The Mike Hopkins interregnum came to a merciful end as Syracuse lost at home to Clemson in overtime, 74-73. Syracuse thus starts ACC play 0-3 as the Orange continues to come to terms with the ACC.
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One of the big differences between the ACC and the old Big East, as we have said from time to time and which Rick Pitino touched on the other day, is that in the ACC, the bottom teams can, and occasionally will, kick your ass six ways from Sunday.
Clemson was seen (and still may end up) as a team destined for the bottom. Syracuse was not.
However, the Orange is currently the bottom of the ACC barrel at 0-3.
Landry Nnoko is a good but not great big man. Against Syracuse he got 19 point and 10 boards - essentially double his normal production.
Jaron Blossomgame led with 20.
Give Clemson credit: Syracuse had them in regulation but Malachi Richardson missed a free throw with :18 left and Gave DeVoe hit a three for overtime.
After the game, Hopkins said the idea was to foul to prevent a three, but cited a miscommunication.
Michael Gbinije took a three with eight seconds left but whiffed.
Then in overtime, Clemson took a three point lead with 1:44 left and held it. After a Trevor Cooney three, Jordan Roper hit a pair of free throws to put Clemson up by four.
Tyler Lydon cut it to one and then Trevor Cooney stole the ball and took a three with :06 on the clock...and missed.
So now Syracuse gets Jim Boeheim back to prep for Saturday's rumble with the Heels.
Hopkins had a couple of good lines, saying that "Dad might be disappointed" [about the outcome]. He also said "[a]t the end of the day I've got to give the car back."
Hopkins or Boeheim, things could get ugly: after UNC, Syracuse gets a break with BC, but then there are road games at Wake, Duke and Virginia.
In other words, there's a good chance that Syracuse might start out 1-6 in conference play.
For whatever reason, Penn guard Tony Hicks decided not to play for Steve Donahue and sat out this year. Next year, he'll finish up at Louisville.
On Wednesday, Georgia Tech gets a good chance to measure progress with a trip to Pitt.