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ACC Roundup - Reality Hits Pitt

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Jeff Capel’s program has shown great progress but there is a lot of work to do and getting better talent is a big part of it.

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NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at UCLA
Dec 8, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Kris Wilkes (13) makes a three-point basket as Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Rex Pflueger (0) and guard Prentiss Hubb (3) defend with 0.9 seconds to play for the winning points at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA defeated Notre Dame 65-62. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was not a great day for the ACC: West Virginia beat Pitt by 10, Indiana nipped Louisville 68-67, UCLA clipped the Irish 65-62 and Mississippi State beat Clemson 82-71.

On the brighter side, Florida State beat an improving UConn and Syracuse won a big game with Georgetown, 72-71, in dramatic fashion.

Press Virginia is back: West Virginia forced 24 turnovers from Jeff Capel’s Pitt team and held them to 31.5% from the floor. Sagada Konate had seven blocks which is a big night for anyone. In his case it set a school record. He also had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Afterwards, Capel said this: “It was a hard fought game, a very physical game. Obviously, a very emotional game. At the end of the day, we have to minimize our mistakes.”

Seems so.

After a hot start, Pitt has lost three of its last four although two of those losses were by just one point each.

After a ragged first half that infuriated Jim Boeheim, Syracuse caught fire in the second half and wiped out a 13 point halftime lead.

At the half, Boeheim tore into star guard Tyus Battle which seems to get him going: he had 21 after the break including a dramatic game winner with 2.5 left to give the Orange a huge win.

After the game, Boeheim and Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing both said they’d like to continue the series but said it wouldn’t be easy to do with expanded schedules and commitments.

Louisville could have, maybe should have beaten Indiana. As it turned out, IU was tougher and smarter down the stretch.

Indiana hasn’t lost since playing at Duke and even more interestingly, has won the last three by a total of five points.

This team is starting to take on Archie Miller’s personality. It’s tough, smart and doesn’t give up. It’s a touch of Western PA in the heartland.

For Chris Mack, it’ll probably take a little longer but his Louisville program is heading in the right direction.

Notre Dame went out to Los Angeles and woke up the ghosts a bit against UCLA but not enough as the Bruins won a late shot by Kris Wilkes.

Sitting courtside: former UCLA star Jamaal Wilkes, who was part of the UCLA team when Notre Dame broke its 88 game win streak. We’re pretty sure they’re not related but that still must have been kind of cool for him.

In his homecoming game, Rex Pflueger, who is from Dana Point and who has had a miserable shooting slump, hit 5-6 from the floor.

Mike Brey is still tinkering with his lineup. This time he went with four guards and a stretch four forward and brought freshman big Nate Laszewski off the bench.

We were pretty sure Clemson would lose this one. The Tigers are still tough but not as good - yet - as they were at the end of last season and certainly not on defense: the Tigers gave up 19 threes to the Aggies.

We didn't realize Marcquis Reed had to sit out this game but we didn’t think Clemson was going to win regardless.

Clemson has a tough opponent coming up next in Cincinnati. With some rest, perhaps Reed will be back.

So far in their ACC tenure, this is an absolute truth about Florida State: sooner or later, if you like the Seminoles, they’ll break your heart, usually by doing something stupid.

Well not Saturday.

FSU is the more talented team but we’ve learned that Danny Hurley, like his famous brother and father, coaches his teams to play hard and UConn has already bought in.

They just couldn’t quite get over the hump. The Huskies kept charging but couldn’t quite overcome Florida State and the Seminoles actually played smart in the clutch. This is not a habit of theirs as we saw in the game against Michigan last spring when Leonard Hamilton basically conceded the game when it was still winnable (he confirmed this later in a bizarre CBS interview).

Still, what you’re seeing in UConn is a program in a hurry. Hurley needs better players and he’ll get them.

When he does, the ACC may want to think twice about inviting the Huskies to join the conference because he’s building a monster and he’s still a young coach.

Oh, and Boston College? Weird story of the day. Their plane had issues first and then the pilot refused to land in College Station because of heavy rain. He put down elsewhere and while A&M offered to play the game later, BC didn't want to play without the normal routine which takes awhile for every school.

So the Eagles asked for either a 9:00 p.m. game Saturday or a Sunday match and A&M didn’t think that would work, so the game was canceled and Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said he was “perplexed.”

It’s not that perplexing. BC didn't feel they could win without time to check out the gym, have the normal meal, and so forth.

The teams could still reschedule if Kennedy is that perplexed. It’s not hard to work out.

South Carolina State @ Virginia Tech 1:00 ACCNE
VCU @ Virginia 1:30 ACCNE
Florida A&M 2:00 ACCNE
Saturday's Results
  • Duke 91 Yale 58
  • Florida State 79 UConn 51
  • West Virginia 69 Pitt 59
  • Indiana 68 Louisville 67
  • Syracuse 72 Georgetown 71
  • UCLA 65 Notre Dame 62
  • Mississippi State 82 Clemson 71
  • Boston College @ Texas A&M - canceled

ACC Standings

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