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ACC Roundup - A Busy, Loaded Saturday Awaits

This should be a really interesting day

James Madison v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - DECEMBER 06: Kihei Clark #0 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts to a play in the second half during a game against the James Madison Dukes at John Paul Jones Arena on December 6, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Saturday is a big day for the ACC with a bunch of games on the schedule. So without further ado...

Miami gets St. Francis (PA) at home, Wake goes to Rutgers, Pitt hosts North Florida, Virginia welcomes Houston, Louisville goes for win #2 against Florida A&M, Alabama State ventures over to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets, St. John’s visits Florida State but downstate in Sunrise, UNC meets Ohio State in the Garden, Syracuse gets a risky visitor with Cornell in town, Grambling rambles up to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies, Clemson chances a game with dangerous Richmond in Littlejohn and NC State will see Vanderbilt in Chicago in the nightcap.

Let’s start on the more janky end.

There’s no way Miami should lose to St. Francis. It could happen of course, but really, Miami is a good team and the Red Flash is a lesser team from a lesser conference with a 3-8 record. So it shouldn’t be close to an upset. Player to watch: Josh Cohen. The 6-10 junior is averaging 21.4 ppg and 7.7 boards.He could cause real problems for Miami.

Same rule of thumb applies to Pitt-North Florida, although Pitt isn’t as good as Miami. Still has more talent than North Florida, which is 3-6.

And while Louisville’s season has been a nightmare so far, they still have far more talent than the Rattlers.

We wouldn't bet money on Georgia Tech beating Alabama State, but ASU’s only win is over Louisville - kidding! we keed - it’s actually over Eastern Illinois, so it’s hard to see it.

On the other hand, the losses have come to UAB, USC, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Pitt, Duquesne, Ohio and North Alabama, so they won’t be scared of Tech.

Will Louisville backslide and choke against Florida A&M? It wouldn’t shock us but, again, they live on a fundamentally different plane than does A&M. That’s hard to overlook.

We don’t know anything about Grambling State right now but do know plenty about the Hokies. That’d be a dreadful loss.

Janky present and account for, sir!

On to the real games.

Wake has been a bit up and down and against Appalachian, they were all over the place. Winning must have been a huge relief.

They can’t play like that at Rutgers, which has become one of the great pits in the NCAA. Fans love to put ‘em on the RAC, aka Jersey Mike’s Arena. Rutgers is not Duke and the RAC is not Cameron, but it’s brutal. Think more like Cole Field House back in the day. A win there would be impressive for the Deacs.

Houston and Virginia would have been more fun when the Cougars were #1 because a #1 vs. #2 matchup is always fun. Plus both teams are just superb defensively. It’s going to be a fascinating game. Might even be better since Houston just lost to Alabama a week ago.

Houston smoked Virginia last year, and don’t think they don’t remember.

Also, Reece Beekman is a critical factor. If he’s not ready to go, Virginia’s job gets a lot tougher.

Don’t you wonder if FSU is getting there? The wheels fell off due to injuries but that’s gotten better. They won't get promising freshman Baba Miller back for another four games, but should still be competitive. At this point, that would be a major plus.

UNC and Ohio State looked like a great matchup earlier but right now, it may not be. UNC has just not been the team everyone expected. Part of that is that Armando Bacot has been banged up but part of it is the team hasn’t come together, and, as we suggested early on, replacing Brady Manek wouldn’t be easy. No knock on Pete Nance, but you can’t just plug one guy in and expect it to be the same.

It’s not just them though. The whole team has been erratic. We saw a very tough - and tough-minded - Ohio State team in Cameron recently. Those guys are a load. UNC will have to match their intensity and we’re not sure, right now, that they can. They certainly aren’t on the same level defensively.

Could Cornell pull off the upset over Syracuse? They nearly knocked off Miami on Wednesday, so you’d have to think yes, they might. We don’t know a whole lot about Cornell, but coach Brian Earl is out of Princeton and presumably that means he’s familiar with the Princeton offense, though we’re not sure he runs it: Cornell hasn’t scored less than 73 points so far and has topped 100 twice. They hit 105 against Miami.

This one could get interesting.

Speaking of the Princeton offense, Chris Mooney runs it at Richmond - like Earl, he is a product of Princeton - and the Spiders have run it pretty well. They took Syracuse to overtime and beat Temple.

Like Virginia’s offense, the thing about the Princeton offense is it magnifies your mistakes. And down the stretch, if you’re under pressure, every mistake just gets worse. We like Clemson here, but you can’t rule out the Tigers.

Finally, NC State gets Vanderbilt in the Legends of Basketball Showcase in Chicago. Jerry Stackhouse has struggled with the Commodores but they’ve had their moments this season. State needs to figure out how to get by without Dusan Mahorcic inside. DJ Burns, Ernest Ross and Ebenezer Dowouna will have to find a way to do it by committee.

Saturday’s ACC Action

  • St. Francis @ Miami || 12:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Wake Forest @ Rutgers || 12:00 PM || BTN
  • North Florida @ Pitt || 1:00 PM || ACCN
  • Houston @ Virginia || 2:00 PM || ESPN2
  • Florida A&M || 2:00 PM || ESPN+/ACCNX
  • Alabama State @ Georgia Tech || 2:00 PM || ESPN+/ACCNX
  • St. John’s @ Florida State || 2:30 PM || Nope
  • UNC vs. Ohio State || 3:00 PM || CBS
  • Cornell @ Syracuse || 3:00 PM || ACCN
  • Grambling @ Virginia Tech || 4:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Richmond @ Clemson || 7:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Vanderbilt vs. NC State || 10:30 PM || CBSSN

ACC Standings