ACC Weekend Review: 01.16.17 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 16th, 2017

There were several marquee match-ups in the ACC this weekend, including two monster games on Saturday afternoon as North Carolina overcame some adversity to hand Florida State its first league loss and Louisville ensured that Duke continued its struggles on the road. Later that day, Notre Dame held off Virginia Tech to remain unbeaten in league play, while three schools that entered January with NCAA Tournament aspirations — Clemson, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State — all suffered devastating home defeats to drop to a last place tie in the standings. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

Theo Pinson celebrates North Carolina’s big win over Florida State. (USA TODAY Sports)

  • Best Win: In a league as strong as the ACC this season, sometimes a team must show some collective toughness to pull out a win. That’s exactly what North Carolina did on Saturday afternoon in its impressive 96-83 home victory over a red-hot Florida State squad. Faced with the daunting task of playing the nation’s second tallest team without freshman center Tony Bradley (out with a concussion), the Tar Heels were already short-handed in the paint. With Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks battling foul trouble, Roy Williams was forced to play almost half the game with no true post player. North Carolina not only hung in with the bigger, deeper Seminoles, but the Tar Heels managed to dominate the glass in a surprisingly effective rebounding effort  (+22). Three Tar Heels — Hicks, Joel Berry and Justin Jackson — finished with over 20 points and Theo Pinson turned in a solid overall effort with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

  • Worst Loss: After blasting Virginia Tech in its second ACC game on January 4, N.C. State appeared to be a team on the rise. But the next three games have been disastrous for Mark Gottfried‘s group. The 51-point shellacking they took at North Carolina a week ago seems to have zapped the Wolfpack’s confidence, as they have now dropped back-to-back games to Boston College and Georgia Tech. Last night the Yellow Jackets managed to score a season-high 86 points against the hapless N.C. State defense, which is now ranked last in the league in defensive efficiency.

Virginia’s London Perrantes has been much more aggressive lately on the offensive end.
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

  • Most Outstanding Player: Virginia head coach Tony Bennett recently asked London Perrantes to be more aggressive in looking for his shot, and the senior point guard has taken that advice to heart. Perrantes scored a then season-best 24 points in a win over Wake Forest last Sunday, and he was even better in Saturday’s road win at Clemson — scoring 25 points while making eight of his career-high 15 shots from the field. Perrantes was especially effective down the stretch, going on a personal five-point scoring run to break a 70-70 tie late in the contest.
  • Unsung Heroes: With all the frontcourt adversity in the form of injuries and fouls facing North Carolina on Saturday, Roy Williams needed a heroic performance from an unexpected source. That spark was provided by sophomore reserve Luke Maye, who gathered a game-high 15 rebounds (almost double his previous career-best of eight). Speaking of career performances, Louisville center Anas Mahmoud posted personal bests in points (17) and rebounds (11) in the Cardinals’ 78-69 win over Duke. Mahmoud also got it done on the defensive end — notching two steals and blocking one shot, while altering several other Blue Devils’ attempts at the rim.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Syracuse posted 1.23 points per possession in its 76-53 revenge win over Boston College on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. The Orange didn’t have a great shooting day — only 25.0 percent on three-pointers and 46.6 percent overall — but they found other ways to be effective. For example, Syracuse made 17-of-19 shots from the foul line and turned the ball over a season-low six times.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: In the ACC’s worst home performance this year, Pittsburgh only managed 0.72 points per possession in its lopsided 72-46 loss to Miami on Saturday. The Panthers shot an icy 34 percent from the field and only made eight trips to the charity stripe. Star forward Michael Young was clearly hampered by the mask he was forced to wear to protect a damaged bone near his eye, missing all 10 of his field goals and finishing with just two points (about 20 points below his season average).
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Monday 1/16 – Syracuse at North Carolina (7:00 ET ESPN)
  • Wednesday 1/18 – Notre Dame at Florida State (7:00 ET RSN)
  • Saturday 1/21 – Louisville at Florida State (2:00 ET ESPN)
  • Saturday 1/21 – Miami at Duke (8:15 ESPN)
Brad Jenkins (291 Posts)


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