In what now may be described as a down year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the league hits the holiday week with questions about the overall strength of the league. The defending national champions Virginia, are still in a bit of a free fall that, from the outside, seems to be something that maybe they cannot stop. Outside of Duke and Louisville, there does not seems to be much separation from the rest of the conference. This happens to every league and it seems like it’s the ACC this year. Here are some other things going on in the league.
Speaking of a rough going lately, the Miami Hurricanes have been in one. Tuesday night’s game at Duke did not help matters. The 89-59 setback at the hands of the Blue Devils can be explained by a couple of things, injuries, and bad defense. The lack of bodies has forced the Canes to go deeper into their bench than maybe they would like, and the results have not been good. They are last in Scoring Defense giving up 74 points a night. Miami is next to last in Scoring Margin at 2.33, last in Field Goal Defense Percentage at .453, and also last in Three-Point Field Goal Percentage at .340. There was a bright spot in the loss to Duke as junior center, Rodney Miller Jr., had a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds. The boards are a career-high. In his last four games, Miller is averaging 10 points and eight rebounds a game.
The Louisville Cardinals, at 15-3 overall, was named the NABC Division I Team of the Week on Tuesday. This on the heels of wins at Pittsburgh and at then-#3 Duke last Saturday. Hot-shooting from three-point range may have a lot to do with it. In their last five games, the Cardinals are shooting 45.2 % from behind the line (42-of-93), and in their last two ball games, they have been knocking down three’s at a 48.7% clip (19-of-39).
Three of the country’s best Assists/Turnovers ratio are in the ACC. Notre Dame at #1 (1.8), Virginia Tech at #2 (1.67) and Syracuse at #16 (1.36). The Irish also are number one in taking the least amount of fouls per game. The Fighting Irish commit 12 fouls a game. Virginia is second at 12.8 per game, and Virginia Tech is fifth at 13.2. A couple of Orangemen are in the top-five in the nation in a couple of stat lines. Freshman Joseph Girard III leads the nation in free-throw percentage at 95.8% (46-of-48) and sophomore Buddy Boeheim is fifth in three-point field goals per game at 3.72.
ACC Co-Players of the Week are Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse. Vassell, in wins over Virginia and Miami, averaged 20.5 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. He led the team in scoring in both games going for 18 vs Virginia and then a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds vs Miami. The double-double was the first of his career. Boeheim led his team to wins over Boston College and Virginia Tech. Against the Eagles, he went for 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Against Virginia Tech, Boeheim tied a career-best with 26 points (10-of-20 from the field, three from three-point land) in 40 minutes of game time. In the first half alone, he went for 18 consecutive points vs the Hokies. For the two games, Boeheim averaged 24 points (19-of-37 FG, two rebounds, and two assists.
The Rookie of the Week is Louisville’s, David Johnson. In a couple of road wins for the Cardinals, Johnson averaged 15 points, five an a half assists and three and a half boards. He shot 57.9% off of the Cardinals bench. Last Saturday night vs Duke, Johnson had a career-high 19 points, seven assists, and three steals. The points were the most off the bench for a Louisville player against a top-three team since Russ Smith drop 30 on Kentucky back in 2011.
Wake Forest junior center, Oliver Sarr, continues to put up numbers for the Demon Deacons. Last Tuesday at Clemson, he recorded his seventh double-double of the season as he went for 16 points and 12 rebounds vs the Tigers. The double-double was his second in three days.
Next week, more from the ACC.