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ACC Roundup - An Interesting First Weekend (So Far)

Lots to sort out but things look promising from here

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NCAA Basketball: NC-Greensboro at Virginia
Nov 10, 2017; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome (11) leaps to pass the ball as UNC-Greensboro Spartans forward Jordy Kuiper (32) defends in the second half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers won 60-48. 
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

aThe first two days of ACC play is in the books and everyone won with the exceptions of Pitt and Wake Forest.

Pitt lost to Navy which is perhaps understandable since the entire team is basically new, while Wake Forest lost to Georgia Southern, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Over at the Winston-Salem Journal, where Connor O’ Neill has taken over Dan Collins’ beat, he says it was a bad loss but the season is not a lost cause. There is work to do though. Danny Manning says Wake needs to be better defensively.

Freshman Chaundee Brown made a solid impression though, scoring 20 points in his first outing.

We thought Wake might have started Brandon Childress at point - nope. The Deacs started Keyshawn Wooad, Brian Crawford and Brown for a three-guard offense.

As for Pitt, what did you expect? They have a lot to figure out.

Two starters didn’t score at all against Navy and one managed seven. The other two combined for 30 of Pitt’s 55 shot attempts.

This team needs to figure things out, which should be interesting to watch.

For those who watched Georgia Tech tangle with UCLA in China you already know: the Yellow Jackets found a promising point guard in Jose Alvarado. That guy was so solid and smart. Aside from basic smart play in the clutch, he was Tech’s second-leading rebounder with seven.

But consider Tech’s backcourt with a healthy Josh Okogie and Tadrick Jackson, both currently suspended at home.

Suddenly it looks as if Tech could have - once the NCAA suspensions are sorted out - one of the ACC’s better backcourts.

Bill Walton was very high on freshman and Raleigh native Moses Wright. We’ve talked about him before. He’s a very late bloomer who had some personal issues and tragedies to work through as well. He didn’t do much in China but Walton is a good judge of talent.

UNC has some holes to fill but did well against Northern Iowa. Luke Maye shot 11-16 and freshman Garrison Brooks was 5-6 and 4-4 from the line. Jalek Felton started for Joel Berry, who has one of the most moronic injuries imaginable (he broke his hand in anger over a video game).

Kenny Williams is back which is good news for UNC and Theo Pinson, who has had a tough time with injuries, is presumably in good health.

UNC won by 17 and Northern Iowa is usually a very solid team.

Good news for the Hokies - Kerry Blackshear and Chris Clarke are both back and freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a hot game with 24.

Virginia Tech doesn’t have Ty Outlaw, which is too bad, but this is a team poised for a solid season.

Up in Syracuse, Jim Boeheim got to coach against his son, Jimmy, a freshman for Cornell. Jimmy nailed a three from near the spot where his dad’s name is on the court. How cool is that?

Didn’t really matter but it was pretty cool. Syracuse came on in the second half behind a strong game by Tyus Battle.

Abdul-Malik Abu is out for at least a couple of games for NC State as he gets over a knee injury but it hasn’t hurt the Pack so far: State ran over VMI 102-67.

All five starters scored in double figures and Omer Yurtseven and Lavar Batts had double figures off the bench too.

State forced 21 turnovers and from what we saw, Lennard Freeman looks reborn. It’s early and you can’t say the Pack is back, but it might be on the way.

Lonnie Walker was slated to miss some time but the Miami freshman played in the season opener against Gardner-Webb, which is great news for the ‘Canes. Bruce Brown racked up a triple-double in Miami’s 77-45 win.

Clemson’s win over Western Carolina was fairly pedestrian. We’ll have to see how that team develops but Donte Grantham had 14 points and five boards and may be ready to step up his game, which would be timely since Jaron Blossomgame is gone.

Clemson hit 50% from the floor and 42.9% from the three point line. Valpo transfer David Skara is not playing due to an NCAA suspension. He’s due to miss nine games. The win marked the 33rd straight time Clemson won a season opener.

Virginia has some work to do but the ‘Hoos have a backcourt to build around with Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and Nigel Johnson. They could have shot better against UNC-G but Virginia held the Spartans to 29.4% from the floor so it didn’t much matter.

This will be another fun team to watch develop.

BC took a while to get going against Maine but Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman both hit 18 to pace the Eagles.

Nik Popovic scored seven points and had seven rebounds. He could be the key to BC’s season. If the Eagles have a solid three players to build around their chances of turning things around are much better.

Finally, Notre Dame knocked off DePaul Saturday, and the latest guy to mature on Mike Brey’s bench appears to be TJ Gibbs. He had 21 points. Bonzie Colson had a predictable double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman DJ Harvey came off the bench to play 16 minutes and scored seven points.

The only team that hasn’t played yet is Louisville and the Cards start a most curious season Sunday. Interim coach David Padgett admits to being nervous but his team is talented and capable and should handle George Mason without too much trouble.

Also on Sunday: BC plays SC State, Clemson hosts NC A&T, Navy gets a second straight ACC challenge (and a stiffer one) in Miami, the Pack welcomes Charleston Southern and Virginia Tech takes on the Citadel.

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