ACC Weekend Preview: November 17-19

Posted by Mick McDonald on November 17th, 2017

While most of the big tests for ACC teams begin next week, there are still some intriguing match-ups on the schedule this weekend. Here are the key games that will act as your appetizers before the main course of Feast Week starting in earnest on Monday. (all ratings are via KenPom as of Thursday night):

Friday, November 17

Virginia Travels to Richmond for a Tough Intrastate Battle Today (USA Today Images)

  • Virginia at VCU (#89): Don’t forget about this Friday afternoon tip-off in Richmond. Expect the Siegel Center to be rocking. The raucous atmosphere mixed with VCU’s signature defense will be a nice test for a young Virginia team, especially point guard Ty Jerome. He holds a 23.5 percent turnover rate through two games and will need to be extra careful handling the ball against pressure. Isaiah Wilkins is one of the top defenders in the country, but he’ll need to be at his best to slow down VCU’s Justin Tillman. The 6’7” Tillman (20.5 PPG, 78.3% eFG) has been dominant in the Rams’ first two games of the season.

  • Virginia Tech vs. Washington (#132): The Hokies looked poised to meet a top 40 KenPom team in Providence in the 2K Classic Championship Game, but they instead dropped their semifinal to Saint Louis last night. Now they’ll settle for an interesting consolation game match-up against Washington. Virginia Tech will need freshman gunner Nickeil Alexander-Walker to return to the form of his first two games (26.5 PPG, 75.0% eFG) rather than scoring just four points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. The Huskies will counter with a sharpshooting freshman of their own in Jaylen Nowell. Nowell has been equally terrific (25.5 PPG, 69.6% eFG) through his first two career games.

Saturday, November 18

The arrival of Deontae Hawkins has solidified a once-weak Boston College front court. (Barry Chin/Boston Globe)

  • Boston College vs. Texas Tech (#30): Jim Christian’s team is off to a 3-0 start even if the wins came over teams ranked #300 or worse in KenPom. This weekend the Eagles head to the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Connecticut for a match-up with Texas Tech. Illinois State graduate transfer Deontae Hawkins (18.8 PPG) has been everything Christian could have hoped for, cleaning the glass on the defensive end of the floor (27.8% defensive rebounding rate) and not turning it over (4.8% turnover rate). He’s been bookended by 6’8” freshman Steffon Mitchell, who through three games has put up an absurd 86.7 percent effective field goal rate while playing 26 minutes per game. They’ll need to hope those early results are legitimate when they take on the Red Raiders, which features a senior laden frontcourt featuring the athletic Zach Smith and monstrous Tommy Hamilton. On Sunday, Boston College will get a shot at either La Salle (#109) or Northwestern (#35). Wins over both Texas Tech and Northwestern would be cause to get excited about this year’s team.

Sunday, November 19

  • Florida State vs. Colorado State (#122): The Seminoles are spending the weekend at the Jamaica Classic in Montego Bay. While they’ll first meet Fordham on Friday, we are looking forward to a Sunday contest against Colorado State. The key match-up there will feature Leonard Hamilton’s big guards attempting to shut down Colorado State’s dynamic (but small) backcourt. PJ Savoy, M.J. Walker, Terrance Mann and Braian Angola-Rodas are all 6’4” or bigger. Larry Eustachy’s star duo of Prentiss Nixon (6’1”) and J.D. Paige (6’3”) could have trouble getting good looks against the larger Seminole defenders. Florida State is usually at their best when they can use their size to overpower an opponent, and that might just be the case here.
Mick McDonald (64 Posts)

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