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ACC Roundup - Waking Up Is Hard To Do

Syracuse flirted with disaster but Georgia Tech embraced it wholeheartedly.

Colgate v Syracuse
 SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14: Head Coach Adrian Autry of the Syracuse Orange reacts during the second half against the Colgate Raiders at JMA Wireless Dome on November 14, 2023 in Syracuse, New York.
Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

In Tuesday’s ACC Action, Tony Bennett’s Virginia dispatched NC A&T 80-51 while Syracuse survived Colgate 79-75 and Georgia Tech lost a buy game to Mass-Lowell. 74-71.

After his outstanding game against Florida, freshman Blake Buchanan got the start. He wasn’t as good in this one but he got another game under his belt.

Surprisingly, Tony Bennett started four underclassmen and Reece Beekman. So far, so good, and bonus: Virginia, annually the the most conservative offense in the country, is putting up 77.6 ppg through the first three games.

Speaking of Bennett, if you caught his uncharacteristic outburst against TV analyst and former ‘Hoo Corey Alexander, you know he really erupted. Well, someone is making a buck off of it and it’s pretty good.

Colgate is the team that Syracuse has played the most over the years - 175 times, apparently - and although they had a two-year winning streak in the rivalry, haven’t won too many overall.

We’d bet there weren't too many games like this one: Colgate at one point had a 24 point lead and stayed in front for the vast majority of the game.

The ‘Cuse pressed and rallied and caught up with 1:38 left to play. Wow! The Raiders pounded Syracuse on the boards, 44-32, but gave it back on turnovers, with 19 to just seven for the Orange.

Chris Bell scored 25 to pace Syracuse, but he had zero rebounds and zero assists. Is he the ACC’s answer to James Harden? Stay tuned.

Judah Mintz had 23 while Notre Dame transfer JJ Starling had 13. However the three combined to shoot just 20-46 - and most of that was Bell.

Still, rookie coach Adrian Autry is now 3-0 and that’s better than Damon Stoudamire.

You give first-year coaches a break because they’re building a culture and a program. And remember that Mike Krzyzewski lost early in his career to Wagner and UNC fans actually hung Dean Smith in effigy after an early loss.

So it happens.

Even so, losing to Mass Lowell is not ideal. At least it was a close game, with the Riverhawks having to play to the final whistle to secure the win.

Remember Abdoul Karim Coulibaly? The former Pitt Panther? No?

Don’t feel bad. He didn't make a big impression and took off for Niagara. Now he’s with UMass Lowell and he had 16 points and nine boards in 23 minutes.

Georgia Tech shot just 37.1 percent. Deebo Coleman had 25 points but only two other players hit double figures (Miles Kelly had 11 and Kyle Sturdivant 12).

Things are about to get rougher for Tech. Look at the next four-game stretch: at Cincinnati, Mississippi State and Duke at home and then the short trip to play hated rival Georgia.

Three games on Wednesday as Campbell visits Virginia Tech, Richmond challenges Boston College and Louisville welcomes Coppin State - warily.

If the Cards lose this one, a certain percentage of the fans base is going to want to start the big red bus and head down to Florida and stay there until Dusty May signs a big, fat multi-year contract to rebuild the once-proud program.

Wednesday’s ACC Action

  • Campbell @ Virginia Tech || 6:00 PM || ESPN+/ACCNX
  • Richmond @ Boston College || 7:00 PM || ESPN+/ACCNX
  • Coppin State @ Louisville || 7:00 PM || ESPN+/ACCNX