While this time of year will be a little different for most of us, in the world of college basketball it signals conference time. Even though most teams had a very limited non-conference schedule. The next couple of months will be very important for teams looking to play in March. The ACC has gotten a bit of a head start on league play. But these next eight or so weeks will be the true test. With that in mind, let’s see how the conference has begun.
Games being postponed is still a bit of a problem in the league. This week, three games will not be played because of Covid issues. Pittsburgh vs Duke, which was to be played on Tuesday, joins Syracuse vs Wake Forest scheduled for Wednesday. Syracuse vs North Carolina was to be contested on Saturday as games that will have to be rescheduled. It’s an ongoing problem for all leagues, not just the ACC. The leagues and their teams will do everything they can to play their schedule as planned.
The ACC Player of The Week is Louisville’s sophomore guard David Johnson. He averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists in a 2-0 week for the Cardinal. In the team’s opening conference games against Pittsburgh, Johnson produced his first career double-double of 17 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep, and eleven rebounds. Then, on Saturday, in the rivalry game vs Kentucky, Johnson scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and handed out four assists in the win over the Wildcats. Johnson is in the Top-20 in both scoring and rebounds in the league and is playing on average a little over 35 minutes a night.
The Freshman of The Week is Shakeel Moore of North Carolina State. In their big win over North Carolina last week, Moore had quite a game for himself. He entered the game with the score tied at fifteen and then scored the next ten straight points to put his team ahead. The 10-2 run gave his team a lead they would never give up for the rest of the contest. The 17-point performance was his first career double-digit game. He is also tied for seventh in steals getting two a game.
N.C. State also has the conference and nation’s leader in shot-blocking. Sophomore center, Manny Bates, is tops with 3.83 shot blocks a game thru six games. Meanwhile, senior guard Devon Daniels has scored in double figures in five of the six games played. He led his team in scoring in the win over UNC with 21 points. He is sixth in the league in scoring with 17 a night, ninth in field goal percentage at 50% (39-78), and fifth in steals with 2.17 a game.
#24 Virginia Tech got a two-point win on Tuesday night vs Miami. Junior forward Keve Aluma was a big reason why. He scored a career-high 26 in the victory with 19 of those points coming in the first half. He also recorded three shot blocks to go along with his points. He is fourth in field goal percentage at .543 (50-92) and is eighth in blocked shots with 11 in nine game for an average of 1.22 a contest.
Wake Forest has had a very difficult time getting on the court. Virus issues have forced the program to put a pause on things as they try to get everyone back and healthy. If all goes well. the Demon Deacons will be back on the court after a week off of it. They have scheduled a non-conference game for Saturday vs Catawba. Their last game was back on Nov.27. Guard Ian DuBose leads the league in assists/turnover ratio at 9.00 a game, nine assists to one turnover. He is also third in steals with 2.50 a contest. Three-point shooting is being handled by Jonah Antonio, who is #1 in 3-Point FG made with eight in four games (4.00) and in 3-point FG Percentage at .571 (8-14).
In #23 Virginia’s blowout loss to top-rated Gonzaga last Saturday, there was a bright spot. Junior point guard Kihei Clark drop a career-high 19 points on the Zags. In Virginia’s six games to date, Clark is averaging just under ten points a game and he has been pretty good at the free-throw line knocking down 21-of-27 for a .778 percentage.
Next week, we will be back with more from the ACC.
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