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ACC Roundup Notre Dame Escapes Clemson

But it wasn't easy

Lately Clemson is giving everyone a tough game.
Lately Clemson is giving everyone a tough game.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

There's never been a question about what team we pull for. The name is on every page. We're Duke fans.

Wednesday's ACC Action
Teams Times TV
Syracuse @ BC 7:00 ESPN2
Miami @ Wake Forest 7:00 RSN
Pitt @ Louisville 8:00 ACCN
Virginia @ NC State 8:00 ACCN
Schools Conf W-L Conf PCT W-L PCT
Virginia 9-1 .900 21-1 .955
Notre Dame 10-3 .769 22-4 .846
Duke 8-3 .727 21-3 .875
North Carolina 8-3 .727 18-6 .750
Louisville 7-3 .700 19-4 .826
Syracuse 6-4 .600 15-8 .652
Pitt 5-5 .500 16-8 .667
Miami 5-5 .500 15-8 .652
Clemson 6-6 .500 14-10 .583
NC State 5-6 .455 14-10 .583
Florida State 5-7 .417 13-12 .520
Wake Forest 3-8 .273 11-13 .458
Virginia Tech 2-9 .182 10-14 .417
Georgia Tech 2-10 .167 11-13 .458
Boston College 1-9 .100 9-13 .409
Tuesday's Results
Notre Dame 60 Clemson 58

As much as we pull for Duke, though, we pull for the ACC in general, and we like to see our conference stablemates excel too.

So we're pretty happy to see Virginia's success, and we think Mark Gottfried has done a solid job for State overall. We're thrilled to see Danny Manning put in the foundations of a solid, exciting program at Wake Forest, and that Jim Larranaga has made Miami relevant.

This season, though, there are two ACC teams which have particularly impressed us: Virginia Tech and Clemson.

We've talked a lot about the Hokies recently. Buzz Williams is turning that program around and it's going to happen quicker than people believe.

But consider the vast improvement in Clemson. The Tigers couldn't compete with Big South teams early; now they go toe to toe with Top Ten teams.

Take Notre Dame, for instance.

You could reasonably expect the Irish to prevail, even at Clemson's Littlejohn, which is the very definition of a pit.

Yet Clemson came very close to pulling the upset (and doing Duke a big favor, too).

Brad Brownell's Tigers are 14-10, which is not good enough for the tournament, but they're making a great point. If you're a young recruit the Tigers are after, you'd have to be impressed.

And really, what is the definition of success? Is it staying in the Carrier Dome as much as possible and racking up home wins? Or is it playing to your potential?

The record might not sound great, but Clemson, like Virginia Tech, has probably redefined their potential.

Unfortunately, you can't say that about State. After the big upset win over Duke, the Pack looked ready to kick it up a notch. Instead, State's gone just 2-5 since and Gottfried knows it's time to get moving.

Bad time to see Virginia and Louisville on the schedule.

Like Clemson, State is a mediocre 14-10.

It'll be Virginia's first game without Justin Anderson, now recuperating from surgery on his broken finger, so State may get a small break. Then again, maybe not. Virginia is very well coached.

It's not impossible though. State only lost by 10 at UVA.

If we were Gottfried, we'd put this quote by Malcolm Brogdon up in the locker room: "They’re going to have stuff to run against the pack, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to work. It’s just new stuff they can try."

When we last paid close attention to Ron Morris, a sportswriter who for some reason left the Triangle for South Carolina, he was in a remarkable feud with Steve Spurrier.

Well, it's better to say that Spurrier was feuding and tried to ban Morris from covering the Gamecocks.

That backfired pretty badly on the ol' ball coach.

Morris confesses a cooler, more distant relationship with Dean Smith, who he covered for 11 years. Still, there's some pretty great stuff he pulled out of his notes.

Here's how bad the weather in Boston has been: going to Syracuse is a good way to get away from the snow.

You don't get to say that often, just as you don't get about 70" of snow in a month very often. Syracuse probably seems pretty nice about now.

BC has a shot at getting Syracuse while the team is looking ahead to Saturday's matchup with Duke. Certainly the fans may be: kids are camping out with a wind chill factor of around zero.

It shouldn't really affect the players, but the investigation continues. Here's what may come out when the report is released.

Miami plays at Wake Forest in a game where you'd think Miami should be favored. We're not so sure.

Manning has expressed considerable irritation at his team's focus and toughness lately. Either they're going to roll over and be wussies or man up. Our guess is the latter. Doesn't mean they'll win, but we think the Deacs will try to make a stand.

We'd be surprised if Louisville loses to Pitt, least of all at home, but we do expect a competitive game. For Pitt, the next few games present immense challenges but also a path back to the tournament: after Louisville, Pitt plays UNC at home and Virginia on the road.

It's not likely, but a sweep puts them right into the discussion.