Wow, what a night for the ACC.
Miami beat LaSalle 57-46, FSU took down Kennesaw State 98-79, BC came back and knocked off Colgate 83-79, Syracuse got past Toledo 72-64 and Georgia Tech got by UT Rio Grande Valley 78-68.
There were two ACC games worth talking about, worth relishing really.
First, NC State was superb against Arizona, springing the upset, 90-84.
We were watching in the first half and thought if you didn’t know anything about this game, you’d think Arizona was the weaker team.
State was confident, aggressive, smart, passionate and united - in short, all the things State fans wanted to see in the Robinson/Sendek/Lowe/Gottfried eras.
There is potential for any season to go south, but this game undid a lot of bad feelings for State fans.
Allerik Freeman had 24 points and served notice that he’s not going to back down to anyone.
Braxton Beverly demonstrated a keen stroke and took to the big stage quickly.
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton isn’t yet playing with the understanding that he is a dominant force but even so, the guy finished with 27 points and 14 boards. When he figures out how good he really is he’s going to be a monster.
He drew eight fouls on State’s big men (we thought it was nine). Speaking of those guys, Lennard Freeman looks like a new man and Omer Yurtseven is finally understanding what he can bring to the court.
Key stat: State held Arizona to 2-17 from three point range but hit 8-20 themselves. That’s a considerable advantage.
There are no guarantees of course. State’s a bit thin and it won’t work against everyone. Still, it’s a massive shot of confidence for a rising program.
About Arizona, can we just say this? Watching this team really put Lute Olson’s brilliance into perspective. He was as good as Dean Smith, Coach K, you name it. His teams played beautiful basketball. This Arizona team does not.
And Notre Dame’s performance against Wichita State was remarkable.
Notre Dame was down 16 before Mike Brey started zoning the Shockers and the comeback began.
As we’ve come to expect, this is a very fun Notre Dame team. Start with Bonzie Colson, possibly the most unique player in college today. Watching him hit threes is brilliant.
Then look at probably the play of the game: Matt Farrell came around a Wichita player, tipped the ball and then caught the ball and tossed it to Colson - while in the air on the way out of bounds.
Martinas Geben was fouled by Shaquille Morris and hit both free throws to put Notre Dame up 67-66. Wichita State had three seconds but couldn’t get a shot off.
It was a great game for both teams - in fairness, Wichita was missing Markis McDuffie -but like State, Notre Dame had a tremendous game and one that will pay dividends for the entire conference.
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