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ACC Roundup - A Most Interesting Saturday Ahead

Lots of good story lines this weekend

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Louisville
Dec 29, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons head coach Steve Forbes reacts during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Wake Forest 73-69. 
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

In many ways, Saturday may be the most interesting day of the ACC season so far. Why?

Here’s why.

Even though this being a Duke site we usually cover Duke separately, we have to mention the Duke-Louisville game in this context because it’s total weirdness. Check out our extended comments here.

Then NC State goes to UNC, where the Tar Heels will not have Dawson Garcia, who is home due to a family situation.

Then Wake Forest plays at Syracuse as people speculate about Louisville pursuing Steve Forbes who is doing a sensational job in Winston-Salem.

This follows extensive speculation about Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, who quickly parlayed that into what is presumably a significant raise (Auburn AD Allen Greene gloats that “we locked him up”). Will Wake follow suit with Forbes? Stay tuned.

In other games, Miami takes on Georgia Tech, after the Yellow Jackets wrecked FSU, the Hokies visit said ‘Noles and Virginia heads out to Notre Dame

UNC will still have ACC Player of the Year candidate Armando Bacot and the outlander Brady Manek, who came over from Oklahoma to provide some three point shooting.

Would anyone argue that State, despite struggling, has shown vastly more heart than has UNC? They’ll have fits with Bacot but UNC might have fits with Dereon Seabron too. If Leaky Black can’t contain him, who can? You kind of get the feeling that if State pulls off a win that Davis will play video of Seabron and say see that guy? That’s what I've been talking about.

Because Seabron is energy personified.

For Wake, Forbes has to make sure that the Louisville stuff doesn't become a distracting rumor. A solid win at Syracuse would crank it up more. An in fairness to Forbes, he’s done a tremendous job in Winston-Salem. What would tie him to the Deacs? It’s not like he has guys he’s been with for four years. Everyone there is nomadic.

So which is a better job?

Depends on how you look at it.

Louisville is the bigger basketball name to be sure but look how unstable it’s become. Four coaches since 2017, ADs and presidents MIA, scandals coming out of nowhere. And that’s a major issue really: no one knows who their boss will be...or who his or her boss will be. That’s a tough sell.

On the other hand, Forbes is already beloved at Wake. He’s got room for error already because he’s proven he’s capable of big things. Much like Pearl, he can probably get a big raise if he wants one, and who knows what his buyout is? It’s almost certainly not what Danny Manning got - $15 million - but it’s probably not cheap and he’s just two years in. Less than two.

Could Georgia Tech pull off two big upsets in a row?

Miami, generally speaking, is tougher than FSU and more consistent. But they don’t have many bigs and that is a big break (sorry) for the Yellow Jackets who can play them more or less on even terms.

Virginia Tech is turning into one of the major what-ifs of this season. Just 10-10, Mike Young’s team is going to FSU after the ‘Noles suffered an embarrassing loss at Georgia Tech. Florida State should be angry. It’s a tough draw for the Hokies.

Time was when Virginia was on the schedule you’d prepare like you were going in for a root canal.

This season? Not so much.

Virginia’s offense is bad and the defense is not up to Tony Bennett’s standards. Still, we’d never overlook a Bennett team, even a subpar one. And keep in mind that a lot of what’s worked for Notre Dame this season is due to the success of freshman Blake Wesley. And freshmen tend to struggle against Bennett’s teams.

Saturday’s ACC Action

  • Duke vs. Louisville || Noon || ESPN
  • Miami vs. Georgia Tech || Noon || ACCNX/ESPN+
  • NC State vs. UNC || 2:00 || ACCN
  • Virginia Tech vs. Florida State || 3:00 || ACCN
  • Virginia vs. Notre Dame || 6:00 || ACCN
  • Wake Forest vs. Syracuse || 8:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings