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ACC Roundup - Kentucky Rips UNC

It’s a major setback for Hubert Davis’s nascent program

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at North Carolina
 Dec 18, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard R.J. Davis (4) dribbles during the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at T-Mobile Arena. 
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Georgia Tech fell to USC, Pitt nipped St. John’s, Virginia thrashed Farleigh-Dickinson, Indiana took out Notre Dame, Louisville fell at Western Kentucky, Clemson knocked off a shorthanded South Carolina and UNC...

...Well UNC just didn't show up against Kentucky, losing 98-69. Only Armando Bacot really did well, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 boards. The black uniforms may be put away for a good while after this one.

Hubert Davis’s attempt to modernize the UNC system, essentially trading offensive rebounding for three point shooting, laid a real egg here. The Heels were 1-13 from outside and got just six offensive boards.

To make it worse, starters Caleb Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black shot 6-20. Toss in Dawson Garcia and it was 8-26.

Surprisingly, Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn got meaningful minutes, perhaps because everyone else was so bad that why not give them a shot?

Sahvir Wheeler just gutted the Heels, shooting 12-15 for 26 points. Kerwin Walton, who looked like a rising star last season, got just eight minutes and took just one shot.

It was a thorough beat down for the Heels and a real inflection point for Davis. How will he respond to a loss so bad that someone on Twitter waggishly suggested bringing back the disgraced Matt Doherty?

It’s a joke of course - no one in their right mind would seriously suggest that after Doherty took a wrecking ball to the UNC program - but it indicates the level of concern.

In fairness, UNC spent time prepping for UCLA and only got UK when it was clear that UCLA would Covid out. That would probably have been a better game.

Even so, it was unquestionably a major low point for the fledgling Davis program. Let’s see how they respond next time out, when the Tar Heels get App State on Tuesday. As Duke found out, the Mountaineers play hard and push you. As bad as Kentucky was, a poor outing or loss Tuesday would be devastating.

Remember Boogie Ellis?

A one-time Duke commit, he ended up at Memphis and now is at USC, following in Derryck Thorton’s footsteps, sort of any way.

He had 16 to help lead the Trojans past Georgia Tech. Michael DeVoe continues to play well with 25 points.

USC coach Andy Enfield’s name has come up in connection with Maryland’s search, incidentally. If we remember correctly, his wife is a model and LA would be hard to beat if so.

Western Kentucky? The Hilltoppers get all the calls, man: WKU got to the line 31 times and hit 25 to Louisville’s 5-7 there.

Remember Tacko Fall? Johnny Dawkins’ UCF center was 7-6 and ponderous. Lovable, but ponderous.

WKU has 7-5 Jamarion Sharp and he’s not ponderous. He’s reasonably mobile for a guy that size and 7-5 is 7-5. He limited Louisville, more so since Malik Williams is out with Covid.

Camron Justice hit 5-5 from threes in the first half. Louisville clearly has some issues to work through.

Pitt’s having a tough season but Jamarius Burton has a memory for life: with the game tied he dashed down court and hit the game winner with 0.4 left.

This game was partly set up so that the Champagnie twins, Justin and Julian, could play against each other.

Neither did.

Justin left for the NBA and Julian, like Williams, is in the Covid protocol. It was a huge win for Pitt. The Panthers have struggled mightily this season and this one is huge for them.

Virginia has struggled too and we assumed they'd beat Farleigh Dickinson. Did we know that Seth Greenberg’s alma mater was 0-9 coming in?

Nope. They left 0-10 as UVa essentially got a scrimmage and a chance to work out some issues. That’s all a game like this amounts to. Jayden Gardner had a nice night with 29 points on 14-18 shooting. No threes there.

Is Indiana in revival mode?

Could be. The Hoosiers are 9-2 with Saturday’s win over Notre Dame. Mike Brey has been perhaps the best coach in South Bend since Digger Phelps was killing it in the ‘70s but the last few years have been tough. Nate Laszewski continues to fade in and out, getting just three points in this one. Prentiss Hubb has been supplanted by freshman Blake Wesley. Hubb came off the bench for minimal effect.

Due to an injury and South Carolina only had six scholarship players, if we recall correctly and we didn’t see anyway that math would work on the road at Clemson.

And it didn’t, but the Gamecocks hung around for most of the first half. But one guy fouled out and three others had four apiece. Clearly when you start with severely limited depth and compound it with deep foul trouble, it’s going to be really tough.

No games until Monday.