ACC Game On: 01.11.12Posted by KCarpenter on January 11th, 2012
Some semblance of order prevailed Tuesday night as Florida State managed a close win against Virginia Tech and North Carolina lodged a quietly scary win against Miami. Bernard James, the old man of the ACC, posted an 18-point, 15-rebound game (nine offensive rebounds) and Ian Miller offered the sufficient guard scoring (15 points) that the Seminoles had lacked in the early going. Virginia Tech simply couldn’t score at a strong enough clip against the defensive-minded Seminoles, managing a field goal percentage of only 30.5%. This is how we expected Florida State would win games, and it’s fun to see a team pull off a victory like this while still turning the ball over 19 times in a relatively slow-paced game. Did I say fun? I meant weird, but oddly gratifying.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s convincing victory against Miami was scarier than you might expect. The Tar Heels draw a lot of offensive firepower from their triumvirate of big, athletic, sharp-shooting wings. Last night, Harrison Barnes went 2-of-12, Reggie Bullock went 2-of-6, and P.J. Hairston went 1-of-6. It was a 17-point win for UNC and the Hurricanes shot 41.8%. The ability to accomplish a high margin win without shut-down defense, hot shooting, or scoring from three of your best offensive players is what makes North Carolina such a dangerous team. Totally crushing an opponent in every facet of the game will always be impressive, but soundly beating a team despite lots of things going wrong? Just as remarkable.
Middle Class Warfare
- Wake Forest at Maryland at 7:00 PM (EST) on ESPN3.com
- Georgia Tech at North Carolina State at 9:00 (EST) PM on ESPN3.com
Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are both seeking to crawl out of the ACC cellar, but road contests against slightly better teams in red means that both black and gold teams are going to have to dig deep. Very quietly, Mark Gottfried has supercharged the Wolfpack’s offense. Did you know that NC State ranks #21 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings? That’s good for an easy third-place in the ACC. Did you know that Scott Wood is the most offensively efficient player in the country? He is admittedly, also one of the cherry-pickingest, with a 14.4% usage rate. Still, let’s take some time to admire a guy who is shooting 46.1% (41-of-89) from three and has made 37-of-37 free throws on the year. While Georgia Tech is actually a pretty stalwart defensive team, it will be a steep challenge for the Yellow Jackets to manage enough offensive production to win against the Wolfpack at home.
Wake Forest at Maryland promises to be slightly more intriguing from a competitiveness standpoint. Travis McKie and C.J. Harris are one of the toughest one-two scoring punches in the conference, and Maryland’s ability to shut down scoring wings is suspect. Meanwhile, for the Terrapins, no one has yet been able to really slow down Terrell Stoglin‘s devastating scoring. It’s entire possible that neither team plays effective defense and that all players end up with truly gaudy stat-lines. The most intriguing match-up in this game, however, is the one between two talented young bigs. WFU’s Carson Desrosiers, while still finding his own on the offensive end, has blossomed into a capable shot blocker and rebounder. For Maryland, the key might be to see whether Desrosiers can stop Alex Len. Len has only played a handful of games with his teammates but the flashes of talent that he’s demonstrated have been convincing. In just four games, Len has averaged 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 13.5 points per game on absolutely crazy 76.9% shooting. If Wake Forest is going to pull off the upset, they are going to have to find some way to stop the young juggernaut.