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ACC Roundup - Virginia Has A Problem

With an injured fnger, it'll be awhile before we see Justn Anderson do stuff like this.
With an injured fnger, it'll be awhile before we see Justn Anderson do stuff like this.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's games helped to clarify the ACC race somewhat, with five teams competing for the four ACC Tournament byes, five other teams competing for postseason spots and four under .500.

Sunday's ACC Action
Teams Times TV
Clemson @ Miami 6:30 ESPNU
Schools Conf W-L Conf PCT W-L PCT
Virginia 9-1 .900 21-1 .955
Notre Dame 9-3 .750 21-4 .840
North Carolina 8-3 .727 18-6 .750
Duke 7-3 .700 20-3 .870
Louisville 7-3 .700 19-4 .826
Syracuse 6-4 .600 15-8 .652
Clemson 6-4 .600 14-8 .636
Pitt 5-5 .500 16-8 .667
NC State 5-6 .455 14-10 .583
Florida State 5-6 .455 13-11 .542
Miami 4-5 .444 14-8 .636
Wake Forest 3-8 .273 11-13 .458
Georgia Tech 2-9 .182 11-12 .478
Boston College 1-9 .100 9-13 .409
Virginia Tech 1-9 .100 9-14 .391
Saturday's Reslults
  • Georgia Tech  73 Wake Forest 59
  • Duke 90 Notre Dame 60
  • UNC 79 BC 68
  • Florida State 73 Virginia Tech 65
  • Pitt 83 Syracuse 77
  • Virginia 52 Louisville 47

Virginia still has the inside track, but the Cavs suffered a tough injury with Justin Anderson breaking a finger during Virginia's win over Louisville.

That's going to require surgery and he'll be out for some time, probably until at least the postseason. Very tough break for UVA; he and Malcolm Brogdon had become a superb backcourt and Virginia has no way to replace his remarkable athleticism, experience, and superb three point shooting.

The loss didn't go over well with the Louisville paper's Tim Sullivan, who wrote that "[Tony] Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers are robbing basketball of its rhythm, reducing fast-break teams to a style of play that seems more like trench warfare in sneakers."

Playing Virginia for the first time can be a shock. Before Bennett got his program up to snuff, we watched as Duke cruised through games, only to get pulled back to earth by Bennett's defense.

The complaints are nothing new: his dad's Wisconsin teams heard the same things.

For his part, Rick Pitino said that "[t]heir defense is awesome. But our offense was ridiculous. We didn't run our sets. We didn't move the ball. I mean, if you're going to do that, you're going to make Virginia look like the greatest defensive team in history....We played right into the monster. And the crowd."

Chris Jones was shocked by Virginia's size: "I didn't know they were that big. They've all got grown-man bodies. I looked at their team and then I looked at our team (and thought), 'We've got to get like those guys, coming off the bench-wise.' "

Montrezl Harrell said that "It's a difficult defense to go against because they have post traps coming out of nowhere for no rhyme or reason. Their post traps can come at any given time and they try to make you turn the ball over."

Virginia is under no obligation to play pretty, although we wish they would too, and as long as it works they'll continue to do what they do. But Duke figured it out and Virginia Tech didn't have that much trouble. Surely other teams can at least match the Hokies.

As we expected, UNC had some trouble with BC but ultimately prevailed by 11, 79-68.

Roy Williams shook things up a bit, starting Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt and sending Kennedy Meeks and JP Tokoto to the bench.

It paid off for Hicks as the Oxford native scored 21 points on 7-10 shooting. Brice Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Not that it matters since Syracuse has banned itself from post-season play, but with the Orange's loss to Pitt, Syracuse falls to 6-4 and behind the other five contenders. Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije had 23 each for Syracuse. Jim Boeheim's bench is now almost non-existent: he got 23 minutes, three points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal from BJ Johnson and Ron Patterson.

Pitt saw Cameron Wright suffer another injury, this one an ankle. It's not clear how bad it is yet.

Wake went to Atlanta sans Greg McClinton, who was suspended for a violation of team rules.

That's not enough to explain why the Deacs got clobbered, 73-59. Coach Danny Manning chose a boxing analogy:

"We just didn’t answer the bell. It doesn’t matter what we say, the bottom line is we didn’t come out and answer the bell; and when you don’t answer the bell, this is what you get."

Manning didn't suspend Devin Thomas, but he sat him for the last 17 minutes of the game.

He told his team the other day that if they didn't compete, they'd be "weeded out." Hopefully the message got through this time.

Virginia Tech decided that if Florida State was going to win in Blacksburg, the Seminoles would have to do it from outside.

Done: FSU hit eight three pointers and won by eight points.

Now that there's some pretty definitive separation, here's what the top five teams are looking at as they chase ACC Tournament byes:


  • @ State
  • Wake Forest
  • Pitt
  • Florida State
  • @ Wake Forest
  • Virginia Tech
  • @ Syracuse
  • @ Louisville

Notre Dame:

  • @ Clemson
  • Wake Forest
  • @ BC
  • Syracuse
  • @ Louisville
  • Clemson


  • @ Pitt
  • @ Duke
  • Georgia Tech
  • NC State
  • @ Miami
  • @ Georgia Tech
  • Duke


  • @ FSU
  • @ Syracuse
  • UNC
  • Clemson
  • @ Virginia Tech
  • Syracuse
  • Wake Forest
  • @ UNC


  • Pitt
  • NC State
  • @ Syracuse
  • Miami
  • @ Georgia Tech
  • @ FSU
  • Notre Dame
  • Virginia

On Sunday, Clemson and Miami tangle. Clemson, along with Pitt, is making a late bid for relevancy, while Miami is trying to retain some.

If the Tigers win and move to 7-4, that means the Tigers have clawed their way back to sole possession of sixth place. Before ACC play started, Clemson was 8-4, with losses to Winthrop, Gardner-Webb and Rutgers.

Now 14-8, the Tigers have won four straight and five of the last six.

Heck of a job, Brownell.