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ACC Roundup - ‘Hoo Those Eagles?

BC pulls off an amazing upset

Virginia Tech v Syracuse
 SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 07: Elijah Hughes #33 of the Syracuse Orange loses control of the ball on a drive to the basket as Wabissa Bede #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies defends during the second half at the Carrier Dome on January 7, 2020 in Syracuse, New York. Virginia Tech defeated Syracuse 67-63.
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

In Tuesday’s ACC action, Louisville beat Miami 74-58, Virginia Tech deflated Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, 67-63 and Boston College surprised Virginia 60-53.

Surprised us too. We didn't think they had chance to pull this off and if you’d told us that they’d be without Nik Popovic and Derryck Thornton, both injured, we’d have said it would be impossible.

Yet there was Jim Christian at the end, cool as a cucumber, calling his guys over like it was an exhibition game.

BC fully expected to win. They were excited but they were also confident. It was an impressive performance.

After last season’s spectacular run to the NCAA title, Virginia fans are having a tough time getting used to being mortal again. They’re also getting a bit of what Duke gets a lot of, which is everyone’s best shot. It’s exhausting and no fun but either this season or soon enough, Virginia will be back as we’ve come to know and dread the Cavaliers. They’re not going very far away.

By the way, BC is now 3-1 in the ACC and tied for third place. Yes it’s early, but it’s BC. They need something to build on and now they have it. And without their best two starters!

Speaking of Virginia, Mike Young took his small, young Hokies up to Syracuse and they promptly got confused by Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 for the first half.

But did they ever figure it out in the second.

After merely passing the ball around the top of the key in the first and half of the second, the Hokies started to find shooters in the corners - mostly left corner - and some near the top of the key.

Virginia Tech didn't really do the conventional thing and get inside the zone. They just shot over it. It won’t work every time but it did in this one and led to a decisive 20-4 run.

It felt like a program moment. Here’s this very young team with a new coach that suddenly realized how good it could be. Syracuse seemed stunned. A three here, a three there and the little Hokies scrapping under the boards and suddenly they were in control. And by the way, they played some solid defense, holding the much bigger Cuse to 43.4 percent overall and just six threes (out of 17 attempts).

The Hokies, frustrated by the zone and Syracuse’s size, took 36 and made 10 (27.8 percent). However, they made theirs at the right time, heating up down the stretch.

It was a brilliant win and a great answer to a bad loss at Virginia that Young called “painful.” Well maybe you can also call it a useful lesson.

It’s way too early for this question but keep it in the back of your mind: is Young an upgrade over Buzz Williams? Did you expect that to happen?

Miami hung with Louisville for most of the game before the Cards pulled away. It was a five point game with 4:59 left.

Last time out, Jordan Nwora didn't get much help. This time four guys were in double figures for Louisville, led by Nwora’s 19.

Roy Williams is still upset about the Georgia Tech game and isn’t done ripping his team yet. On Tuesday he called it “the least gifted team I’ve ever coached in the time that I’ve been back here...We stunk, OK. We were not very good. The crazy thing about it is, our team, and we’ve had some very gifted teams, this is not a very gifted team. It’s just not.”

That’s so crazy!

But it’s not as crazy as this: Williams is the guy responsible for analyzing prospects and recruiting them to Chapel Hill. Who’s responsible? Why it’s, you, Huck.

It can’t be fun to have your coach publicly ripping you for days. UNC plays Pitt on Wednesday. We’ll see if this approach works. Maybe he’s not so acidic in private with them. If he is it’s really hard to see how anyone’s confidence is going up.

Here’s the full ACC schedule for Wednesday:

  • Pitt @ UNC || 7:00 || ACCN
  • Notre Dame @ NC State || 7:00 || ESPN2
  • Florida State @ Wake Forest || 7:30 || ACCNX
  • Duke @ Georgia Tech || 9:00 || ACCN

Tuesday’s Results

  • Louisville 74 Miami 58
  • BC 60 Virginia 53
  • Virginia Tech 67 Syracuse 63

ACC Standings