ACC Game On: 01.31.12 EditionPosted by KCarpenter on January 31st, 2012
It was a lazy Sunday in the ACC when North Carolina dominated a hapless Georgia Tech team and Miami handled Boston College. I’d like to say today’s slate looks more competitive, but that wouldn’t really be honest. Still, watching two teams that are on a roll and two teams that are trying to figure things out may be instructional. Let’s go with that: tonight’s slate will be instructional.
The Dynamic Duo vs. The Legion of Doom
- #5 North Carolina at Wake Forest at 9:00 PM
It’s becoming more than abundantly clear that with the possible exception of Ty Walker, Wake Forest has no offense outside of Travis McKie and C.J. Harris. It’s a shame, because McKie and Harris are seriously good players, but the rest of the team’s inability to provide much of any support has doomed this year’s Wake Forest team. Yes, this year is definitely better than last year and I suspect Wake Forest has at least one big upset they will pull off before the end of the season, but barring a break-out from some other player on the team, Wake Forest is just not very good. Meanwhile, Reggie Bullock is working out all too well in a starting line-up that is just starting to get scary. Consider this: at the beginning of the season, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall were all legitimate All-ACC players. Reggie Bullock, in terms of offensive efficiency as well as defensive efficiency, is beating all four. Meanwhile Stilman White seems to be adjusting well to his limited extra minutes, P.J. Hairston‘s shooting slump seems to be over and Desmond Hubert is picking up any slack in James Michael McAdoo’s game. I’m still thoroughly skeptical of the “Justin Watts as point guard” experiment, but I certainly prefer it to the minutes he was playing at power forward. In short, North Carolina looks really good right now and Wake Forest may have already hit its ceiling which didn’t seem very high in the first place.
Case Studies in Replacement
- Clemson at #17 Virginia at 7:00 PM
Milton Jennings will be held out for Clemson due to academic issues. Considering that Jennings is the focal point of the Clemson offense, it looks like the Tigers are in for some troubles. That said, the absence of Jennings may be a blessing in disguise. Jennings leads the Tigers in percentage of posessions used and percentage of shots taken, yet posts a miserable 85.3 offensive efficiency rating. His fellow starters, as well as most of the bench, are much more efficient scorers. If the team can figure out how to play effectively without the customary presence of Jennings, Clemson actually should probably expect to see a rise in offensive efficiency. Meanwhile, Virginia has bounced back from the loss of Assane Sene which led right into the loss to Virginia Tech. Despite the drop-off in size, Akil Mitchell and Darion Atkins have proven to be capable forwards and ready to play. In particular, the increased playing time for freshman Darion Atkins is intriguing. Despite not getting too many minutes so far, he has shown elite rebounding skills and an ability to score the basketball (though his touches have been limited). If Atkins can maintain this level of production as his minutes increase, Virginia has an opportunity to improve its offense by leaps and bounds.