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ACC Roundup - A Wild One In Louisville

Lots of controversy to liven up a bad ACC season

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Louisville
Feb 1, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Jae’Lyn Withers (24) shoves North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) away from Louisville Cardinals forward Matt Cross (33) during overtime at KFC Yum! Center. North Carolina defeated Louisville 90-83.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

In Tuesday night’s ACC Action, Virginia took out Boston College 67-55 and UNC knocked off Louisville in overtime, 90-83.

Virginia first.

No great surprise there and Boston College actually did okay on offense. But they put Virginia on the line 29 times and the Cavs hit 26. And 26-12 (BC was 12-12 from the line) is 14. The Cavs won by 12 so Bob’s your uncle.

Earl Grant did well in his first attempt against the Pack Line. Props to the Eagles.

Now on to the main event and let’s start here. Armando Bacot is more hated in Louisville tonight than John Calipari is in Memphis or Louisville combined and that’s saying something.

We didn’t get to see everything yet but Louisville fans are absolutely livid at his play. He’s been accused of tripping, of a rough foul and flopping, and that’s the basics.

Is he guilty?

Well let’s look at the trip. Matt Cross probably fouled Bacot first. The trip though? Hard to say for sure. West was heading in the general direction of Bacot’s leg. But it does look like Bacot grabbed/pushed him as he got up. Watch the ballboy hilariously editorialize as he goes to clean the floor.

We can imagine this happened: the official assumed there was nothing to watch with the ball moving upcourt and simply didn’t see it.

Then there’s this play. It looks like Bacot had his arm out across Curry’s neck. But we learned several years ago how little we understand about officiating and how it’s a very sophisticated job that not many people can do.

We’re not saying that this is not a foul. But we saw another angle where it looked like Curry backed into Bacot and pushed him off balance and that could change things. We couldn’t find it again but it looked like Bacot was on one leg when his arm went out. Also consider the possibility that the officials didn’t just make a bad call or not see it. Instead, they may have understood it on a higher level than most fans. Or maybe they just blew it.

Again, we really don’t know. Certainly Louisville coach Mike Pegues thought so and got a technical for his reaction which, from beginning to end, is pretty amazing.

The Louisville fans pelted the court with debris and at the end of the clip you’ll see eight or nine kids cleaning the crap off the court.

Finally, the alleged flop.

As far as we understand it, flopping happens on charges. Withers shoved Bacot with both hands. Did he try to sell it?

Probably. But once Withers lost his cool he was in trouble. He used his hands and paid the price. That’s on him.

Whatever the truth, whatever you think, the Louisville fans are absolutely irate. One person posted on Twitter that the ACC was out to get Louisville which is ridiculous. You can imagine new ACC Commissioner Phillips, less than a year into his job, calling Brian Kersey, ACC Supervisor of Officials and saying “Brian, let’s put both of our professional reputations at immense risk. How’s about calling the crew for the UNC game at Louisville and tell them we’d like them to screw Louisville every way possible? Because the league wants it Brian. We want to stick it to Louisville bad.”

And then imagine Kersey calling those three officials and telling them the same basic thing: “guys, you’ve worked your asses off to get to the ACC level but forget all of that. You three, me, and the commissioner are going to teach Louisville a lesson. Don’t know why exactly but that’s the plan. What do any of us get out of it? Nothing except possibly ruining our reputations and ending our careers. What do you say! You guys in or what?”

It’s just completely ludicrous. At least gamblers have to give you something to make it worth your while (it occurs to us that, among the many unintended side effects of NIL is that paying players will make it much, much harder for gamblers to get to them).

Louisville will get a chance for revenge: The Cards visit Chapel Hill on the 21st of this month.

One thing to watch though is this: the criticism is ferocious. We’ll be curious to see how this weekend’s crew reacts during the Duke-UNC game. Don’t be surprised if it’s called much, much tighter. There’s a normal psychological element for whoever the officials are of course. They’ll be aware of what happened in Louisville and will be determined to not repeat it.

The conference is going to review the video and it’s possible that reprimands, or worse, could come out of it. That applies to Bacot, the zebras and Pegues, any of whom could be in trouble.

The league and the officials are certainly not going to want big trouble in the league’s, indeed the nation’s, premier rivalry game. We’d love to be a fly on Kersey’s wall Wednesday.

Wednesday is a busy night and we expect the officiating crews will hear from headquarters before play starts at 7:00 when three games tip off.

Those games are Notre Dame vs. Miami, Pitt at Wake Forest, presumably still without Jeff and Jason Capel (in Covid protocol) and Florida State at Clemson. Syracuse visits NC State and the Techs clash. Both of those games tip at 9:00.

  • Wednesday Night’s ACC Action
  • Notre Dame @ Miami || 7:00 || ACCNX
  • Pitt @ Wake Forest || 7:00 || ESPN2
  • Florida State @ Clemson || 7:00 || ACCN
  • Syracuse @ NC State || 9:00 || ESPN2
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech || 9:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings