ACC Weekend Review: 02.20.18 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 20th, 2018

This weekend it was as if traveling ACC squads were on a Disney vacation with six road teams coming out on top. Before Saturday’s action, ACC teams had won 64 percent of their home games this year, but only hapless Pittsburgh (at Florida State) failed to win away from home this weekend. Among the successful road warriors, Duke beat Clemson in a battle for second place in the league, North Carolina continued its winning ways by rolling past Louisville, and Syracuse got back in the bubble conversation by upsetting Miami. In other action, Notre Dame got a superb game from Matt Ferrell to beat Boston College before dropping a game to Miami, and surging NC State handled Wake Forest. Here are the highlights from this weekend’s action around the ACC.

Gabe DeVoe and his teammates struggled to score against Duke’s zone defense in the Tigers’ home loss Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

  • Best Win: Duke used its improving defense to pick up a big 66-57 win in Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday. With each team missing a key player — Marvin Bagley III (Duke) and Shelton Mitchell (Clemson) — the weekend’s marquee ACC contest turned into a low-possession slugfest. After trailing for most of the second half, the Tigers reeled off 10 consecutive points to tie the game before Duke answered with the game’s final nine points. Duke has now won three straight games without Bagley in the lineup as Grayson Allen (19 points) has played much better, but the biggest difference for the Blue Devils lately has been on the defensive end. Playing a zone almost exclusively, Duke held Clemson to just 24.2 percent shooting in the second half and has now held 10 of its last 12 opponents under 1.0 point per possession.

  • Worst Loss: Although it appears that Miami is safely in the NCAA Tournament, Jim Larranaga‘s team better keep winning to stay there. After falling at home to Syracuse 62-55 on Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes had dropped three in a row heading into a road trip to Notre Dame last night. Luckily, a three-point victory in South Bend calmed the nerves, but Miami needs to solve for some of its recurring issues. The Hurricanes couldn’t find the range from deep against the lengthy Orange zone, shooting just 7-of-31 on threes. Nor did they protect the rim very well – Syracuse shot 75 percent on its two-point tries.

Matt Ferrell had a career-best scoring day in Notre Dame’s win at Boston College on Saturday.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Most Outstanding PlayerMost people experience a greater sense of warmth in the South than they enjoy in New England. However, Matt Ferrell felt just the opposite last week. On Monday night in Chapel Hill, Ferrell was as icy as a glacier — he scored nine points and only sank 1-of-12 shots from deep in Notre Dame’s blowout loss to the Tar Heels. On Saturday afternoon in Conte Forum, however, he was smoking hot, converting 10-of-12 three-point attempts and tallying a career-high 37 points. Ferrell’s 10 made threes were three more than any other ACC player’s best output this season.
  • Unsung Heroes: To win on the road against an NCAA Tournament-caliber foe, Jim Boeheim needed some strong play from his various role players. One that came through in a big way was freshman forward Marek Dolezaj, who more than doubled his season average by scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Another freshman big man helped his team secure a huge win on the road when Sterling Manley came off the North Carolina bench to score eight points in the Tar Heels’ 93-76 victory at Louisville. Even more impressively, Manley converted all three of this field goal attempts against one of the best interior defenses in college basketball.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Led by Ferrell’s offensive explosion, Notre Dame posted 1.29 points per possession in its win at Boston College. The Irish were on fire from all over the floor, sinking 65.4 percent of their twos and 60.9 percent of their threes.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: Clemson never solved Duke‘s zone, shooting just 34.4 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from deep. It’s likely that not having Mitchell (concussion) available hurt the Tigers’ attack, as they only managed to score 0.86 points per possession. It’s also worth noting that senior Gabe Devoe had a rare cold shooting day (1-of-8 on three-pointers) after coming into the contest having made 25 of his previous 40 attempts from distance.
Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch
  • Wednesday 2/21 – North Carolina @ Syracuse (7:00 ET ESPN)
  • Wednesday 2/21 – Louisville @ Duke (9:00 ET ESPN)
  • Saturday 2/24 – Syracuse @ Duke  (:00 ET)
  • Sunday 2/25 – Florida State @ N.C. State (6:00 ET ESPNU)
Brad Jenkins (321 Posts)

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