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ACC Roundup - Big Ten In A Big Hole

There’s still a lot of ball to play though

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NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Virginia Tech
Nov 28, 2017; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. (24) defends the shot attempt by Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) in the second half at Cassell Coliseum.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, the ACC dominated the Big Ten in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with only Louisville losing.

The ACC is now up 6-1.

Some of it was pretty close. Florida State got a solid game from Rutgers and won by just five, 78-73. Illinois kept pushing back against Wake Forest, but the Deacs held on for a gritty 80-73 win. And Georgia Tech won on a last-second layup after going eight minutes without a basket against Northwestern.

Only Louisville lost, and in falling to Purdue, it became clear what the Cardinals had lost when Rick Pitino fired.

Whatever his flaws had been, he knew how to fight back in a tight game and, like Duke’s Coach K, he has a flair for the daring.

They’re not the same without him. The team was willing but David Padgett is a quieter guy, not as willing to go to the edge with them.

It’s not that they can’t adjust or that a quiet guy can’t win. Dean Smith did okay. Mark Few holds his own. Tommy Amaker has never been a loud personality.

There is an adjustment to be made though and Padgett is still a callow young coach. Stay tuned.

Virginia Tech wasn’t particularly close. Well the first half was but in the second, we saw Buzz Williams’ vision come into focus as Virginia Tech ran over, through and around Iowa. It was a dominating performance, an athletic tour de force. Those guys are very, very good and going to get better. It’s going to be fun to watch Virginia and Virginia Tech go at it this year with such radically different styles. In conference, we’d bet on the Cavaliers but in March, we’d probably go with the Hokies.

We were confused about when Georgia Tech would get Tadrick Jackson back, thinking that he and Josh Okogie had the same suspension but they didn’t and good thing because Jackson broke Chris Collins’ heart on a last-second layup to put Tech over the top, 52-51.

It was as dramatic as Okogie’s dash against Notre Dame last year to win that game.

And by the way, who got him the ball?

Rising star Jose Alvarado, that’s who. That kid is a solid point guard.

The kids all wore Josh Pastner wigs so apparently the issues that came up recently haven’t hit home. And after a win like that, people will be happy for a while.

If it was a big confidence builder for the Yellow Jackets, what about Wake Forest?

The Deacs really had to earn that win and after the early part of this season, who thought they could?

Well they did and it will benefit no one more than Bryant Crawford.

The richly talented junior has never been confident but maybe after this game it can stick a bit. He had a lot to do with the win.

The best thing was that Illinois, now coached by tough guy Brad Underwood, never quit challenging Wake. They had to keep fighting to the end to pull out a very difficult game. This game could pay big dividends down the road for Danny Manning & co.

One concern: Brandon Childress went down hard at the end and had trouble getting up. Everyone was celebrating but when his dad, He Who Must Not Be Named, was leaving the court, he was clearly upset and acting as you’d expect a dad to act when he thought his kid had maybe been mugged.

We hope he’s okay. He started to show some of his dad’s moxie Tuesday night.

Wednesday should be interesting. Penn State isn’t really a pushover anymore and that could be a challenge for the Wolfpack. It’s also a road game. If State can do what it did to Arizona then look out. If not then....look out.

We’re totally not sure about Clemson-Ohio State. OSU is in a major rebuild and Clemson is a tough bunch of Tigers. Not hugely talented but tough and capable. Very tough call. We’ll say Clemson but that’s a dangerous pick. Kids aren’t eating tonight if State loses.

Now. Michigan is likely to run into a baby blue buzz saw in Chapel Hill. John Beilein’s amazing offense could generate enough threes to gun down the Heels but we expect to see an angry bunch of guys. Don’t be surprised if it gets ugly early, and don’t get surprised if Michigan shoots its way back into it either. But UNC will win.

Jim Larranaga > Richard Pitino so Miami.

BC and Nebraska? Nebrasketball was a thing for a week or two but the Huskers fell back to earth after that.

BC is hardly a road team but we don’t think that Nebraska can match Ky Bowman, Jerome Robinson and Deontae Hawkins.

And Thursday we get to see Bonzie Colson and Miles Bridges tangle.

Life is good.

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