As conference season rolls on, the one thing that has become clear is anything is possible in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Earlier this week, Clemson knocked off #3 Duke at home, 79-72 and the defending national champions, Virginia, lost their third in a row in the league as they lost on the road at Florida State on Wednesday night. So far, it has been a wacky ride in the ACC. Here is some of what else is going on.
So far, the road teams have had the upper hand in conference play as their record is 24-17 (.585). Overtime games have become a bit of a norm earlier on. So far, five games have gone the extra five minutes with three in the last four days. All of these games have been won by the road teams. So much for home court! The league does have three teams ranked in the top-15 of the latest AP Poll. Duke is at #3, Florida State at #9, and Louisville at #11.
There are Co-Players of the Week in the ACC. Duke guard Tre Jones, and Clemson’s forward Aamir Simms. Jones averaged a team-leading 19.5 points per game in the Blue Devils win over Georgia Tech on the roads and at home vs Wake Forest. Jones shot a team-best .682 (15-of-20) from the field with 12 assists and just four turnovers in 33 minutes of play. He averaged 6.0 APG. 5.0 RPG, and 4.0 SPG. Meanwhile, Simms has had a couple of monster games for the Tigers. Last Saturday at Chapel Hill, Simms led the Tigers in points with 20, rebounds with eight, assists with six, blocks with four and steals with three. He also scored the last ten points of regulation to force overtime at North Carolina. A team that the Tigers had not beaten in 59 previous games at UNC. This past Tuesday at home vs the Blue Devils, Simms was in the thick of it once again scoring a career-high 25 points in the upset win over the Blue Devils. It’s only the second time with the first coming in 1990 that the Tigers have defeated North Carolina and Duke in back-to-back games.
The ACC Rookie of the Week is once again Landers Nolley II. This is the fifth time this conference season that Nolley has earned this weekly award. Last week, he averaged 21.0 points, six rebounds, and two and a half assists. As Virginia Tech posted wins over both Syracuse and North Carolina State.
Notre Dame’s John Mooney has been a double-double machine this year for the Fighting Irish. On Wednesday night in ND 78-74 win over Georgia Tech, Mooney recorded his 11 straight double-double. After starting the game 0-for-6 from the field, Mooney came on and finished the night with 10 points and 13 rebounds to match the record of 11 straight double-doubles set back in 2008-09 by Luke Harangody. Mooney’s first chance to set a new mark will have to wait until the Irish play next on Jan.22 vs Syracuse.
Louisville got a big scare earlier this week at Pittsburgh. The 72-68 overtime win was due in large part to the efforts of Senior Dwayne Sutton who put up 13 points and nine rebounds. Sutton has finished with at least nine boards in five of his last six ballgames averaging 10.5 per in those contests. The Panthers, on the other hand, saw a big night by Justin Champagne (11 points, 11 boards) get wasted. He matched his career-high in rebounds while recording his third double-double of the season and playing a season-high 44 minutes.
Georgia Tech, of late, have been putting the ball in the basket with some regularity. In their past seven games, the Yellow Jackets have averaged 70.3 points and 45.8 percent shooting from the floor. These numbers go along with the return of one of their main guys. Point guard Jose Alvarado has returned to the lineup after missing those games with an ankle injury. He had nine assists and the team shot 51 percent from the field in their loss at home to the Fighting Irish earlier this week.
Boston College junior forward, Steffon Mitchell is the only player in Division 1 college basketball to have 633 rebounds, 181 assists, 107 steals, and 86 blocked shots since 2017-18. Mitchell, and the rest of the team, struggled big time on Wednesday night at Syracuse losing the game by a 76-50 score and shooting just 20-of-61 for the game from the field, 5-of-27 in the first half alone. From three-point range, they were even worse shooting 6-for-30 on the night. The Eagles missed their first 18 attempts from long distance.
Next week, more from the ACC.