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ACC Roundup - Spotlight Is On Chapel Hill

Can Clemson win in the Dean Dome again?

 CLEMSON, SC - FEBRUARY 04: Miami Hurricanes guard Nijel Pack (24) looks to pass the ball as Clemson Tigers forward Hunter Tyson (5) defends during a college basketball game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Clemson Tigers on February 4, 2023, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Boston College hosts NC State, Pitt gets some warmth and sunshine in Tallahassee where they will play Florida State, Virginia Tech checks in to the Mike Bray Retirement Tour and sad Soireé, Georgia Tech jets up to Wake Forest, Louisville heads down to Miami and Clemson goes up to Chapel Hill.

And that one is interesting.

The Tar Heels have lost three straight, lost track of Armando Bacot for long stretches and now have spent several days battling an unpleasant rumor. You can look it up on Twitter if you’re curious.

Clemson, meanwhile, has proven to be a very tough out. The Tigers are 18-6 and still in first place despite some significant injuries. They can counter Bacot with PJ Hall. Can UNC find a solution for Hunter Tyson?

Generally speaking and particularly lately, Clemson has been, by far, the better defensvie team.

Of course it is in Chapel Hill, but the Clemson-never-wins-in-Chapel-Hill thing is over. So this one should be a lot of fun.

Boston College has improved to the point where you can’t just automatically rule them out. They won’t necessarily win all the time, but they will absolutely compete. They’re very tough.

We’d still favor State here, but it’s no guarantee, especially at Boston College.

Could Pitt be in for a letdown?

It’s happened to better teams and Florida State is talented enough to pull an upset and they did win at Pitt earlier in the year, which should be motivation enough. You’d hope that a share of #1 in the ACC would be enough to keep Pitt focused.

It’d be really too bad if it happened. Pitt gets FSU, BC, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech for its next four and could certainly win them all. And 21-7 would look pretty impressive.

It keeps looking like Virginia Tech is going to get going, and they haven't quite done it. But Notre Dame has had a brutal year and you wonder if the Irish are dispirited. We’d favor the Hokies here but both teams are a crap shoot really. It’s just that Notre Dame is little crappier.

It’d be a surprise if Georgia Tech snuck up on Wake Forest but it’s certainly possible. We thought Josh Pastner might have lost his team after the Duke game, but other than losing to Louisville, they have played well since that blowout. We thought that NC State might just kill Georgia Tech, but that was close. And then they beat Notre Dame. That’s not saying much, but this team had lost nine straight games. Any win is a good win.

And Wake seems to be playing well despite some losses. The Deacs fell to Virginia at home, which is no great surprise, lost to Pitt and Duke by two each, then beat Notre Dame and UNC. So we’d have to go with the Deacs here. This is a highly competitive team and Coach Forbes Dilbert knows what he’s doing.

Finally, Louisville is at Miami. Lightning might strike, but it’s one thing to beat Georgia Tech and quite another to beat this smart and disciplined Miami team. Louisville has had some minor bright spots - El Ellis has played well and freshman Mike James has shown some flashes. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is close to being back. Emmanuel Okorafor, who just joined the team quite recently, is getting minutes.

None of it is enough though. This team has redefined struggle. We just can’t see Louisville pulling this one off.

Barring surprising developments, the most intriguing game is going to be Clemson and UNC. We’re really curious to see how both teams will do, but UNC most of all. That team is under pressure on many fronts and how it responds will be fascinating.

Saturday’s ACC Action

  • NC State vs. Boston College || 12:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Pitt vs. Florida State || 12:00 PM || ESPNU
  • Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame || 2:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Clemson vs. UNC || 2:00 PM || ESPN2
  • Duke vs. Virginia || 4:00 PM || ESPN
  • Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest || 5:00 PM || ACCN
  • Louisville vs. Miami || 7:00 PM || ACCN

ACC Standings