The page has been flipped, 2021 has arrived. The hope is that a smoother run through the rest of the season is ahead. To this point, it has been a challenge to be sure. But we are hopefully looking at better days ahead. The ACC, like everyone else, has had their struggles. However, the league and its members are doing all they can to play their games. As of this past Sunday, the league is reporting that 81.8% (99 of 121) of scheduled games have been played. With that said, let’s take a look at what else is going on.
The conference is still working with a schedule that has flexibility in it. Once again, another shift will have to take place within the league weekly setup. This Wednesday night, The Florida State vs Syracuse game has been postponed. However, the Pittsburgh Panthers will take the place of the Seminoles and play Syracuse instead on Wednesday night. This change was made necessary because of positive tests inside the Florida State program. The team has been quarantining and contact tracing has begun. No word on if their game on Saturday at Pitt can or will be played.
The Atlantic Coast Conference Player Of The week is Georgia Tech’s senior guard Jose Alvarado. He averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists as the Yellow Jackets picked up a pair of wins last week where Alvarado was 17-of-24 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. He scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half against North Carolina to help his team put together a second half rally that gave them a 72-67 win. In the team’s win over Wake Forest, Alvarado went for 25 points knocking down 9-of-14 from the floor. The Yellow Jackets, are the hottest team in the conference at the moment having won four in a row. It’s their longest win streak since head coach John Pastner took over. Georgia Tech will go for five in a row on the road Wednesday night at Notre Dame. If they get it, it would be the first five-game winning streak since the 2012-13 season.
The Rookie of The Week is North Carolina forward/center Day’Ron Sharpe. In two games last week, in which his team went 1-1, Sharpe went for 16 points and eight rebounds in those contests. He shot 12-of-25 from the field, and 8-of-13 from the free-throw line. Against Georgia Tech, he had seven points and seven boards in his first start for the Tar Heels. Against the Fighting Irish, Sharpe recorded his second double-double of 25 points and 10 boards. Seven of the rebounds were of the offensive variety. The 25 points were the most by a Tar Heel freshman since Tyler Hansbrough had 27 against Duke on March 4, 2006.
The ACC leader in three-point field goal percentage is ND junior forward Nate Laszeweski. He entered the week shooting at .590% (23-of 39). The 23 made three-pointers rank him third in that stat. He is also second in field-goal percentage at .658 (52-of 79). He ranks third among all major conferences in both categories. Overall, Nate is sixth in the league in scoring at 17.2 a game. He is pretty good at clearing the glass as he is fourth in rebounding in the conference at eight a game.
Pittsburgh has been a beast on the boards so far this season. The team is second in the league in rebounding at 41.9 a game. That total is also 29th best in the country. In their seven games to date, the Panthers have outrebounded five of the seven teams they have played. Pittsburgh has not averaged more than 40 rebounds a game since the 1993-94 season. Justin Champagnie leads the league with 12.3 boards a game.
Creating turnovers has become an art form for the North Carolina State Wolfpack this season. They lead the ACC and nation in turnover margin at +8.6 a game. They also top the league in forcing their opponents into making mistakes. On average, teams that play NC State are making 20.9 turnovers a night.
Next week we will be back with more from the ACC.
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