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ACC Roundup - A Cold Thursday For Hot Hoops

Now let’s see who shows up.

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Georgia Tech v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JANUARY 21: Head coach Josh Pastner of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets watches during Georgia Tech’s game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on January 21, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

Two games on tap Thursday as Wake Forest visits State and Virginia travels down to Georgia Tech to take on the Yellow Jackets.

Weather is a major concern for both games.

In Raleigh there was a significant snowstorm with some parts of the Triangle getting about a foot which will make traveling tougher for everyone including, possibly, the officials.

Wake left Winston and drove through the storm to get to Raleigh but just how many people will show up Thursday is a mystery. If the PNC was on campus State students would likely make up the difference easily but of course it’s not. They might still turn out in force but it’s just hard to say.

The ACC will only postpone a game if the officials or a team can’t travel. So we’ll see.

Atlanta didn’t get that level of nastiness but the roads are frozen. However McCamish Pavilion is sold out so fans are obviously geeked up for a crack at the #2 team in the country.

We’d be inclined to take State in that game only because Wake has been a poor road team. Both teams have been erratic but State is far bolder than Wake and it would be foolish to bet against the bold. When State is good, the Pack is really good. We’ve seen some great peeks at what Kevin Keatts can do with a higher level player.

Virginia is not a bold team, which has something to do with Tony Bennett’s poor NCAA record, but the Cavaliers don’t lose too many games they should win.

Dean Smith to an extent ran his program like a mathematical formula and you might argue that Bennett does too. He uses his defense to negate superior athleticism - he shares that with the Princeton offense - but that team hardly ever gambles. It plays the percentages.

If Bennett were in Vegas, he’d study the odds - well, actually, he’d probably be a world-class card counter.

Virginia is about taking away on defense and then making the highest percentage offensive play possible. At its finest, Virginia’s system can make opponents wear The Face.

What’s The Face?

It’s the look opponents get when they are helpless and have absolutely no answers. Rick Pitino used to look like a scared child. Buzz Williams had it recently in Blacksburg when Virginia systematically dismantled his team. The best though was a photo a couple of years ago of one of Harvard’s kids standing next to Tommy Amaker in disbelief clearly about to bawl in sheer frustration.

So will Josh Pastner wear The Face? Well the picture here is from last year and that’s pretty close.

Last year Virginia’s Jack Salt severely limited Georgia Tech’s Ben Lammers and Tadrick Jackson shot just 1-5.

Josh Okogie had 14 but he wasn’t as brilliant as he was at times during his sterling freshman campaign.

There is an interesting wild card though and that’s freshman point guard Jose Alvarado.

We really like him. He’s had some normal freshman growing pains but he’s smart, he’s steady and he’s really competitive.

That said, Virginia can really break you down. If Alvarado proved to be a huge emotional spark to his team or instead was completely tied in knots neither would surprise us in the slightest.

More bad news for Notre Dame - DJ Harvey is out for a month.

The N&O’s Luke DeCock has a great idea: the ACC should bring the tournament back to its roots in Raleigh for the 75th anniversary.

That’s such a cool idea. Jim Boeheim might even find someplace good to eat.

Finally, folks around Clemson are getting very optimistic about landing Zion Williamson, who will make his announcement on Saturday.

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