ACC Wednesday: Louisville, Virginia Win; Duke Survives Road Test

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Updated: January 8, 2015
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Typically, Wednesday nights on the mother network — ESPN — are for premier match-ups featuring the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“ACC Wednesday” this week featured three of ACC’s best that were beginning their conference slates: No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Virginia and No. 5 Louisville.

Louisville squeaks past Clemson in their ACC home opener

Maybe “The Flop” against No. 1 Kentucky was the best thing for Louisville guard Chris Jones.

Jones has been a saving grace for the Cardinals in the two games since his benching after the loss to the top-tanked Wildcats.

Despite shooting 6-for-17 against Clemson, Jones scored 22 points for the second consecutive game in the 58-52 win for the Cards to improve to 14-1 on the season and 2-0 in league play. Jones scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, after Louisville trailed by four at the break, 22-18.

Although National Player of the Year candidate Montrezl Harrell was rather quiet, again, against the Tigers — six points and six rebounds — the Cards continue to win games and remain among the nation’s elite.

Virginia continues to roll in their undefeated start

This may sound a tab bit biased because I’m such a huge Tony Bennett fan and what he’s done with this Virginia program in his sixth season … but the Cavaliers are for real, folks.

The third-ranked Cavs fought out a gritty upset attempt by North Carolina State on Wednesday night at home to improve to 14-0, with a 61-51 victory.

Justin Anderson, a contender for ACC Player of the Year, led No. 3 Virginia with 16 points, including a quartet of three-pointers.

Behind Okafor and Winslow, Duke survives Winston-Salem

Wednesday wasn’t pretty for the second-ranked Blue Devils, but the upstart bunch from Durham fought through some adversity on the road and pulled out a 73-65 victory against Wake Forest.

Justise Winslow led the Devils with 20 points, while All-American contender Jahlil Okafor added in a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Even with an outstanding effort from Demon Deacons forward Devin Thomas, who scored 24 points on 12-of-20 shooting to keep the Deacs in the contest, Duke was just too much for the upset-minded Deacons.

Other Wednesday notables:

  • No. 4 Wisconsin got past a tougher-than-expected test from Purdue at the Kohl Center, 62-55. The Badgers got 21 points from Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky III in the win.
  • No. 9 Utah exploded for a 74-49 blowout over Colorado, with the starting backcourt of Brandon Taylor and Delon Wright scoring 27 points combined in the 25-point rout.
  • UPSET ALERT! Illinois, minus leading scoring Rayvonte Rice (broken hand), upset the 11th-ranked Maryland Terrapins, 64-57. Illini guard Malcolm Hill exploded for 28 points in the Illinois victory.
  • In the game of the day (or night), No. 12 Kansas escaped Waco over No. 21 Baylor with a 56-55 win late last night. It was not a pretty game by any means, but a 13-point performance from Jamari Traylor helped the Jayhawks to a vital road conference win.
  • MORE UPSETS! Despite a 3-for-15 shooting performance from deep, Xavier upset No. 19 Seton Hall, 69-58. Dee Davis led the Musketeers with 14 points.

Upsets are always fun. College hoop fans always feel like this when the season heats up before March:

Thank you for being awesome, Steve Ballmer.

 

Michael Whitlow

@MAWhitlow

(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

Mike Whitlow

Michael Whitlow is Sideline Sports Report’s college basketball editor. The 22-year-old from Fort Wayne, Indiana is currently a journalism major at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Michael calls Chicago, Illinois his home because of the sights, the sounds and passion Chicago sports fans show each and every day.

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