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ACC Roundup - Miami Fumbles A Great Opportunity While Notre Dame & Louisville Record Rare Wins

A big day up and down the conference

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Miami (FL)
 Feb 10, 2024; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes forward Norchad Omier (15) collects a rebound against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half at Watsco Center
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC Action, UNC survived Miami 75-72, Clemson took care of Syracuse 77-68, Wake Forest sent NC State back to Raleigh with no ice cream (Kevin Keatts buys his team ice cream if they win on the road), Notre Dame surprised Virginia Tech 74-66, Louisville double last year’s win total with a 79-67 win over the Yellow Jackets and Virginia survived Florida State on the road 80-76.

We thought Miami had a chance to knock off UNC and they obviously really needed a big win. They almost got it too.

UNC shot out to an early lead but Norchad Omier and Nijel Pack took over and Miami took a lead into halftime.

But UNC bounced back with an 18-7 run in the second half and Miami never got the lead back.

But they were close and Armando Bacot fouled Wooga Poplar with :02 left. Poplar hit the first and missed the second intentionally to try to get a tying three point shot.

But Miami committed a lane violation and that was that.

Bacot finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds while RJ Davis shot poorly (6-19) but still finished with 25 points, including 8-8 from the line.

Joe Girard made the most of his return to Syracuse, leading Clemson to an 11 point win. Girard hit 4-5 of his three point attempts and 5-6 overall for 18 points. He also hit 2,000 points for his career, which honestly surprised us. We wouldn't have thought he was anywhere near that.

PJ Hall had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Syracuse was led by Chris Bell and JJ Starling with 16 points each.

It’s safe to say that NC State’s season is in trouble. Now 15-9 and 7-6 in the ACC, the Pack gave ancient rival Wake Forest a tough game but this would not be like the game in Raleigh which State won 83-76.

Though State led for a good bit of the middle of the game, this one was tight most of the way and was tied 79-79 with :26 left.

Andrew Carr hit a tough basket over Mo Diarra. Hunter Sallis hit a pair of free throws with :03 left for the final margin.

Hunter Sallis had 33 points for the Deacons, hitting 12-17/4-6 while DJ Horne had a big game for the Pack with 31, shooting 13-21/4-7.

Duke will see Sallis on Monday night.

We kind of thought that Notre Dame could win a game on defense but we also thought if they beat the Hokies, it would be a close, grind-it-out sort of a game.

Nope.

The Irish broke open a tie game with 9:28 left and outscored Virginia Tech 23-15. That’s not an accident or getting lucky.

But defense was a big part of it. Mike Young’s excellent backcourt of Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla were held to 7-16/4-11 and 4-12/1-2 respectively.

The front court starters were held to 12 points total. That’s really impressive.

Markus Burton led the way for Notre Dame with 16 points and, music to Mikah Shrewsberry’s ear, just one turnover. His young point guard is coming along nicely.

Louisville is just a play or two away from a three-game winning streak: the Cards lost last time out at Syracuse, 94-92, after beating FSU 101-92.

Like Notre Dame’s victory, the win over Georgia Tech was no fluke: Louisville finished by outscoring Georgia Tech 21-5. The score was tied 62-62 with 4:25 left so it was fairly emphatic.

Baye Ndongo, who has been such a revelation for much of the season, appears to have hit the freshman wall. He had a productive game again Wake Forest, but against UNC he had two points and no rebounds, against NC State he had five points and seven rebounds and then against Louisville two points and eight rebounds.

He’s been a major force for the Yellow Jackets as has fellow freshman Naithan George who had just two against the Cards.

Miles Kelly hit for 36 and really kept Tech in this one. Georgia Tech shot just 34.9 percent so perhaps Kenny Payne’s admonitions about defense are getting through to his team.

Kaleb Glenn had a great game for the Cards with 15 points (7-10) and 13 rebounds including nine offensive. That’s just a huge outing for the freshman.

On to Virginia.

The Cavs were in their Bennett element, precisely managing the end of a game.

Mostly, anyway: up 77-74, Reece Beekman fouled Darin Green who converted a three point play.

But after that, Virginia just did Virginia stuff.

Isaac McKneely was fouled with :08 left and made both of his free throws to push Virginia up 79-75. Virginia fouled Tom House before on a three point attempt and made the first, missed the second and missed the third on purpose. But McKneely got the rebound and went back to the line with :03. He made one and missed the other to give the Cavs the 80-76 win.

Give FSU credit for running up the score on Virginia because not many people can force them into a faster-paced game. But UVA outscored FSU 30-6 on three pointers. McKneely led the way with 29 while Beekman kicked in 21. Jalen Warley paced the ‘Noles with 21.

This was Virginia’s eight straight win and it moves the ‘Hoos to 19-5 and they’re still in second place. It’s possibly the best story of the ACC season.

No games until Monday when Wake Forest visits Duke.

ACC Standings