At approximately the same time the Georgia Tech football team was handling Kentucky 33-18 in Jacksonville’s TaxSlayer Bowl, up in Atlanta the school’s basketball team was making it a great day to be a fan of the Wramblin’ Wreck.
New coach Josh Pastner’s young Yellow Jackets, picked to finish near the bottom of the 15-team ACC, was busy shocking ninth-ranked North Carolina75-63.
That was just one in a series of ACC stunners which saw North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forest all fall on the same day for the first time since January 11, 2014.
Fifth-ranked Duke, playing without the services of suspended guard Grayson “Ain’t That A Trip” Allen, flopped 89-75 at Virginia Tech, which is now 12-1 under Buzz Williams.
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It was just the third time in history in which Duke and North Carolina lost on the dame day while both were ranked in the Top 10. It was the first time since March 1, 1989.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest fell 79-68 to Clemson. And North Carolina State was drilled 81-63 at Miami.
We should add that Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State Seminoles, ranked 20th, knocked off No. 12 Virginia 60-58 in Charlottesville behind 26 points from Dwayne Bacon, but the result hardly qualifies as a shocker. FSU is good.
The North Carolina loss easily fit the description, however. Georgia Tech is not very good. And with many of the Tech faithful in Florida to support the football team, North Carolina fans outnumbered Yellow Jacket fans inside Hank McCamish Pavilion. There were even chants of “De-fense, De-fense” when the home team possessed the basketball.
Yet somehow North Carolina turned the ball over 20 times and missed 21 of its 26 three-point shots. UNC also had no answer for Tech freshman Josh Okogie, who scored 26 points.
Over in Blacksburg, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski revealed that Allen was no longer a Blue Devil captain after the junior was recently caught trying to trip an opponent for the third time in two seasons.
The Devils obviously missed Allen’s presence. Luke Kennard scored 34 points and freshman Harry Giles made his first meaningful contribution, grabbing eight rebounds, but Duke couldn’t guard the Hokies, who hit eight of 13 three-pointers and shot 55.2 percent from the floor overall.
“They played like we’d been playing, with continuity,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We haven’t played well since before exams, and that continued. I thought we had some good practices when we returned from Christmas, but it’s not enough. They made us not play well, and we didn’t play well.”
North Carolina is back at it on Tuesday when the Heels are at Clemson for a 7 p.m. tip on ESPN2.
Georgia Tech gets another chance to play giant-killer on Wednesday when the Jackets visit Cameron Indoor Stadium to play Duke at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
ACC men’s basketball standings