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ACC Roundup - Dennis Smith Is Amazing

And the ACC is hitting a competitive high note

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NCAA BASKETBALL: DEC 10 Tennessee State at NC State
RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 10: North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4) flexes to the fans after a made basket and foul during the game between the Tennessee State Tigers and the NC State Wolfpack at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, NC on December 10, 2016. NC State defeated Tennessee State 67-55.
Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Take a look at the ACC standings and you’ll see something surprising: the #9 and #12 teams in the nation are the #13 and #15 teams in the ACC.

That’s right - Louisville and Virginia are ranked higher nationally than they are in the conference.

To borrow from Tony Bennett, welcome to the ACC (hey ACC - he gave you a great t-shirt idea).

If Georgia Tech had managed a second straight upset #8 Duke would’ve joined the Cardinals and the ‘Hoos near the bottom, which would have been a rare inversion indeed.

Yesterday we made a crack about Tobacco Road striking back as Wake Forest and UNC won after all four North Carolina teams lost over the weekend.

Duke beat Georgia Tech by an astounding 53, as Jim Sumner covers elsewhere on the site. That was a stunning team performance.

In Raleigh, NC State and Dennis Smith completed the strike back, beating Virginia Tech 104-78, but check out what Smith did: 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

In State’s long and glorious history, it’s only the second (recorded) triple double. We think Julius Hodge had the first.

Hodge was a nice player, but Smith - you’re seeing a future NBA all-star. He’s just tremendous.

Malik Abdul-Abu had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pack. Terry Henderson added 22.

After the game, Mark Gottfried channeled Herb Sendek when he talked about his players “taking off our cool jackets.” Wherever he is, Herb is going to walk out of his daytight compartment and steal that line.

If State manages to beat UNC in Chapel Hill on Saturday, the Pack will be 13-3 and surely ranked.

One of the bigger surprises of the ACC’s Big East Anschluss is that Notre Dame, always a solid presence in the Big East, has excelled so in the ACC.

And not even just that - you could never go to wrong betting against Mike Brey’s Irish in the NCAA tournament. They always left early.

Not so much anymore. Notre Dame is as tough as anyone in the conference.

That trend continued Wednesday with Notre Dame’s upset of Louisville. Brey’s team was supposed to fall off this season. Now, like State, they might be ranked next week.

Steve Vasturia had 24, a career high, for the Irish. Bonzi Colson had 18 points and 14 boards.

It’s the sixth straight time Louisville has lost at Notre Dame incidentally.

Virginia struggled with Pitt all night but London Perrantes put the game in overtime with a big three.

Unfortunately Pitt pulled away in OT - stop us if you’ve heard this before - and could be ranked next week if they can knock off Syracuse Saturday.

Syracuse, a team that has played as poorly as anyone, got it together long enough to smack Miami by 15. Andrew White had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tyler Lydon had 20 points and seven boards. Jim Boeheim, the dour Dutchman, complained mightily about his defense after the shocking recent loss to BC. Apparently it improved: Miami shot just 38.9%.

As if right now, Duke, Louisville, Virginia, FSU, UNC, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame are all ranked.

It’s possible next week that State and Pitt could be and Clemson might if they had pulled off the UNC upset. They play Notre Dame Saturday and could be ranked if they pull that off.

It’s all meaningless except for this: the ACC has an outside shot at having 10 teams ranked in one poll.

We’re only a couple of games in, but so far, this is one of the best ACC seasons in memory.

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