ACC Game On: 11.15.11 EditionPosted by KCarpenter on November 15th, 2011
ACC Game On will periodically review recent games involving ACC teams and take a look forward at key upcoming matchups.
Despite Boston College going out of it’s way to pull a Molly Hatchet (“Flirtin’ With Disaster“), none of the four ACC teams suffered an upset on Monday night. Blow outs were the rule of the day for Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech who pulled away from their mid-major competitors without much difficulty. In Chestnut Hill, Steve Donahue managed to start four freshmen and a transfer student, an odd choice (though logical considering his roster), but one that he might have been regretting as the game against New Hampshire rolled on. An uncomfortably close game, the Eagles eked out a close three-point win. While no single player looked particularly impressive for BC, the team was marked by that distinctive Donahue-style: BC shot only 37.5% overall, but managed to shoot 44.4% from beyond the arc. Yep, that’s the new look Boston College.
The three blowouts around the ACC were not particularly interesting aside from a few individual performances. In Tallahassee, Florida State easily handled a Central Florida team that, despite reinstating three key contributors who had been held out out of their opener, suffocated under the Seminoles’ oppressive defense. Bernard James, who struggled in the season opener with an ankle injury, got the early breakout we expected, scoring eighteen points on 8-9 shooting, while also lodging eleven rebounds and three blocks. In Blacksburg, Dorian Finney-Smith failed to replicate his stat-sheet-stuffing heroics of the season opener, attempting only two shots and missing them both (though he still managed to grab seven rebounds). The lead scorer for the Hokies was freshman Robert Brown, who quietly lodged his second double figure scoring game coming off the bench. With Georgia Tech, Daniel Miller, a 6’11” center, somehow managed to lead the Yellow Jackets in assists, dishing out six dimes while scoring fourteen points and grabbing fifteen rebounds. All of these marks were career highs for the sophomore whose freshman campaign was largely undistinguished. If Miller breaks out for Georgia Tech, it could make a big difference for a team that is trying to climb out of the conference cellar.
For The Record
Duke vs Michigan State at 7:00 PM on ESPN
Duke plays its third game in five days at Madison Square Garden against Draymond Green and the Spartans. A win tonight gives Mike Krzyzewski the all-time record in career wins, but Tom Izzo would prefer it if it didn’t happen on his watch. While Belmont is actually a tougher matchup for the Blue Devils than Michigan State, this will be Duke’s first trip of the season outside of the comfy confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Madison Square Garden is a much bigger stage and Green won’t be shy about trying to use his strength and athleticism to bully the Plumlees into handing over a rebound or three. Duke should be able to win this one for Coach K, but Michigan State will relish the chance to play spoiler.
Florida International at Virginia Tech at 6pm on ESPNU
On Monday there was a surprising outcome in Blacksburg, but it had nothing to do with the Hokies. Isiah Thomas’s Florida International squad was able to pull off an overtime upset over George Mason, earning the Panthers a shot at the Hokies and a trip to the NIT Semifinals. The idea of Isiah Thomas playing for the right to return to coach at Madison Square Garden is a delicious thought, but Virginia Tech should be able to handle FIU with ease. It was a miracle that the Panthers beat George Mason. Beating VT at home with one day of preparation seems like an awfully tall order.
The Reality Check
Rutgers at Miami at 7:00 PM on ESPN3.com
An inter-conference match-up between the Big East and the ACC will be the first real test for a particularly challenging non-conference schedule for a Miami team that is expected to break into the upper tier of the league. Rutgers doesn’t look to be a particularly great team this year, but with one of the topped-ranked recruiting classes in the country, the Scarlet Knights certainly have the potential to surprise the Hurricanes. Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott should have a field day against a back court that employs so many freshmen, but youth, as we all know, is an unpredictable thing.
Winthrop at Virginia at 7:00 PM
Winthrop’s years as a mid-major powerhouse are fading into the rear-view mirror. Still, Winthrop did beat Wake Forest last year, and any school that has a tradition of beating teams that they aren’t supposed to is automatically more dangerous. To be clear, however, a Winthrop victory remains a long shot.