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ACC Roundup - Louisville’s Looking Really Good

The Cards are a legit Top Five team

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse
Nov 13, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Bourama Sidibe (34) reacts to his dunk as teammate guard Joe Girard III (front) celebrates an assist on the play against the Colgate Raiders during the second half at the Carrier Dome. 
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In Wednesday’s ACC action, Louisville thumped Indiana St 91-62, BC whacked High Point 59-33, Syracuse handled Colgate 70-54, Virginia Tech beat SC Upstate 80-57, Wake Forest took Asheville 98-79 and NC State handled FIU 86-77.

Duke will likely be #1 in the polls next week, based on historical trends and barring a Kentucky-like disaster against Georgia State Saturday, but you could make an argument that it should be Louisville.

Who else? Kansas has been unimpressive, Michigan State has already lost and has a key injury and severe emotional trauma for Cassius Winston as his brother committed suicide last weekend, UNC has some issues on offense, Maryland is like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football, Gonzaga hasn’t played anyone and lost a lot from last year, and Virginia is replacing three starters.

Right now it’s Duke, Louisville, and Michigan State - and Louisville has been impressive so far.

The Cards killed Miami before letting them cut it back late, ultimately winning by 13. They had a 32 point lead. Youngstown State lost by 23 and now Indiana State lost by 29.

Louisville is winning by an average of 21.6 ppg. Even early that’s impressive. And so is the shooting, over 50 percent in each game.

They’re looking like the real deal and a challenge for every ACC team.

Up in Beantown, BC had an impressive non-conference game and before you say, well it’s High Point, look how many times BC has lost to bad teams in the last few years. Blowing someone out? That’s a bit different. BC hasn’t been big on that.

Former Blue Devil Derryck Thornton who was red hot in his first two games, cooled off. He shot 2-9, missed all his threes and finished with seven points.

Didn’t really matter. BC rolled. The Eagles forced 29 turnovers from High Point which is really impressive. Good thing the defense was imposing: Boston College won by 26 despite shooting just 36.9 percent.

Big man Bourama Sidibe had a nice double-double with 12 points and 14 boards to help Syracuse brush by Colgate. Elijah Hughes had 14 and the coach’s son Buddy had 17.

Colgate shot just 30 percent for the game. Two notes about Syracuse freshmen: Joe Girard is going to start now and John Bol Ajak will redshirt.

We’ll learn more about Virginia Tech as time goes by but it seems clear that Landers Nolley is the real deal.

He had 30 against Clemson, 11 against Coppin State and 22 against SC Upstate. He’s averaging 20.5 ppg and six boards. Check out what coach Mike Young says about him: “Your better players are going to get the majority of the shots. This isn’t ‘We’re all created equal.’ Those good ones, they love playing for me.

“As great a home run hitter as Mickey Mantle was, he struck out some. I’m not comparing Landers the basketball player to Mick. But he’s got a little more of a green light than some others.”

He’s also going to make the Hokies better than people expected.

Upstate isn’t.

Now coached by former Maryland star Dave Dickerson, SC Upstate has 12 players who are freshmen and sophomores. That’s a lot to overcome, leave alone the vast gap between the Big South and the ACC.

Still, you should pay attention to Nolley. He’s looking like he’s about to be somebody.

Want a classic bad news good news?

Wake had trouble putting UNC-Asheville away until the last seven minutes.

Wake struggled is bad news. Wake clicking in the closing minutes? That’s different.

And that’s probably a good sign for the Deacs. Chaundee Brown and Olivier Sarr combined for 44 points and 19 rebounds. And that’s pretty good - but they also combined to shoot 15-17 from the floor and 14-15 at the line. Not bad!

Wake has a modestly challenging schedule coming up - Charlotte, Davidson, Charleston and Penn State - before playing NC State. Xavier and NC A&T close out the non-conference schedule. We’d say six wins is what you should expect out of that. If Wake exceeds that, that’ll be impressive.

Good news for NC State as DJ Funderburk is back from his suspension. You may remember that Funderburk, rather idiotically, tried to drive his car away with boots on each wheel.

He was fined for damage to the boots and also to the concrete. Presumably he didn’t drive very far. Who does that? Granted, 18 probably has something to do with it but what a dumb thing to do. Just pay your parking tickets.

He got in for 22 minutes as State survived FIU by nine. State was down 10 in the second half but ran off some points to get some separation.

Note to ACC: guard Pat Andree. The grad transfer hit four straight threes.

After the game, Pack coach Kevin Keatts praised FIU as a good team and one deserving respect.

Markell Johnson is probably not 100 percent yet but when he is State should be at full strength. If they have a great streak shooter in Andree, that’ll change things a lot.

No games on Thursday, but there are a couple of good ones on Friday.