In Monday’s ACC Action, Virginia went on the road and hammered Syracuse 81-58.
With Virginia, you always look first at how much the defense hamstrung the opponent and it did a pretty good job here. Syracuse shot just 37.3 percent and was just 5-24 from behind the line. Take away those five makes from the 22 overall and the Orange got just 17 two-point baskets.
Virginia only had 15 but they hit 14-31 from deep which works out to 42 points. Syracuse’s three point shooters - Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard and Alan Griffin - combined to shoot just 4-19 from three point range.
Sam Hauser outscored Syracuse by himself from behind the line, shooting 7-13 despite have back spasms before the game and Trey Murphy nearly did hitting 4-10.
One thing that could be a problem down the line for both teams is depth. Syracuse only went with seven guys and only Girard really got a break, playing 26 minutes. The other starters all played at least 34 and Markel Dolezaj ironmaned it. That’s not easy but the guy is honestly frail. He’s being asked to do too much.
Tony Bennett asked a lot of his starters too, with everyone playing at least 31 minutes, but he used six guys off the bench.
Still, Virginia is a team that plays with great intelligence and can probably manage that. They’ve clearly rounded into form and now have to be considered a realistic Final Four contender.
One game on Tuesday as UNC and Pitt rumble in the Pete.
No strangers here.
Jeff Capel had a front-row seat to many UNC games, first against Dean Smith and then against Roy Williams. And his right-hand man is brother Jason, who understands UNC’s system as well as any coach in the ACC and better than most.
UNC should have a considerable advantage inside but not if Pitt can pressure the perimeter and keep the ball away from the big guys. Justin Champagnie punches above his weight inside and someone will have to chase him around the court and we’re not sure the admirable Leaky Black is strong enough to handle him. The big guys are probably too slow to deal with him.
Neither team is great from three point range but don’t rule out either one heating up. If we were betting on anything, we’d weigh UNC’s turnovers vs. their inside power. We’re not sure Pitt can stop them inside, but the Panthers can certainly turn them over before the ball gets there - or pressure the ball enough to limit how often it gets inside.
And after the Wake Forest loss - given the effort Steve Forbes’ team has shown we’re retiring the Weak Forest joke - Pitt is likely to be surly as, well, as a hungry bunch of Panthers.
So we’ll go with Pitt here.
Bad news for Virginia Tech: remarkable guard Tyrece Radford, who Coach K praised highly after the Virginia Tech game, has been suspended indefinitely for failing to maintain “the high standards Virginia Tech has for its students and athletes.”
Well, getting a DUI with a gun (presumably a gun - the charge says a concealed weapon) will do that.
It’s a huge hit for the team. He’s 6-2 and plays with huge heart.
This is a big moment for Mike Young and his program. If he opts for a minimal punishment the Hokies will be able to work him back in. But if he allows the perception that Radford is going to get off easy it’ll damage his program for years. This sort of thing devastated Lefty Driesell’s Maryland program and the rot started before Len Bias’s death. A smart coach takes the hit up front.
Tuesday’s ACC Action
- UNC at Pitt || 7:00 || ACCN
- Duke at Georgia Tech || 9:00 ESPN
- Rapid reaction: Three takeaways from Virginia’s 81-58 win over Syracuse
- Virginia rolls past Syracuse to remain unbeaten in ACC play
- Jim Boeheim after 23-point loss to Virginia: ‘We’re not a top 10 team. They are’
- Syracuse defense gets carved up in 81-58 loss to No. 8 Virginia
- Virginia rains 3s on Syracuse, which still can’t make shots of their own from that distance (Donna Ditota’s quick hits)
- Virginia beats Syracuse, stays perfect in ACC
- Men’s basketball faces must-win game against fellow underperformer Wake Forest
- Hauser, Huff Lead No. 8 Virginia Past Syracuse, 81-58
- Irish Look To Even Season Series With No. 20/19 Virginia Tech
- UNC vs. Pittsburgh Preview
- Progress is tough to gauge in a rebuilding program, but Wake Forest finally found some on Saturday
- Tyrece Radford suspended from Virginia Tech men’s basketball team after DUI, weapon charges