This week, the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference season begins. When the week began, nine teams owned winning records inside the conference. Once again, playing at home in this league does create a big advantage as home teams in the ACC have a combined record of 51-29 (63.8%). Games have been close as well. For example, of the 14 contests played last week, seven were decided by four points or less. Just over one-third of games played in the league (27 of 80) have been decided by five points or less. That is how competitive the league has been in the first half. Here is more news from the league.
As the week got rolling, three teams were ranked in the AP Top-25 poll. Virginia at #6, Clemson at #20, and Miami at #23. However, that may change for next week as the Tigers were defeated by the Boston College Eagles on Tuesday night 62-54. Eight teams started the week inside the top 70 of the NCAA Monday Net report. A sure sign of the top to bottom depth this league has.
Turning the ball over can be a surefire way to lose ball games on a consistent basis. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-13, 1-10) have had that problem all year. The team went through a four-game stretch in which they were turning the basketball over an average of 17 times a game. Since then, they have gotten a little better at taking care of the ball. In their last five games, the Yellow Jackets have only turned the ball over fewer than 12 times a game. The bad news is it has not translated into wins as the team began the week on a 7-game losing streak. They hope to break that skid Wednesday night when they head to Louisville to face the Cardinals.
North Carolina’s (15-6, 7-3) defense has been stepping it up as of late. In the Tar Heels’ victory over Syracuse last week, they held the Orange to 68 points, which was the sixth straight game that the defense had held their opponents to under 70 points. UNC’s defense, which ranks 12th in the league, is #1 in defensive rebounding per game at 28.76 (604 in 21 games). Of course, it helps to have Armando Bacot who just happens to be the fourth-best rebounder in the nation on your team. He averages 12 boards a game.
Quinton Post makes the Boston College Eagles (11-12, 5-7) a much better team. Heading into their home game vs Clemson (18-5, 10-2), Post was averaging 25 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and two blocks a game. He was one of four players in the nation that was a 50/40/90 guy. That translates into 50% shooting from the field, 40% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free throw line (min. 90 attempts). On Tuesday night against the Tigers, Post’s numbers do not jump out but he did fill up the stat sheets with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists, a block, and a steal. The Eagles are a very dangerous team with Post back in the starting lineup.
Clemson finished the month of January with a 7-2 record. The seven wins are the most in the month of January since the 1989-90 season. In that season, the Tigers went 8-3 for the month. The program record for wins in the month of January is ten, which took place back in 1987 when Clemson went 10-2 for the month. The Tigers had a 3-game winning streak snapped in the loss to BC Tuesday night. The Tigers are number one in the league in both free throw percentage (79%) and field goal percentage defense (39%).
A milestone was reached last Saturday by Florida State’s junior guard Caleb Mills as he knocked down his 100th career 3-pointer. He now has 103 career 3-point makes in 294 attempts (35%). On Saturday, Mills was 4-of-7 from deep. He is also seventh in both free throw percentage (83% 73-of 88) and in steals (33 in 22G), 1.50 a game.
The ACC Player of the Week is Virginia Tech’s, Grant Basile. Last week averaged 24.5 points, eight rebounds, and 3.5 assists in wins over Duke and Syracuse. He was a combined 21-for-38 (55.3%) from the field in those two wins. Basile is 17th in scoring at 15 points per game and ninth in field goal percentage at 50%,
The ACC Rookie of the Week is Kyle Filpowski of Duke. He won this award for the third straight week and for the seventh time overall. He averaged 23.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and two assists in road games at Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. He also leads all freshmen in the country with 15 double-doubles.
That’s this week’s look at the ACC. Next week we will be back with more from the league.
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