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ACC Roundup - Are The Panthers The Pitts?

Has Kevin Stallings lost the Pitt press already?

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NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Dec 7, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Michael Young (2) handles the ball as Buffalo Bulls forward Quate McKinzie (24) defends during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. PITT won 84-79.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Well how ‘bout them Yellow Jackets?

Georgia Tech pulled off easily the most impressive win of Josh Pastner’s first season, upsetting VCU in Richmond, 76-73 in overtime.

Tadric Jackson led the way with 24, a career high.

Ben Lammers had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Corey Heyward had a halftime shot from beyond half court which sort of set the stage for the upset.

After it was over, VCU coach Will Wade kept his team behind closed doors for an hour and the Richmond paper reports that there are concerns about how the team is doing.

Wade said this: “I’ve got to do a better job with them. It’s not all on the kids...I’m the head coach. I’m the one who’s in charge. I’ve got to figure it out. I’ll figure it out tonight, in the early-morning hours. The time for messages and gimmicks and tricks is pretty much over.”

And for Georgia Tech? It’s the biggest cause for optimism in a long time.

Davidson certainly acquitted itself well in Chapel Hill: the Wildcats were down as much as 15 but cut the lead to just three, 76-73, with 1:57 left.

Davidson’s Will Magarity, who hit Davidson’s last basket, fouled Kennedy Meeks.

Davidson then turned the ball over and the parade of free throws began.

UNC won by nine but it was a scary finish for the Heels.

Of course, Carolina did play without Joel Berry, out with a sprained ankle.

Even so, losing a 15 point lead is a bit surprising.

Pitt got Jamel Artis back and a good thing too because the Panthers nearly blew it vs. Buffalo, winning by just 84-79.

So how are things going up at Pitt? Not very well, if you think Joe Starkey is a good observer. Check out his lede: “Morbid curiosity, I suppose, is what propelled me to a place nearly uninhabited by human life Wednesday night: Petersen Events Center.”

He goes on to describe a program seemingly in a death spiral. Is that fair?

It’s hard to say from this distance, but if people are no longer showing up, that’s really not a good sign.

We didn’t really expect BC to beat Harvard (any more than we expected Tech to beat VCU), so no big surprise that Harvard won 74-66.

Former Duke star Tommy Amaker became Harvard’s winningest coach ever with his 179th victory.

Raleigh’s Jerome Robinson had 25 to pace the Eagles. Robinson is averaging 20.1 ppg so far.

Louisville’s not going to slip that far this year, but a Final Four team? Not yet, according to Rick Pitino after Louisville’s win over SIU.

In particular he doesn’t like his team’s passing game: "When they get to the point where they are equally as gratified with the pass as they are the shot, then we'll be a pretty good basketball team,. We'll be able to sustain a 40-minute game. Right now, we're not doing that. We're just playing good basketball in segments."

He further said that his only pass-oriented player right now is a walk-on.

Whatever you can say about Pitt you can say the opposite about Virginia Tech. Coach Curly Howard Buzz Williams has done a tremendous job building that program and his players are buying in in a big way. Check out what his guys said after the Hokies beat Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Zach LeDay: “I’m cool with [coming off the bench] as long as we keep winning. Whether it’s coming off the bench [or not], I just want to have a good role and help my team win. As long as I’m out there playing as much as I can, as hard as I can, just helping this team win, then I’m cool.”

Seth Allen: “Whatever Coach Buzz asks you to do, you just do it...Nobody ever talks about coming off the bench with this team. … Nobody would mope or do anything. That’s just the type of respect we have for each other.”

That program is going in the right direction.

Virginia Tech has just one loss, 68-65 to Texas A&M. The Hokies are currently 7-1 and will come into its ACC opener with Duke no worse than 10-2 and full of confidence, ready to spring a major upset.

We have a world of respect for Tech fans. That place really rocks, at least for big games. Duke better be ready for a tough game.

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