The ACC evened out heavily this week as no team remains undefeated and everyone has at least one win. Miami and Virginia Tech each picked up their first wins of the ACC season this week, and Florida St continues their rise to the top beating Maryland on Tuesday night and beating Duke at Cameron to move into a tie for first place. We knew it would be an interesting season, but we are only a quarter of the way through and there is very little separation between everyone. The rest of the season will be even more interesting as even the teams predicted to finish at the bottom have been giving the top teams a run for their money.
Team Of The Week: Florida St
I hate to give it to them twice in a row, but they continue to impress. They continued the great offensive play on Tuesday night by getting out in transition against Maryland and putting the game away with a large second half run. The Noles followed it up by hanging in tough at Cameron Indoor before hitting a buzzer beater to beat the undefeated Blue Devils. In the past week, Florida St blew out North Carolina and Maryland, and then went on the road to beat Duke. They took care of business on the road and hold a big tie breaker over the Tar Heels, and then stole a road win. They play Duke again but this time in Tallahassee, which is a tougher place to play then people realize.
Take Aways From The Week
1) Florida St is in the driver seat right now to win the conference. They still have to play Virginia twice, but the next 3 are extremely winnable and gain them a lot of separation in the race for the top.
2) Mike Scott can be contained. Outside of Scott, Virginia struggles on offense and it showed Sunday night when Virginia Tech was able to limit his impact on offense. They are still great on defense, but without Mike Scott’s scoring, the Cavs don’t have many other scoring options.
3) Dexter Strickland’s injury opens up the door for North Carolina St and possibly Maryland Virginia Tech to make a run at a first round bye. Strickland is a large part of the Tar Heels attack as a change of pace guard to compliment Kendall Marshall. He pressures defenses with his scoring, especially in transition. Marshall is a much better passer, but his scoring isn’t anywhere near thats of Strickland. North Carolina St faces them next and could pick up a key win at Chapel Hill.
This Week’s Games:
Miami at Georgia Tech – The Canes grabbed their first win last week over Clemson but then lost a close one against NC St. Georgia Tech failed to score 40 against Virginia but then almost knocked off Clemson. Tough one to call because who knows which teams show up.
Florida St at Wake Forest – Wake shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Florida St even in Winston-Salem. Their lack of depth and lack of scoring threats will hurt them big against the best defensive team in the conference.
Duke at Maryland – James Padgett 20 points 10 rebounds, you heard it here first!! Seriously though, would love to see the Terps get the win on Gary Williams Court, but it’ll be tough to find enough scoring to keep up and limiting Duke in transition will be tough.
North Carolina St at North Carolina – A really balanced Wolfpack team travels to Chapel Hill to play an in-state rival who needs to re-work part of their offense. This is a huge opportunity for North Carolina St to pick up a key road win. This is one of the most interesting games of the week for the standings. Both teams only have one loss and North Carolina St has had great balance all season long, which makes them tough to defend.
Boston College at Virginia – Boston College has some size to contend with Mike Scott down low. If they get hot from three they could make it really interesting and even steal this one. However, I don’t think Virginia’s defense will give up too many easy three pointers for the Eagles.
Wake Forest at Clemson – The Tigers have been struggling since they beat Florida St in their home opener. Wake Forest can sneak up on teams. I think the Deacs can pull this one off at LittleJohn and put Clemson on the ropes.
Virginia Tech at Maryland – I said earlier that these two teams could benefit from the Strickland injury. If Maryland gets this win to stay at 500 they could enter their home game against UNC at 4-3 with a little momentum. If the Hokies win they would be on a two game winning streak in conference and have tough road win to build confidence.
Virginia at North Carolina St – This is the second most important game of the week. This week will tell a lot about North Carolina St and where they stand in the conference. Getting a home win over Virginia would go a long way towards helping the Wolfpack stay in contention for a first round bye and even a shot at first place.
Miami at Boston College – Miami can move up greatly in the standings this week as they have two winnable games ahead of them. Their front court has been playing great since conference play started and Boston College is a young team, while Miami has plenty of veteran players. However, Boston College has been playing well at home and the Conte Forum has presented a challenge to many teams so far.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina – Just the game the Heels need to figure out their new offense. The Yellow Jackets are turnover prone, and North Carolina feeds off of a turnovers.
Miami and Virginia Tech look to climb out of the basement this week, and Miami has a great chance of getting back on schedule this season. North Carolina St stands to gain the most this week if they can steal a road one and beat Virginia at home. They would be the biggest winners of the week if they win those two games before moving on to an easier 3 game stretch (@BC, Wake, @GT). If Virginia loses to North Carolina St they would find themselves in a tough situation and on the outside looking in for a first round bye.