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ACC Roundup - Matt Farrell Explodes

His performance at B.C. won’t soon be forgotten

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NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Boston College
 Feb 17, 2018; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Matt Farrell (5) reacts after a play during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Silvio Conte Forum.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was the Matt Farrell show in Boston with the Notre Dame guard hitting eight straight threes in the first half and finishing the game with 37.

He put on, as Mike Brey said afterwards, one of the great performances in a Notre Dame uniform.

He obviously wasn’t alone - the Irish shot 63.3% overall and 60.9% from deep - but Farrell was clearly on a different plane. He completely overshadowed BC’s Jerome Robinson, who finished with 29. Over his last five games, by the way, Robinson is averaging 30 ppg.

By the way, BC is now guaranteed to finish the season at at least .500. It’s a team that has caught people’s imagination and that should lead to good recruiting news.

Locally, both UNC and State won.

UNC won at Louisville and like Notre Dame, lit it up from outside and went up 40-21, which is pretty damned good for a road game.

Louisville never got closer than seven and UNC won its fifth straight game.

We’ve admired Joel Berry’s competitive nature and his ability to rise to the occasion but if you’d have said he would block a Ray Spalding shot we’d have said you’re nuts.

And in Winston-Salem, three pointers were the story again as Wake couldn’t stop State from hitting them and couldn’t manage to hit them on their end. Wake also had 10 first-half turnovers too.

At some point the onus is on the coaching staff. It’s not a team bereft of talent but defense, composure and at times unity has been lacking. There’s no sign of things changing right away. Manning has improved recruiting so we’ll see but people - and especially Wake fans, given recent history - are bound to get impatient.

Syracuse can’t afford any losses at this point and a road win over Miami is a major boon to their post-season hopes.

Oshae Brissett finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Frank Howard finished with 18 points and six assists.

Freshman Chris Lykes was guarding Howard but gave up 10 inches. He also took 10 threes which is probably not what Jim Larranaga would have preferred.

Syracuse, Miami and FSU are all 7-7 in the ACC now, all with 18 wins and all closer to the bubble than they’d surely like to be.

We’re not picking on Virginia Tech when we say this but it’s surprising to us as Duke fans: Saturday’s 76-56 win over Georgia Tech was the Hokie’s biggest ACC road win ever. And they were up by 35 at one point.

It’s not entirely fair. First they haven’t been in the ACC all that long still and secondly their tradition isn’t that great. Triangle schools measure by national titles and double-figure ACC titles.

We can’t match their football success either.

It’s a nice bounce back after the humbling at Duke.

For Georgia Tech, it’s more of the same and the ninth loss in the last 10 games. What can they do? Their center has been banged up all year, their point guard is out and the only other scorer they have is their sixth man who, while he can score, is not a freakishly great player or anything.

Right now, Josh Okogie is about it.

It’s been a long and dreary season for the Yellow Jackets and if they give up a bit it’s hard to blame them.

Josh Pastner said this after the dispiriting loss: “I think fans in the long run can see what we’re trying to do. … We had one guard on the roster. In that ’17 recruiting class, we missed on a lot of guys. This year we have a top-30, top-35 class. What we need to do in ’19 is to have a great class. We’ve got to continue to increase the numbers...I think fans see that and understand that. This year we’ve been snake-bit, obviously. It’s important next year they see the continuation of the growth, that we’re knocking on the door of postseason play...There’s no question in my mind – we will get the program where it needs to be. I have zero doubts. I have 100 percent faith. We’re going to get this program back where it won’t be a one-time appearance...Tech has been great in the past, and we will get there. … It’s going to happen. It’s just not going to happen overnight.”

Apparently not. We wonder who is more miserable: Tech fans? Wake Forest fans? Or Pitt fans?

At least in Atlanta last year was pretty great.

Tomorrow Pitt will likely move to 0-14 as it visits Florida State where an athletic and defensive-minded team will probably make their trip miserable.

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