The final five weeks of the ACC schedule is upon us. Teams are beginning that final push toward the postseason tournament that will take place in Greensboro, North Carolina in early March. For the first time in several weeks, the league had only a couple of games to reschedule because of the virus. On Feb. 1, Georgia Tech took to the road to play Louisville. On Saturday, Feb.6, Florida State will head north to take on Pittsburgh. For the Seminoles, that will finish a week on the road before their game with Pitt. The game at Boston College on Tuesday night has now been canceled. BC has been kept off the court due to this virus for the past two weeks.
Justin Champagnie is having an MVP type season for the Pittsburgh Panthers. On Saturday, in a loss to Notre Dame, Justin recorded his seventh double-double of the season. That ranks him first in the conference. The 19 point, 11 rebounds effort was not enough to help his team get a victory over the Fighting Irish. He is one of only three players nationally that is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. His average of 12 boards per night has him ranked fifth in the country. He leads the league in total rebounds a night as well as at offensive boards at 3.45 and defensive boards at 8.64. Justin is also sixth in the conference in blocked shots with 1.55 a game.
One of the main reasons why ND was able to get a win over Pittsburgh on Saturday was their shooting. They shot a blistering 56.1% (32-of-57) for the game and a season-high 54.2% from three-point range (13-of-24). As a team, the Fighting Irish are second in the league in three-point FG percentage at .384% in 15 games played (137-357). Prentiss Hubb leads the league in three-Point FG percentage at .358% (38-106). He is second in three-pointers made with 38 in 15 games played. That is an average of 2.53 per contest. Hubb is second in minutes played with 37 a night. Nate Laszewski is the team’s best field goal shooter. He is second in the conference in field goal percentage at .637% (79-of-124).
The North Carolina State Wolfpack will have to play the rest of their season without one of their main guys. Devon Daniels led his team with 20 points in a win over Wake Forest last Wednesday night. However, he could not finish the game as he tore his ACL during that contest. He was the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 points per game. That number has him eighth in the conference in scoring. The team is fourth in scoring, averaging 76 points a night. But, they will need more from other players to make up for what Daniels was giving his team on a nightly basis.
There is good news and bad news for #8 Virginia. The bad is their 15-game ACC win streak was snapped on Saturday. The 65-51 loss to #20 Virginia Tech stopped a streak that had begun with the final eight games of last season. The streak matches a school record from the 2017-18 season. The good news is how the team is playing of late. Heading into that game on Saturday, Virginia was ranked eighth in the nation in scoring defense at 59.9 a game. They are also in the top-10 in the fewest turnovers at second in the country at 8.6. Their free-throw percentage is third at 80.4, and assist/turnover ratio at seventh 1.7 a game. All good numbers as we head toward post-season play.
The #20 ranked Hokies got a strong week from Junior forward Keve Aluma who posted back-to-back double-doubles last week. In wins over The Irish and Cavaliers, Aluma put up big numbers. In the win over the Fighting Irish, he went for 14 points and 12 rebounds. In the win over Virginia, he had a monster game of 29 points and 12 boards. Aluma is eighth in the league in rebounds at 7.56 a game and ninth in field goal percentage at .491% a game. He is also ninth in offensive rebounds at 2.44 a game.
It was a tough week for the Miami Hurricanes. But one player who is rising above it is Isaiah Wong. Wong finished the week fifth in the scoring race at 17.4, seventh in minutes played at 35.7 a contest, eighth in free-throw percentage at 77.0, and 12th in field-goal percentage at 43.6.
We will be back next week with more from the Atlantic Coast Conference.