Down goes just about everybody. Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, and NC State all dropped games to unranked ACC opponents over the past week.
Louisville kicked off the upsets Saturday, handing UNC its worst home loss under Roy Williams, 83-62. Three Cardinals had 17-point scoring afternoons, including Steven Enoch off the bench. No Tar Heel scored more than 12 points, and the team shot a combined 3-of-22 from 3-point range.
Without Zion Williamson for much of the game, Duke escaped against Florida State on Saturday. RJ Barrett scored 32 points, and Cam Reddish hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds in the Blue Devils 80-78 win.
While Duke squeaked out a win Saturday, the Blue Devils weren’t so lucky on Monday night against Syracuse. Williamson returned after exiting Saturday’s game and dropped 35 points, but Tre Jones left with a shoulder injury. Cam Reddish also missed the game with the flu. The game went to overtime, where Paschal Chukwu and Tyus Battle took over for the Orange. Battle had a season-high 32 points and Chukwu, a key big man for Syracuse, grabbed a career-high 18 boards.
Florida State, the team that had taken Duke to the limit 48 hours earlier, came out flat Monday is a loss to Pittsburgh. The Panthers, led by freshman Trey McGowen’s 30 points, upset the Seminoles 75-62. Xavier Johnson chipped in 18 points and Au’Diese Toney recorded 8 rebounds. The three, all freshman, are surprising many as the leaders of a Pitt team that had been projected to finish in the ACC’s basement for the foreseeable future.
NC State became loser No. 4 Tuesday against Wake Forest, after a 71-67 loss in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons blew a 51-29 second-half lead but held on for the win. NC State tied the game at 58 but never led in the contest.
Lost in a tough week for the ACC was a dominant week for the undefeated Virginia Cavaliers, who beat Clemson by 20 and No. 9 Virginia Tech by 22. Virginia is 16-0 and hasn’t had to sweat out a many, if any, of those 16 wins. The Cavaliers have more 30-plus point wins (5) than single-digit victories (4). Their four ACC wins have been by an average of 20.5 points.
ACC play returns in a big way Saturday, highlighted by those same Cavaliers traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on No. 1 Duke. Virginia Tech-North Carolina and NC State-Louisville highlight other conference games during the upcoming week.
The ACC’s top teams dropping games this past week is more a product of the deep conference cannibalizing itself than concerning struggles. Eight ACC teams are currently in Joe Lunardi’s bracket projections, including two No. 1 seeds, Duke and UVA. That’s the great thing about ACC play: fans are treated to Tournament-caliber matchups on the daily.
All ACC teams are still at or above .500. Wake Forest has the worst overall record at 8-8, but 9-7 Boston College is the only team without an ACC win.