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ACC Roundup - Let’s Get This Party Started

Christmas comes in January for ACC fans.

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Jeff Capel
Pitt coach Jeff Capel has a long history with the Tar Heels.

Saturday marks the first fully busy day of ACC action so let’s do our usual thing and separate the blah games (or so we think) from what should be great basketball.

Blah first. Okay, really there’s just one: Wake Forest at Georgia Tech. The loser here gets the inside track of last place. The runner-up guns for 14th.

Semi-blah: We can’t see BC knocking off Virginia Tech. It’s not impossible but the Eagle sure are thin and the Hokies run guys in and out like it’s a clown car. That should be an insurmountable advantage.

Syracuse at Notre Dame probably won’t be great but should be interesting. The Orange lack any meaningful inside presence and lately have started 6-10/180 lb. Marek Dolezaj at center. It’s a desperation move that Jim Boeheim said he was unwilling to do earlier.

Meanwhile, as we saw at Virginia Tech, Notre Dame is very young and tentative but not a bad team. It’s going to take a few knocks but should get better. Could be an interesting game. We have no idea what to expect.

Think Pitt will be pumped up to play UNC? Well it’s the first sell-out since Jamie Dixon left.

Could they win? Possible but we wouldn’t bet on it. However, we will say this: there’s an excellent chance that Pitt shows up and plays harder, especially on defense. And there’s also a chance that the Tar Heels continue to play down to their competition.

UNC has more talent (although Sterling Manley is still out) but ask yourself who will want this game more? We can guarantee you it’s Pitt. That doesn’t mean they’ll do it but the intensity edge likely tilts to Pitt.

The 3:00 slot sees 12-1 FSU visit Charlottesville where Virginia will try to force the deeper and more athletic Seminoles into a brutally slow contest. Villanova held them to 60 but no one else has had much luck.

As we know though, Virginia’s style is unique and brutally effective. It doesn’t make for great TV but in person it’s pretty amazing to watch. It’s almost as if they use offense as a time to rest and catch their breath to go back and traumatize you on defense.

Virginia is trying to hold them about 30 points under their average. Whether they do it or not, it’s going to be a challenge for Florida State to work that hard on offense.

And needless to say, Leonard Hamilton is also an excellent defensive coach.

Simple question: which team will make the most mistakes? If you said Florida State, you’re probably right and that’s probably what will decide this game.

You probably heard that NC State renamed Reynolds: it’s now James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum, which is a bit confusing. Well that wasn’t confusing enough so when you play at Reynolds now, you are playing on the Kay Yow Court inside James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum. Why not make it the Kay Yow Court inside James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum at the Everett Case Pavilion?

Certainly they both deserve to be honored but that’s getting to be a bit much.

One sad note: former Virginia coach George Welsh has died. It’s hard sometimes to see opposing coaches or players as people when they’re active but somewhat easier after they’re done. He was a good man and an excellent coach. One of the highlights of his time at UVA was the weird dynamic he had with former Duke coach Steve Spurrier. They were polar opposites in personality and style and clearly rubbed each other the wrong way, which made for great football even years after Spurrier left.

Well mostly great for Virginia anyway.

Boston College @ Virginia Tech 12:00 ACCNE
UNC @ Pitt 12:00 ACCNE
Syracuse @ Notre Dame 12:00 ACCNE
Wake Forest @ Georgia Tech 2:00 ACCNE
Florida State @ Virginia 3:00 ESPN2
Clemson @ Duke 8:00 ESPN
No Friday Results

ACC Standings

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