ACC Game On: 02.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on February 2nd, 2012

Wednesday night was a night of valiant efforts, but no surprises. Despite the underdogs’ collective success at keeping games close, Goliath withstood David’s slings and the ACC standings are starting to finally look understandable. Without Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech was no match for the still-hot Florida State Seminoles who put the Yellow Jackets in the rear view with a dynamic closing stretch. Boston College, formerly a high-octane scoring attack, tried a more traditional underdog approach with a hideous burn offense that slowed the game with North Carolina State to a crawl. Despite some notable efforts to try to give away the game in the second half, Boston College still faltered in its end-game execution and Mark Gottfried and his crew walked away with the win.

Turgeon Got Run, But Maryland Proved It Has Some Fight

The real excitement of the night was in the Maryland at Miami game. While it looked like it was going to be a by-the-numbers blow out, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon took exception to a referee call late in the second half, kept arguing, and finally got ejected. The Terrapins, rallying behind the guy who stood up for them, suddenly started playing some inspired ball. That combined with the absence of any true post players for Miami (Kenny Kadji was injured while both Reggie Johnson and Raphael Akpejiori fouled out) resulted in a remarkable turnaround that turned a double-digit deficit into a double-overtime thriller. It wasn’t the prettiest game, and before all was said and done, Durand Scott, Sean Mosley, and Nick Faust also fouled out of the game. Scott’s 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists would prove to be the deciding line of the night. Though Terrell Stoglin scored an impressive 33 points, he did so only after taking an I-still-can’t-believe-it 20 three-point shots. Though Maryland lost, Stoglin’s will, and the key defensive play of Alex Len means that the Terrapins leave Coral Gables feeling that their team is tough enough to hang in the big games and that their coach believes in them.

The Only Game In Town

  • Duke at Virginia Tech at 7:00 PM on ESPN
On paper, this game might seem doomed to be a snooze-fest: A one-win disappointment playing a one-loss juggernaut. Typically, this is the kind of conference game that makes you wish Community was back from hiatus and the The Office hadn’t become so terrible. That said, this game has the potential to be surprising. While Virginia Tech has won only a single conference game, margin-of-victory-based analytics actually think that this team is much better than their record. Notably, during ACC play, Virginia Tech has actually been the better defensive team (Duke has actually been dreadful in-conference as far as defense is concerned). The Hokies’ defensive strength boils down to two primary factors: elite perimeter defense and success at forcing turnovers, and general disruptiveness. Virginia Tech, much like Duke, does a good job at chasing teams off the three-point line, limiting the number of attempts that opponents get from long range. When opponents shoot, they make perimeter shots at the second-lowest clip in the country, hitting on only 25.9% of all threes. Meanwhile, the Hokies haunt the passing lines, trying to get tips, force turnovers, and discourage ball movement. In the conference, opponents make fewer assisted baskets against Virginia Tech than any other team. Seth Greenberg’s defensive schemes successfully encourage inefficient offensive play from opponents. On the offensive end, Erick Green is the kind of the speedy, sweet-shooting, play-making guard that can give Duke’s sub-par perimeter defense fits. Green, Dorenzo Hudson, Robert Brown, and even Jarrell Eddie have the stroke to make Duke flounder on defense.
That said, this game is Duke’s to lose. The elevated play of Mason Plumlee is something that the Hokies can’t really effectively match up against and Duke’s platoon of three-point snipers is just as deadly as Virginia Tech’s. If Duke can leverage it’s post advantage and effectively contain the Hokies scorers, this should be a win. Still, this game isn’t as easy as it might look at first blush and if the Blue Devils don’t concentrate, I can see Virginia Tech stealing this one.
KCarpenter (269 Posts)

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