Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-UpPosted by KCarpenter on March 5th, 2013
It was a boring penultimate weekend of Atlantic Coast Conference play where everything went according to plan and nothing exciting happened. Just kidding: It was a in fact a sensational weekend of games with some big time performances and massive upsets. There were also a couple of dull games where teams with “North Carolina” in their name easily defeated overmatched foes, but let’s try our best to ignore that as we examine some late lessons of the season.
- Boston College Really Likes Playing Teams That Just Beat Duke. In fact, the Eagles have proven themselves as the masters of the hangover game. A win over Virginia is more impressive than a win over Maryland, but what remains far more interesting is BC’s penchant for killing other team’s vibes. All but one conference victory (an early season tilt against Virginia Tech) has come after an opponent has won its previous game. Does this mean anything? Probably not, but if I was going to face Boston College after I had just won a game, I would do my best not to overlook the Eagles.
- Duke’s Win Over Miami Was Surprising For The Wrong Reasons. Let’s be totally clear: Ryan Kelly’s 36 points on 14 shots was one of the most sensational individual performances in all of college basketball this year. It also probably feels good for Duke fans to get revenge after Miami’s victory early in the season. Still, if I’m a Duke fan, I’m a little concerned. The Blue Devils were supposed to win this game, with most betting lines putting the team as a 5.5 point favorite. Kelly puts in one of the single most impressive and surprising performances of the year… and Duke only wins by 3 points at home? It was a big victory, no doubt, but shouldn’t it have been a lot bigger?
- Wake Forest Has Become Ridiculously Good At Drawing Fouls. Technically, Boston College and NC State have been better than the Demon Deacons in conference play, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the game against Maryland. In the first half, Wake was in the bonus with 9:47 to go in the period. In the second half, they were in the bonus with 16:13 left. That’s right. They reached the bonus before the first official timeout of the second half. James Padgett fouled out after 17 minutes, and in 10 minutes of play, Shaquille Cleare tallied four fouls. The Deacons ultimately lost this game, but this kind of foul-drawing performance suggests that this team might be particularly well-positioned to exploit the teams that foul the most in the conference — namely Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke.
- Boy, Clemson Really Faded Down The Stretch, Huh? Clemson lost to the team with the worst record in the conference in Virginia Tech and somehow this isn’t surprising. Since the beginning of February, the Tigers are 1-7, their lone victory a strange road win against Georgia Tech. After a somewhat promising start of the conference season that included an increasingly hard to understand 15-point victory over Virginia, Clemson has just collapsed. It’s crazy at this point to remember that some folks were talking about the Tigers as a potential surprise Tournament team.
- NC State Won A Game With Defense. It’s strange to see the often sieve-like defense of North Carolina State stop someone, but against the worst offense in the conference, we saw just that. In a game where Scott Wood and Lorenzo Brown managed to score only a single field goal apiece and the team combined to hit a mere 1-of-11 three-pointers, the Wolfpack held the Yellow Jackets to 34.4% shooting from the field and walked away with a 13-point win on the road. It’s not much, but for a team that so often struggles to stop anyone, it’s something.
- Roy Williams Continues To Tinker With Small Ball. The Tar Heels much-ballyhooed “small” line-up that features face-up 6’9″ James Michael McAdoo at center was very successful against the outgunned Seminoles. It’s no surprise that Williams has continued to use this devastating offensive lineup, and his use of it in this game was not particularly interesting. What is interesting, however, are some of the permutations that Williams put on the floor for some limited stretches. A four-shooters-and-Brice-Johnson lineup tested how the group could function without McAdoo (not great, but not eye-gougingly terrible, either) and finally, Williams took the team to the penultimate step in positional revolution: 6’7″ Jackson Simmons at center, ringed by four shooters. This experiment, not surprisingly, didn’t prove particularly successful, but still, it begs the question: Will we get to see Reggie Bullock at center before the end of this season? It sounds crazy, but Bullock is bigger than Simmons (or the same size if you believe their official listings). I would have never dreamed of seeing this kind of lineup back in November. In March? It could happen.