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ACC Roundup - Clemson Wins, But Is Grantham Okay?

The Tiger’s star forward suffered a knee injury against Notre Dame that could derail Clemson’s wonderful season.

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Pittsburgh v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 20: Gary Trent Jr #2 of the Duke Blue Devils slides out of bounds after a drive to the basket against the Pittsburgh Panthers during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 20, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Clemson beat Notre Dame for the first time Saturday 67-58 but two bits of bad news: first, Zion Williamson, who everyone expected to pick the Tigers, chose Duke instead and worse, Donte Grantham went down with a knee injury. It’s not clear yet how serious it is.

With the win, Clemson keeps a share of third place in the ACC race.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, lost its fourth straight, totally understandable given its injury situation (Bonzi Colson and DJ Harvey are out while Matt Farrell is back but surely not 100%). The Irish are still playing Notre Dame basketball but they’re just limited. There’s not much you can do about injuries except wait.

That’s the case for Clemson now too. Losing Grantham would be a huge blow. We’ve enjoyed their success and hope he’ll be okay.

Georgia Tech gave UNC more trouble than we expected but still lost by 14, 80-66.

Georgia Tech forced the Heels into a lot of first half turnovers and the defense frustrated UNC.

Even so, the Tar Heels took a seven point lead to halftime and pushed it out further after the break.

Freshman point Jose Alvarado did fairly well against Drew Berry but ultimately fouled out. Berry scored more than half of his points from the line and the wily veteran had the last word in this interesting battle.

Speaking of Berry he had another interesting victory of sorts on Saturday as Ted Valentine, who has been pilloried for turning his back on Berry recently, approached UNC’s leader to apologize. Being Ted Valentine though he had to put it this way:

“He was just telling me that I have always had respect for him on the court as a ref and that I deserved to get that back a little bit. That’s all he said. He apologized and made sure there was nothing wrong between us.

“I told him it’s all good. It was in the heat of the moment. At the end of the day, you’re still human. Sometimes we do things that are emotional and do things that we look back on and kind of regret.”

Valentine’s ego must be just massive.

Four of the teams we thought would do well - Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami and Virginia Tech - are all behind Boston College, NC State and Georgia Tech, all currently 3-3.

We don’t know if BC and State can maintain their pace and we’re pretty sure Georgia Tech won’t so that leaves at least some room for the other teams to rise.

The most likely to move up as of right now seems to be Florida State and the win over Virginia Tech is important.

What’s happened to the Hokies? This team looked like it was set to do some major damage this season. Things could still change of course and Virginia Tech gets a relatively easy stretch soon, but we don’t get it. It shouldn’t be this hard for a team with this much talent.

Not only did freshman MJ Walker score a career high 24 points, FSU racked up 91 points on the road.

Both teams shot nearly identical percentages from the floor - the Seminoles shot 53.4% to Virginia Tech’s 53.3% - and hit one more three than the Hokies did. But FSU shot 20-26 from the line to VT’s 8-15.

Virginia Tech is now 0-5 against Top 50 opponents and that can’t continue if the Hokies hope to make the tournament.

Three Sunday games as Miami visits NC State, BC hits the Yum! Center and Wake Forest warmly welcomes Virginia to Winston-Salem.

Kidding! Wake Forest doesn’t much like anyone. That’s a prickly bunch up on Reynolda.

So odds are the Deacs will lose again. So far it’s four straight and six out of seven. It’s not like this team is bereft of talent. Far from it. But they’re not playing well. And the question about Wake, particularly after the rebellion against former coach Jeff Bzdelik, is how long before they turn on Danny Manning?

We think Louisville should win particularly given their frontcourt but BC’s guards can overcome a lot so that should be interesting.

Finally, #25 Miami visits the Pack. State has really come together lately and getting Markell Johnson back should be a boon. Omer Yurtseven has finally started to look like the player that was promised.

Whatever Miami’s problems are they generally still play good defense. Increasingly, so does State. So whatever happens here is likely to be determined on that end of the court.

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