After a relatively successful aggregate performance during the Feast Week tournaments, the ACC turned in another disappointing result in last week’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge, failing to win the inter-conference event for the seventh consecutive year. It wasn’t all bad last week, though, as North Carolina secured an elite home win against #2 Maryland, and Miami showed some resiliency in responding to its disappointing loss to Northeastern with an overtime win at Nebraska. This week’s Stock Watch zeroes in on a pair of players critical to the fates of two of the league favorites, a school navigating the rest of the non-conference season without its leader and a unit in Raleigh that is struggling to replicate its postseason success of a year ago.
- Brandon Ingram, Duke: After a painfully slow start to his freshman campaign, some wondered if the hype surrounding Duke’s freshman McDonald’s All-American was more bluster than substance. Those folks can stop wasting their time. Ingram had arguably the best week of any player in the nation, scoring a career-high 24 points against Indiana on Wednesday followed by a 23-point performance against Buffalo on Saturday. Most notably against the Hoosiers, Ingram came out with an assertiveness we had yet to see from the lanky wing, scoring eight of his team’s first 10 points, including a pair of three-point field goals. Some may give pause to the opposition — Indiana’s defensive issues are well-documented — but sometimes a player as talented as Ingram just needs to have a few shots go in to gain confidence that this level of basketball isn’t too big for him. Last week was certainly a step in the right direction for the Blue Devils’s star freshman.