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ACC Roundup - Pitt, Wake Forest Show Great Character

And Virginia is shockingly vulnerable

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 12 Gardner-Webb at Pitt
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 12: Femi Odukale #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers attempts a three point shot during the first half against the Gardner Webb Runnin Bulldogs at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA on December 12, 2020.
Photo by Michael Longo/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Wednesday’s ACC action, Virginia took care of Wake Forest, 70-61, Louisville nipped Virginia Tech 73-71 and Pitt knocked off Syracuse 63-60.

And that was probably the most impressive game of the three.

Pitt was down by 18 and played without star Justin Champagnie, out for an extended period with an injury, and also were missing Noah Collier, John Hugley and Nike Sibande, all of whom stayed home due to contact tracing.

And of course, it was a road game, something Pitt has struggled with for several years.

And the game was just announced two days ago. And Jeff Capel is just back from his virus experience.

And Pitt started off down 11-0. We could go on for a long time but the main point is that the Panthers faced great adversity any way you look at it and (see what we mean?) showed great character by winning this one.

Capel must be thrilled. His team has grown immensely this season and a win like this is going to do nothing but boost their confidence.

Pitt is now 5-2 and 2-1 in the conference. It’s early, but remember what we said about what Capel is building. He has a team of really good athletes who can come at you in waves. Shooting is still something of a weakness, but if you’re moving fast enough it doesn’t matter nearly as much.

Speaking of confidence, we thought Wake Forest was going to just get clobbered at Virginia.

Well not quite.

Wake managed to shoot 63 percent in the first half against America’s most feared defense. What the hell?

Against Georgia Tech, Wake hit just 15 percent from deep and 41.5 percent overall. Against Virginia?

Try 52.6 percent from behind the line and 51.1 percent overall.

That’s so un-Virginia. But new Wake coach Steve Forbes?

He can sell his team on that game: they can play with the big boys and right now.

Still, Virginia won and had a strong second half so you can’t overlook that. But last year this Wake team might have been lucky to top 40 points.

We know nothing about grad student transfer Jonah Antonio except for this: he’s hitting 50 percent on three pointers. You have been warned.

Also worth noting: Virginia’s Kody Stattmann is out with a cardiac issue, hopefully temporarily.

Yes, Virginia Tech was a bit hit-and-miss, a bit touch-and-go, a bit erratic against Louisville and we could say a bit a bit more, too.

However, what we noticed was this: their offense has gotten fast as hell. We don't mean up-and-down fast. We mean they move the ball fast and strike fast. At times it was honestly breathtaking. It’s clearly a product of fine coaching because players don’t generally do that spontaneously.

Nonetheless, as ever, Virginia Tech fell to the Cards. And why as ever?

Because the announcers said that hadn’t beat Louisville since 1992. Kyrie Irving was born in 1992. So was Selena Gomez. The Maastricht Treaty was signed, forming the EU. Bill Clinton defeated George Bush and Christian Laettner was putting the final touches on a stunning basketball career.

That’s a long time not to win in a series. The Hokies were close, but no cigar. However, that offense is going to be very hard to control and Mike Young is just in his second season. Write it down: he’s building a monster.

Hide the kids for this story: former Notre Dame assistant Ryan Ayers has been arrested for voyeurism. Allegedly he recorded two women either in a state of undress or having sex with him (he had had relationships with both of the women).

He’s also accused of punching one in the face.

Through his attorney, Ayers denies the allegations. He left Mike Brey’s staff before this season started.

Also, if the name rings a bell, it may because his father is Randy Ayers, who coached at Ohio State and then in the NBA.

No more ACC games until Saturday.

ACC Standings