ACC Weekend Preview: Feb. 16-17

Boston College vs. Florida State: Boston College picked up a win Wednesday against Wake Forest, but they will have to travel to Tallahassee to face Florida State.

These two teams are the worst rebounding squads in the conference.  In the case of Boston College, it’s because 6’8” Ryan Anderson is often the tallest player on the floor. In the case of Florida State, well, they simply can’t rebound.  Unless these two teams have perfect shooting nights or a black hole develops at the Donald L. Tucker Center, though, somebody will have to collect the missed shots in this game. Whichever team can get that edge would take a pretty large step towards picking up the win.

Florida State is 2-3 at home, but the three losses have been to North Carolina, Duke, and Miami.  Boston College holds a 1-4 road record, with the lone win coming against Virginia Tech.  The home-court advantage might be enough to give the Seminoles the win … assuming they rebound, of course.

Virginia vs. North Carolina: The Tar Heels and Cavaliers enter this contest from opposite directions following rivalry games, as Virginia defeated Virginia Tech and North Carolina lost to Duke this week.

In the first game between these two, Virginia made 57% of its three-point shots, while North Carolina made only 29%.  The Cavaliers have made at least 47% of their threes in their last two wins, so a road win for the Hoos would likely come from hot shooting beyond the arc.

If Virginia loses, they’ll be heading to Miami with a desperate need for a resume-boosting win.  If North Carolina loses, they’ll take a three-game losing streak on the road to Georgia Tech.  This is going to be a gritty game between two teams that will have an extra sense of urgency.

Virginia Tech vs. NC State: The Erick Green Show heads to Raleigh to face a rested NC State squad, which last played (and won) against Clemson Sunday.

The Hokies perimeter defense allows ACC opponents to make 38.4% of three-pointers.  They have allowed 91 three-point shots, 16 more than the nearest team (Wake Forest).  With NC State boasting shooters like Scott Wood and Lorenzo Brown, this could be another bad game for the Hokies defense.

With that said, NC State has lost to Wake Forest and Maryland, and had two close games with Clemson and another with Boston College.  If the Wolfpack allowed the Hokies to hang around, it would only be fitting of the rest of their season.  Between home court and three-point shooting, this shouldn’t be an issue … but it can’t be ruled out with this team, either.

Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest: Georgia Tech’s first conference win of the season came against Wake Forest at McCamish Pavilion.  They’ve won two of five games since then and now will face Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum

In the first game, Georgia Tech made 57% of their field goals, including 10 of 20 beyond the arc.  In that sense, there was a bit of a “perfect storm” feel to the game, which the Yellow Jackets won by 20.  Don’t expect a Georgia Tech blowout in Winston-Salem

The Deacons have lost five of their last six games.  However, four of those losses have come on the road.  At home, Wake Forest has beaten Virginia, Boston College, NC State, and Florida State, with only a five-point loss to Duke preventing a perfect ACC home mark.  With two young teams on the floor, the home court edge could be pronounced.

Duke vs. Maryland: The Terrapins will welcome Duke into College Park Saturday.  “Welcome” used figuratively, of course.

Duke has now won six straight games, after taking Boston College’s and North Carolina’s best shots in the past week.  They can expect a similar showing from Maryland in a hostile environment.  Hopefully, there won’t be any “UNC win hangover.”  Duke seems too good to fall for something that silly, especially this year, but stranger things have happened.

For Maryland, expect aggression and emotion to be their undoing.  Maryland turns over the ball more than any other team in the conference.  When players are excited, they make more mistakes.  There was plenty of energy in the building for Maryland’s last game, as Terrapin fans offered pleasantries for Virginia freshman (and Terrapin de-commit) Justin Anderson, but Maryland committed 13 turnovers and shot 29% beyond the arc.  A little composure goes a long way, and Duke will likely be the more composed team.

Miami vs. Clemson:  Miami’s undefeated ACC run continues, following a win against Florida State in Tallahassee.  Next on the slate is a game against Clemson in Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers snapped a three-game losing skid with a win against Georgia Tech Thursday.  To pull off the upset, they will need contributions from K.J. McDaniels and Milton Jennings.  Devin Booker will have his hands full battling with Miami big men Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, and Julian Gamble.  If Good Milton (21 points against Virginia, 28 points against Virginia Tech) shows up, that will take some pressure off of Booker to outperform the Hurricanes’ forwards.  If McDaniels can block some shots, maybe it will force Miami’s big men to hesitate just a little more than they normally would.  Booker can’t do it alone. It will require a team effort.

The problem, of course, is that there’s no guarantee Good Milton will be in Clemson Sunday.  In seven of the Tigers’ 12 ACC games, McDaniels has failed to score 10 points.  In four of those games, he scored five or fewer points.  Bad Milton, along with the experienced Durand Scott and Cousy Award finalist Shane Larkin working over Clemson’s young guards, would make for an easy Miami win.

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