forget Virginia's massive comeback and then dancing on center court after winning at Duke?

That level of spite, that delight in sticking it to a rival, it's what sets the ACC apart from anything else.

We're not saying that other conferences don't have rivalries and intensity, just that it's not the same.

We'll be interested to see what the new guys, now all bloodied, will have to say after the season is over.

Clemson and Florida State kept thin tournament hopes alive, barely. Clemson took out Miami by just four, while Florida State survived BC 74-70.

Clemson's win was tight, which might have had something to do with the huge intensity of the double overtime win over Maryland Sunday.

But the Tigers beat Miami, and are somewhere in the bubble conversation.

Miami managed 50% from the floor, which is atypical for both teams.

Clemson closes this weekend with a visit from Pitt. You'll remember that Pitt just hammered Clemson up there. What we said about payback? About the new teams learning that the ACC is a brutally competitive conference?

Saturday could be another lesson.

BC has shown some meaningful improvement lately, but not enough to take out the Seminoles.

Like Clemson, FSU is trying to pick up a bid late. A win over Syracuse this weekend might put them over the top.

With just two regular season games left as ACC members, Maryland won the first, defeating Virginia Tech 64-47.

Maryland trailed 29-28 at the half, then doubled Virginia Tech in the second, 36-18.

The Terps last regular season ACC game comes Saturday against Virginia, and the Cavs have proved a tough opponent for everyone. We have no doubt the ACC deprived Maryland of home games against Duke, UNC and State, but no one could have anticipated UVa's showing up for the final game at 16-1.

Off the court news in Chapel Hill: Deborah Crowder, former administrative assistant to Julius Nyang'oro, will not face charges.

Instead, she's been cooperating and her reward is staying out of court.

It's not good news for UNC, though. To the best of our knowledge, it's the first person who's been flipped by the prosecutors. Who knows what she's been telling? Here's a key phrase from the N&O though:

"Previous noncriminal investigations had found Deborah Crowder was at the center of the creation of lecture-style classes that never met and that typically provided high grades for those who turned a term paper in at the end. The probes cited her access to grade rolls that could be altered. They also noted she had been given wide latitude in running the affairs of the African and Afro-American Studies department."

That suggests the potential for some charges that might stick. Our bet is that she's been singing like a canary in order to stay out of jail.