ACC Opening Week: Three Up, Three Down

Posted by Mick McDonald on November 9th, 2018

After a busy opening week that has so far resulted in a perfect 12-0 record for ACC teams, Mick McDonald (@themickmcdonald) takes a look at three positives and three negatives from around the conference. (Brad Jenkins covered Duke in his Opening Night takeaways)

THREE UP

Ty Jerome Continues to Show His Importance to Virginia (USA Today Images)

  • Let the Ty Jerome hype begin. Kyle Guy is the All-American and De’Andre Hunter gets the NBA love, but Ty Jerome is still the engine for this Virginia team. On Tuesday night, Jerome notched 20 points in the Cavaliers’ win over Towson, making six of his nine shots from three-point range. His 70.9 Defensive Rating will obviously trend toward normal as the competition improves, but his size allows him to bother smaller guards and is the key to Tony Bennett’s defense.
  • Florida State’s shooting. While Leonard Hamilton’s team defense was impressive in the Seminole’s blowout win over Florida, it was their shooting against the Gators that was even more intriguing. A team that shot just 35 percent from long distance a year ago and lost its top two shooters (CJ Walker and Braian Angola-Rodas) probably shouldn’t be expected to make 11-of-23 three-pointers against another high-major team, but Florida State did just that. It appeared as if Hamilton’s team might be lacking a knock-down outside shooter this season, but if PJ Savoy (5-of-7 3FG) can fill that role, the Seminoles could become something special.
  • Jeff Capel’s freshmen. Yes, it was only one game against Youngstown State, but it’s clear that this is a new era at Pittsburgh. Three freshmen guards started for Jeff Capel’s team on Tuesday night, and it is already obvious that they are the future of the Panthers’ program. Point guard Xavier Johnson scored 16 points and added six assists and five rebounds; Trey McGowens poured in 17 points and shot 6-of-11 from the field; Au’Diese Toney added 12 points and nine rebounds. The Panthers will still struggle in the ACC this year, but their rookie trio will at least give Pittsburgh fans a reason to tune in each night.

THREE DOWN

Mike Brey (USA Today Images)

  • Notre Dame’s shooting. We knew coming into the season that this version of the Fighting Irish didn’t have enough athleticism to compete with the top teams in the ACC, which meant that they instead would have to shoot the ball very well to have a chance to win. Against Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday night, however, Mike Brey’s club made only 4-of-22 from three-point range while shooting just 35.5 percent from the field. Star guard TJ Gibbs was the main culprit in laying bricks, making just 1-of-8 shots from behind the arc.
  • Boston College’s depth. The Eagles won by 20 points against Milwaukee on Tuesday, but don’t be fooled by the final score. They trailed by 10 points at halftime and burned their starters to get the comeback victory. Freshman Jairus Hamilton was the only non-starter who played more than five minutes for Jim Christian, and that’s an issue. Boston College simply cannot compete in the ACC with a six-man rotation. Add to it that the Eagles shot just 5-of-20 from long distance as well, and it was not an encouraging start to the season in Chestnut Hill.
  • Buddy Boeheim’s debut. Syracuse’s zone is clearly in mid-season form, as the Orange held Eastern Washington to just 34 points on 22 percent shooting in a blowout win. While most of Jim Boeheim’s club (other than Oshae Brissett) struggled shooting the ball, Buddy Boeheim’s line in his first college game was downright startling — 1-of-11 from the floor, missing all five of his three-point shots. Boeheim taking more shots than Tyus Battle doesn’t seem like a successful strategy for the Orange this season, but maybe his dad is in the coach’s ear.
Mick McDonald (54 Posts)


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