Our Saturday picks were pretty good although we missed on Notre Dame beating BC and if we had known Justin Champagnie would be back we would have taken Pitt.
And while we got Virginia-Clemson right, and were sure that Virginia would improve, did we see utter destruction coming? Did we see Smaug-like devastation raining down on the Tigers in Littlejohn?
No we did not. But we don’t think many other people did either.
Yet that’s what Virginia did in laying an historic beatdown on #12 Clemson, winning by 35.
Virginia shot out to an 18-2 lead and came close to holding Clemson in single digits in the first half. With just 2:59 left, the Tigers had nine points and scored ten late to get to 19 at the half.
But it was far too late. Virginia just kept pulling away and ultimately built a 38 point lead.
And it could have been worse.
For one, Virginia only got to the line twice. For another, Virginia missed some shots that we were sure would go in.
It was a brutal beatdown and one that served notice: the Virginia we’ve gotten used to is back, but with a twist: this team can score.
UNC certainly gave Florida State a game but in the end the ‘Noles won 82-75. The Tar Heels were right there, down just 74-73 with 2:22 left.
Remember what we said about how in the past UNC would have won games like this?
FSU made the winning plays here. Or rather, UNC didn’t.
RaiQuan Gray got a three point play with 2:02 left to put FSU up 77-73 and after that UNC didn’t score again until RJ Davis hit a pair of free throws with 0:08 left.
Check out the carnage: Leaky Black was blocked on a layup, Garrison Brooks missed a shot, Day’Ron Sharpe had a turnover, then he missed a host, then Garrison Brooks fouled, putting MJ Walker on the line where he split his free throws.
Then Kerwin Walton missed a three before Davis hit his pair of foul shots before Walton missed a three pointer at the buzzer.
Say what you will, but this is not the kind of Carolina Basketball that generations of UNC fans embraced.
All of which means that this is a great time to check out one of the funniest accounts on Twitter, @ICMeltdown. As the man says, “Covering the continuing meltdown of UNC fans. All tweets in quotes are actual, unedited, Inside Carolina posts by actual UNC fans.“
And they’re getting pretty intense after that.
Sometimes you just get a hunch about a game and we had one about Miami. No idea why; it just seemed like the ‘Canes were due or something.
And with or without Chris Lykes, the ‘Canes got it done, largely thanks to rapidly improving sophomore guard Isaiah Wong, who racked up 30 in this one, taking a third of Miami’s shots and hitting 12 of 20 and 3-5 from deep – AND he hit the game winner.
What makes this win more impressive is that Miami was without Lykes, Kameron McGusty, Deng Gak, Rodney Miller and Earl Timberlake. Well and also Sam Waardenburg who is out for the entire year.
Lykes, McGusty, Miller and Waardenburg are all starters.
This win, in its way, is as impressive as UVA’s.
Who returns from an injury and scores 24 points and grabs 16 rebounds?
Justin Champagnie, that’s who!
That’s completely ridiculous but the kid is improving by leaps and bounds.
Pitt played Syracuse 10 days ago and won by three. This time it was a four-point win with 8:30 left and Pitt pulled away to win by 20. The Panthers scored 64 in the second half. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said that his team had “a complete team breakdown,” which sums this one up nicely.
Jeff Capel’s vision is starting to solidify: he has a boatload of versatile, athletic guys who can really make you work on both ends of the court. And now he’s got his best player back. At 7-2, Pitt is in position to start a post-season push, which should come as welcome news to Panther fans.
Finally, we whiffed on BC at Notre Dame. The Eagles pushed the Irish but Notre Dame didn’t buckle. Dane Goodwin had 21 while Prentiss Hubb had 13 points and 10 assists. Nate Laszewski (rhymes with Krzyzewski) shot 7-10 for 16 and Cormac Ryan added 10. Juwan Durham had 12 points and grabbed 11 boards.
At 3-10, even though you can see signs of life from BC and they’re clearly not giving up, Jim Christian should probably start updating his resume.
Only one game on Sunday as Virginia Tech travels down to Winston-Salem to take on the Deacon Deacs and new coach Steve Forbes.
Here’s what’s interesting about this game: Forbes and Mike Young coached against each other in the SoCon from 2015-2019 on fairly even terms. These guys really know each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well. However, Young has more talent right now. Carter Whitt was out last game with an ankle injury. It didn’t sound serious but we’ll see.
Wake has developed a bit of an offensive identity but defense is still a major weakness. It’s hard to see them winning this game.
ACC alumni note: when NC State grad Archie Miller took the Indiana job after a sensation run at Dayton, it seemed like a home run hire. Not so much now.
Gregg Doyel is not our favorite columnist as we’ve said more than once. He’s a bit of a bully honestly.
Nonetheless, Indiana is struggling again and now in his fourth year, Miller is running low on supporters. To make matters worse, he still hasn’t beaten rival Purdue and that, as much as anything, may seal his fate.
Sunday’s ACC Action
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest || 6:00 || ACCN