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ACC Roundup - So Clemson’s In First?

Well tied anyway.

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North Carolina State v Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger

It probably won’t last - we sure hope not - but go take a quick look at the ACC standings and you’ll see something you haven’t seen very often and probably not for a good while: the Big Four are all way out of first place.

Duke is ninth, UNC is 11th, State is 13th and Wake Forest is 14th.

And in Bizarro Land ACC, Clemson, Virginia and Notre Dame, without Bonzi Colson and Matt Farrell, are tied for first.

Boston College is ahead of Louisville, Duke, UNC and Syracuse.

It’s pretty atypical to say the least.

Let’s look at Saturday’s games with special praise for Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger.

People tell you all the time to keep moving and it’s great advice in basketball. If you can just get out of your defender’s sight you can kill him. It only takes a second.

But it’s more than just stealth, it’s working hard and not just to keep moving but when you can to keep running. And that’s why Notre Dame won at Syracuse.

Pflueger and a Syracuse player were both running down court. Pflueger followed the ball to the basket and got the winning tip-in with less than three seconds to play.

It was one of the most impressive wins of any ACC team so far this season. Playing without his two best players, Bonzi Colson and Matt Farrell, Mike Brey coaxed a remarkable win out of the Irish. And despite missing Colson’s rebounding - get this - Notre Dame killed Syracuse on the boards, 42-27.

Martinas Geben had 14 rebounds and while freshman DJ Harvey shot just 1-14, he grabbed nine boards.

After the game, Ol’ Roy called it “a big old butt-kicking” and complained about turnovers, telling the media that “[w]e can’t beat you guys if you outscore us 25 to 3. Well, maybe we could beat you guys.”

But probably not Virginia.

Virginia did what Virginia does and just strangled UNC, holding the Heels to 49 points.

Even stranger: the score with 4:58 to go was 61-48.

That’s right - for the last 4:58, one point went on the scoreboard. UNC is one of the highest scoring teams in the country and managed just one point in the last 4:58.

Pretty amazing.

Clemson had to go to overtime to beat Louisville but the Tigers did it, winning 74-69.

Wait, Clemson beat Louisville? Clemson’s ranked and the Cards aren’t?

Turnovers are one of the themes of the day - Duke had 16 against State, UNC had 19 against UVA and Louisville had 21 against Clemson.

Clemson has a road game at State and a home game with Miami before a visit to UNC where The Streak endures.

The Tigers have a reasonable shot at beating State and Miami and going to UNC 16-1 and possibly ranked higher than the Heels.

Wake Forest managed just 34.8% from the floor and just couldn’t hit much of anything.

Danny Manning said this: “Going into the game we were one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country if you look at our numbers. We had five guys combine for five field goals and they shot the ball over 25 times.”

Pretty brutal. Wake didn't have Keyshawn Woods though who sat out with an injury.

On the other hand, Bryant Crawford took 24 shots, Chaundee Brown took 12 and Brandon Childress took 10 (they combined to hit 16-46 while the rest of the team combined to shoot 8-23).

Lots of rebounds though: Wake had 50.

Virginia Tech struggled with Pitt for a while but ultimately pulled away to win 81-67. Kerry Blackshear had a monster game with 31 points and shot 12-16.

The Hokies pulled away but it was a five point game with 2:22 left and keep in mind that Pitt is still missing Ryan Luther.

Finally, Georgia Tech beat a weak Yale team 74-60. Jose Alvarado had 23 and Josh Okogie had 20 for the Yellow Jackets. We don’t know what Ben Lammers status is - he’s been playing through injuries - but he had 10 points, eight boards and three blocks.

John Feinstein thinks that the ACC is worse off without Maryland than Maryland is without the ACC. Well, maybe, but we’re not the ones trying to spark a rivalry with Rutgers and Penn State.

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