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ACC Roundup - Quite A Saturday

Darius Maddox and Matthew Cleveland...just wow

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 26 Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Dane Goodwin (23) goes up with his jump shot over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Kyle Sturdivant (1) in the first half of play during a mens college basketball game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on February 26, 2022 at Purcell Pavilion At The Joyce Center in South Bend, IN.
Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Saturday’s busy ACC Action, Wake Forest ripped Louisville, 99-77, UNC crushed State 84-74 (trust us on that), Virginia Tech survived Miami 71-70, Clemson knocked off Boston College 70-60, Notre Dame was on cruise control against Georgia Tech, winning 90-56 and Florida State delivered a crushing blow to Virginia’s thin NCAA hopes, winning at the buzzer, 64-63.

Talk about emotional range.

Virginia was up 60-59 when Kihei Clark turned the ball over. But UVA stole it back - Kody Stattmann did the honors - and Amaan Franklin got fouled, splitting on two free throws to give UVA a 63-61 lead.

And with one second left, Harrison Prieto got the ball into Matthew Cleveland who had hit FSU’s last five points and in one motion, he turned and nailed a magnificent three.

With one second left.

At Virginia.

UVA is now 6-5 in games decided by five points or less, which is pretty far off their norm.

For the Cavs, it’s probably the end of their NCAA dreams, barring an ACC Tournament title (which we wouldn’t rule out).

And for Florida State, after slogging through some unbelievably bad luck, what could be finer? This is a moment those guys will remember forever. What an amazing ending.

Not the case in Raleigh where the Pack would probably prefer to forget Saturday’s big fail.

State went down 18-3 and while the second half wasn’t as brutal, State never really threatened the Heels. Armando Bacot had 28 points, 18 boards and five blocks (he also had five turnovers and four fouls). Brady Manek finished with 16. Caleb Love also had 16 on 4-14 and 1-7 on threes. He also had four turnovers to two assists. Leaky Black exited the game in the first half with a hyper-extended knee. No word on how serious it is.

If you think this is the UNC team that was so bad early think again: Carolina has only lost twice since those brutal back-to-back losses to Miami and Wake Forest on January 18th and 22nd.

Remember what we said a few days about about no one overlooking Darius Maddox? We’re not saying Miami did, but he did hit 13 points in 21 minutes, including the winning shot.

And for more badassery, he stole the ball and then immediately hit the game winning three.

Mind you, the Hokies were down eight with 1:42 to go. That’s a pretty impressive close out. A lot of it is due to freshman point guard Sean Pedulla though. He scored five points in about a minute and got the ball to Keve Aluma for a dunk to make it a one-point game with :40 left. After some more back-and-forth, Pedulla hit a layup with :07 left to give Maddox the stage for his heroics.

When you think about it, the Hokies, now 18-11, have struggled some this year, but that’s a nice backcourt going forward.

We didn't think Chase Hunter could come close to the 83.3 percent he hit against Wake Forest the other night. And we were right.

He was just 77.7 percent against Boston College - what a loser.

Keep in mind that against Louisville, Florida State and Notre Dame, the games before Wake Forest, he shot a combined 6-22. Talk about a turnaround.

Keep in mind also that Clemson has won two games without PJ Hall and have almost gotten back to .500. It’s a minor trumph, but a triumph nonetheless. Those guys went to bed satisfied Saturday night and deserved to.

Remember how Duke shut down Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin? Well Dane was great against Georgia Tech, scoring 17 on 6-8/3-5 and helping stake the Irish to a 38-19 lead before crushing Tech 90-56.

What’s impressive is Notre Dame didn’t have to rely on big men Paul Atkinson and Nate Laszewski, who combined for 18 points and 16 rebounds. That’s actually not bad but not what they’ve been doing lately, and Tech’s post defense is not great.

Four starters combined to hit 19-27 and 10-17 on threes.

Not much to say about a 34 point loss really. As for the Irish, that’s a great win to build on. They’re solidly in second place for now and clinched a quarter-final bye in the ACC Tournament.

Finally, Louisville gave Wake a brief stretch of trouble but not enough as the Deacs won that one 99-77, which underscores how much things can change in a year or two in college basketball.

Jake LaRavia had 23 and underrated Dallas Walton had 22. Wake Forest is not a perfect team by any means but they’re vastly improved and not a team we’d like to see in the NCAA Tournament early rounds.

Interesting: Mike Pegues left Jae’Lyn Withers and Malik Williams in for just six and three minutes respectively. But Sydney Curry put up 28 points so it was probably a good decision.