Day 2 of the ACC Tournament produced one upset and some familiar dominance by the two flagship programs of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The day got off to a big start for No. 8 Syracuse which easily dispatched No. 9 N.C. State to advance to the quarterfinals.
The night ended with an impressive win by No. 6 North Carolina, which looked like the ACC’s best team in the win.
Here is a recap of all four games during Wednesday’s action.
Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, pick up an easy win over N.C. State
The Orange entered Wednesday needing a win — or two — to get closer to an NCAA Tournament berth. If their performance in the win over the Wolfpack is any indication, Syracuse certainly looks the part of a Field of 68 team.
Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim was outstanding, leading all scorers with 27 points. Boeheim hit six 3-pointers, and the Orange, as a team, connected on 14 from beyond the arc.
Now, Syracuse plays top-seeded Virginia at noon on Thursday. The Hoos defeated the Orange 81-58 in the only meeting of the two teams in the regular season.
One thing appears certain; Buddy likes Greensboro more than his pops.
Miami shocks Clemson
Are the Miami Hurricanes suddenly more dangerous than originally thought?
The No. 13 ‘Canes defeated Pitt on Tuesday, but it was a fading Pitt team that has lost some key contributors.
On Wednesday, Miami shocked No. 5 Clemson with a 67-64 win, sending the Tigers home early in another disappointing showing in the ACC Tournament.
Miami guard Isaiah Wong was outstanding again, scoring 20 points for the second consecutive night. The win was Miami coach Jim Larranaga’s 200th in charge of the Hurricanes.
Next up for Miami is No. 4 Georgia Tech. Can Miami pull off another upset?
Georgia Tech easily handled Miami in the regular season, 87-60, but Wong exited early with an ankle injury. Don’t discount the Hurricanes here.
For Clemson, it should already be in the NCAA Tournament. However, it’s just another ugly loss in coach Brad Brownell’s tenure. Anytime you expect Clemson to take the next step, the Tigers stunningly lose a game like this.
Duke wins again
The No. 10 Blue Devils were expected to win on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday, they were facing No. 7 Louisville, a team that had beaten Duke twice in the regular season. While both games were close, the Cardinals did look like the better team.
On Wednesday, Duke handled Louisville, 70-56, to advance to the quarterfinals, where the Devils will face No. 2 Florida State.
The Blue Devils were led by freshman center Mark Williams, who finished with a career-high 23 points and 19 rebounds. Williams was absolutely dominant, as anytime the Cardinals would appear to be closing in, Williams would answer on the other end.
The win moves Duke to 13-11, and if the Blue Devils can upset the Seminoles on Thursday, you’d have to wonder if the NCAA committee wouldn’t find a way to get Duke in the field of 68.
The biggest takeaway from this one is Williams. It looks like head coach Mike Krzyzewski was playing the wrong freshman big man early in the season. Williams is a talent and a bit of a throwback.
Duke and FSU will be a fun matchup on Thursday.
Tar Heels are peaking at the right time
The Hokies know their opponent on Thursday night, and it is the red-hot North Carolina Tar Heels.
Buckle up, folks.
Remember who eliminated Virginia Tech from last season’s ACC Tournament just before the pandemic shut things down? Yep, it was UNC.
Early in the season, this didn’t look like one of Roy Williams’ best teams. There was no consistency, and the Heels struggled to defend. Since late-January, the Heels look like a different time at the most important juncture of the season.
UNC obliterated Notre Dame on Wednesday, 101-59. The Tar Heels outscored the Fighting Irish 56-20 inside the paint and outrebounded them, 54-31. At one point, UNC went on a ridiculous 37-2 run.
And North Carolina did all of this without senior forward Garrison Brooks.
Sophomore forward Armando Bacot scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Freshman Day’Ron Sharpe scored 13 points and finished with 10 rebounds, while another freshman big man, 7-foot-1 Walker Kessler, scored 16 points.
The Hokies are going to have their hands full on Thursday with or without Brooks. Not having Jalen Cone makes it even more difficult for Tech. In addition to another long layoff, this will be a tough one for the Hokies.