ACC Weekend Review: 02.05.18 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 5th, 2018

It may have been Super Bowl weekend everywhere else, but it was a Super Saturday for ACC teams on the road this weekend. The two Florida schools picked up a pair of key wins away from home, as Miami took out Virginia Tech and Florida State avenged an earlier loss to Louisville. League leader Virginia had no problem at Syracuse and Clemson moved into second place in the conference standings by virtue of its road triumph over Wake Forest. But life on the road was not nearly as enjoyable for Duke as the Blue Devils fell to Big East cellar-dweller St. John’s in Madison Square Garden — a performance that head coach Mike Krzyzewski described as “disgusting.” Here are the highlights from this weekend’s action around the ACC.

Trent Forrest led Florida State down the stretch in the Seminoles huge road win at Louisville on Saturday. (Jamie Rhodes – USA TODAY Sports)

  • Best Win: In early January, Louisville went to Tallahassee and came away with an impressive four-point win over Florida State. The Seminoles on Saturday returned the favor with an 80-76 victory in Louisville. As usual, Florida State got key contributions from several sources, with six Seminoles ultimately scoring in double-figures. A huge defensive key for Leonard Hamilton‘s squad was an abnormally impressive performance on the glass. Coming into the game ranked 267th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, Florida State held a decisive 33-6 edge in that category. The Seminoles, at one time just 1-3 in ACC play, have since won five of seven games to get back over .500. Florida State will have another opportunity for a resume-booster on Wednesday when unbeaten Virginia visits Tallahassee.

  • Worst Loss: Duke’s upset loss to St. John’s was easily the worst loss for an ACC team this weekend, but this post only focuses on conference games. With that said, Virginia Tech failed to protect its home floor again on Saturday, falling to Miami 84-75 in its third league defeat at Cassell Coliseum this season. ACC foes have not had a very hard time making shots against the Hokies — a team that ranks dead-last in conference play in effective field goal percentage defense — and the Hurricanes were no different. Miami posted an effective field goal percentage of 59.6 percent and scored a robust 1.20 points per possession in ringing up its sixth ACC win. Things won’t get any easier for Buzz Williams’ guys down the stretch in conference play — six of their eight opponents are currently ranked among KenPom’s top 33. It’s going to very difficult for the Hokies to reach the 10 ACC wins they likely need for an NCAA invitation.

Anthony Lawrence II had a career day to lead Miami past Virginia Tech on the road. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images)

  • Most Outstanding PlayerWhen Miami announced last week that Bruce Brown would miss as many as six weeks with a broken foot, Jim Larranaga needed someone else to step up. The veteran coach got his wish as junior Anthony Lawrence II has now posted double-doubles in each of his last two games. In Miami’s win over Virginia Tech, Lawrence posted career-highs in points (25) and rebounds (13). He was also extremely efficient in his play, sinking 9-of-10 shots from the floor including all three of his attempts from deep.
  • Unsung Heroes: Florida State seemed to be in trouble Saturday with both of its starting guards — Braian Angola and C.J. Walker — on the bench with four fouls in the second half. But sophomore reserve Trent Forrest came to the Seminoles’ rescue, running the attack as they pulled away down the stretch. Forrest enjoyed a stellar overall performance against Louisville — scoring 10 points, grabbing nine boards and dishing five assists. In eight prior ACC outings this season, Boston College’s Johncarlos Reyes had only tallied a total of seven points. However, against Georgia Tech on Sunday, Reyes came off the bench for 10 points and four rebounds to help the Eagles rally for an 80-72 overtime win in Conte Forum.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: It took a little while to get going, but North Carolina eventually blitzed Pittsburgh, 96-65, on Saturday in the Smith Center. The Tar Heels ended up scoring 1.32 points per possession, their second best offensive performance of the season. North Carolina made 58.1 percent of its two-pointers and 40.7 percent from behind the three-point line, while rebounding a robust number (48.5%) of its misses.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: In its earlier meeting with Virginia, Syracuse posted 1.06 points per possession — the third highest allowed by the Cavaliers all season long. But the second time around, the Orange were not nearly as successful against the nation’s best defense, scoring just 0.79 points per possession in Saturday’s 59-44 defeat. The Cavaliers held Syracuse to 33.3 percent shooting and only allowed the Orange to collect six offensive boards.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Wednesday 2/7 – Virginia @ Florida State (7:00 ET RSN)
  • Thursday 2/8 – Duke at North Carolina (8:00 ET ESPN)
  • Saturday 2/10 – North Carolina at N.C. State  (2:00 ET ACCN)
  • Saturday 2/10 – Virginia Tech at Virginia (6:00 ET ESPN)
Brad Jenkins (325 Posts)


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