ACC Weekend Review: 01.09.17 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 9th, 2017

After one of the craziest opening weekends in ACC history, things calmed down considerably in the second weekend of conference play. In fact, all seven ACC games were won by the favored squad, and only one of those contests was decided by fewer than 11 points. Even if the games weren’t all that scintillating this weekend, there were still a couple takeaways heading into this week. First, in an unanticipated surprise, the two remaining unbeaten schools in conference play are Florida State and Notre Dame — the Seminoles handled visiting Virginia Tech while the Irish rallied to defeat Clemson in South Bend. And then there’s the continued injury misfortunes for Duke — in the Blue Devils’ first game without head coach Mike Krzyzewski (back surgery), stalwart center Amile Jefferson suffered a first half foot injury and never returned. Early reports suggested that the team captain may miss substantial time, meaning even further interruption to a “dream season” that has been anything but smooth to this point. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

V.J. Beachem’s six three-pointers helped Notre Dame defeat Clemson and remain unbeaten in the ACC. (Photo:

  • Best Win I: Notre Dame trailed Clemson by seven points at halftime, but the Irish prevailed by five to move to 3-0 in league play. Senior forward V.J. Beachem led the way, making six threes en route to 22 points. Bonzie Colson pitched in with 13 points and 12 boards — his third straight double-double performance to open league action. Notre Dame now faces a very daunting part of its schedule — a stretch of five games in just 13 days, with the first three on the road — beginning with a trip to Miami (FL) this Thursday.

  • Best Win II: With no upsets this weekend and therefore no bad losses to report, we opt to honor another outstanding victory. Florida State used its impressive depth to wear down Virginia Tech by a score of 93-78, as 10 different Seminoles logged over 10 minutes and the short-handed Hokies (Seth Allen out with a concussion) relied mostly on just six palyers. Star Dwayne Bacon had an off shooting night (6-of-16 FG) but versatile guard Terance Mann picked up his slack in contributing 22 points and nine rebounds.

John Gillon’s return to the starting lineup has sparked Syracuse to two consecutive wins. (Photo:

  • Most Outstanding Player: After an embarrassing conference-opening loss at Boston College, Syracuse made some lineup changes that have really paid off. The most impactful move was to once again move John Gillon into the role of starting point guard. The senior graduate transfer has responded with consecutive 11-assist games in two convincing wins. Gillon scored 20 points and made six three-pointers while playing the full 40 minutes no Saturday against Pittsburgh. Perhaps the Orange have turned their season around for good now that Gillon has the keys to the offense.
  • Unsung Heroes: As we stated above, Leonard Hamilton has a plethora of weapons he can deploy off of his bench. One of the least known of those is sophomore JuCo transfer P.J. Savoy, who played only seven minutes in Florida State’s win over Virginia Tech. But Savoy made the most of his time on the floor, scoring a quick 11 points and hitting three of his six three-point attempts while out there. North Carolina also welcomed Theo Pinson back from injury, and although he didn’t score, the junior wing provided several other things that the Tar Heels need from him. In 13 minutes of action, Pinson grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists and snatched four steals.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: North Carolina scored 1.26 points per possession on its way to a 107-56 destruction of N.C. State Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill. The game had been originally scheduled for Saturday night but was postponed due to a snowstorm that hit the area that day. Clearly the Tar Heels didn’t mind waiting, as they posted an effective field goal rate of 57.0 percent and made a season-high 12 three-pointers.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: Rarely does the same game produce the best and worst offensive performances of the ACC weekend, but when the margin of victory is 51 points, it can certainly happen. North Carolina held the Wolfpack to a mere 0.66 points per possession on Sunday, the lowest allowed by the Tar Heels in league play since 2002. N.C. State’s shooting was miserable — 40.0 percent on twos, 30.4 percent on threes, and 27.3 percent from the foul line. Additionally, the Wolfpack turned the ball over 26 times, allowing North Carolina to quickly and effectively pile up 25 fast break points.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Tuesday 1/10 – Duke at Florida State (8:00 ET ACCN)
  • Saturday 1/14 – Virginia at Clemson (Noon ET ACCN)
  • Saturday 1/14 – Duke at Louisville (Noon ET ESPN)
  • Saturday 1/14 – Florida State at North Carolina (2:00 ESPN)
Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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