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As the month of January comes to a close, so does the first half of the ACC season. At the moment, there is a tie at the top between two Florida schools. Miami and Florida State have 6-2 records in the league with the Seminoles on a six-game winning streak. These two teams are being chased by Duke and Notre Dame who also have two losses but one less win. As the second half gets started, there are only four games that separate the top teams in the league from the team in last place. It should make for an interesting final half of the season before the conference tournament gets underway. Here is what else is happening in the league.

The league has been highly competitive in the first half with twenty-eight of the 59 league games have been decided by five points or less. 15 of those contests have been decided by one possession and thirty-four of the 59 games have been within five points with five minutes to go in the game. As expected, the home teams have had a slightly better record than the road teams. Home teams have a 33-26 record, with two schools North Carolina and Notre Dame both 2-0. They are the only schools to be unbeaten at this point.

Graduate forward Alondes Williams of Wake Forest is having a terrific season for the Demon Deacons, He leads the league in both points at 20. 4 per game, and in assists at 5.1 a contest. The NCAA began tracking assists in 1973 and no player has led the conference in both categories. He is also the only player in the nation to average 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game.

Reece Beekman of Virginia ranks first in the conference in assists/turnover ratio at 3.52. He also leads in steals with 2.3 a game. He is second in assists at 4.6 and ninth in minutes played with 34.5 a contest. His assists/turnover ratio has him ranked third in the country. Virginia starts the second half in the middle of the pack in the conference at 5-4.

There were a couple of things that happened in last Saturday’s Boston College vs Virginia Tech game won by the Eagles. First, BC senior center/forward James Karnik scored his 1,000th point in that game. He totaled 26 on the afternoon for the Eagles, It marked the most points scored by a BC player this season. For the Hokies, senior forward Keve Aluma had 21 points in a losing effort, the 13th straight game Aluma has scored in double-figures. It’s the longest double-digit streak by a VT player since Nickeil Alexander did it to begin the 2018-19 season.

There is really good news on the virus front. All seven games that needed to be rescheduled now have new dates. No games have been added to the list which is the best news of all.

The latest NCAA Graduation Success rate report has been released. Eight schools Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia, and Wake Forest all posted GSR scores of 100. Nine of the ACC basketball programs earned higher than the Division one basketball GSR average.

The ACC Player of the Week is junior forward Jake Laravia of Wake Forest. He averaged 22 points, seven and a half rebounds, and six and a half assists in wins over Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Against the Tar Heels, Laravia put up a double-double of 31 points and 10 boards. He becomes just the fourth player in the past ten years to post a 30 and 10 game vs North Carolina.

There were Co-Rookie of the Week players in the league. Both are familiar names, ND guard Blake Wesley and Duke Paolo Banchero. Wesley, in wins over Howard and Louisville, averaged 17.5 points in those two games and shot 54% from the field. He dropped 22 on the Cardinals and helped jumpstart a 20-3 run by the Irish by scoring nine consecutive points on back-to-back three-point buckets. Then, he went old-school for another three-point play. Wesley has set the true freshman record at Notre Dame with 15 straight games of double-digit scoring performances.

Banchero averaged a double-double in games vs Florida State and Syracuse. He had a combined 17.5 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 54% from the field. He had 20 and 11 against FSU by going 6-11 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Banchero had career highs in rebounds with 12 and assists with seven. Versus Syracuse, he went for 15 points and a career-high 13 boards. He also added four assists.

That’s it for this week. We will be back next week with more from the ACC.

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