ACC Weekend Review: 03.04.19 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins on March 4th, 2019

Two ACC squads in desperate need of a quality win failed to take advantage of their opportunities on Saturday. NC State stayed within striking distance of Florida State throughout their game, but the Pack couldn’t overtake the Seminoles in Tallahassee before falling, 78-73. Likewise, Clemson played North Carolina tough in Littlejohn Coliseum before losing another heart-breaker, 81-79. Elsewhere, co-leader Virginia had no problems with Pittsburgh, winning 73-49 in Charlottesville, and Duke — still playing without Zion Williamson — rolled Miami in Durham, 87-57. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

Mfiondu Kabengele led a balanced Florida State attack as the Seminoles held off N.C. State in Tallahassee on Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
  • Best Win / Worst Loss I: Clemson failed to boost its NCAA Tournament resume by losing yet another nail-biter in ACC play. The Tigers have now lost four ACC contests on the very last possession and, as a result, are in serious NCAA bubble-trouble. Brad Brownell’s club owns a lousy 1-9 record in Quadrant 1 games and they’re quickly running out of chances to prove the Tigers can beat good teams. For North Carolina, this win keeps the Tar Heels tied atop the ACC standings, and puts them firmly in the mix for a potential #1 seed in the Big Dance. The biggest scare of the game came late in the first half when Roy Williams collapsed and had to be helped off the floor, never to return. It’s not the first time that his vertigo has struck him down during a game, but fortunately he seemed to be doing well soon after the game ended.
  • Best Win / Worst Loss II: Much like Clemson, NC State still has work to do to earn a second straight bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack had a chance to grab a signature road win at Florida State on Saturday but couldn’t pull it off, leaving Kevin Keatts’ squad with just two Quadrant 1 wins in 10 tries. Add in the nation’s worst non-conference strength of schedule and their resume has some serious issues. With the win, Leornard Hamilton’s squad remains tied for fourth place in the league with Virginia Tech. The Hokies travel to Tallahassee on Tuesday and the winner will earn a coveted double-bye in the upcoming ACC Tournament.
Coby White sliced through the Clemson defense for 28 points to lead the Tar Heels to a big road victory. (goheels.com)
  • Most Outstanding Player: Coby White capped off a tremendous week with 28 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead North Carolina over Clemson on Saturday. Earlier in the week, White tallied 34 points in the Tar Heels’ win over Syracuse. In each contest, the freshman shot a superb 6-of-11 from beyond the arc. Coming into the week, he had only scored a total of 29 points in his last three outings, so it was an impressive turnaround for the point guard, and puts him squarely into the all-ACC conversation.
  • Unsung Hero: It wasn’t exactly the ‘shot heard round the world’, but when Jack White finally hit a three-point shot in the first half against Miami to give Duke a six-point lead, it snapped a bizarre 0-of-28 streak from distance that had spanned the previous 13 games. Not only did White’s shot restore some confidence (he finished 3-of-3 from deep), it also ignited the Cameron crowd as well as his teammates — the Blue Devils roared to a 28-point lead at the intermission to put the game away.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Virginia has earned its reputation as one of the nation’s top defensive teams (second nationally in defensive efficiency), but Tony Bennett’s offense (fourth in offensive efficiency) has been equally elite this season. On Saturday against Pittsburgh, the Cavaliers posted 1.22 points per possession by shooting lights out from all over the floor. They made 60.0 percent of their two-point attempts, shot 56.0 percent from beyond the arc, and converted 80.0 percent from the foul line. Kyle Guy led the assault with 17 points and a red-hot 5-of-7 performance from three-point land.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: After getting torched by Virginia Tech’s offense in its last outing, Duke regained some of its defensive prowess by holding Miami to just 0.77 points per possession on Saturday. The Blue Devils forced 16 turnovers and limited the Hurricanes to an icy 34.9 percent shooting day. Miami’s Chris Lykes became the latest ACC point guard to find life difficult against Tre Jones’ ball pressure. as he finished 1-of-15 from the field and gave the ball away four times, resulting in an anemic offensive rating of 27.0. Other members of that club include Louisville’s Christen Cunningham (58 ORtg), Boston College’s Ky Bowman (70 ORtg) and North Carolina’s Coby White (53 ORtg), all of whom struggled against Jones’ defense.

Upcoming Week – Five Games to Watch

  • Monday 3/4 – Virginia at Syracuse (7:00 ET ESPN)
  • Tuesday 3/5 – Virginia Tech at Florida State (7:00 ET ESPU)
  • Saturday 3/9 – Syracuse at Clemson (Noon ET CBS)
  • Saturday 3/9 – Louisville at Virginia (4:00 ET ESPN)
  • Saturday 3/9 – Duke at North Carolina (6:00 ET ESPN)
Brad Jenkins (367 Posts)


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