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ACC Roundup - Wake And BC Show Heart In Losses, UVA Smokes UNC

A very interesting afternoon in ACC hoops

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse
Feb 13, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier (1) and Boston College Eagles forward Steffon Mitchell (41) and Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) battle for the ball during the second half at the Carrier Dome. 
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Boston College lost at Syracuse 75-67, Virginia beat UNC 60-48 and Wake Forest took Florida State to overtime before losing 92-85.

The Demon Deacons are just 5-9 in this most bizarre season but no one has shown the growth they have.

Wake Forest probably should have won this game - the Deacs came back from 13 down in the second half to lead, on the road, against a highly talented FSU team 78-77 with :05 left. Ian DuBose was fouled and hit one to put Wake up 80-78 but missed the second and Scottie Barnes got past Ody Oguama for a layup to win the game with :01 left.

But look at where Wake was in January, after its pause, and look where they are now. We don’t think anyone has done a better job coaching in the ACC than Steve Forbes has. Wake fans should be very excited about the future.

We thought that UNC’s big men might give Jay Huff a lot of trouble but it didn’t work out that way: Huff finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. UNC’s four big guys - counting Walker Kessler this time - finished with 27 points and 28 boards. So Huff did pretty well, all things considered and collectively UNC’s big men did okay if not necessarily individually. And it is a team game.

Thing is the rest of the team only managed 20 points. Kerwin Walton had eight of them

UNC missed 13 of its first 15 shots and fell behind 21-4 and never were really in it. The Tar Heels hit just 2-16 from three point range and just 34.5 percent overall.

After his star turn at Duke, Caleb Love was just 2-9 and scored just four points. Leaky Black was shut out.

Virginia hit 10-22 from behind the line with Sam Hauser shooting 4-6. Virginia has now beaten UNC six times in a row we believe and the Tar Heels have not won since 2016-17. And in those losses, the Tar Heels have scored 48, 47, 62, 62, 49 and 63 points. It must be driving Roy Williams mad.

We’ve said before that we regard Dean Smith as a vastly superior coach to Williams and this is a good thought experiment to argue that.

When Loyola Marymount was in its heyday and scoring 120 points some nights, Smith stopped them cold. We’re pretty sure he’d have an answer for BennettBall. We’re not saying he’d dominate the Cavs, just that he’d figure out how to counter that system and win a few himself.

Does anyone disagree?

It’s a bit under the radar but Syracuse has been good about forcing turnovers lately. Boston College had fifteen and Syracuse has had 15 or more seven times in the last eight games.

Even so, BC hung around and never really let Syracuse get away. It’s been a dreadful season for the Eagles but give them credit. They could just give up but they show and play hard even in very difficult circumstances. And Covid certainly has made things difficult.

Still, they pushed Syracuse in the first half with ‘Cuse coach Jim Boeheim even saying that Joe Girard “saved” Syracuse with 16 points before halftime. It’s impossible not to respect BC’s effort and that comes back to the coach, who has managed to keep them focused in spite of a 3-13 record.

Two games on Sunday as Georgia Tech’s marathon week continues with a visit from Pitt and Miami jets up to Notre Dame for a very chilly game. With an epic cold snap on the way, and snow too, Sunday’s low is expected to be around 7 Fahrenheit in South Bend.

Clemson’s visit on Wednesday is going to be worse if it happens - the temperature is slated to plunge to around zero.

We’ll take the Irish over Miami in the sort-of nightcap given their recent improvement but like BC and Wake Forest, Miami is also showing enormous heart. You can’t help but be impressed.

We’ll also take Pitt over Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are going to have a tough time with a third game in six days having just played Virginia and Clemson. It won’t be easy and Pitt is an active, athletic team that’s hungry for a win.

Sunday’s ACC Action

  • Pitt at Georgia Tech || 4:00 || ACCN
  • Miami at Notre Dame || 6:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings