Boston College 84, Georgia Tech 64 - The matinee at Greensboro Coliseum was a foreign film, titled “The Olivier Hanlan Show.” The freshman from Quebec scored 41 points, the most ever for a freshman in an ACC game, and any ACC player this season.
Not only did Hanlan rack up points, he did so with incredible accuracy. Hanlan made 14 of 18 shot attempts, including 8-of-10 from three-point range. It was one of the great performances in ACC Tournament history, bringing excitement to an otherwise ordinary game, as the Eagles easily defeated Georgia Tech.
What’s Next?: Boston College’s reward for knocking off the Yellow Jackets? A date with the ACC regular season champion Miami Hurricanes.
Miami won both of its games against Boston College during its 13-0 start to ACC play, although the first meeting, in Chestnut Hill, was decided by only one point. It may be a tall task for the Eagles to pull off the upset, but the Hurricanes look an awful lot more human than they did a month ago.
Hanlan scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, in those two meetings, but did not make a single three-pointer in either. If the Hurricanes can have similar success defending Hanlan, they can prevent him from providing an encore to his opening-round outburst.
NC State 80, Virginia Tech 63 - While Richard Howell couldn’t match Olivier Hanlan’s scoring, he was just as dominant in the Wolfpack’s win over the Hokies. The senior forward scored 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting and collected 12 rebounds.
Jarell Eddie led the Hokies with 21 points, marking only the third time this season (and first time against an ACC opponent) a player other than Erick Green scored the most points for Virginia Tech. The ACC Player of the Year struggled mightily, scoring 15 points on 19 shots.
What’s Next?: The Wolfpack will face Virginia, with the Cavaliers clawing for an NCAA Tournament berth. In their earlier meeting, Virginia defeated the Wolfpack 58-55 in Charlottesville.
Following a 36 point night in a win against Duke, Joe Harris’s shooting touch suffered in Virginia’s last three games. The junior guard was a 29.5% shooter during that stretch. Harris scored 22 of Virginia’s 58 points in that win over the Wolfpack in January, so the Cavaliers would love to see their All-ACC First Teamer return to form.
NC State made only five of 16 three-point attempts in the win over Virginia Tech. The Hokies allowed more three-pointers than any other team in the conference this season, so a failure to capitalize on that defense doesn’t bode well for a meeting with the defensive-savvy Cavaliers. Richard Howell should be able to have another big game, but if he gets into foul trouble, NC State will have to find other ways to put points on the board.
Maryland 75, Wake Forest 62 - Wake Forest led at halftime, but the second half was all Maryland, as the Terrapins outscored the Demon Deacons 45-27 en route to a 75-62 win.
Dez Wells was the star for Maryland, scoring 21 points on just 10 shots in another efficient individual performance on opening round Thursday.
What’s Next?: Maryland will face Duke in a rematch of the Terrapins upset of the Blue Devils in College Park (and, less memorably, Duke’s 20-point shellacking of Maryland in Cameron in January).
Unfortunately for Maryland, Ryan Kelly has returned for the Blue Devils, who have responded in kind. Duke has won all three of its games since Kelly’s return, including a road win against North Carolina and a home meeting with Miami.
Maryland did find success in that upset over the Blue Devils in slowing down Mason Plumlee. In that game, Plumlee scored only four points and grabbed three rebounds. While the Terrapins will not be able to focus their defense entirely on Plumlee, perhaps they can utilize some of what they learned in that game.
Yesterday: Florida State 73, Clemson 69 - The Seminoles completed the reign of the high seeds to close the evening, taking a 73-69 win over the Tigers.
It was not without drama, however. Florida State led by as many as 14 points in the final three minutes, but through a sequence of turnovers, fouls, and missed free throws allowed Clemson to come as close as 71-69.
Today: Florida State will close Friday evening’s action with a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC swept the Seminoles during their two regular season meetings.
North Carolina’s small lineup was looking like a chic pick to make a run in March until Duke dominated the Tar Heels in the Smith Center to close the regular season. Now, it will be up to North Carolina to rebound from one bad game instead of letting it derail the progress and improvement they showed over the final month of the season.
This could be just the kind of game that small lineup would love if it is firing on all cylinders. North Carolina made seventeen three-pointers against the Seminoles in their two matchups this year. For Florida State to have a chance of advancing to Saturday, they will need to contain North Carolina’s shooters and prevent a similar perimeter explosion.