ACC Weekend Review: 01.14.19 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 14th, 2019

After a lackluster opening weekend, things were much crazier around the ACC this weekend. In the headline match-up in Tallahassee on Saturday, Duke survived Florida State, 80-78, on Cam Reddish’s last second three. Reddish (23 points) and fellow freshman RJ Barrett (32 points) picked up the slack when Zion Williamson missed the entire second half with an eye injury. The long Seminoles caused problems for the Blue Devils in the paint, blocking seven Blue Devils’ shots, winning the battle of the boards (+5) and out-dunking Duke by a 10-to-1 margin. League co-leader Virginia grabbed another impressive road win too, as the Cavaliers manhandled Clemson, 63-43. Two road underdogs also won with surprising ease as Louisville dominated North Carolina at the Smith Center, 83-62, and Georgia Tech pulled off a stunner at Syracuse, 73-59. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

Steven Enoch outplayed Luke Maye as Louisville shocked North Carolina in the Smith Center on Saturday. (thecardinalconnect.com)
  • Best Win: Few gave Louisville a realistic chance to win in Chapel Hill on Saturday, much less blow the Tar Heels off their own floor. After all, the Cardinals had just lost to Pittsburgh while North Carolina was coming off an impressive road win over a ranked and fired-up NC State squad. However, Chris Mack’s unit came out smoking (seven first half 3-pointers) and North Carolina never put up much of a fight in the 21-point defeat. The most lopsided home loss of the Roy Williams era was also a huge boost to Louisville’s growing postseason resume. A major key to the victory was the Cardinals’ dominance in the paint. Connecticut transfer Steven Enoch finished with career highs in points (17) and rebounds (11), outplaying UNC star Luke Maye, who finished with just nine points on a cold (3-for-14) shooting day.
  • Worst Loss: Georgia Tech gave Syracuse a taste of its own medicine Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. Josh Pastner used a zone defense to befuddle the Orange’s offense and pull off a surprisingly easy upset. Syracuse was unable to penetrate the Yellow Jackets’ interior and struggled to make shots from deep (7-for-33), but Georgia Tech only launched 12 threes (hitting six) and shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) on two-pointers. Jim Boeheim’s team now has three home defeats and is currently projected by KenPom to finish 9-9 in the league, well below its preseason expectations.
John Mooney led short handed Notre Dame to victory over Boston College.
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
  • Most Outstanding Player: Mike Brey was down to just six available scholarship players on Saturday versus Boston College, with TJ Gibbs (illness) and Juwan Durham (ankle) unable to go. In their absence, Junior John Mooney stepped up to lead the Irish to victory by posting a career-high 27 points and grabbing 12 boards. He was very efficient from both the floor (8-13 FG) and the stripe (9-9 FT) and helped on the defensive end by blocking three shots. Mooney is quietly putting up some outstanding numbers this year: 128.4 offensive rating; 59.8 percent effective field goal percentage; and an ACC-best 28.5 percent defensive rebounding rate.
  • Unsung Heroes: Mooney wasn’t the only ACC player who raised his game when his team was shorthanded over the weekend. Heading into the second half Saturday in Raleigh, NC State was in trouble against Pittsburgh. The Wolfpack were clinging to a one-point lead and were down two starters – center Wyatt Walker (ejected for tripping) and point guard Markell Johnson (injured in a fall). Kevin Keatts turned to his bench and DJ Funderburk and Eric Lockett responded in earnest. With Walker unavailable, Funderburk played 34 minutes (his previous season-high was 22) and came through with 18 points and nine rebounds. Lockett didn’t see any action against North Carolina in the Pack’s last outing, but he made the most of his 22 minutes against Pitt – scoring 17 points and making 3-of-4 from distance.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: North Carolina had held its previous four opponents below 1.00 points per possession (PPP), but they couldn’t contain Louisville’s offense on Saturday – the Cardinals posted a robust 1.17 PPP in Chapel Hill. Louisville shot well from everywhere on the floor, making 60.7 percent of its twos and 42.3 percent of its threes. The Cardinals were also surprisingly effective on the boards, posting a solid 35.7 percent offensive rebounding rate against the nation’s 20th-best defensive rebounding squad.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: It was déjà vu all over again for Clemson. Last year in Charlottesville, the Tigers only scored 36 points (0.58 PPP was lowest in ACC play for all teams) in a blowout loss to Virginia. Saturday in Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson was held to an icy 25.9 percent shooting performance and 0.70 PPP. And it was one-and-done for the Tigers as Virginia grabbed a solid 81.8 percent of the Tigers’ frequent misses.

Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch

  • Monday 1/14 – Syracuse at Duke (7:00 ET ESPN)
  • Tuesday 1/15 – Virginia Tech at Virginia (8:00 ET Raycom/ACCN) 
  • Saturday 1/19 – North Carolina at Miami (Noon ET ESPN/ESPN2)
  • Saturday 1/19 – Virginia at Duke (6:00 ESPN)
Brad Jenkins (368 Posts)


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