One more week of non-conference basketball left for ACC teams before the real fun begins on New Year’s Eve. A couple of teams are struggling as of late, including one that you may be surprised at. It’s all part of this week’s look inside the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC Player of the Week is Chaundee Brown of Wake Forest. In last Saturday’s upset win over Xavier, Brown scored a career-high 23 points vs the #23 ranked team in the country. He shot a blistering 11-for-16 from the floor and took down a team-high six rebounds. Brown was at his best in the first half as he dropped 18 of his 26 points. He is second in free-throw shooting at 89%, 35-of-39. It’s the first time Brown has been named Player of the Week this season.
The Rookie of the Week is no stranger to this honor. Virginia Tech’s Landers Nolley II was named for the third time this season. In a 2-0 week for the Hokies, Nolley averaged 18.5 points per game, grabbing 7.5 rebounds, and passing out three assists. He is a big reason why Tech is 8-3 overall and 6-1 at home. The team is second in the conference in assists/turnovers at 10.36 (177 assists, 114 turnovers in eleven games) and is the best 3-point FG shooting team in the league averaging 11 makes in those eleven games. Nolley himself has made 33 treys which has him third in that department. He is also fourth in scoring at 18.5 a night.
The last two games for Boston College’s Steffon Mitchell have been solid, to say the least. He has recorded back-to-back double-doubles in wins over Albany and Central Connecticut State. In both games, Mitchell has put together a 13 point, 12 rebound, five assists, and two steals efforts. Mitchell leads the league in steals with 27 for an average of 2.25 a game. He also leads in offensive rebounding at 3.75 (45 in 12 games).
One of those teams that are struggling is the North Carolina Tar Heels, losers of four in a row. Granted, the teams that they have played are not just anybody. In a stretch of six-games that the Tar Heels just ended, they played the likes of #14 Michigan, #8 Oregon, #5 Ohio State, #9 Virginia, and #2 Gonzaga. To make matters even more difficult for North Carolina, they are doing this without maybe their best player in freshman Cole Anthony who is out four-to-six weeks with a knee injury.
The Pittsburgh Panthers have been getting it done on the defensive side of the ball in non-conference play. So far, in eleven games played, the Panthers have held their opponents to 60 points or fewer seven times. In those seven games, Pittsburgh’s record is 7-0 and 14-0 under head coach Jeff Capel when holding teams to 60 points or under.
The Miami Hurricanes made the trip to Brooklyn earlier this week to take on Temple. In a hard-fought game that came down to the wire, Miami gained the victory behind two free throws from junior Chris Lykes with 4.4 seconds left in the game. Lykes was a difference-maker in this contest as he scored 17 points, six assists, and five steals in a one-point win by Miami, 78-77.
Next week, we will give you more from the ACC.