State, Syracuse and even Maryland did Duke a solid Tuesday night.
|Wednesday's ACC Action|
|Virginia @ Wake Forest||7:00||RSN|
|Duke @ Virginia Tech||9:00||ESPN2|
|Florida State @ Miami||9:00||RSN|
State and Syracuse pushed UNC and Notre Dame further back in the conference rankings. Dukc could still conceivably finish with seven losses, but that seems unlikely. The two losses push Duke into sole possession of second place with a large tiebreaker with Notre Dame if needed.
Louisville is #4 but with significant issues.
And as for Maryland, the Terps upset Wisconsin, which will hurt the Badger's bid for a #1 seed.
State came to Chapel Hill unintimidated, focused and really took it to the Heels, building a 16-point lead.
In the best tradition of Dean Smith, UNC mounted a rapid comeback, cutting the lead to two. The crowd was primed for more, but it wasn't to be. State had an answer at every turn and Carolina made some very atypical turnovers.
Well, historically speaking, anyway. In late February, it's clear that this is not a vintage UNC team.
Just look at what happened after Marcus Paige scored UNC's last basket with 2:32 remaining to put UNC down just four, 50-46: foul, turnover, foul, turnover, foul, missed three, foul, Kennedy Meeks taking a three pointer with :47 left, foul, missed three, missed three, missed jumper.
Final score: State 58 UNC 46.
We left a couple of UNC rebounds out, but you get the idea.
The Heels get credit for cutting the lead to two, but the end game was wasted.
It's bound to be a pretty deflating loss, not least of all for Roy Williams, who has always put a lot of stock into beating State. For the team, too though: it's nearly March and UNC should be well past this sort of performance.
For State, it's huge. Pair this with wins over Duke and Louisville, and the Pack has a solid bubble argument.
State finishes with BC and Clemson on the road and Syracuse at home. It's a challenging stretch, particularly Clemson, but not impossible.
The Pack picked a perfect time to pull together.
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Notre Dame shot just 34.7% and keep in mind the Irish have been one of the truly outstanding shooting teams in the nation. Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton had 13; Bonzie Colson had 16 off the bench.
Syracuse's win is incredibly impressive because of this: Rakeem Christmas picked up three fouls in the first seven minutes.
Like State, Pitt is surging and at 19-11, a bid is not out of reach.
Olivier Hanlan didn't make it easy. The Eagles star guard scored 39. Aaron Brown added 20, but despite BC's competitive desire, the ACC has ground it up: Boston College has now lost nine straight.
Also like State, Pitt closes with three winnable games: Wake at Wake, Miami at home and Florida State in Tallahassee.
It's certainly doable.
At 17-10, Miami could also still get in.
With five sure bets then, the ACC could conceivably max out at eight.