ACC Tournament Thursday Takeaways

Posted by Matt Patton on March 11th, 2016

Thursday in Washington, DC, featured a terrific afternoon with Notre Dame clawing past Duke in overtime. Unfortunately, the other three games of the day weren’t quite as closely contested. Here are a few takeaways from the quarterfinals action.

The Pitt band plays during the quarterfinals of the 2016 New York Life ACC Tournament in Washington, DC, Thursday, March 10, 2016. (Photo by Liz Condo,

The Pitt band plays during the quarterfinals of the 2016 New York Life ACC Tournament in Washington, DC (Photo by Liz Condo,

North Carolina (26-6): The Tar Heels got a huge lift from Joel Berry in the first half as he carried their often-stagnant offense. In the second half, North Carolina’s depth was on full display while Brice Johnson was his normal all-ACC self. However, the highlight of the day may have been head coach Roy Williams failing to censor himself in the following exchange:

Q: Coach, the unbalanced schedule this year. It benefited you guys having the easiest strength of schedule in the ACC this year. Do you think it benefited you at all getting the No. 1 seed going into this tournament?

A: Depends on how you evaluate that. You know what we didn’t have the benefit of, to make somebody say we didn’t have the easy schedule, we didn’t get to play North Carolina. All that is a bunch of horse ****.

Well said, coach. We all want the round-robin back, but that’s not realistic with 15 teams. Even then, we don’t think you’d be able to play North Carolina.

Pittsburgh (21-11): Pitt probably guaranteed its invitation to the Big Dance by winning against Syracuse on Wednesday, and the Panthers played with North Carolina for 32 minutes yesterday. But their defense is suspect and their offense has a tendency to settle for jump shots. If Jamie Dixon’s team wants to actually advance beyond the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, it will need a lot more going forward out of players other than Jamel Artis and Michael Young.

Virginia (25-6): You can’t overstate how good Virginia looked on both ends of the floor Thursday night. Malcolm Brogdon was unstoppable on offense while simultaneously locking down Georgia Tech’s hot hand on defense (he guarded Marcus Georges-Hunt for most of the night, but took some time to guard Adam Smith when he got warm). The pack-line defense was a machine that allowed the Cavaliers to play perfect defense based on how referees were calling the game.

Georgia Tech (19-14): The Yellow Jackets were fighting an uphill battle in its game against Virginia, but they managed to keep the game close for a while before eventually running out of gas. This might be a good time to point out that Brian Gregory is improving this program, it’s just not at the pace fans had hoped for. This year’s team was better than its record but still wasn’t all that close to becoming an NCAA Tournament team. Is that be good enough to earn Gregory another year in Atlanta?

Miami (25-6): Miami won and at times looked every bit of Virginia’s offensive equal. Sheldon McClellan wasn’t quite as impressive as Brogdon, but he was tremendous nonetheless. Unlike the Cavaliers, who dropped the hammer on Georgia Tech in the second half, the Hurricanes allowed Virginia Tech to stay at arm’s length throughout. How much of that was derived from playing in front of a hostile crowd, nobody knows. It may turn out to be more of the same on Friday, since there will be more than a few Cavaliers fans in the house.

Virginia Tech (19-14): Buzz Williams has this program way ahead of schedule. The Hokies look like they will be a legitimate NCAA Tournament team next year, as all starters should return. On this particular night, they were simply at a significant experience disadvantage. Considering Miami came in with fresh legs, that should have meant blowout. But Williams’ team hung around until the final minutes before finally succumbing. There are better days ahead in Blacksburg.

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