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ACC Roundup - Virginia, Clemson Pull Stunners

Great day for both teams

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at North Carolina
Feb 15, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams reacts in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. 
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC games, Clemson handled Louisville 77-62, Florida State nipped Syracuse 80-77, Miami toyed with Wake Forest 71-54, Pitt fell to Virginia Tech 67-57 and Virginia became the latest team to absolutely gut UNC, winning on a three at the buzzer 64-62.

Sunday’s ACC Action:

  • NC State @ Boston College || 6:00 ACCN

Saturday’s Results

  • Clemson 77 Louisville 62
  • Duke 94 Notre Dame 60
  • Florida State 80 Syracuse 77
  • Miami 74 Wake Forest 54
  • Virginia 64 UNC 62

ACC Standings

The setup was amazing really. Kihei Clark split on a pair of free throws with :22 left to put Virginia up 61-59.

Tomas Woldetensae fouled Christian Keeling on an attempted three. The grad student transfer has not always been a stellar foul shooter this year but he was in this one. He hit all three to put UNC up 62-61.

Virginia got the ball into Clark who came down the right side of the court, guarded by Cole Anthony. He kind of faked a pull-up just inside the three point circle and Anthony bit. He had the advantage and though the much bigger Anthony loomed over him, he couldn't stop him as he cut under the basket.

Garrison Brooks cut over to help out too and, more seriously, Leaky Black left Woldetensae briefly to hedge on Clark.

Big mistake.

When Black realized his mistake it was too late: he turned and overreacted. Woldetensae watched him go airborne then slid to his right and launched one of the prettiest daggers in Virginia history.

Bottom of the net and Armando Bacot slumped over in the lane after it fell through. It’s become a familiar UNC pose this year.

The Tar Heels have now lost to Clemson at home in overtime 79-76, Virginia Tech 79-77 in double overtime, Boston College by one, Duke by two in what will become a legendary game and now Virginia.

Those are just the gut-wrenching losses. They’ve also lost to Oregon, Ohio State, Wofford, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech, Pitt twice and Wake Forest by 17.

UNC thus falls to 10-15 and 3-11 overall. However there are winnable games left: The Heels go to Notre Dame and Louisville, then get NC State at home. After that is a road trip to Syracuse and Wake Forest at home before closing out at Duke.

Theoretically, UNC could still finish over .500 before the ACC Tournament. Obviously though, time is running out.

Clemson pulled off the stunner of the day with a big upset of Louisville. We didn't call it but we did mention it as something to keep an eye on. Clemson is a very dangerous place to play.

Louisville had the lead briefly at 5-4 and then Clemson grabbed it back and never let go again.

Clemson held Louisville to 34.8 percent from the floor while hitting 51 percent. The Tigers had a big advantaged from the line, hitting 18-23 to Louisville’s 8-12.

Johnny Newman hit 23 to pace Clemson. Tevin Mack had 14 and Aamir Simms added 13. It was a bit odd to see actor Bill Murray at a Clemson game but for anyone who doesn’t know, his son is a Louisville assistant and he’s a very supportive dad. We hope to see him in Cameron next year. Like Coach K, he’s a native of Chicago and has been aware of K since their high school days.

The loss drops Louisville down to second place as Duke assumes the top spot.

Syracuse was sooo close to knocking off FSU on the road. For some unannounced reason, Devin Vassell sat this one out. Leonard Hamilton declined to say why.

Syracuse wasn’t sure about Elijah Hughes but he did play. In fact, he nearly hit a long shot to tie the game as time ran down.

Florida State and Louisville are now in a tie for second place and FSU has the tie breaker with an earlier win over Louisville. The rematch is on the 24th.

Pitt and Virginia Tech have both hit a rough patch so something had to give.

In this case, Pitt yielded 67-57.

After the game Jeff Capel said “I thought we did some good things, but we have to be able to finish. I would imagine we probably missed seven to eight layups, so we have to be able to finish those plays, and we have to be able to make free throws (10 of 18). If we can do that, then maybe the outcome would have been a little bit different or a little bit closer.

”We cannot dig ourselves a hole like we did again. We showed we can get up off the mat and fight back, but we have to figure out a way where we don’t have a hole that big.”

In other words, it’s just youth and guys who don’t yet know how to win. They’ll get there.

Same for Virginia Tech. Winning this game doesn’t mean they’ve figured it all out but they’ll get there too. Both programs are intelligently coached, which brings us to Wake Forest.

Is it time to say goodbye to Wake’s Danny Manning yet? You have to think that coaches around the country who want to one day coach in the ACC are quietly telling their agents to put out feelers.

The Demon Deacons have shown some signs of life this season but not nearly enough and there have been some dreary spots too. Take Saturday’s visit to Miami.

Miami pulled away in the second half and led by 20 with 1:20 left. For the first time in forever, the ‘Canes have enough players to, well, practice. And nine players, after the injuries they’ve had, is a real luxury.

No one played more than 30 minutes which is great news for Miami’s next game too, at Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

One game on Sunday as NC State visits Boston College. At 16-8, State really doesn't need to lose to 12-13 BC. That’s a major resume hit. And look what’s coming next for the Pack: Duke and FSU at home followed by a road trip to Chapel Hill, then Pitt at home. Then it’s Duke at Duke and then closing out Danny Manning’s Wake Forest career at home.

That’s a brutal ending stretch. Better get wins where you can.