After dropping to Virginia Tech last week, Virginia bounced back this week picking up wins over Boston College and North Carolina State to move back into fourth place. North Carolina State dropped two games this week and find themselves in a cluttered middle pack. Maryland, Miami, and Clemson make up the middle of the standings along with North Carolina State, who holds a half game lead over them. With only three loses, there is still plenty of opportunity for those teams to move up in the standings. Clemson and North Carolina State have a big week ahead of them, they each play two winnable games that would go a long way in helping them secure an upper half finish. Duke will be ready to pounce on a opportunity to move back into first place if the Seminoles drop a Saturday afternoon game vs Virginia, who is back on pace. The Tar Heels look like they have rebounded well after losing Dexter Strickland, and they will be helped out again this week with two easier games before they face Duke in a week and a half.
Team Of The Week: Miami
After starting the conference season 0-2, the Canes have bounced back to get to 3-3. Last week they got double digit road wins at Georgia Tech and at Boston College. The game in Chestnut Hill was close until the Miami defense forced a couple of late turnovers to spark a run to put the game away. They struggled at first when Reggie Johnson came back, but appear to be in rhythm now. They continue their surge up the standings this week with a home game against Maryland followed by a shot at Duke in Cameron.
Player Of The Week: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
The loss of Dexter Strickland looked as if it would slow down the North Carolina attack. However, this week, they didn’t miss a beat especially with the help of Barnes. Scoring 15 points in a double digit win over in-state rival North Carolina State, and then following it up with 23 points against Georgia Tech on Sunday night. It has been well documented how good Barnes is, and he is showing this year in conference play. He is mismatch in most games, and the Tar Heels make sure to take advantage of it.
This Week’s Games:
Clemson at Virginia 7:00 – The Tigers find themselves in the middle of the pack with a chance to pick up a tough road win. Virginia is a veteran well coached team who shouldn’t be caught looking ahead to their Saturday date with Florida St.
North Carolina at Wake Forest 9:00 – The Demon Deacons play everyone tough and have a big front line that can give the Tar Heels trouble. I don’t think Wake holds much of a chance, but crazier things have happened.
Georgia Tech at Florida St 7:00 – The Seminoles shouldn’t have a hard time with the Yellow Jackets. The Florida State defense holds a lofty advantage, and just like Virginia, I wouldn’t except a well coached team to get caught looking ahead to the weekend.
North Carolina St at Boston College 8:00 – The Eagles have gone back to their old ways and the Wolfpack are in desperate need of a win. Both teams are well balanced, but the Wolfpack hold a strong advantage inside. Expect the pack to bounce back from a rough week.
Maryland at Miami 8:00 – A great game of two 3-3 teams looking to get a win before a tough weekend game. Maryland has never won in Coral Gables since Miami joined the ACC, hopefully new coach Mark Turgeon can shake this poor trend before a weekend game against North Carolina.
Duke at Virginia Tech 7:00 – I wouldn’t expect this to be too close. Despite Virginia Tech’s size down low, I don’t think they can stop the Plumlees for a full 40 minutes. Nor do I think Virginia Tech can get enough scoring to keep pace with the Blue Devils.
Virginia at Florida St 1:00 – The biggest game of the week, which will most likely have a score line resembling a football game. Both teams play great defense and aren’t known for their offensive ability. This game holds a lot of weight in the standings as both teams are battling for position in the the Top-4 of the standings.
Boston College at Georgia Tech 1:00 – A great chance for one of these young coaches to pick up a win. For a young Boston College team, it would be a nice road win to get.
Wake Forest at North Carolina St 1:00 – The Wolfpack can wrap up a good week with a home win over the Deacs. However, they shouldn’t overlook them, they have two big time scorers and a big frontline that can frustrate the bigs of North Carolina State.
Clemson at Virginia Tech 4:00 – The Hokies can’t throw away anymore games especially at home if they want to avoid a last place finish in the conference. As for the Tigers, they would stay pace at 500 if they lost earlier in the week, or they would be in position to make a move at 4th place if they got the upset over Virginia.
North Carolina at Maryland 4:00 – The Terps need a marquee win if they want to be dancing come March. If they lose to Miami on Wednesday, then this would be a critical game for them to stay in the middle of the standings. North Carolina has struggled on the road and the Comcast Center is one of the toughest places in the country. However, I wouldn’t bet on a Terps upset unless they can prevent the Tar Heels from running and avoid a scoring drought.
Miami at Duke 3:00 – A nice warm up before the Super Bowl later that night. Miami has a big frontline that could slow down the Plumlee’s while the Miami guards could match the Duke guards in a 3 point shoot out. Ryan Kelly could be the key for this game, not many teams in general have someone to match up with him.