ACC Stock Watch: January 24

Posted by Mick McDonald on January 24th, 2017

Each week during the ACC season, RTC will review the last seven days to discuss the teams, players, and anything else trending across the league.


  • North Carolina State. Yes, the Wolfpack lost a close one at home to Wake Forest on Saturday. But NC State needed a statement win to get its season on track and there aren’t many bigger statements than a victory over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. There has never been a question about the level of talent in Raleigh, but effort and defensive lapses have been recurring issues throughout the year. NC State brought its best effort on Monday night, with freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (32 points; six assists) leading the way. In eight ACC games, Smith is averaging 20.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.9 APG, and 2.6 SPG in what could be an ACC Player of the Year campaign. The Wolfpack have a long way to go, but the future lottery pick is exactly the type of player who can carry NC State all the way from a 2-5 ACC start to the NCAA Tournament.

Jonathan Isaac has become exactly what Leonard Hamilton hoped he would become, a legitimate second superstar next to Dwayne Bacon. (David Allio/Icon Sportswire)

  • Jonathan Isaac, Florida State. The Seminoles’ pair of wins over Notre Dame and Louisville last week cemented their status as ACC title contenders as well as a legitimate candidate for a top-two seed in the NCAA Tournament. We know how terrific Dwayne Bacon has been this year, but the emergence of freshman Jonathan Isaac has taken Florida State to another level. Over the team’s last five games, Isaac is averaging 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting a scorching 61 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the free throw line. Isaac is quickly joining teammate Bacon in the superstar category, and given all of the depth Leonard Hamilton can readily place around the pair, it’s easy to envision Florida State paying a visit to Arizona in early April.

  • Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons earned back-to-back victories over Miami and NC State last week, with the win over the Wolfpack in Raleigh representing their first ACC road victory in three years. That fact alone is enough for placement in this week’s Stock Up, but the more salient takeaway is that Wake Forest is slowly becoming an intriguing potential NCAA Tournament team. Sophomore John Collins, who was named ACC Player of the Week, made 17-of-22 shots in the Deacons’ most recent pair of victories. He will need to continue excelling (and staying on the floor) as they travel to Syracuse and welcome Duke to Winston-Salem over the next five days. Even one win this week would go a long way toward getting Danny Manning‘s program back to the NCAA Tournament.


  • Miami. There is no doubt that the schedule has been brutal to Jim Larranaga’s club lately, playing four of five on the road with their lone home game coming against league-leading Notre Dame. That said, Miami was absolutely torched at Syracuse and Wake Forest and the second half at Duke on Saturday night was not for the faint of heart. In the four losses to those teams, the Hurricanes shot just 40 percent from the field and often let turnovers get them completely out of sorts. One of the biggest disappointments for Miami this year has been the three-point shooting of Ja’Quan Newton. After shooting 40 percent in limited action his freshman year and nearly 35 percent last season, Newton is at 29.6 percent this year. For a team that can sometimes suffer long scoring droughts, the Hurricanes need Newton’s offensive production to significantly improve.

Six straight losses have Clemson in an early must-win scenario this week at Pittsburgh. (AP)

  • Clemson. Chalk up one more on the list, as the Tigers lost another tight game over the weekend (Virginia Tech) and correspondingly let yet another opportunity to enhance their NCAA Tournament resume slip away. Clemson has now lost six straight games and in the last three of those the Tigers have allowed the opponent to shoot 54.5 percent from the field or better, a fact that certainly does not make defensive-minded Brad Brownell feel good about his team’s future. Their lone game this week will be a visit to Pittsburgh on Saturday, and even though it’s still only January, upcoming trips to Florida State, Duke, Miami and Virginia Tech means that a win over the Panthers feels absolutely necessary if the Tigers want to stay in the NCAA Tournament hunt.
Mick McDonald (70 Posts)

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