It’s a light week for teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The only team in action this week is the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. They are spending the week in Honolulu, Hawaii playing in the Diamond Head Classic. The Yellow Jackets went 2-1, having lost to Houston in their first game, before coming back and defeating Hawaii in their second contest, then Boise State in their finale. They will be heading back to the mainland and getting ready for conference play. For the rest of the league, some played this weekend while the rest get ready for league play which begins on New Year’s Eve with a slate of games. In the meantime, here is some of what else is going on in the ACC.
At the moment, there are still four ACC teams ranked in the AP Top 25. However, that number may drop by one when next week rolls around. Virginia, which is at #16, was beaten at home this past Sunday by South Carolina 70-59. The other three ranked teams are Louisville at #3, Duke at #4 and Florida State at #17. For the Blue Devils, this marks the 70th consecutive week in the AP poll which is the second-longest active streak.
There are Co-Players of the week in the league and they are North Carolina State senior guard, Markell Johnson, and Miami junior Kameron McGusty. Johnson posted his first career triple-double of 11 points,10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a victory over the Citadel. The 10 boards are a career-high. Prior to his performance against the Bulldogs, Johnson recorded a double-double vs #12 Auburn Tigers. For the two games played, Johnson averaged 14 points, 10 assists, and eight boards. He shot 55% from the floor (10-of-18).
McGusty averaged 20 points, seven and a half boards and two and a half steals in two wins for the Canes over Temple and Coppin State. Against Coppin State, McGusty went for 28 points, with 22 of them coming in the second half. Against the Owls, he put together a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. In a victory over Temple in Brooklyn, he was 14-of-24 from the field, 5-of-11 from three, 7-of-9 from the free-throw line for the two games played.
The Rookie of the Week is Vernon Carey Jr. of Duke. It’s the third time this season for the Blue Devils star freshman. He picked up his eighth double-double of the season vs Wofford on Dec.19. In the win, Carey dropped 20 points and collected 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. He was 8-of-11 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. This was his sixth effort of 20-10, while each of his double-doubles have been 15-10 performances. His eight double-doubles are tied for fourth nationally and the most by a freshman player
While it’s true that the three-point line was moved back before the season began, teams in the league have had little trouble adjusting to it. The league has combined to shoot 33.64% from behind the arc. Last season, the ACC combined to shoot 33.84% when the line was at 20′ 9′. Two teams have already hit 20-3 pointers in a game during non-conference play. Notre Dame went 20-of-39 from deep in a Dec.10 contest vs Detroit Mercy and Virginia Tech knocked down 21 on 37 attempts in a game vs Delaware on Nov.20th. The 21 makes are a conference record.
John Mooney, of the Fighting Irish, has had a very strong start to his season. He is the only player in the league averaging a double-double (14.8 points, 13.1 rebounds). The rebound number puts him second in the nation. He is one of only three major-conference players in the country to be averaging a double-double. Mooney has nine of them so far this season which is tied for second in the nation.
Georgia Tech got some good news playing in the Diamond Head Classic, the return of one of their key backcourt players. Junior Jose Alvarado returned in the victory over Boise State. He played 29:32 of game time after missing seven of the last eight games with an ankle injury. He scored 14 points in the win.
Next week, it’s all about conference action in the ACC.