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ACC Roundup - For State, Dignity In Defeat

For a change, the Pack showed some fight

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Wake Forest v Duke
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 18: Amile Jefferson #21 of the Duke Blue Devils grabs a rebound between teammates Konstantinos Mitoglou #44 and John Collins #20 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 18, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

NC State was in sort of uncharted territory Saturday: no one knew for sure what to expect. State lost of course, but the Wolfpack at least fought back.

State went down to Notre Dame early but for a change pushed back.

The Irish built a 23 point lead but State cut it to seven three times. They didn’t win but it was at least a credible effort.

Before the game, Mark Gottfried gave his team an interesting analogy: he said it’s like a dog being run over by a car. He might’ve gotten run over this week, but he was going to bite the damned tire.

So it was at least an honest effort.

VJ Beacham, who says he loves playing in the PNC, had 27 points and hit 10-16 with seven three pointers. Bonzi Colson had 13 three pointers and seven rebounds.

For State Dennis Smith had 16 and Maverick Rowan 15 and despite the loss, the team perhaps had the sort of peace that comes with hard work.

In Chapel Hill, UNC did something no one has done to Virginia in a very long time: beat them thoroughly.

For the first five minutes or so it looked like a typical Virginia game, then things got ugly.

On the radio, Eric Montross said UVA hit three shots to open the game and didn’t hit back to back shots again.

At all.

Virginia hit just 27.8% from the floor. Marial Shayok and London Perrantes scored 13 and 12 respectively; no one else passed seven and Virginia managed just 41.

UVA has really low scoring games at times but usually the other team is there with them. Not this time: UNC scored 65 and won by 24.

Virginia had all kinds of problems in this one but Jack Salt got his third foul with 6:10 in the first half and UVA down 10.

Their post depth is pretty minimal and at that point, UNC just ate them alive.

It was Virginia’s worst loss since a 35 point beat down by Tennessee in 2013. It was also the ‘Hoos third straight loss.

Tony Bennett made an oblique reference to the whole wine and cheese thing in the Dean Dome, saying that “I’ve been on both sides of those games,” Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett said, “and we’ll learn from it and step up. There’s a reason they’re 11-3 [in the ACC]. It was jumping early. This was the most alive I’ve felt this place or seen this place since I’ve been here. We answered the first few minutes, but they separated quick. Like I said, it was tough.”

That famous characterization was made by former Seminole star Sam Cassell, who actually said cheese and wine crowd.

Speaking of the Seminoles, check out what Pitt did to them: the Panthers forced FSU’s big men out of the paint to defend jumpshooters and once they were out, Pitt’s versatile players blew by guys like Michael Ojo. Result: Pitt, given up for dead not very long ago hammered the Seminoles 80-66.

FSU is now 3-4 in its last seven games.

Pitt’s D has pretty much sucked this season but on Saturday it showed up and held Florida State to just 34.4%.

Normally Michael Young and Jamel Artis are Pitt’s big scorers but in this game Shelden Jeter scored 29 on 12-14 shooting.

We have a ton of respect for the program Buzz Williams is building at Virginia Tech. He hasn’t had Kerry Blackshear all season and now doesn’t have Chris Clarke for the rest of the year. He went with a four-guard lineup for this one.

Louisville is playing as well as anyone in the ACC but even under duress, the Hokies took them to the limit, losing 94-90.

The Hokies shot nearly 60% and 65.4% from deep; the ‘Ville hit 51.5%.

Ty Outlaw has scored less than 100 points all season. On Saturday he had 19 on 7-8 from the floor and 5-6 from three point range.

Fun game!

Like Virginia Tech, Miami has some serious issues with their rotation: Ja’Quan Newton is suspended (he’ll be back for the Duke game), Bruce Brown's been sick with a virus and tonsilitis and despite everything, the ‘Canes won.

They won with seven guys who hit 50%. Kamari Murphy hit 7-9 and led Miami with 15.

It’s another tough loss for the Tigers who are a very good team that can’t break out in a very tough conference.

One of the sub themes of this ACC season, when it’s over, should be courage. A lot of teams and players have pushed through some tough situations. Look at the ‘Canes and the Hokies Sunday; consider Theo Pinson, who has had a tough season due to injuries; consider the grace that Mark Gottfried has shown since being fired and don’t overlook Jeff Capel, whose mind never wanders far from his father who is dying of ALS.

The competition this year has been incredible but there are a lot of emotional stories too. There always are, but this year they are very compelling.

After Saturday’s carnage, Notre Dame is back in the running for an ACC tourney bye, Florida State is down to fifth and Virginia suddenly down to sixth. Louisville and Duke are tied for second but Louisville has the tiebreaker there.

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