It’s been an interesting return to conference play in the ACC. This week, there has already been an upset of a ranked team in the polls. Just goes to show, not everything is what it seems. Here is a look.
So far in league play, the road teams are not only holding their own but are playing above .500. To date, road teams are 15-12 and last Saturday they went 5-2. Winning on the road is not supposed to be an easy task, but then again, this might just be one of those years where normal does not apply.
The upset we spoke of took place on Tuesday night when #18 Virginia went down on the road to Boston College 60-53. The Eagles were led by the brother combination of Jared and Jarius Hamilton who combined for 26 points and nine rebounds. Jared Hamilton would take the shot of the game as he knocked down a right corner three-pointer with 38 seconds left to give BC the lead they never gave back. In the second half, Jared scored 12 of his 16 points to give Boston College a resume-building win in league play.
For Virginia, the loss at BC continued a pattern of play. Yes, we know how well the Cavaliers can play defense. They are 9-0 when holding teams to less than 50 points. UVA is 96-2 under head coach Tony Bennett when they do this in his time at the school. They are 4-0 when it’s less than 40 points, but you still have to put the ball in the basket yourself. Virginia shot just 32% in the loss at Boston College and only 18% from three-point land (3-for-16). It’s the 13th time in their 14 games played that the Cavaliers have shot 40% or less in a game. Playing defense is one thing. Putting the ball in the basket can be just as important and is something that Virginia needs to work on. The loss may also snap a streak of weeks ranked in the AP polls. Heading into the game at BC, Virginia had been ranked for 44 straight weeks.
The Player of the Week in the ACC is Notre Dame senior forward John Mooney. In their comeback win at Syracuse last weekend, Mooney came up big for the Fighting Irish. He had 28 points and 14 boards. The points matched a career-high and he was also the leading scorer in the game. Mooney came up big in the second half by scoring 19 of his points in the second twenty minutes. Mooney’s offensive rebound and put back with 36 seconds left in the game sealed the comeback for ND. He was 11-for-21 in 32 minutes of action.
The Rookie of the Week in the ACC is Duke forward Matthew Hurt. In the Blue Devils wins last week over BC and Miami, Hurt averaged 19.0 points per game. He had a career-high 25 against Boston College. In the win over Miami, he had 13 points to go along with a career-high in assists with four and in steals with three. Hurt shot 16-of-24 for the week, (.667) and from three-point range he was 6-of-12 (.500).
North Carolina got a career-high 35 points from Garrison Brooks in their win at home Vs Georgia Tech. It’s the most by a Tar Heel player since Brice Johnson drop 39 on Florida State on the road. Brooks was excellent from the foul line in that game going 17-of-18. Carolina is first in Rebounding Offense with 617 in 14 games, which averages out to 44.07. They are second in the league in Rebounding Margin at +9.36. They are first in Offensive Rebounding averaging 14.71 and second in Defensive Rebounding at 29.36 a game.
The Clemson Tigers have struggled so far this season. Offense has been a major part of the problem. Last Saturday at home Vs North Carolina State, they may have had a breakout game. Five Tigers players finished the game in double-figures, the first time this season they had accomplished this. They were led by senior center Aamir Simms who had 17 points. The Tigers are dead last in the conference standings at 1-3, 7-7 overall.
The Wake Forest bench has been doing its part to help the team stay in games and possibly win them. The Demons Deacons bench on average has been outscoring its opponents by a 26.8-14.5 per game. They have registered 12 double-figuring scoring games off the pine led by junior Oliver Sarr who has eight of those double-figure games off the bench.
Next week more from the ACC.