ACC Weekend: Losing is the Pitt(s) - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

ACC Weekend: Losing is the Pitt(s)

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Jamie Dixon has had a lot of teachable moments this year with his team. (Source: Pitt Athletics Communications) Jamie Dixon has had a lot of teachable moments this year with his team. (Source: Pitt Athletics Communications)
James Michael McAdoo (43) and the Tar Heels have been on the rise, but their five-game winning streak has come against middling ACC teams. (Source: UNC Athletics Communications) James Michael McAdoo (43) and the Tar Heels have been on the rise, but their five-game winning streak has come against middling ACC teams. (Source: UNC Athletics Communications)

(RNN) - People who are scared to death of horror movies can sympathize with what the Pitt basketball team is going through right now.

You know the feeling - you watch something you know shouldn't have and then double-think turning the key to the front door the next night. You tip-toe around your own house as if the Boogeyman was hiding in the closet… and then.

As far as the Panthers go, Tyler Ennis is the Boogeyman. And so is Malcolm Brogdon. And Andre Dawkins. And Devin Wilson. With three losses in its last four games at Petersen Events Center, Pitt (20-5, 8-4 ACC) just can't feel safe in its own home anymore.

Both Ennis and Brogdon hit last-second shots to give Syracuse and Virginia, respectively, wins against the Panthers. Dawkins hit enough 3-pointers to fill up a bathtub during a dominant second-half stretch leading to a Duke blowout. Wilson's Hokies didn't beat Pitt, but he sent the game to a second overtime with a pair of free throws. Virginia Tech has one ACC win this year, by the way.

The Panthers were 9-0 against top-five teams in 12 seasons at The Pete and averaged two losses there a season. Thankfully, they leave home and travel to Chapel Hill. Thankfully? Thankfully.

North Carolina (16-7, 6-4) is on a roll and looks eerily familiar to a pretty good team that used to be called, ironically, North Carolina.

Snow denied the world a look at what the Tar Heels would like against an elite team - no offense to the five fairly competitive but not quite impressive squads UNC beat up on between Virginia (15-point loss) and Duke (postponed till Feb. 20).

But it's OK. Surely, the Heels will mind their manners and prove hospitable hosts to the conference newcomer who played so well earlier this season it made teams like Carolina look like they didn't belong in the ACC.

Dig? What dig? Well, if we have to wait for our first UNC-Duke matchup of the season, this will do, especially since the Panthers play better defense than the Blue Devils.

Saturday games (all times eastern)

Virginia at Clemson, noon

These two teams play lockdown defense and run their offenses at a deliberate pace. Translation: The game flow might get so dull at times you'll feel like it's going in slow motion, maybe even reverse.

So why watch? Virginia (20-5, 11-1) has the best conference record behind Syracuse - anyone else surprised by that statement? - and these are, after all, the two best defensive teams in the country.

In a game like this, anything can happen, but if there is one thing we can count on, it's this.

Maryland at Duke, 6 p.m.

Speaking of the Blue Devils… they might actually get to play a game this week if snow doesn't bury the Mid-Atlantic region. Because, you know, flying in snow is even trickier than driving, even when it's only nine miles.

Be sure to keep an eye on Dez Wells. When he's not turning the ball over, he gives the Terrapins (14-11, 6-6) a great chance to win. He and Seth Allen were the only players who weren't smoldering messes against a great Virginia team, so it's interesting to see how they match up with Duke, which is talented but plays Swiss cheese defense.

It's not Duke's fault. Jabari Parker is a bona fide star, and Amile Jefferson's coming out party began in early January. But with a guard-heavy rotation and no true post presence, defense is not this team's strong point.

NC State at Syracuse, 2p.m.

The Wolfpack (16-8, 6-5) is in the unenviable position of traveling to meet a team that looks more indestructible with each successive game.

T.J. Warren is the ACC's leading scorer and three other teammates average at least 10, but it won't be enough. It takes strong outside shooting to have a chance against Syracuse because no one, not even Warren, is going to slash to the basket on a consistent basis. Unfortunately for NC State, its 3-point shooting is the worst in the conference.

Did we mention Syracuse is 24-0 and arguably the best team in the country? Really, did we have to?

Also on deck

Miami at Virginia Tech, 6 p.m.

Florida State at Wake Forest, 8 p.m.

Sunday game

Notre Dame at Boston College, 6 p.m.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Who is the ACC Player of the Year?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
    8%
    11 votes
    Rodney Hood, Duke
    6%
    10 votes
    Jabari Parker, Duke
    22%
    35 votes
    Dez Wells, Maryland
    0%
    0 votes
    Marcus Paige, North Carolina
    22%
    35 votes
    T.J. Warren, NC State
    27%
    42 votes
    Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh
    1%
    2 votes
    C.J. Fair, Syracuse
    6%
    9 votes
    Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
    3%
    5 votes
    Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
    5%
    8 votes
  • MoreMore>>

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