Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-UpPosted by KCarpenter on January 21st, 2013
There were no big upsets in the ACC this weekend, but there were some big-time performances that are worth mentioning. The rest of college basketball offered some thrilling upsets and close finishes, but the Atlantic Coast Conference offered some sublime moments of its own in individual achievement and failure.
- T.J. Warren Is A Scoring Machine. Sure, Warren went 0-for-6 against Maryland, contributing exactly zero points in the close loss, but make no mistake, that game wasn’t typical. In the game against Clemson, the North Carolina State forward scored 21 points. Yes, he wasn’t technically the game’s high scorer thanks to Devin Booker’s 27-point gem, but Warren’s performance was more impressive. Warren’s 21 points came in a mere 25 minutes that featured the freshman shooting 9-of-11 from the field, hitting a three, and grabbing six rebounds to help his team. Warren’s offensive production borders on the freakish. Coming off the bench, Warren is averaging an offensive efficiency rating of 129.2, which is the 20th best mark in all of Division I basketball. Of course, because of Scott Wood’s sweet shooting, Warren isn’t even the deadliest offensive weapon on his own team, but he is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
- Assertive Reggie Bullock Is Terrifying. The only player in the conference with an offensive efficiency greater than Wood and Warren is North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock. Bullock has posted an offensive efficiency of 131.5, driven by incredible three-point shooting (47.7% on 88 attempts this season), low turnovers and strong offensive rebounding for his position. Bullock, also arguably the team’s best defensive player, unleashed his offensive fury on Saturday against Maryland, amassing 21 points in the first half alone and leading North Carolina to an early lead against the Terrapins. Bullock has struggled to assert this season, often vanishing from the team’s offense and deferring to others to the point of fault. On Saturday, Bullock demonstrated how his newfound aggresiveness could help the team: His shooting opened up space for James Michael McAdoo to operate and he drew extra defensive attention that made it easier for Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige to handle the ball and make plays. This North Carolina team is still deeply flawed, but when Reggie Bullock takes the lead, the team is significantly better.
- Florida State Can’t Win Without Making Threes. Against Virginia, the Seminoles attempted 15 shots from beyond the arc and connected on exactly one of them, good for a game percentage of 6.7%. Over the course of the season, Florida State has been fairly good from the perimeter, connecting on 37.5% attempts. However, this team relies more on three-pointers than any other team in the ACC except for Boston College. So far, 34.5% of all Seminole field goal attempts have been shots from downtown. A 20-point loss on Saturday against the Cavaliers demonstrates how bad this team is if it can’t connect from distance.
- Travis McKie And Erick Green Are Kindred Spirits. I can’t help but think that when Green led his Virginia Tech Hokies to beat McKie’s Demon Deacons by one point, he did so with a heart filled with sympathy. Like Green, McKie has labored on a team that is mostly devoid of talent (with the notable exception of C.J. Harris), putting in incredible performances night after night only to see his team lose despite his best efforts. McKie scored 20 points on 12 shots and grabbed 15 rebounds, five of them on the offensive glass. It’s the most impressive stat line of the weekend (discounting Pe’Shon Howard’s seven turnovers in 14 minutes) and it came in a loss. Erick Green is one of the few players in the conference who knows exactly how that feels, though I am certain he’s happy to take the win.