Although two conference games have been played so far, for all meaningful purposes, ACC play starts Saturday and some of the matchups are pretty interesting. Pitt and State feature two teams which are still trying to nail down an identity. Pitt's probably tougher in some ways, particularly on defense and inside, but if Mark Gottfried has proven anything it's that he gets the UCLA offense that he learned from Jim Harrick. Harrick turned out to be a slimy coach, but we still remember watching UCLA in Cameron one year and realizing how well coached it was. The man understood offense and so does his protege. Typically defense beats offense, but this Pitt team has really struggled.
|Saturday's ACC Action|
|Pitt @ NC State||12:00||FULLCOURT|
|Syracuse @ Virginia Tech||12:00||FULLCOURT|
|Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame||2:30||FULLCOURT|
|BC @ Duke||4:00||FULLCOURT|
|Virginia @ Miami||5:30||ESPN2|
|UNC @ Clemson||8:15||ESPN|
|Mississippi State 62 Florida State 55|
Although Buzz Williams played Jim Boeheim's Syracuse team (and zone) when he was at Marquette, there is a significant talent disparity now. And to make matters worse, after some nonsense in practice, Williams suspended big man Joey van Zegeren indefinitely. He's not a great big man but he is a big man and at least he can get some rebounds. That's out for now and we don't see the Hokies doing it with him and certainly not without. That would be a tremendous upset.
Notre Dame has been much better this season, but you have to factor the schedule in: the Irish lost to a middling Providence team and beat a weak Michigan State team in double overtime.
Otherwise? Binghamton, Navy, Coppin State, UMass (okay, that's not horrible), Grambling, Chicago State, Fairly Ridiculous, Mount St. Mary's, a Purdue team that's getting booed by its own fans, NIU and Hartford.
Of course they're 13-1.
Georgia Tech has, by contrast, played Georgia, Marquette, Rhode Island, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Dayton and Charlotte.
Upstate USC looked like a horrible loss at the time but that's not a bad team actually.
Notre Dame's at home and has Jerian Grant, but Georgia Tech may be better prepared. An upset here wouldn't surprise us; neither would a Notre Dame win.
Jim Larranaga is a coach we really respect, but can he straighten out the problems Miami ran into recently in time for Virginia?
Tony Bennett is kicking that program into high gear. People thought it might take a step back but that doesn't appear to be the case. Virginia is moving to the national elite. Just because the offense is boring doesn't mean the team's not outstanding. It's really good.
Can't say that about UNC, not yet anyway. The one constant for the Heels is, or should be, Marcus Paige. He's been erratic so far and that really hurts the Heels.
This may hurt too: Kennedy Meeks is going to Clemson with a stomach bug. It wasn't clear whether he'd play or not but either way, he's not likely to be 100%.
On the other hand, Clemson has had a tough time this season with much lesser teams. The only hope we can see for Clemson is that a) someone catches fire offensively, and b) that UNC shows up in a casual mood.
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Given what happened in practice, that's unlikely: Ol' Roy called his guys in at 11:00 am, gave some instructions, got mad when they weren't followed and called them back in 12 hours later.