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ACC Roundup - A Saturday Of Hard Truths Is Ahead

It’s not quite win or go home, but more like a slow death if you keep losing

Georgia Tech v Duke
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 13: Kowacie Reeves, Jr. #14 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets drives against Jared McCain #0 of the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 13, 2024 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 84-79.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Miami visits Syracuse, Virginia Tech hazards a trip to Raleigh to challenge the Pack, Louisville drops in on Reynolda to take on Wake Forest, UNC jets up to BC, Clemson plays Florida State and Virginia visits Hotlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets.

For some teams, we’re already at the danger point and that means that some of these games could be very, very intense.

Miami is just 3-3 and the ‘Canes were expected to be at the top of the heap in the ACC. Not happening right now.

Syracuse is just 17 games into the Adrian Autry era and while they’re not great, they ain’t bad. Miami really needs a win but Syracuse is a big-ish team and that gives the ‘Canes trouble as we saw last time out with Florida State. Who to favor?

We’ll still take Miami, but that’s a bit shaky.

NC State should be able to handle the Hokies, largely because they’re the better defensive program, but Sean Pedulla has been great this season when healthy, other than the last game when Virginia throttled him.

We like State’s chances but we don’t think they’ll hold to Lynn Kidd to two points like Virginia did.

Wake Forest will finally have everyone healthy for Louisville and they’re likely to be a bit sour after how the NC State game turned out. Louisville is still struggling so we’ll take the Demon Deacons here.

Could BC pull off an upset? It’s hard to make that case but if everyone is healthy and 100 percent (not at all certain) and Quinten Post can lure Armando Bacot out of the lane with his three point game, that’d be helpful. But it’s hard to imagine. UNC is playing at a very high level.

Clemson and FSU is a very intriguing game. Florida State seems to have gotten it together lately and the Tigers really need a win. Brad Brownell’s teams always defend well but that’s been hit or miss lately. It’s a hard game to get a grip on. Clemson really should have beaten Georgia Tech but tossed that away. This game feels like a make-or-break situation for the Tigers.

Virginia and Georgia Tech should also be very interesting. The Cavaliers have made some changes and also have Georgetown transfer Dante Harris healthy and he had a big impact in the Virginia Tech win. He is capable of giving Reece Beekman some support in the backcourt defensively and as Tony Bennett’s dad, Dick proved, you can win a game in the 30’s if you kick ass on defense. No one will enjoy it, but you’ll get the win.

We really like how Georgia Tech is coming along. The Yellow Jackets have a hugely promising talent inside in Baye Ndongo and in the last couple of games, their three point game has roared to life.

That said, rookie coach Damon Stoudamire has never dealt with Bennett’s Pack Line defense. It’s like running into a giant wall of wet cement. And while it looks slow on TV, if you’re close enough to it, you realize that it’s sort of brutal - and exhausting.

It hasn’t worked as well this season, but Virginia seems to be settling in and Bennett has made some smart moves so we’ll see. We like the Cavaliers in this one.

When you take a gander at the standings, you can see how critical wins are for Virginia, Miami and Clemson. Like Virginia and Miami, Syracuse is 3-3 but in that case, the Orange is exceeding expectations.

Also, we’re not sure the last time this happened, but all the Big Four teams - Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest - are in the top five. The only non-NC team in the top five is Florida State, currently tied with NC State for second place.

Saturday’s ACC Action

  • Miami @ Syracuse || 12:00 || ESPN2
  • Virginia Tech @ NC State || 12:00 || CW Network
  • Louisville @ Wake Forest || 12:00 || ESPNU
  • UNC @ Boston College || 2:15 || CW Network
  • Clemson @ Florida State || 4:00 || ACCN
  • Virginia @ Georgia Tech || 6:00 || ACCN
  • Pitt @ Duke || 8:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings