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ACC Roundup - Virginia, Syracuse Bullied, But Florida State And Louisville Are Coming Along

Not a great night overall but some green chutes are coming up

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Louisville v Indiana
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield misses a block against the Indiana Hoosiers

In Monday’s ACC Action, Tennessee popped Syracuse 73-56, Wisconsin punked Virginia 65-41 and Louisville fell to Indiana 74-66.

Only Florida State won, beating UNLV 83-75 in the Sunshine Slam. The ‘Noles basically led the entire game although Vegas cut into that on several occasions, but a late 16-5 run sealed the deal. Jamir Watkins led the way with a career high 19 points and an impressive eight assists.

Cam Corhen shot 6-7 and kicked in 14 points. Overall, FSU shot 62.7 percent and 41 percent from deep.

Also worth noting - last season, injuries would not allow Leonard Hamilton to go deep into his bench. So if you want to get an idea of how things are going, look at minutes played.

He used 10 guys and everyone got at least 10 minutes except for Tom House, who got just two.

Here’s a nice stat: prior to Tennessee’s win, Syracuse was 9-0 in Maui. Not bad.

And they weren't too far off in this one in the end, down five with three minutes to play.

But the Vols rattled off 12 points in a vicious closing kick.

When you play a Rick Barnes team, you know you’re going to take a beating. Chris Bell shot 7-13 but the rest of the starters combined to shoot 8-31, which works out to just under 26 percent.

It’s nothing new - Barnes has coached that way since he was at Clemson and before that, Providence. As Jon Scheyer said last season after Duke lost to the Vols, you have to be better than they are, which in this case means more physical.

Virginia’s night was similar: Wisconsin traditionally has a huge roster and this year, Greg Gard has six guys 6-9 or taller. Virginia by contrast has two big freshman and a skinny grad student transfer over 6-9.

And the Cavs said it themselves: Wisconsin just wore them out. Wisconsin badgered them on the boards, 48-21 and had a crushing advantage offensively, 20-3.

Just a bad matchup for UVA, but as Tony Bennett said afterwards, they’re in a long game. So stay tuned.

Finally, consider this: last season, Louisville started off with three agonizing one point losses to Bellarmine, Wright State and Appalachian before ripping off nine straight losses and finishing 4-28.

So far this year, the Cards are 2-3, but the last two losses are to #19 Texas by one, 81-80, and to Indiana, 74-66.

Is it improvement? Yes. Is it where the fans would like to be?


Does the program have a pulse again? Yes. Yes, it does.

Louisville was up with just a shade over four minutes left, 64-61 and freshman Ty-Laur Johnson was killing IU.

But Mike Woodson did a very un-Indiana thing with about 9:00 left - he went to a 2-3 zone and that turned the game as IU finished on a 13-2 run.

Which was kind of cool because they hadn’t really worked on the zone. But it worked well enough.

So for Louisville, two games slipped away in New York and either or both would have been huge for this program.

Even so, the Cardinals are learning that they can compete. They’ll sit out the ACC/SEC Challenge but will play New Mexico State, Bellarmine, Virginia Tech, DePaul, Arkansas State and Pepperdine before getting Kentucky at home on December 21st.

It could be a solid run for the Cards and if they continue to grow, it might turn out to be a decent year. Don’t bet on that just yet, but it’s going to be intriguing.

Two games on tap for Tuesday with Syracuse taking on Gonzaga and Colorado State tangling with FSU.

Tuesday’s ACC Action

  • Syracuse vs. Gonzaga || 2:30 PM || ESPN2
  • Florida State vs. Colorado || 4:00 PM || CBSSN