ACC Weekend Review: 01.15.18 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 15th, 2018

There were several exciting games in the ACC on Saturday, capped by North Carolina’s last-second survival in South Bend against a determined if undermanned Notre Dame squad. Earlier in the day, Florida State topped Syracuse in a two-overtime thriller in Tallahassee; Louisville beat Virginia Tech in a shootout; and Clemson took over late to outlast Miami. On Sunday night, Virginia handled NC State, leaving the Cavaliers as the lone remaining undefeated team in ACC play. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

Donte Grantham leads the cheers in Clemson’s win over Miami.

  • Best Win: In the only ACC game of the weekend involving two ranked teams, Clemson broke open a close second half to topple Miami in Littlejohn Coliseum, 72-63. The Hurricanes have the seventh-best defense in the land according to KenPom‘s efficiency rankings, but thanks in large part to a 12-of-21 performance from three-point land, Clemson converted a robust 1.17 points per possession against Miami. Senior Donte Grantham led a balanced Tigers’ attack with 18 points, connecting on all four of his shots from deep, including a last-minute dagger that put the game out of reach. Brad Brownell‘s team next plays at North Carolina on Tuesday night, where Clemson has never won (0-58).

  • Worst Loss: Normally this title would not go to an underdog that lost to a ranked North Carolina team, but Notre Dame’s 69-68 home defeat to the Tar Heels was so gut-wrenching that it belongs here. Playing without stars Bonzie Colson (foot) and Matt Ferrell (ankle), the shorthanded Irish hung around with great defense and rebounding, holding North Carolina well below its scoring average and grabbing 20 offensive boards. On the last possession of the game, it looked like Mike Brey‘s squad was poised to pull off the upset, but T.J. Gibbs’ putback attempt went halfway down before popping out as the buzzer sounded.

Deng Adel was red-hot in Louisville’s win over Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon.
(AP Photo)

  • Most Outstanding PlayerJunior wing Deng Adel led Louisville’s offensive explosion in the Cardinals’ 94-86 home win Saturday over Virginia Tech. He scored a career-high 27 points with great shooting from all over the floor: 6-of-9 on two-pointers; 4-of-6 on three-pointers; and 3-of-4 from the foul line. Adel did more than just score against the Hokies, though, finishing with 11 rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
  • Unsung Heroes: It was a great weekend for role players, as several ACC victors received unexpected production from unlikely sources. Junior Abdoulaye Gueye tallied a career-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in Georgia Tech’s 69-54 victory at Pittsburgh. Clemson’s graduate transfer Mark Donnal came off the bench to post 12 points and five boards against Miami, while making two shots from deep and converting all four of his trips to the foul line. Ryan McMahon made the most of his career-high 25 minutes for Louisville by scoring 10 points, dishing out three assists, and collecting two steals to help the Cards beat Virginia Tech. The league’s tallest player, Florida State’s Christ Koumadje, had a record-setting day as well. The 7’4″ junior scored a career-best 23 points, grabbed eight boards and rejected four shots in the Seminoles’ 101-90 double overtime win over Syracuse.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Red-hot shooting was the catalyst for Louisville’s 1.21 points per possession in its win over Virginia Tech. The Cardinals sank 56.5 percent (13-of-23) of their threes and logged a season-best effective field goal percentage of 63.6 percent. Louisville was a little loose with the ball with 16 turnovers, but it did a good job getting to the foul line — going 19-of-26 from the stripe. In addition to Deng’s outstanding day, point guard Quentin Snider came through with 19 points.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: Once again, Virginia’s pack line defense did the trick, holding NC State to 0.86 points per possession in the Cavaliers’ 68-51 triumph. The Wolfpack were cold from the field (34.8 percent) all game long and committed 15 turnovers. An underrated part of Tony Bennett‘s team this season is it ability to play such tough defense without fouling. On Sunday night, the Cavaliers were only whistled for 10 fouls and limited the Wolfpack to just five free throw attempts.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Monday 1/15 – Duke at Miami (7:00 ET ESPN)
  • Tuesday 1/16 – Louisville at Notre Dame (7:00 ET ESPN2)
  • Tuesday 1/16 – Clemson at North Carolina  (7:00 ET RSN)
  • Sunday 1/21 – Miami at N.C. State (Noon ET ACCN)
Brad Jenkins (349 Posts)

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