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ACC Roundup - Standings Scrambled Saturday

Things are back up in the air again.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia Tech
Jim Boeheim makes the best faces. He really does.
Michael Thomas Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC action, Florida State beat Miami 83-79, Syracuse took down Virginia Tech 71-69, Clemson fell to NC State 60-54, Virginia downed Georgia Tech 63-58 and Pitt slammed UNC 66-52.

It wasn’t that close either.

Sunday’s ACC Action

  • Boston College @ Wake Forest || 6:00 || ACCN

Saturday’s Results

  • Louisville 79 Duke 73
  • Florida State 83 Miami 79
  • Pitt 66 UNC 52
  • Syracuse 71 Virginia Tech 69
  • Virginia 63 Georgia Tech 58

ACC Standings

Pitt is 12-6 and 3-4 in the ACC. This team has lost to Nicholls and Wake Forest. It’s promising but at this point not great.

This team has punked UNC twice in the last two weeks.

The first half Saturday was ridiculous by any standard. Pitt just ran over UNC, backed up and did it again. Look at ESPN’s play-by-play page. Start at 11:12 when the score was 18-10 with Pitt up: down but certainly not yet out.

Go down to 13:28.

You can almost feel confidence dripping away through the emotionless reckoning of tabulated failure: Turnover. Steal. Turnover. Turnover. Steal. Turnover.

Each one was a metaphorical kill shot to Roy Williams’ self-esteem.

Any coach would feel a sense of failure in a stretch like this but it has slowly dawned on us that Williams draws more of his self-worth (as opposed to self-esteem) from his professional success than most coaches do. Hence the jokes about suicide or the comments that he should be fired for poor performance. Failure, for Williams, is deeply tied to his sense of self-worth.

Honestly, it reminds us of former Duke coach Bill Foster, who used to drive around Durham after a loss, punishing himself with country music. And by that we don’t mean the bippety bop country on the radio today where everyone has a girl, a porch swing and a pickup truck and a Saturday night yearning to do something, but rather the hard core ‘70s country music of loss and drinking and devastating betrayals. If you drive around long enough listening to George Jones at his destructive peak, or Fancy, or the Bottle Let Me Down and you’ll either get over the damn game or drive off a bridge. It was probably great self-therapy.

And aside from turnovers, UNC didn’t help itself either. The Heels shot just 31.7 percent, 22.2 percent from deep and just 46.7 percent from the foul line. Or as Roy might say, the freakin’ foul line. How does a team shoot free throws that poorly?

(Answer: it wasn’t that bad really. Garrison Brooks, who has by far been the most admirable Tar Heel during this train wreck of a season, shot 2-8. Take him out and it’s a much better, though hardly great, 8-13).

Toss in 16 turnovers and Pitt’s aggression it was just about impossible for UNC to do much.

Roy Williams tied Dean Smith in win totals in December 30th against Yale and he’s sat there ever since.

You imagine on the one hand that he means it when he says stuff like he reveres Smith and that every game he coaches is a tribute to him (although lately it’s not been much of a tribute). He treats Smith like a father figure, which is understandable, but all sons compete with their fathers to an extent, partly to win approval and partly to surpass them over time, and in that sense, not to mention his own need to validate himself by succeeding in a very public format, you have to think it’s killing him to still be tied.

We’re sure he’d say that’s the least of his worries but success is certainly not.

Next up for the Heels is a trip to Virginia Tech followed by Miami and a trip to Raleigh where the Pack will be ready to stick it to UNC but good. None of those look like sure wins.

Miami took Florida State to the wire in overtime but weren't able to overcome FSU’s potent and athletic defense at the end. Miami actually was up by nine in the second half but the ‘Noles cut that down and charged back. Chris Lykes hit a three with 1:51 left to put Miami up 69-66. Unfortunately he also missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:31 left which allowed FSU to tie the game with :43 left.

In overtime, Miami still kept pushing Florida State but FSU won the extra frame - but Miami really did push them. Depth is a real concern but Miami is certainly competitive.

Clemson has beaten Duke, UNC and State already but the Dream Sweep of all Big Four schools will have to wait as State won the rematch 60-54. The Pack ran out to an 18 point lead before Clemson fought back and the finish was fairly tight. Aamir Sims started out hot - he was superb against Duke and UNC - but after that, the Pack threw a blanket over him.

As we’ve suggested, having CJ Bryce back is a major boon to State. He played all 40 minutes in this one.

Buddy Boeheim got extremely hot against Virginia Tech, ripping off 18 in a row at one point and a total of 26. He’s much better than just the coach’s boy. Eighteen straight is not something many people ever do.

The Orange built a 16 point first half lead only to see Virginia Tech fight back. It was a two-point game with 10:37 left. Syracuse stayed ahead, rebuilding the lead to eight, but Virginia Tech couldn’t steal this one. Tyrece Radford, who has been terrific lately and especially as a rebounder despite his, was held to two points and six rebounds.

Just 6-2, inch for inch, the freshman from Baton Rouge is already the best rebounder in the conference.

Syracuse made a smart adjustment for the last play, putting 6-10 Bourama Sidibe in for 6-1 Joe Girard. This allowed the Orange to move 6-6 Elijah Hughes to the top with of the zone with the 6-8 Boeheim in anticipation of a final three point attempt, which failed.

Virginia Tech has been incredibly impressive but there are just times in basketball when you can’t get around being small and that was one of them.

Virginia had a three game losing streak, which has become hard to believe for a Tony Bennett team, and it ended in Atlanta as the ‘Hoos won 63-58.

Jay Huff continues to advance: he had 17 points, eight boards and six blocks. That’s a solid game. Although Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner insists, quite correctly, that his team’s 8-10 record is deceptive, it’s still 8-10 and he’s in Year Four - and looking at probation too. No one doubts his intelligence - the guy finished college in about five semesters while playing basketball. He’s unquestionably brilliant. Still, 55-62 is not that great a run and that whole probation thing won’t help/go over well with the bosses when it comes down, not least of all that he wasn’t entirely forthcoming about the whole business.

The ACC race got pretty scrambled Sunday with Duke’s loss to Louisville.

Louisville and FSU are now tied for first, Duke is in third and there’s a four way tie for fourth between Virginia, Virginia Tech, NC State and Syracuse at 4-3. The only other team over .500 currently is BC and that’s just barely.

Just to note it, Virginia is only one game behind second place. Don’t be too surprised if they stabilize and move up as competition brings the leaders closer.

For all the talk of how down the conference is, Pitt (12-6/3-4), Georgia Tech (8-10/3-5), Notre Dame (11-6/2-4) and Miami (10-7/2-5) are all dangerous teams.

Wake Forest and UNC are at the bottom of the pile and currently aren’t very dangerous at all.