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ACC Roundup: The Pack Is Improving, Boeheim Hits 1K (Again) & Larranaga Joins the 700 Club

An impressive accomplishment for the ‘Canes coach

Miami v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 08: Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes yells at a referee during their game against the Duke Blue Devils in the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 8, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The ACC has had some ugly losses so far. Maine, Appalachian State, Colgate, Troy, Wright State - it’s not impressive.

So at some point, and it may not be yet, but at some point, you have to look past the underperforming programs and ask: how’s NC State? How’s Georgia Tech? Boston College?

At 4-0, NC State is still undefeated. But it’s hard to know what that means since they played App State (99-50), Campbell (73-67), Florida International (107-74) and now Elon (74-63).

It’s a weak schedule to start, and that’s by design. Kevin Keatts was under pressure after last season and he’s had some bad luck too. He probably needed to pad the schedule.

But you should also say this: Other than the Campbell game, State hasn’t had too much trouble.

Against Elon, State was in control. Sophomore Terquavion Smith is going to be a major force in the ACC and perhaps beyond this season. He had 16. LaSalle transfer Jack Clark had 21. big man Dusan Mahorcic had 14 boards.

State could have shot better, but ultimately it didn’t matter too much (although it will later).

Basically, at least early, it looks like a Kevin Keatts sort of team. At his best, his teams are very aggressive and put a lot of pressure on opponents.

By the way, that 4-0 is on the line Wednesday as State plays Kansas in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Win or lose, we’ll learn a lot about the Pack. It’d be fun to see Smith go wild on the national stage.

Miami is also 4-0 and a win over Providence counts for something. Miami pulled ahead of the Friars in the first half and never fell behind again.

PC has been a very consistent program under Ed Cooley so this win will count for something. Unlike some other ACC schools, Miami is playing a fair number of guys with four guys getting at least seven minutes off the bench. However, the starting lineup is quite small, with 6-7 sophomore Norchad Omier the biggest starter. Jim Larranaga has done that before so we’re not overly concerned.

Omier had 19 points and 12 rebounds here so he’s doing okay.

By the way, this was Larranaga’s 700th career win and came over his alma mater.

Speaking of career wins, Jim Boeheim got his 1,000th, again (the NCAA stripped him of over 100 wins a few years ago).

The win came over Northeastern, which, at 0-4, has fallen on hard times.

Syracuse is starting two freshmen, by the way, 6-7 Chris Bell and 6-3 Judah Mintz.

Mintz had 18 here, while Joe Girard finished with 21 and Jesse Edwards had 19 points, seven boards - and just one foul. That’s a hopeful sign for a guy who drew more than his share earlier in his career.

Sunday we will get JMU at UNC, Maryland taking on Miami in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff, Pitt hopefully gets a breather in Alabama State, Wake Forest gets Loyola Marymount in the Jamaica Classic, UVA will slow down Illinois in the Main Event, Virginia Tech plays Charleston in the Charleston Classic and BC gets Billy Clyde and Tarleton State in the Paradise Jam.

Just a couple of quick notes: UNC has not been playing well and while we wouldn’t call an upset from here, you should pay attention because the conditions are right.

Virginia and Illinois is likely to produce a lot of bruises. That’s going to be kind of fascinating really. If we had to pick we’d take the ‘Hoos if only because their style just baffles inexperienced opponents. After the shootings at UVA, emotion seemed to be a real weapon against Baylor. It could go either way against the Illini.

Finally, we would hate to play Charleston in the Finals of their own damn classic. Again, not calling an upset here, just pointing out it could definitely happen.

Sunday’s ACC Action

  • JMU @ UNC || 12:00 || ACCN
  • Miami vs. Maryland || 1:00 PM || ESPN
  • Alabama State @ Penn || 2:00 || ESPN+/ACCNX
  • Wake Forest vs. Loyola Marymount || 2:30 PM || ?
  • Illinois vs. Virginia || 3:00 || ESPN
  • Virginia Tech vs. Charleston || 3:30 || ESPN2
  • Tarleton vs. Boston College || 8:00 || ESPN3