UNC Basketball: Around the ACC Conference Update

Dec 21, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Leaky Black (1) and guard R.J. Davis (4) celebrate after taking the lead during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at the Jumpman Classic at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Leaky Black (1) and guard R.J. Davis (4) celebrate after taking the lead during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at the Jumpman Classic at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

With players around the country home for Christmas break (including the UNC basketball program), we check in to see how the teams in the ACC have performed prior to the holidays.

As conference play kicks into full gear next week, we give an update on all of the ACC basketball programs below.

Boston College Eagles

The Eagles looked like a bottom-tier ACC team throughout the non-conference play, with bad losses to Maine, Tarleton State, and New Hampshire.  BC was blown out at Duke in their first conference game a couple of weeks ago and appeared to be going nowhere.

Then, in one of the most surprising results of the season so far, the Eagles upset 21st-ranked Virginia Tech in overtime.  They sit at 1-1 in conference play and will look to use that win as a turning point.  BC’s next game is on the road at Syracuse on New Year’s Eve.

Record: 7-6 (1-1 in ACC)

Clemson Tigers

Clemson has looked solid thus far, with the exception of two head-scratching performances.  The Tigers lost at the buzzer at South Carolina back in the first week of the season and were blown out by Loyola-Chicago on December 10th.

Their only other loss was a neutral-site three-point game against Iowa, and they have won both of their first two ACC games (vs Wake Forest and at Georgia Tech) by double digits.  The Tigers host NC State and travel to Virginia Tech in their next two games, which will both be critical for their hopes to finish in the top half of the conference.

Record: 10-3 (2-0 in ACC)

Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils have quality wins over Xavier, Ohio State, and Iowa but came up short against the likes of Purdue and Kansas.  They entered their first road game of the season at Wake Forest last week on a four-game winning streak but were upset by the Deacs by double digits (albeit without Derrick Lively or Dariq Whitehead).

Duke is deep and talented, but John Scheyer is still looking to figure out a lineup and rotation with a roster that features plenty of freshmen and a couple of transfers.  The Blue Devils have plenty of games they *should* win coming up, starting on New Year’s Eve when they host Florida State.

Record: 10-3 (1-1 in ACC)

Florida State Seminoles

The ‘Noles had a horrific performance in the non-conference, going 2-9 with bad losses to Stetson, Troy, and Siena to name a few.  For a team that was expected to make the NCAA Tournament in the preseason, FSU has all but eliminated their NCAA Tournament at-large bid hopes before the calendar has turned to 2023.

Although they were awful out of the ACC, the Seminoles have won two of their first three conference games, at home against Louisville and Notre Dame.  Their lone conference loss was a close game at Virginia.  FSU has been disappointing thus far, but they still have the talent to knock off some of the league’s top teams.

Record: 4-10 (2-1 in ACC)

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

GT hasn’t done much to this point in the season, with their lone high-major win coming at home against Georgia.  The Yellow Jackets don’t have any embarrassing losses, but they have struggled when facing quality competition.

In ACC play, they have been beaten handily at UNC and at home against Clemson.  They will need to pull off an upset to avoid an 0-4 start to conference play, as their next two games are against Miami and Virginia.

Record: 7-5 (0-2 in ACC)

Louisville Cardinals

Kenny Payne’s first season in Louisville has been a disaster thus far.  The Cardinals opened the season 0-9, and their only wins on the season so far are against Western Kentucky and Florida A&M.

They are 0-3 already in ACC play, with all three losses against Miami, FSU, and NC State coming by double digits.  The Cards appear to be one of (if not the) worst teams from a high-major conference, and their rivalry game at Kentucky on New Year’s Eve could get really ugly.

Record: 2-11 (0-3 in ACC)

Miami Hurricanes

Miami has looked very good up to this point, with their only loss coming on a neutral court against Maryland.  Isaiah Wong is one of the most exciting scorers in the country, and he is definitely in the mix for ACC Player of the Year at this point.

The ‘Canes opened ACC play with victories against Louisville and NC State prior to a huge home victory against Virginia last week.  Miami is on track to make it back to the NCAA Tournament after coming up one win short of the Final Four last season.

Record: 12-1 (3-0 in ACC)

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Heels have bounced back nicely from their four-game losing streak, as they have won four in a row since then.  UNC picked up quality wins against Ohio State and Michigan last week and has looked much better offensively of late.  Carolina is sharing the ball much more and doing a better job of getting the ball inside to Armando Bacot.

UNC is currently 1-1 in conference play, as they lost at Virginia Tech (without Bacot) during the aforementioned losing streak and defeated Georgia Tech handily at home in the game that followed.   The Heels are in ACC play for the rest of the regular season, beginning with a tricky road game at Pittsburgh on the 30th.

Record: 9-4 (1-1 in ACC)

NC State Wolfpack

State has had a decent start to the season, with their only non-conference loss coming against Kansas.  They had a rather easy schedule out of the league but avoided any embarrassing slip-ups.

The ‘Pack opened ACC play 0-2 with losses against Pittsburgh and Miami prior to Thursday’s victory over Louisville.  The next few weeks will be huge for their NCAA Tournament hopes, as they have home games against Duke and Miami as well as road tests at Clemson and Virginia Tech.

Record: 11-3 (1-2 in ACC)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Irish have been underwhelming thus far, as their only power six win was at home against an injury-riddled Michigan State team.  They have lost four of their last five games after a 6-1 start.

In ACC play, they have lost both of their games by one point, against Syracuse and Florida State.  It doesn’t get much easier for Notre Dame, who has to face Miami and UNC in the next two weeks.

Record: 7-5 (0-2 in ACC)

Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers have bounced back very nicely from a 1-3 start, as they have won eight of their last nine since.  Their only loss since then was by one point at Vanderbilt.

Pitt has had a very good start to ACC play, as they won on the road at both Syracuse and NC State.  We will know a lot more about the Panthers after their upcoming home stand, where they will face UNC, Virginia, and Clemson.

Record: 9-4 (2-0 in ACC)

Syracuse Orange

The Orange have been inconsistent thus far, with some rough non-conference losses against Colgate and Bryant.

They won at Notre Dame by one point in their first ACC game but lost at home to Pitt last Tuesday.  Cuse has two very winnable games coming up against Boston College and Louisville.

Record: 8-5 (1-1 in ACC)

Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia got off to an outstanding start, beginning the season 8-0 and climbing to number two in the AP Poll.  Since then, the Cavaliers have lost back-to-back games, although they were both against quality opponents.

Houston won in Charlottesville last weekend, and Miami hung on to beat UVA at home on Tuesday night.  The Wahoos still have a really impressive tournament resume thus far, as they have defeated Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan away from home.

They should get back in the win column this week as they host Albany in their final non-conference game.

Record: 8-2 (1-1 in ACC)

Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies got off to a great start, winning eleven of their first twelve and entering the AP Poll last week.  They will probably not stay there, however, as they were upset in overtime by Boston College on Wednesday.

VT is 1-1 in conference play with a win over UNC and a loss to BC, just as we all expected.

Record: 11-2 (1-1 in ACC)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Deacs had lost three out of four prior to their upset win against Duke on Tuesday.  The win over the Blue Devils was the first over a ranked opponent during Head Coach Steve Forbes’ time in Winston-Salem.

Wake has a tough upcoming schedule, as they face Virginia Tech and UNC in their next two games.

Record: 9-4 (1-1 in ACC)

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