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ACC Roundup - State Takes The Hill

What a day for State and State fans.

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North Carolina State v North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 27: Torin Dorn #2 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack takes a rebound away from Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on January 27, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 95-91 in overtime.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Too bad the Raleigh mayoral race isn’t anytime soon. Kevin Keatts would be a shoo-in.

In his first year, Keatts has taken down ranked opponents Arizona and Clemson and most importantly Duke and now UNC.

As the game wound down and went into overtime, we found ourselves wondering if State fans were waiting for the other shoe to drop as it has so many times. In the end though, the Pack came through.

Allerik Freeman had a spectacular game and probably brought back some memories of Kentucky’s Tayshaun Prince and that guy from Wake Forest we don’t like to name.

Allerik Freeman finished with 29 points including 7-7 from three point shooting. The grad student transfer from Baylor also has a lifetime memory. What a tremendous game.

His brilliant offensive output was mirrored in reverse by Joel Berry. Berry is a huge factor in UNC’s two-year Final Four run. We’ve always been impressed by his guts and his ability to step up in the moment.

Not so much today.

Berry was just 3-12 and scored just six points. He tried in the end as he usually does but this time he didn’t come through.

Theo Pinson, who has become an outstanding assist man, stepped into the void, hitting 10-16 and picking up 15 rebounds. That’s a superb performance.

Luke Maye had 31 points and 12 boards.

State started Abdul-Malik Abu, Omer Yurtseven, Torin Dorn, Markell Johnson and Braxton Beverly incidentally. With Johnson back from his suspension, that might be what State goes with from here on out.

State has some bad losses but the quality wins are about to put them in the NCAA conversation, assuming they can keep it up.

Miami fell to .500 in the ACC with an over time loss to Miami. FSU put six players in double figures and shot 60% for the game. Miami hit 50% and 17 three pointers but found it hard to stop the bigger Seminoles, who got to the line 39 times.

We just said that Pitt was on target for an 18-loss ACC season and they nearly proved us wrong at Syracuse. The Orange were having a miserable day but freshman center Bourama Sidibe came through in a big way with 18 points and 16 boards off the bench.

Pitt is unquestionably improving: the Panthers were in their last two games. They still have a tough road ahead but unquestionably this is a better team than it was early in the season.

As we fully expected, Notre Dame was highly competitive against Virginia Tech but Chris Clarke had other ideas.

Virginia Tech’s Swiss Army Knife had six points in the last 23 seconds to hold off Notre Dame’s last gasp comeback.

Notre Dame’s slide continues: without Bonzi Colson, the Irish have lost five straight but those losses were by seven, one, four in double OT, nine and five.

Mike Brey is coaching his ass off. Tony Bennett and Keatts and perhaps Brad Brownell are probably frontrunners for ACC Coach of the Year but Brey should get some consideration.

Check this out: in the last two games (vs. Duke and Louisville) Wake Forest has 41 turnovers.


Toss in admittedly poor defense and the Deacs had no chance against Louisville and lost without much resistance, 96-77.

After the game Bryant Crawford said “I felt like it might have been one of our worst losses this year. I just felt like we didn’t come out and compete and have that same edge that we have been having.”

Someone should remind Crawford that Wake has lost seven straight and nine out of 10. What edge is he talking about? It’s the edge of a cliff if anything.

On Sunday Clemson, now without senior star Donte Graham, travels to Atlanta for a winnable game against the Yellow Jackets. Just looking down the Tiger’s schedule we see four clearly winnable games which would put them at 20 wins. They still have to pull a few more but the Tigers can still make the NCAA tournament without Grantham if things go well.

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