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ACC Roundup - Not A Great Saturday For The Conference...

...but not a disastrous one like Kentucky had

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Kentucky
Dec 19, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Day’Ron Sharpe (11) defends Kentucky Wildcats guard Devin Askew (2) during the first half at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Louisville fell hard at Wisconsin, 85-48, Central Florida upset Florida State 86-74, Purdue took Notre Dame 88-78, Miami turned back Jacksonville 73-64, State smacked Campbell 69-50, Virginia Tech walloped Juan Dixon’s Coppin State team 97-57 and Buffalo nearly upset Syracuse before falling in overtime 107-96.

Did we miss something there? What’s that you say?

Oh yeah - UNC beat Kentucky 75-63.

And it wasn’t so much the loss which knocked UK to 1-5 on the season for the worst start since the 1926-27 season - four years before Adolph Rupp showed up.

No, it was the way Kentucky handled the loss.

Freshman Cam’Ron Fletcher cried on the bench, frustrated by his (lack of) playing time. Terrence Clarke walked off the court before the final buzzer. And the only player who was willing to talk to the media was Keion Brooks.

It’s still early but this team looks like a train wreck.

To his credit, Fletcher apologized for his behavior after the game.

For his part, John Calipari blamed himself even as he talked about the manifest immaturity his team displayed.

Two big guys in this game must have had some questions about their school choices: UNC’s Walker Kessler, a Five-star center coming out of high school, got just two minutes and UK’s Olivier Sarr, who came over from Wake Forest to great expectations, fouled out in 19 minutes with two points, four boards, one assist and one block.

Who would have ever dreamed, at any point after the first game, that his old school Wake Forest would be undefeated? The Deacs have had Covid issues but still have twice as many wins as Kentucky and vastly more optimism.

Calipari is even coming in for an unprecedented level of criticism.

It was a bad day all around for the Commonwealth as Louisville utterly collapsed at Wisconsin in the rescheduled match from the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, losing by 37.

Like a lot of teams, the Cards were on pause and hadn’t played since December 1st.

Are they this bad? Almost certainly not: they didn’t go with a full roster. Among others who sat our or who weren’t at their best was their best scorer Carlik Johnson.

Louisville plays at Pitt on December 22nd - a game Pitt coach Jeff Capel will have to sit out as he’s contracted the virus and we wish him our very best for a speedy return - before hosting Kentucky on the day after Christmas.

That’s a highly emotional and hence unpredictable game and Kentucky may be fortunate that Louisville is playing Pitt first instead of coming in really, really angry.

Johnny Dawkins struck a huge blow for his Central Florida program with the upset of Florida State - at Florida State.

We didn’t think they could do it but they proved us wrong. Brandon Mahan had 32 points, freshman Isaiah Adams had 22 and Darin Green had 20.

Not only that, the Knights hit 50 percent overall, 47.7 percent from deep, and limited star freshman Scottie Barnes to 3-8 from the floor and just eight points. They even out rebounded a huge FSU team. It’s one of the most impressive upsets of the young season and a real feather in Dawkins’ cap.

It would be sappy to say that Notre Dame is the best 2-4 team in the country, but you can certainly say the Irish have played one of the toughest schedules in the country: so far they’ve played Michigan State, saw Tennessee cancel, Detroit Mercy, Ohio State, Kentucky, Duke and Purdue.

Given that, 2-4 is hardly disgraceful and Notre Dame has been competitive in every game.

This was a tie game 34 minutes in before the Boilermakers started to pull away.

In a bright note, in just his second game for Mike Brey, Santa Clara transfer had 27 points. That could be something to build on.

Isaiah Wong continued his ascent with 25 points against Jacksonville. Injury-riddled Miami went nine deep but only Chris Cross and Earl Timberlake got serious minutes with 29 and 26 each. It was the first game for Timberlake, who was sidelined by an ankle injury up to this point.

Christmas can’t come soon enough for the ‘Canes, who really need time to heal.

Campbell hung around for about 30 minutes against NC State before the Pack pulled away.

State went nine deep. Manny Bates picked up four fouls in 19 minutes. We’re sure Kevin Keatts would love to have DJ Funderburk back. We’re not sure if he dressed out or not, but freshman big Ebenezer Dowuona didn’t play.

Jericole Hellems had a nice game with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

If you hit 20 three pointers, guess what? Odds are you’re going to win. They did hit 10 non-threes, but if you’re hot, why not keep firing? And that’s what Tech did.

Every starter except Wabissa Bede hit at least one and four bench players hit at least one. Jalen Cone hit five! That’s a pretty great reserve.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Syracuse’s sophomore Quincy Guerrier is having one of the better seasons in the ACC so far: he’s averaging 16.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg. He’s also in Zion territory right now with 67.3 percent from the floor. That’s tremendous and keep in mind that he’s 6-7, not a big. He had 27 points and 11 boards here.

After Jim Boeheim’s criticism last time out, Allan Griffin hit for 24 and also got 10 boards. Buddy Boeheim scored 22 while Malek Dolezaj had 19.

Freshman Kadary Richmond came off the bench to hi for 13 points, eight boards, five assists and three blocks.

Joe Girard only had two but still: this is a potent team. Why did this game go to overtime? Why the hell was Syracuse down 16 - at home?

The media wanted answers and also wanted to know if Richmond was ready to start. Boeheim made it clear he was sticking with Girard, at least for now.

Only one game on Sunday as Delaware State visits erratic but improving Georgia Tech.

Sunday’s ACC Action

  • Delaware State @ Georgia Tech || 6:00 pm || ACCN