ACC Game On: 11.22.11 EditionPosted by KCarpenter on November 22nd, 2011
ACC Game On will periodically review recent games involving ACC teams and take a look forward to key upcoming matchups.
It’s going to be a long season for Boston College. I thought that maybe the dismal performance against Holy Cross could be explained away by the absence of Patrick Heckmann, but I was wrong. Massachusetts has the makings of a very talented team, but make no mistake: Boston College is bad. There is no reason to be surprised, but there is also no reason to expect Boston College will not improve. The Eagles with a few exceptions are a team of freshmen. The difference between a freshman in November and a freshman in March can be huge, especially in terms of shooting. Just ask Harrison Barnes. This team shouldn’t go winless this year even though it might feel like it today.
North Carolina State, on the other hand looked excellent in a spectacular comeback against Texas. Richard Howell was neutralized by foul trouble but C.J. Leslie and a healthy Scott Wood came off the bench to deliver a much-needed scoring punch from the Wolfpack. Being able to win on a neutral court with your best big sitting on the bench seems like a pretty good omen for a team with a challenging schedule over the next month.
Duke coasted to the finish after being challenged early on by a persistent Tennessee team that was ultimately simply over-matched. One thing to note early this season is the tight Blue Devils rotation. While Miles Plumlee came off the bench for some effective minutes and Tyler Thornton has been offering his customary amount of foul-happy pressure defense, the starters are seeing the bulk of the minutes so far. This line-up is far from solidified, but the reliance on the starters is something to keep an eye on.
Virginia beat Drake rather unimpressively and Jontel Evans was the least impressive of them all. He played 33 minutes and managed to log a stat line of one point, one assist, one steal, three turnovers, and three fouls. If he doesn’t improve, Virginia might need to shake up its starting line up.
- #14 Michigan vs #6 Duke at 7 PM on ESPN
The spiciest match-up of the night, Michigan and Duke meet up for a rematch of one of the best games of last season’s NCAA Tournament. Despite their win yesterday against Memphis Michigan has every reason to come into this game feeling like they have something to prove. The Michigan team that lost to Duke in March has not lost much of its firepower and showed some real fierceness in their rout of the Tigers yesterday. Duke has survived some rough stretches so far this season, but this Michigan team will be the stiffest test yet for the Blue Devils. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the kind of player who has the potential to give Duke fits.
- Coastal Carolina at Clemson at 9 PM on ESPN3.com
After a stunning loss to the College of Charleston, the Tigers look to bounce back against Coastal Carolina. It’s a game that an inspired Clemson team should win, but it will be no cakewalk. Coastal Carolina is a talented team and they managed to surprise Louisiana State by delivering a stunning loss to those other Tigers. Still, outside of LSU, this Coastal Carolina team has dined on a steady diet of non-Division I schools at home. They have yet to play on the road and they have yet to play a team as talented as Clemson. The Tigers should make a statement in the bounce-back win, but don’t expect the Chanticleers to go down without a fight.
For Fans Only
- Florida Gulf Coast at Miami at 7 PM on ESPN3.com
- Tennessee State at #1 North Carolina at 7:30 PM on ESPN3.com
Miami and North Carolina should handle these foes easily. For the sake of argument, let’s lay out why they might not. Florida Gulf Coast has lost two games already to Southern Methodist and Texas Christian. While that doesn’t sound great, both of these losses were by only a single point and on the road. Florida Gulf Coast has been competitive in every game they have played in until the final buzzer. They have also managed to shoot 45.1% as a team from beyond the arc. If the NCAA Tournament has taught me one thing, it is to never underestimate a team that can shoot threes. That doesn’t sound too promising against a Miami team that has looked very solid in the early going, but it is something. Tennessee State has already played the spoiler once this season, beating South Carolina on Sunday. Aside from this upset experience and an early knack for forcing turnovers, there’s not much that this team can hang its hat on. North Carolina should win this handily.