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ACC Roundup - An Awful Day For UNC

Felton suspended, Pinson banged up and a loss to Clemson make it one of the worst days for UNC in a while - as long as you don’t count the self-inflicted damage.

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Clemson
Jan 30, 2018; Clemson, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Luke Maye (32) wipes his eye during the second half against the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum. Tigers won 82-76. 
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson beat UNC for the first time since 2010. After running up a big halftime lead, Clemson had to fight hard to keep it as the Tar Heels cut it back to two with 2:54 left on a Cameron Johnson three.

Clemson prevailed in the end though as Elijah Thomas put Clemson up five with :28 to go. Joel Berry, who was superb in the second half, hit a three with :20 left. Shelton Mitchell hit a pair of free throws though and then the front end of a one-and-one, giving Clemson a six-point lead. Berry hit another basket with :05 to cut the lead to four but that was too little too late.

During halftime, Seth Greenberg ripped UNC and said the Tar Heels hadn’t been playing hard and at one point either the radio crew or the ESPN guys - we were going back and forth - said that even Hubert Davis was seriously upset with UNC’s effort.

They nearly overcame it in the second half but not quite and UNC has now lost three in a row and has fallen behind NC State in the standings and in seventh place.

Berry ended up with 27 points, second only to Cameron Johnson’s 32. The rest of the team combined for just 19 points.

To add to the bad mood, UNC played without sophomore guard Jalek Felton.

Tuesday Felton was suspended not by Roy Williams but by the university. He has also retained an attorney who, as the N&O’s Andrew Carter notes, has a practice which has a significant focus on sexual assault cases.

However, the attorney, Kerry Sutton of Durham, says you shouldn't assume that’s at the heart of this case.

After the game, Roy Williams made it clear that he had nothing to do with the decision and said that “I had nothing to do with how it was handled. That’s probably all I should say because I’ve been advised not to say anything and don’t know enough to say anything...I didn’t have any opinion. I didn’t have any say.”

Well it’s kind of hard to believe that he doesn’t have an opinion at all. Really? Ol’ Roy has no opinion about what’s happening to one of his players? That’s amazing.

Player attrition was sort of the theme of the day.

Theo Pinson went down in the first two minutes of the game injuring his shoulder. He’s not expected to miss any more time but it may have cost UNC this game.

Meanwhile down in Miami, the Hurricanes took a much bigger hit: Bruce Brown is out for six weeks after hurting his foot in practice.

Here’s another Pitt partisan somewhat missing the point about the current state of the program. Did moving to the ACC make life tougher? Sure. Is it impossible? No.

Cody Flavell says there’s no way Pitt can recruit with Duke (true) and UNC (also true) and, more recently, Virginia, and that’s not true. Tony Bennett isn’t going out and getting five-star recruits. He’s finding guys who can master his system.

Ask yourself this: could Brad Stevens succeed at Pitt? You think? Could Archie Miller? Maybe Kevin Keatts? How about Bennett? Mike Brey? At one point, all of these guys were available. Jon Scheyer is going to be an incredible coach someday.

The first thing that Pitt has to do is to make a commitment to basketball. The second thing is to identify the coaches who could succeed there. Pittsburgh is a great city with a lot to offer.

There’s no reason why Pitt can’t be competitive in this conference.

Five games on Wednesday with Pitt visiting Miami, FSU at Wake Forest, Syracuse taking on Georgia Tech in Hotlanta, Virginia Tech heading up to Beantown to visit BC’s imposing backcourt and best of all, Louisville trying, again, to beat Virginia.

Rick Pitino never really cracked Bennett’s approach. He was the origin of our joke about The Face, the look people get when they can’t do anything against UVA.

We’ll be curious to see how David Padgett does. A win here could really solidify an argument to keep him around next year and beyond.

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