ACC Basketball News & Notes: Louisville is the new #1


The end of the first week in December and that means that the ACC-Big 10 challenge has come to and end for another year. There is a new #1 ranked team in college basketball. However, that team is from the same league, as the program before them. It’s all a part of this week’s news & notes from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Let’s take a look at what is going on.

The Louisville Cardinal is now the #1 ranked team in the country. This will make three straight weeks that the conference can boast this accomplishment. The Cardinal are now the ninth different team to reach number one from the ACC. That is two more than any other league in the land of college basketball. Louisville was last on top of the mountain on January 14, 2013. This also marks the third time the Cardinal has been at the top of the polls. In their first game as the number one team in the country, Louisville defeated Michigan at home 58-43 this past Tuesday night. Louisville leads the league in scoring margin at a +19.75, and in field goal percentage at .499 (228-for 457). They are unbeaten in their last eight games.

The ACC Player of the Week is Olivier Sarr from Wake Forest. Olivier averaged a double-double of 17 points and 11.5 rebounds in the Wooden Legacy.Those number would put him on the All-Tournament team.  He recorded his first double-double of the season when he went for 21 points and 13 boards vs #14 Arizona. He would earn his second double-double of the event against Charleston in the quarterfinals with 14 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 boards are a career-high. For the event, Sarr shot 16-for-27 (59.3%) from the floor. From the free throw line, he was 19-24 for 79.2 %. Sarr leads the league in offensive rebounding with three a game. It’s the first time for Sarr as the Player of the Week.

For the second time this year, Landers Nolley II was named Rookie of the Week. In the just completed Jim Maui Tournament, Nolley was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 19.7 points and 5.7 boards a contest. He led the Hokies with 22 points vs #3 Michigan State including a clutch three-point shot to extend their lead in the game with a minute to play. The basket would help Virginia Tech to their first top five non-conference win since 1964. He is third in the league in scoring at 20 points a game and is first in 3-point field goals made with 27.

Notre Dame is doing a great job in the early stages of the season at not turning the ball over. The 9.5 turnovers a game they are making put them at #2 in the country in that department. The only team with better numbers than the Fighting Irish is Washington out of the PAC-12. The Huskies are turning the ball over only nine times a ballgame. The Irish are second in the league in assists with 130 through eight games. That is an average of 16.38 a night. They have the best assists/turnover ratio at 1.72 and are second in the conference in turnover margin at +4.75.

Syracuse junior, Elijah Hughes, has logged a ton of minutes so far for his team. In fact, he has played the full 40 minutes in four of the eight games played. Last Wednesday night vs Oklahoma State, Hughes dropped 28 on the Cowboys which is a career high. In the eight games to date, Hughes has scored in double-figures in all of them. Hughes is sixth in scoring at 17.8 a contest.

The North Carolina Tar Heels formula for winning so far has been pretty easy to understand. When they are rebounding they give themselves a pretty good chance at a victory. In their six wins so far, the Tar Heels have out-rebounded their opponents by a 19.2 boards a game. Overall, North Carolina ranks third in the nation in rebound-margin at 12.6 per game. That’s despite being out rebounded by Ohio State in their last game.

In the just completed ACC-Big 10 series, the Big 10 came away with the bragging rights for this year. They won eight games while the Atlantic Coast Conference won six.

Next week, more from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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