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ACC Roundup - Saturday Is A Big Opportunity For Wake Forest And A Critical Day For UNC

Can the Demon Deacons bounce back from a tough Duke loss?

Wake Forest v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JANUARY 15: Jake LaRavia #0 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons drives past Igor Milicic Jr. #24 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on January 15, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

In Saturday’s ACC Action, a rapidly improving Boston College takes on Syracuse, Notre Dame heads to Winston Salem to take on the Demon Deacons, Clemson goes to Louisville for this week’s Struggle Bowl, UNC hazards a trip to Virginia Tech, Virginia gets a winter break in Miami and Georgia Tech goes up to Pitt to play the Panthers.

Two of these games are more interesting than the others: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest and UNC vs. Virginia Tech.

A win by Wake Forest could put Duke firmly in the driver’s seat in the ACC race (if Duke loses to Florida State and Miami beats Virginia, then Miami would be in first).

Wake is a really interesting, athletic team with at least two really good players in Alondes Williams and Jake LaRavia. But the Irish have won five straight since losing to Duke on January 31st. It’s a real contrast in styles which should be fun.

The UNC-Virginia Tech game should be really interesting. UNC has won six of the last eight including beating the Hokies in Chapel Hill 78-68. But the losses, both at home, were awful. UNC lost to Duke by 20 and it wasn’t anywhere near that close, and to lowly Pitt by 11, again, not nearly that close until the end.

Not very long ago though the Hokies were 10-10. Now they’re 16-10 and have a reasonable shot at running the table: after UNC they go to Atlanta to play woeful Georgia Tech, then a trip to Miami, followed by Louisville at home before a final road trip to Clemson.

None of those games are unwinnable. The best is likely Miami and they may have a tough time countering Keve Aluma.

BC is still not a winning program but it is developing winning character as we’ve seen: recently they've played well against Duke and nearly upset Notre Dame. They gave Syracuse a good game at home. We think they could take them but things would have to go really well to do it. Ignore the record but not the Eagles: Earl Grant is doing a tremendous job. Who thought this team would be able to compete with virtually any ACC team? That’s a real accomplishment.

What about Louisville and Clemson? The Cards have lost seven straight and Malik Williams has apparently been exiled to the bench. But the Tigers aren’t killing it either with five straight losses and six out of the last seven. Somebody has to lose. It’s hard to favor Louisville at this point.

Virginia is getting better too and had won five out of six before getting blown out of the water by (you guessed it) Virginia Tech. Miami is a smallish team but tough. UVA won the first round 71-58 so we’ll see. Should be fun interesting.

Pitt has won three straight since Ithiel Horton, back from suspension, moved into the starting lineup. He has averaged 20.3 ppg in those three games, and that’s an offensive injection the Panthers really needed. Pitt has struggled but with Horton and big guy John Hugley, they have something to frame an offense around. Georgia Tech is still capable of a good defensive night but all in all, it’s quite a fall from where the team ended last season, with Jose Alvarado writhing in ecstasy as the confetti fell from the roof of the Greensboro Coliseum like stars on the new ACC champions.

They’ve only won 10 games since then.

Saturday’s ACC Action

  • Boston College @ Syracuse || 12:00 || ESPNU
  • Notre Dame @ Wake Forest || 1:00 || ACCNX
  • Clemson @ Louisville || 3:00 || ACCNX
  • UNC @ Virginia Tech || 4:00 || ESPN2
  • Virginia @ Miami || 5:00 || ACCN
  • Florida State @ Duke || 6:00 || ESPN
  • Georgia Tech @ Pitt || 7:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings