The 2020-21 basketball season is here and even with all the cancellations and postponements that have already taken place, the ACC is moving forward with playing ball. As the first week of December begins, the league is looking pretty good nationwide. Five teams find themselves in the AP Top 25 poll. Duke is at #6, North Carolina at #14, Virginia at #15, Virginia Tech at #16, and Florida State at #22. For Duke, their ranking makes it 85 consecutive weeks in the AP poll. That is the second-longest streak in college basketball. So let’s get started with the rest of the early season news from the league.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has had a pretty good run in the NBA. Last season, 88 players from league schools made the roster in the Association. That is the most of any conference in the country. Over the past twelve years, 125 ACC players have made their NBA debut including an all-time high of 19 during last season. The league is the only conference in the country to have three first-round picks in each of the last 12 NBA drafts. And with the Olympics on the horizon, the league has 10 former players among the 44 finalists that are vying for spots on that team that will head to Japan next summer.
In Monday night’s loss to St. John’s, Boston College sophomore forward, C.J. Feider, had his best night as an Eagle. He scored a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. In the three games played so far by BC, Feider is shooting at a 75% clip on 12-of-16 from the field. He is also showing some range by knocking down 5-of-9 from deep. That kind of production will be critical to Boston College as they will need some inside scoring to help free up their guards.
In Clemson’s first two games, senior forward, Aamir Simms, scored a game-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting to help the Tigers get a win over Big-10 member Purdue. That performance helped Simms to be named the MVP of the Space Coast Challenge event. The title was the first earned by the league this season. Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come for the league.
Florida State, which does not begin their season until Wednesday night, will do so with 23 straight wins at home. The streak began back on Jan. 22, 2019, when they defeated Clemson 77-68. The Seminoles have also won 38 straight non-conference home games which is the second-longest in the country behind only Butler who has won 59. Virginia Tech has the third-longest streak at 33. Speaking of the Hokies, their bench played a key role in helping to get two wins last weekend as they scored 33 points off the bench in a win over South Florida. In their upset win over then #3 Villanova, the bench came through with 25 points.
The ACC Player of the Week is Virginia Tech’s Keve Aluma. He averaged 18.0 points, five rebounds, and one and a half blocks as the Hokies started the year with three straight wins. The Freshman of the Week is Duke’s Jalen Johnson who got his Blue Devils career off to a great start with a double-double of 19 points and 19 rebounds vs Coppin State. Johnson has also been named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List. He is one of seven players from the conference on that list.
The post-Danny Manning era got off to a solid start at Wake Forest. Last Friday night vs Longwood, the Demon Deacons held them to 16 points over the final twelve minutes of the game. The defense forced 24 turnovers in the contest which resulted in 25 points.
North Carolina State has shown a pretty good ability not to turn the ball over in their first two games. In their Friday night win over North Florida, the Wolfpack did not commit a single turnover in the second half. For the game, they made only six turnovers while dishing out 20 assists and it never hurts to shoot 55 % from the field. In their two games to date, NC State has a +32 turnover margin.
We have given you a sample of some of the early season going on’s in the league. Next week we will have more from the ACC.
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