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ACC Roundup - Virginia Tech And Virginia Put On A Great Show Sunday Night

That was a tremendous ACC game.

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NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Duke
Feb 11, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Luke Kennard (5) reacts after scoring against the Clemson Tigers in the second half of their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia and Virginia Tech put on one of the more entertaining games of the season Sunday night, with the Hokies winning in double OT on a Seth Allen shot in the lane.

Virginia had a solid lead - 14 at the half - but lost it all. It’s happened a couple of times lately.

On the other hand, if UVA had hit free throws, it would have gone home a winner.

Virginia missed 10 including some down the stretch. That hurt.

Then again, so did the weirdest play of the ACC season: with 22 seconds left in OT #1 and the scored tied 68-68, London Perrantes drove the lane and somehow the ball landed on the back of the rim...and just stayed there.

After the game, Perrantes said “I couldn’t do it again if I tried. I’ve never done that. I’ve never seen it happen, especially on a layup. That was a tough one for sure.”

Tony Bennett had a more, well, coachly reaction: “I’ve never seen a shot, first of all, do that, balance on the rim like London’s did. That was quite a spectacle there, but we got ourselves in a spot, if we had made our free throws, that we could have made it real tough for Virginia Tech.”

That’s certainly true, and while there was no defense for the circus shot that Justin Gibbs hit (if you don’t believe us look it up on YouTube), it was astounding to see Virginia let Allen - a 6-1 guard - get a relatively easy look in the lane.

Virginia has now surrendered leads to Villanova, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. In the last six games the ‘Hoos are just .500.

It sets up an interesting game with Duke Wednesday. Duke is rounding into form although with some limitations - Amile Jefferson’s offense has not returned post-injury for one thing - and Virginia, as good as it is, clearly hasn’t fully replaced Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill.

Virginia’s defense, although formidable, isn’t as good as it has been in recent seasons.

It’s a fun, dangerous team though with some players who are in various stages of blossoming: Kyle Guy is a cocky guard and a real scoring threat. Marial Shayok is a wonderfully athletic swing who moved into the starting lineup this year and has been a revelation. Ty Jerome (full name: Ty Jeremy Jerome) has really come on in his first season.

We’re not used to Virginia looking like a real athletic team but for parts of Sunday’s game, the Cavs ran with the Hokies.

It was a tremendous showcase for both teams and for the ACC as well.

One concern for Virginia Tech: Chris Clarke, who is a brilliant all-round player, went down hard in the second half and went straight to the locker room. He came back and stood in the huddle with no crutches or visible means of support, so maybe he’s okay. We hope so. He’s one of our favorite non-Duke players. We usually do a list at the end of the year of our favorite ACC players and he’s very likely to be on it.

This was also worth mentioning: coach Buzz Williams came out on the court to check on Clarke and after he left the court, Williams took a towel and wiped the floor. Not something you’d see every head coach do.

We watched to see what he did with the towel, figuring he’d throw it to a trainer or some underling but he didn’t, at least as long as the camera stayed on him. Pretty unusual and quietly impressive.

As you know, things are not going well for NC State. The N&O has a piece looking at how State has done under Mark Gottfried.

For the most part it’s done reasonably well although this season and last have been subpar.

Last season was understandable. Injuries really limited that team. This year is hard to figure and State fans are getting riled up, or, in many cases, resigned. It’s been a long time since State was an ACC power. And it probably won't happen any time soon.

This week will be interesting. Some games to keep an eye on: on Monday, Louisville visits Syracuse. On Tuesday, Wake Forest gets a tough road game at Clemson. On Wednesday, Georgia Tech travels down to Miami, UNC buses over to Raleigh and Duke drops in on the Wahoos.

Louisville-Syracuse and Duke-Virginia have serious implications for the regular season race while Wake-Clemson and Tech-Miami are playing to either firm up their NCAA bid or actually getting one in the first place.

For Wake, getting a road win would be huge. Clemson just needs a win period. And Georgia Tech, incredibly, is in the bubble discussion.

Syracuse is right on the line as well and a win over Louisville would be huge for the Orange’s prospects.

On the other hand, if Louisville does lose, the Cards will have five ACC losses and will have a harder time getting an ACC double-bye. Same is true for both Virginia and Duke: whoever wins there is in much better shape.

Of course the ultimate wild card would be NC State pulling off an upset of UNC. It seems wildly unlikely, but this season, who the hell can say?

State students at least seem ready.

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