ACC Weekend Review: 02.15.16 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 15th, 2016

It was a weekend for favorites in the ACC as all seven underdogs lost. Two of those victims were higher-ranked schools that fell on the road in close games. In the most anticipated matchup of the weekend, Duke edged Virginia by a point on Grayson Allen’s controversial last-second shot in a game that lived up to the hype. Notre Dame rallied to take down Louisville after trailing by 11 points in the second half, making it consecutive Saturdays when the Irish rallied from double-figure deficits to take down a league heavyweight. The team the Irish conquered last weekend, North Carolina, returned home after a rough three-game road swing for head coach Roy Williams, to dominate Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. In the final contest of the weekend, Florida State missed out on a golden chance to improve its resume when late-game execution faltered against Miami. Here are some of the highlights from a busy weekend around the ACC.

Grayson Allen drives in for his controversial game-winner against Virginia. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Grayson Allen drives in for his controversial game-winner against Virginia. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

  • Best Win: This game turned out to be as competitive and hard-fought of a game as we’ve seen in ACC play this year. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski must be thankful that Virginia‘s Malcolm Brogdon could only guard one of his stars at a single time. The senior was Grayson Allen‘s primary defender for the first 25 minutes of play, holding him to only four points during that time. Meanwhile, Brandon Ingram was busy carrying the Blue Devils’ offense — during an eight-minute stretch of the game that overlapped halftime, he scored 20 of Duke’s 22 points. With 15 minutes to go in the contest, Tony Bennett moved Brogdon over to Ingram, and the star freshman only managed two more points the rest of the way. That move, however, allowed Allen to become Duke’s go-to man down the stretch, culminating in his acrobatic driving buzzer-beater to win the game. Did Allen travel on the play? Replays showed he probably took at least three steps. Did he get fouled on the play? Replays showed two bumps that are normally called on such a drive. Did the officials swallow the whistle? Absolutely! The end result was a huge win for the Blue Devils, regardless of what should have or shouldn’t have been called.

  • Worst Loss:  While there’s no shame in losing to the 12th-ranked team in the land, Florida State let a huge opportunity slip away over the weekend in falling at home to Miami. The Seminoles trailed for most of Sunday night’s rivalry meeting, but fought their way back to take the game down to the wire. After rebounding a Miami miss, Florida State had the ball with 24 seconds left and trailing by one point. Despite having two timeouts available, Leonard Hamilton let his team play it out, with disastrous results. With about 10 seconds to go, Xavier Rathan-Mayes dribbled the ball off his foot. Luckily for him, the ball ended up in teammate Devon Bookert‘s hands in the corner, who proceeded to put up an off-balance heave that missed everything. After a missed free throw on the Miami end, Malik Beasley got off a final last-second shot, but it didn’t come close either. Florida State now has a losing record in the ACC after blowing a big chance to boost its NCAA hopes.
Anthony 'Cat' Barber sliced his way through Wake Forest for 38 points. (Ethan Hyman/

Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber sliced his way through Wake Forest for 38 points. (Ethan Hyman/

  • Most Outstanding Player: Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber is showing no signs of slowing down this season. He scored a career-high 38 points, including 30 in the second half in NC State‘s win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Barber did a lot of his damage from the foul line, making 17 of his 20 attempts at the stripe. He has now topped the 30-point mark in five of his last seven outings, upping his ACC-best scoring average to 25.2 PPG in the process.
  • Unsung Heroes:  Senior Marshall Plumlee was a big part of Duke’s win over Virginnia with five points and 10 rebounds. The team’s only primary big man, Plumlee battled against a deep Virginia front line for 39 minutes as the Blue Devils surprisingly ended up with a +6 edge on the boards. After starting the first 17 games, N.C. State’s Caleb Martin is adjusting to his new role off the bench. In the Wolfpack’s win over Wake Forest, Martin scored 18 points (an ACC-season high) and hit four three-pointers. Another hot player in the league is Syracuse freshman forward Tyler Lydon. He scored a season-high 20 points in the Orange’s victory over Boston College on Sunday, and has averaged 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in his last five outings.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense:  NC State took advantage of the ACC’s worst defensive unit by posting 1.29 points per possession in its 99-88 shootout win over Wake Forest. Led by Barber, the Wolfpack were frequent visitors to the free throw line, making 33 of their 45 attempts. They also excelled at taking care of the ball, with just nine turnovers in a 77-possession game.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: Clemson held Georgia Tech to 0.85 points per possession in Greenville on Saturday, and bad Yellow Jackets’ shooting was the main culprit for the offensive struggles. Georgia Tech’s 34.5 percent field goal shooting was the lowest of any Tigers’ opponent in ACC play. The Jackets were especially cold from deep, hitting only 1-of-11 attempts from behind the arc.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch (All Times ET)
  • Wednesday – Syracuse @ Louisville (7:00 PM ESPN)
  • Wednesday – Duke @ North Carolina (9:00 PM ESPN)
  • Saturday – Duke @ Louisville (12:00 PM ESPN)
  • Saturday – Miami @ North Carolina (1:00 PM CBS)
Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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