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ACC Roundup - An Exciting First Day

What will Wednesday bring?

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Miami
Nov 5, 2019; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Jordan Nwora (33) shoots the ball against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center. 
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s very strange to start the ACC season with three conference games on opening day, but you get a new network and you like to show it off.

Fortunately, the ACC had the goods.

Louisville was up 72-40 on Miami which included a 17-0 run, three straight threes by Ryan McMahon and a dunk by Jordan Nwora that people will be talking about for a while.

Miami made it respectable late but there’s no question who this game belonged to. Louisville was really impressive and Miami was not. It was a rough debut for the Hurricanes.

People may have to reassess Virginia Tech. The Hokies went down to Clemson, never an easy place to win, and picked up an unexpected win and found an impressive star.

Landers Nolley, who sat out his first year due to academics, has gone from 170 to 225 and he was a revelation in Littlejohn. Nolley scored 30 in his first ACC game. The Hokies may still have some limitations but with Nolley and point guard Wabissa Bede, new coach Mike Young has two pretty good tent poles to raise his program on.

Virginia Tech also held Clemson to 34.4 percent shooting and 24.1 percent from behind the line.

Meanwhile in Raleigh, playing without starters Markell Johnson and DJ Funderburk and one recent defection, State struggled (again) with Georgia Tech. The game went to overtime and while State had its chances, the Ramblin’ Wreck, now with more talent than we’ve seen lately, asserted itself.

Last year, you may remember, the Yellow Jackets had trouble getting to 60 and unlike Virginia, this was not by design.

They scored 82 on the Pack and put all five starters in double figures. You could worry about bench play - heralded transfer gunner Bubba Parham only scored one point in 23 minutes but for all we know he might have been sick.

Still, we had a moment of NC State stuff when an open court pass was intended for 6-11 Manny Bates sailed past him. He wasn’t the guy for that.

Cheer up State fans: if Johnson had been there he would have been smarter and if you’re smarter yourself, you’ll focus on his fine interior defense. He’s going to be a pain.


Much of this is kind of nonsensical. Teams need a few weeks to really get an identity and players need to settle in. However, you can take some things to the bank. Louisville is damn good, Nolley is going to be a pain in the ass and Georgia Tech, at long last, can run and score.

On Wednesday, Wake Forest travels to Boston to play in the Conte Canyon, where students have periodically been lost for days in the vast emptiness, Notre Dame visits Chapel Hill for Cole Anthony’s debut, FSU heads up to Pitt, and Virginia travels to Lower Canada to play Syracuse.

Don't take any of it to heart. It’s way too early for conference play. Still, we can learn a lot of stuff about individuals and trends and things that might be a concern when the real conference play starts and at a minimum, we can celebrate: college basketball is back.