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ACC Roundup - Pitt Bounces Back From An Awful Week

Thank God that’s over

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 14 Pitt at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA, GA FEBRUARY 14: Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel reacts to referee Ron Groover’s call during the NCAA basketball game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on February 14th, 2021 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, GA.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Most observers would agree that last week was brutal for Pitt basketball. The top two scorers left the team in two days and questions abounded.

Some of them may have been answered behind closed doors after Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney left and the team appeared to make a public statement on Tuesday in its defeat of Wake Forest.

To be clear, Pitt should have beaten Wake Forest - everyone should this year. Wake has done very well considering how low the talent level is, but the stark reality is that you have to have players to win. It says a lot about Wake’s program that they have done as well as they have.

But it’s not just that Pitt should have won. It’s how they appear to have responded to adversity that matters.

And they seem to have done so very well. Capel said after the game that “[w]hatever it was until after Duke, we were all about winning. We were all about Pitt winning. Then we got really screwed up after that. We weren’t the same.”

“It’s starting to feel like that again, how it felt a little bit earlier in the season...It was really good for us to win, I’m not going to lie. For all we’ve been through, to kind of reaffirm that what we’re doing is right. I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in how we’re doing it. I know it’s going to work. I know we’ll continue to add the pieces we need to do this thing the right way...I just think the adversity maybe has bonded us.”

Sounds like it.

Nike Sibande had 23 points, nine boards and four assists. When was the last time a Pitt player scored more than Justin Champagnie? We’re guessing that it’s happened this year but he’s been really dominant for Pitt.

So all in all, perhaps Capel meant it when he said last week’s departures were best for everyone. And as we said before, recruiting this year is going to be bizarre. With everyone getting an extra year, programs are going to have to choose between seniors and freshmen. And then there’s graduate students - there will be a ton of those.

This may be the strangest, most disruptive time for college sports since the troops came home after 1945.

We haven't mentioned this yet but congrats to Leonard Hamilton as the FSU coach got a five-year extension. And why not? His program is operating at an all-time high.

On Wednesday, his FSU team will greet BC in what’s likely to be a brutal beat-down.

Also on Wednesday, Clemson goes up to Lower Canada to take on a resurgent Syracuse. Since both teams are surging it could get fun.

NC State visits slumping Notre Dame too. The Irish are just 9-13 and may just want to get started on next season.

Wednesday’s ACC Action

  • Clemson at Syracuse || 6:00 || ACCN
  • NC State at Notre Dame || 7:00 || ACCN
  • Boston College at Miami || 9:00 || ACCN
  • Louisville at Virginia Tech
  • Western Carolina at Wake Forest

ACC Standings