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ACC Roundup

Back at it after the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

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ACC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Only one game Friday as Pitt failed to capitalize on its remarkable win over Maryland in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and lost to local rival Duquesne, 64-55.

Pitt played without Jamel Artis, who was suspended because he failed “to meet our high standards,” according to coach Kevin Stallings.

Stallings is a solid tactician, we think, and a reasonably good coach. Yet we saw glimpses at Vandy of a guy who was perhaps not all that nice. There was the “I’ll effing kill you!” moment to Wade Baldwin IV after a Tennessee game when Baldwin taunted the Tennessee team. Then there was the curious case of Artis, who started at Vandy before leaving.

Stallings refused to release him and Artis spent a year at a JUCO before moving to Pitt, only to find after a year that Stallings would be his coach again.

They patched things up when Stallings came to Pitt and in fact Artis was the key conduit between Stallings and his new team. The two both spoke positively of starting over.

Yet there is the suspension and this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Stallings walked slowly down the bench, staring down Artis much of the way. “

It makes you wonder what was said between these two who have such a complex history. It makes you wonder just how volatile Stalling is. This article suggests it’s a potential problem. You can expect ACC fans, and certainly Duke fans, to make him the new Gary Williams.

Nine other ACC teams return to action Saturday and the rest Sunday.

On Saturday, the best game, by far, should be West Virginia at Virginia.

The Press Virginia defense vs. the Pack Line - that’s going to be really interesting. We’ve always seen Bob Huggins as a solid but not great coach although he had some tremendous teams at Cincinnati. At West Virginia, he is shoehorned into a conference that is a seriously bad fit (the Big 12) and despite his 2010 Final Four, West Virginia hasn’t really been a great program.

Good but not great.

Still, this should be a fascinating game as the two wildly different paces compete for control.

During its years in the wilderness, Wake Forest has struggled with a few lesser teams, not least of all Richmond. So a win against the Spiders would be a good measure for the Deacons, who did not do well against Northwestern in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Richmond beat BC by 13 and lost to Maryland 88-82 in overtime, so this is a capable team and the game is at home. And Wake has struggled against Richmond.

Still, the Deacs should win. Danny Manning has a lot more talent. Richmond runs the Princeton offense and for a young team that could be a problem.

Speaking of Maryland, quick segue: the Terps are really not impressive thus far. They beat Georgetown (4-4) by one, barely beat Towson at home (Georgetown crushed Towson), beat Stony Brook by just 14, needed overtime to take Richmond, beat Kansas State by one and lost to Pitt by 14. Maryland is 7-1 but it’s a very weak 7-1.

Georgia Tech plays at Tennesee and surprisingly, that’s a winnable game. The Yellow Jackets are limited but give Josh Pastner credit: he’s got them playing better than expected.

BC gets Dartmouth, which should be an easy win - Dartmouth is 0-5 against weak competition, other than Rhode Island. Pressure’s on, BC!

Miami will beat Wofford, barring, oh, who knows, maybe some interesting suspensions.

Finally, give Grand Canyon credit: the ‘Lopes aren’t scared to play anyone. Dan Majerle has scheduled Duke, Penn State, Louisville, San Diego State and Arizona.

Having seen them, we can tell Louisville: don’t take this team for granted. It’s well coached and competitive.

NC State has struggled on defense but it has some interesting pieces, not least of all Torin Dorn.

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