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ACC Roundup - A Memorable Saturday

As Syracuse has an astonishing comeback and Duke knocks off Virginia

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse
Feb 20, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Trey Wertz (2) makes a pass in the second half against Syracuse Orange forward Robert Braswell (20) and forward Quincy Guerrier (1) at the Carrier Dome. 
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Although Duke’s dramatic win over Virginia will be the topic du jour there were plenty of talking points after Saturday’s ACC Action so let’s jump right in.

Pitt fell again, losing to Florida State 79-74, Georgia Tech thumped Miami 87-60, NC State had minimal trouble with Wake Forest, winning 80-62, UNC killed Louisville 99-54 and Syracuse had the second most remarkable win of the day, winning 75-67.

For much of the game, Notre Dame was on cruise control, just squeezing the Orange dry. The Irish were up 55-35 with 16:49 left.

From there, Syracuse outscored Notre Dame 40-12.

The offense is impressive but look again: Syracuse held Notre Dame to 12 points for basically the last 17:00 of the game. Buddy Boeheim had perhaps his best game at Syracuse, scoring 29 and hitting 10-19 from the field including 6-10 on threes.

Despite the press, which is designed to force turnovers, the Irish only had 10, which is good most of the time but especially so in this one.

After the game, ‘Cuse coach Jim Boeheim said “I just can’t believe we got the stops we got, that the press worked so well. They weren’t just missing shots. We were not giving them shots. That’s hard to do against a team like Notre Dame. I’m still shocked by what this team did today.”

It was an astonishing performance.

UNC’s dominating win over Louisville was also impressive, but when we looked at it we forgot that Louisville had missed four games due to Covid issues and while the win counts, like so much this season, you have to kind of balance the size of the win vs. UNC’s record and basic characteristics vs. that pause.

Basically, it’s not as impressive as it looks. Louisville hasn't played in nearly three weeks.

Still, even if it’s functionally a scrimmage, UNC looked great. UNC was up by 19 at the half and Louisville was in no position to stop them. The Cards hit just 1-16 from three point range and just 32.8 percent overall. They also had 16 turnovers.

UNC hit 60 percent overall and 44.4 percent from behind the line. True they shot an execrable 7-18 from the line but in this game, it hardly mattered.

Georgia Tech’s win over Miami was also major dominance, taking a 48-18 lead into halftime. What can you do in a game like that?

Missing most of its starters due to injuries, Miami has fought hard all year but just didn't have it in this one. It’s been a miserable season for the ‘Canes who now fall to 7-13 in what looked like a promising year, Covid aside. Isaiah Wong, who has been a rock for this team, shot 2-7 and scored just four points. It’s a bad loss, but like Louisville, there is context.

State had an easy win for a change, beating Wake Forest by 18. Jericole Hellems and Dereon Seabron racked up 14 points to pace the Pack. Wake had 19 turnovers and for a team with a thin margin of error, that just can't happen. Not a surprising result.

State is back over .500 while Wake falls to 6-11.

Only one game was scheduled on Sunday as Clemson was due to play Pitt but that’s been postponed.