Playing Secret Santa With All 15 ACC TeamsPosted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on December 24th, 2013
Let’s have some fun with a traditional office activity going into the Christmas Holiday. We’ll pretend each of this season’s ACC teams are in the drawing hat, and give our best advice to anyone picking out gifts for each, based on current needs. So here goes the list for each ACC team in alphabetical order.
- Boston College (4-8) – Probably the easiest team to shop for because they need so much. In fact anything defensively would be much appreciated. There isn’t one thing that the Eagles do well on the defensive end of the court, as proven by their current rank of #340 out of 351 teams in raw defensive efficiency. So they won’t be picky – they could use somebody to force turnovers, someone to grab a defensive rebound, or anyone who can make somebody on the other team miss a shot more than just occasionally.
- Clemson (8-3) – The Tigers are all set on the defensive end but could use some help on offense. While better shooters are the obvious gift, a more meaningful option may be to find a way to get Clemson to the free throw line more often. They are wasting their 77 percent foul shooting average by ranking only #285 in the nation in free throw rate.
- Duke (9-2) – The Blue Devils may have gotten their presents early in their recent win over UCLA in New York on December 19, but what Duke needs most – better defense and an effective Rasheed Sulaimon – both made appearances in that game. Now the trick will be not losing those gifts or the preseason ACC favorites will not be making merry into the New Year.
- Florida State (8-3) – If there is such a thing, Florida State could use some ball-handling gloves. With the Seminoles’ defense is back to its menacing self, any gift needs to help Leonard Hamilton’s offense. And with a 22 percent turnover rate that ranks #326 in the nation, that’s where they need the most help.
- Georgia Tech (8-4) - How about a genuine three-point shooter? The Yellow Jackets rank #302 in the country with a lousy 29.4 percent conversion rate from distance. Starting guards Trae Golden and Chris Bolden are the main culprits, combining to shoot a pitiful 23 percent from behind the three-point line.
- Maryland (7-5) - The Terrapins could really use a defensive stopper in the backcourt. In all three of their losses to unranked foes, the opponent had a guard score 25 or more points. Perhaps the pending return of Seth Allen will fill that need?
- Miami (7-5) - If possible, Miami could use a bigger basket on its end of the court. Maybe that would improve the Hurricanes’ dismal 41 percent field goal shooting this season. It’s a team-wide issue with only two Hurricanes currently shooting over 40 percent, though.
- North Carolina (8-3) – Free throw shooting accuracy would make a wonderful gift for a team making only 61 percent for the season. An even better option may be the gift of consistency which has been lacking for the Tar Heels so far. Perhaps having closure to the suspended player situations - McDonald playing and Hairston not - will help with that stability.
- N.C. State (9-2) - The Wolfpack are on a nice roll right now with a big road win over Tennessee last week, so let’s be careful not to upset their current trajectory. So a simple gift would be to get their future opponents to actually miss a few free throws now and then. In what may be the unluckiest statistic we’ve seen, the Pack rank dead last in the country with their opponents making 79.7 percent of their free throws. Wow.
- Notre Dame (8-4) - It’s well known that the Irish need more help on the defensive end, so let’s pick one of their worst areas there - three-point defense. Not only does Notre Dame allow opponents to make 35 percent of their threes, the Irish also let opponents shoot a bunch of them (37% of their shot attempts). Of course, with the recent news regarding the loss of leading scorer Jerian Grant, if you have a spare 18 points per game or so, just stuff it in the Notre Dame stocking.
- Pittsburgh (11-1) - A second shooter. No, not that kind of second shooter. You don’t need The Warren Commission report to see that Lamar Patterson could use a little help. The senior Patterson has made 24 of his 53 three-point attempts for a 45.3 percent clip but his teammates have only managed 29.9 percent from behind the three-point line. When the competition picks up in conference play, the Panthers will need several others to make jump shots.
- Syracuse (11-0) - Strange as it may seem, Syracuse actually needs some help on defense this season. Although the national perception is that the famed Syracuse zone is great every year, this year’s version has a few holes. The Orange’s opponents’ effective field goal percentage is 50.2 percent which ranks #198 in the country. So far the defense is being carried by a great turnover percentage of 26 percent, which ranks #4 nationally but may not be enough to overcome the bad shooting defense if it continues.
- Virginia (9-3) – What the Cavaliers need most of all is for Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell to produce like they did last year when each earned All-ACC honors. In fairness to both, they sustained summer injuries that may have set them back going into this season. But their drop in production is striking — Harris is scoring five points fewer per game and Mitchell is seven points below his mark from last year.
- Virginia Tech (7-4) - How about some inside scoring for the Hokies? They currently rank #286 in two-point field goal percentage nationally. While they have been effective from the outside, their current high three-point shooting at 44 percent is not sustainable over time, especially once conference play heats up. So they must somehow find more opportunities and points in the paint.
- Wake Forest (10-2) – The Demon Deacons really need to unwrap an assertive Travis McKie heading into the New Year. Despite an excellent offensive rating of 119.5, the senior McKie is seventh on the team in usage at 18 percent. That puts him in the Ken Pomeroy category of “Role Player.” Wake Forest will need much more from this guy in ACC play.
Well, those are all the ideal gifts for each ACC team. Here’s wishing that your team gets what it needs this Christmas.