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ACC Roundup - A Good Saturday Ahead

Or at least it should be

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Clemson
Jan 16, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Al-Amir Dawes (2) shoots against Virginia Cavaliers forward Jay Huff (30) during the first half at Littlejohn Coliseum. 
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Miami visits Wake Forest, Florida State buses up to Hotlanta to drop in on the Yellow Jackets, Notre Dame hazards a trip to Pitt and Virginia and Virginia Tech renew their rivalry.

A few games ago this matchup seemed pretty straightforward: Virginia Tech is a rising program with some great pieces while Virginia is a great program which is slowly pulling things together.

But Virginia’s progress accelerated, the defense got its mojo back and now Virginia Tech has a bit of turmoil as star guard Tyrece Radford has been suspended after DUI and weapons charges.

So what gives in this one? We’d go with Virginia, marginally, but not having a star could make Virginia Tech circle the wagons and step up. It’s sociology 101 and mixed metaphors 202!

Miami and Wake Forest is also interesting. The Deacs are rapidly assuming an identity as a unified and aggressive group. Somewhat lacking in talent? Sure. But overcoming that with heart and effort. Not enough to win consistently, but enough to pull this one off. Miami only has a handful of players now and one less since Matt Cross was either kicked off the team or quit of his own accord.

Well now we know a bit more: this was in the Miami Herald:

“We’re told Larranaga had trouble getting through to Cross, who had confidence issues and became detached when he wasn’t playing well, according to a source.

“Cross did not violate any UM rules or have any disciplinary issues, according to the source.”

Well alrighty.

We’ll certainly take Pitt over the Irish right now though Notre Dame has some size that could prove worrisome. It certainly turned out that way with UNC. And despite clear progress, Pitt is still a young team. So we’ll take Pitt with an asterisk for size and experience that could help Notre Dame out.

We hadn't really thought about it but ACC coaches are dressing casually this season and apparently agreed that it would be a good idea, given the current environment. But are shorts a step too far?

And here’s something to think about. We’re still a ways from conference tournament season but will teams that are sure bets for the NCAA opt out of conference events? There’s an argument obviously: Covid could really knock you back for the big tournament. And when you look at it that way, it’s understandable.

On the other hand, the conference tournaments, not least of all the ACC’s, make a ton of money for the various leagues.

More interestingly, on the other, it means that a team that wouldn’t normally make the tournament - let’s say Wake Forest hypothetically - might only need to play well for three days to get to the big dance.

Well unless of course the various conferences change their rule for who gets the automatic bid.