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ACC Roundup - State’s Movin’ On Up

They’re about to get a piece of the NCAA pie.

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NCAA Basketball: Boston College at North Carolina State

Feb 20, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Sam Hunt (15) is greeted by teammates after hitting a three pointer during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack won 82-66. 

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It took a few minutes for State to figure out BC’s defense - the score was just 6-1 6:21 in when State took off. The Pack scored 13 straight times and never looked back.

State also sharply limited BC star and Raleigh native Jerome Robinson, who had been averaging around 30 points in recent games, to just eight although Robinson did bang his elbow up and that couldn't have helped.

The Wolfpack is now 19-9 overall and 9-6 overall and looking like a good bet for an NCAA bid now. State has games left against Florida State (home), Georgia Tech (at Tech) and Louisville (at home). At this point you’d fully expect to beat Tech and give them reasonable odds in the other two.

What’s most impressive is how thoroughly Keatts has changed the culture. Last year as you’ll remember State’s chemistry was awful. That team just fell apart.

Keatts inherited a number of those players. Some of them have had their roles significantly changed. All of them accepted it. All of them accepted the new players as well.

Despite Keatts’ early suggestions that he didn't really have ACC talent, this team is playing as well as any. We expect that either Tony Bennett or Brad Brownell will get ACC Coach of the Year but Keatts deserves consideration. He’s been tremendous.

Not surprisingly, Keatts was asked about Tuesday’s Louisville ruling. In case you missed it, the NCAA upheld its earlier decision to vacate Louisville’s 2013 national title. Keatts of course is a former Rick Pitino assistant and was on the Louisville staff in 2013 and so has a ring from that championship

He took the Wilmington job in 2014 and of course moved to Raleigh this past spring.

He would only say that he’s “disappointed.”

There was a lot more said in Louisville.

Joseph Gerth, acknowledging all the bad stuff that happened, still pointed to the UNC and Penn State scandals and said that the NCAA had no moral right to judge Louisville.

And Tom Sullivan smartly notes that “[e]ven in the wake of the weaselly example set by the University of North Carolina, U of L’s interim president Greg Postel chose to answer to a higher authority than self-interest.”

And Postel did step up to the plate, saying this: “I like to think we do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. I personally cannot imagine not being cooperative in an investigation, not saying I’m sorry when something awful happens, not taking responsibility for it, not trying to put in place stronger mechanisms to prevent recurrence. So regardless of whether at the end of the day those things give you a credit, they’re simply the right thing to do.”

Good for him. It can’t be pleasant but he’s a good man who did, as he said, the right thing.

It also means this: in the ACC in 2017, NC State, Clemson, Florida State, Syracuse and, yes, Louisville all have more integrity than does the University of North Carolina. So does everyone else, obviously.

Once a leader in demanding accountability in college athletics, UNC’s own determination to deny any responsibility in its massive academic fraud scandal has put it down among the bottom feeders in the NCAA.

People will not forget what happened at Louisville any time soon, but the university can at least rebuild its reputation. Good luck on that in Chapel Hill. As Gerth inadvertently proved, people aren’t going to forgive or forget anytime soon.

Four games Wednesday as Georgia Tech faces very long odds at UVA, Clemson, still without Shelton Williams, goes to Virginia Tech, UNC and Syracuse face off in the Academic Fraud Classic and Wake Forest visits Pitt, thus giving the Panthers possibly their best chance to win an ACC game this year.

Energetic N.C. State continues its roll through a memorable ACC season

25 years ago this week, an ailing Jim Valvano returned to NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum

N.C. State carves out more margin for error with win over Boston College

Broughton star and Boston College guard Jerome Robinson hurt in game at NC State

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