ACC Weekend Review: 01.02.18 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 2nd, 2018

It was supposed to be a relatively boring first full weekend of ACC play as most of the league’s big dogs came into Saturday’s action as healthy home favorites. However, North Carolina and Duke each needed a late rally to vanquish Wake Forest and Florida State; Virginia held off a pesky Boston College team to win by a single point; and Notre Dame overcame a halftime deficit to beat Georgia Tech. On Sunday night, Syracuse closed out the weekend with an impressive home win over Virginia Tech. Here are the highlights from (the real) opening weekend around the ACC.

Freshman Oshae Brissett lead Syracuse to a big win at home over Virginia Tech on Sunday. (Mark Konezny – USA TODAY Sports)

  • Best Win: Defending your home floor is paramount for achieving success in conference play, and Syracuse did just that in taking care of Virginia Tech, 68-56, on Sunday night. The Orange used their famous zone defense to keep the high-powered Hokies in check. Virginia Tech entered the game as one of the highest scoring teams in college basketball, averaging over 90 points per outing, but Buzz Williams’ team was held to only 34.6 percent shooting in recording its lowest scoring output of the season. Freshman forward Oshae Brissett led the attack for Jim Boeheim’s squad with 19 points and a sterline 9-for-10 performance from the free throw line.

  • Worst Loss: Unlike most of the ACC underdogs this weekend, NC State was dominated at Clemson in its conference opener, 78-62, on Saturday afternoon. The Wolfpack struggled in shooting the ball all game long, connecting on only 34.8 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from behind the arc. Kevin Keatts may have a decision to make regarding Baylor graduate transfer Al Freeman, who scored only 14 points on Saturday despite taking 19 shots. The senior wing either needs to shoot better (34.9% FG) or shoot less often to become less of a drag on the offense — he has taken 60 more field goal attempts than any other Wolfpack player on the roster this season.

Florida State could not keep Marvin Bagley III off the boards on Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

  • Most Outstanding PlayerFreshman Marvin Bagley III put together a historic performance in leading Duke to its 100-93 shootout victory over Florida State on Saturday. The versatile forward scored 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting while also snaring 21 rebounds, including a robust 11 on the offensive glass. According to ESPN, Bagley joins Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant as the only freshmen in the past 20 years to post a 30/20 line in the same game.
  • Unsung Heroes: Trailing Georgia Tech by five points at the half, Notre Dame got an unexpected spark from senior center Martinas Geben. Matched up against Ben Lammers, one of the premier defensive post men in the country, Geben scored 12 points and grabbed five boards in the second half of the Irish’s 68-59 comeback win. Redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer is only averaging about five points and five boards per game, but he also played a key role in Syracuse‘s weekend victory over Virginia Tech, posting the first double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds) of his young career.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Duke used a familiar formula in reaching 1.23 points per possession against Florida State this weekend. The nation’s best offensive rebounding team grabbed 23 of its owns misses and did its usual damage on the inside, finishing with 56 points in the paint by converting 58.5 percent of its two-point attempts. That was enough to overcome a poor shooting performance from deep (8-of-30 3FG) and at the foul line (14-of-25 FT).
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: Miami ranks seventh nationally in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency and it showed why in Saturday’s 67-53 win at Pittsburgh. The Panthers managed only 0.79 points per possession on 40.4 percent shooting, but the bigger problem was managing only 47 shot attempts for the game. That’s because Miami forced 19 turnovers and held Pittsburgh to a measly four offensive rebounds. It was a total team effort on the defensive end, as seven different Hurricanes recorded at least two steals and/or blocks.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Wednesday 1/3 – North Carolina at Florida State (7:00 ET ESPN2)
  • Wednesday 1/3 – Virginia at Virginia Tech (9:00 ET ACCN)
  • Saturday 1/6 – North Carolina at Virginia (1:00 ET ESPN)
  • Sunday 1/7Florida State at Miami (6:00 ESPNU)
Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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