Around the ACC: No Place Like Home

A couple of weekends ago, loyal Inside The ACC follower @slarjy asked us on Twitter, “Is it me or have home teams had better-than-usual success so far this year?” As it turned out, home teams were only 8-7 at the time (small sample sizes are fun), which is less successful than the typical 60-70% rate at which home teams win in ACC play.  However, the tides turned this week, as home teams won seven of the eight games played, including a sweep of home teams over the weekend.

Two of the weekend contests went to the final minute.  Virginia Tech defeated Wake Forest 66-65 on a Robert Brown runner with 12.3 seconds remaining.  Before that shot, Brown had been 1-for-10 in the game, but he made the shot that mattered.  Wake Forest was unable to convert on a C.J. Harris jumper or a Tyler Cavanaugh put back, and the Hokies picked up the victory.

On Sunday, NC State held on for a 66-64 win over Clemson.  Clemson had chances to take the lead over the final minute of the game, but made several costly errors that seemed to escalate under the pressure of the PNC Arena crowd.  Twice, the Tigers fouled Scott Wood, a 91% free throw shooter.  Then, with seven seconds left and the Tigers down three, Rod Hall turned over the ball immediately after receiving the inbounds pass.

Now, home-court winning percentage in the ACC has returned to a more typical 65 percent through 26 games.  With balance officially restored, how can we expect it to impact some of this week’s big conference tilts?

Miami, the only undefeated team remaining in conference play, hosts Duke and Florida State this week.  Will Duke struggle in the trip to Coral Gables, or re-establish themselves as the clear favorite in the league as polls would suggest?

Three of Florida State’s first four games in ACC play have been road contests.  Can the Seminoles snap their slide with a home game Thursday against Clemson?

Virginia has beaten North Carolina and Florida State at home, but lost to Wake Forest and Clemson on the road.  How will they fare traveling to Blacksburg Thursday?

The Tar Heels have rebounded from a sluggish start with a couple of wins.  Can they continue their streak hosting Georgia Tech? And, if so, will they be able to handle the hostility of a trip to Raleigh to face NC State on the same court where the Wolfpack defeated Duke?

Something to keep an eye on as the ACC season progresses: Miami is currently 5-1 on the season in road games.  So far, they have defeated Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Boston College in away games during conference play.  They also defeated Central Florida and Massachusetts in road games during non-conference play (as well as Hawaii on their court during the Diamond Head Classic), a time of the year when some teams avoid true road games at all costs.

Power Rankings

1) Duke (3-1) – Duke rebounded from its loss to NC State with a home win against Georgia Tech. Seth Curry looked fine, to say the least, and Amile Jefferson is taking full advantage of his newfound minutes.

2) Miami (4-0) – I promise I felt a tinge of guilt by placing the Hurricanes here when they haven’t lost yet.  I don’t think they are better than Duke, but they’ll have a chance to prove me wrong Wednesday, and that’s all that matters.

3) NC State (4-1) – NC State, always doing things the hard way. The Wolfpack took a 66-64 win against Clemson last night in a game they should have won by a lot more.

4) Virginia (2-2) – Lost in Florida State’s sheer awfulness (and the injury to Terrance Shannon, which fortunately is not as severe as it seemed at the time) was Virginia playing a pretty good game Saturday.

5) North Carolina (2-2) – The Tar Heels looked strong for one half against Maryland, generating turnovers for some easy baskets.  When Maryland started protecting the ball in the second half and Reggie Bullock’s hot streak dried up, things got more interesting.

6) Maryland (2-3) – This is where the power rankings get really hard. I’ll give Maryland the nod this week, thanks to the win over NC State.  If Seth Allen, Logan Aronhalt, somebody, anybody could be more consistent beyond the arc, it would make Dez Wells’ drives infinitely more dangerous.

7) Florida State (2-2) – 1-for-15 on three-pointers? 18 turnovers? The Seminoles’ wins against Clemson and Maryland seem like forever ago. Of course, Florida State had a week between losses to North Carolina and Virginia, so they were in a way.

8) Clemson (2-3) – Duke probably didn’t get enough credit for holding Devin Booker to 12 points a couple of weeks ago. He was single-handedly attempting to obliterate NC State.  If the Wolfpack had not switched to a zone defense for a stretch in the second period, Booker probably would have succeeded.

9) Virginia Tech (2-2) – Pop quiz: What do Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech have in common? They’re the only teams in the conference currently on a winning streak of at least two games! Can they extend that streak with a win against Virginia Thursday?

10) Wake Forest (2-3) – Rough week for the Deacons. Clemson destroyed Wake Forest during the week. They rebounded with a pretty good game at Virginia Tech on Saturday, but lost in the final minute.

11) Boston College (1-3) – Boston College really hasn’t lost any conference game badly.  They gave NC State and Miami fits at home, now can they travel to Maryland and Virginia this week?

12) Georgia Tech (0-4) – The hunt for Georgia Tech’s first conference win continues.  And if they can’t pick it up Saturday hosting Wake Forest, that hunt could be a lengthy one.


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