ACC Weekend Preview: Feb. 23-24

Clemson vs. Maryland: Maryland will host the Tigers Saturday, with both teams coming off disappointing losses for very different reasons. Clemson hung with Miami before a last-second defeat, while Maryland followed an upset win over Duke with a loss to Boston College.

Mark Turgeon and the Terrapins host Clemson after a disappointing loss to Boston College
Mark Turgeon and the Terrapins host Clemson after a disappointing loss to Boston College

Alex Len followed a 19-point outing against Duke with a four point, 1-5 shooting night against the Eagles.  Going against Devin Booker, the Terrapins will need a good night from the inconsistent Ukrainian center.

The Tigers have lost four of their last five, however, and going on the road to face Maryland will be a tough ask for Clemson.  They are 1-5 on the road in ACC play, with the lone win coming against Georgia Tech last Thursday.

Miami (FL) vs. Wake Forest: Miami has had some close shaves with Clemson and Virginia in the past week.  They will now go to Wake Forest to face the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest has fared pretty well at home, too.  They have wins against Virginia and NC State, plus a close loss to Duke, to their credit in Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum.  It’s hard to explain how this team can be so good at home and so bad everywhere else, but suffice to say the Demon Deacons will be happy to host this one.

Of course, the Hurricanes are the better team, and playing on the road hasn’t hurt them yet.  In their last two games, Miami has made four of 25 three-point attempts.  Winning with poor three-point shooting is just another sign of how good this team is.  I wouldn’t expect the shooting drought to continue.  At some point, the perimeter offense will return, and it could be Saturday against Wake.

NC State vs. North Carolina: The Wolfpack and Tar Heels will meet Saturday, as NC State will try to sweep North Carolina following a 91-83 win in January.

In that game, NC State led 45-26 at halftime.  However, North Carolina outscored the Wolfpack 57-46 in the second half to make a game out of what appeared to be a blowout.  If NC State gets another big lead this time, it will be doubly important that they bury the Tar Heels with this contest taking place in Chapel Hill.

North Carolina has been much better in its last three games, after unveiling a smaller lineup which features PJ Hairston amongst its starters.  A convincing win against NC State could be a catalyst for a postseason run for the Tar Heels.

Boston College vs. Duke: Speaking of rematches, Boston College almost knocked off Duke at home just two weeks ago.  The upset will be tougher to pull off in their second meeting, as the Eagles will enter Cameron Indoor Stadium.

In the 62-61 loss in Conte Forum, Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson had 37 of Boston College’s 61 points.  The Eagles were also 2-for-11 beyond the arc. While those two players will need to have a big game for the Eagles to consider an upset, they’ll also need help from distance from Joe Rahon and/or Lonnie Jackson.

For Duke fans, all eyes will be on Mason Plumlee. He struggled against Maryland and started slow against Virginia Tech. Plumlee should have a mismatch, sizewise, against Boston College. In their first game, he scored 19 points and collected 10 rebounds.  Plumlee could use a dominant, bounce-back game to alleviate any concerns moving forward.

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia: The Cavaliers look to snap a two-game losing streak with a good showing at home against Georgia Tech.

However, they will have to avenge a 66-60 loss in Atlanta to do so.  In that game, Georgia Tech made 58% of its two-point shots.  The Cavaliers had a strong defensive effort against Miami, but didn’t come home with the win to show for it. If that defense is on display against Saturday, Virginia should have no trouble with the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech has won its last two games on the road, but those games were against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.  They have rebounded well from an 0-5 start to conference play, but a 70-58 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday sends a somewhat ominous message for this contest.

Florida State vs. Virginia Tech:  The Hokies have now lost nine straight games.  The chance for number ten comes Sunday, when Virginia Tech hosts Florida State.

The question as always for Virginia Tech will be whether anyone outside of Erick Green can contribute.  As entertaining as it is to watch Green do it all, it’s not a winning gameplan in the ACC.  It sounds like a scratched record at this stage, but it remains forever accurate.

The other knock on the Hokies is perimeter defense.  While Florida State is not a dangerous three-point shooting team, they have some capable shooters in Michael Snaer and Ian Miller.  If either of those guys can knock down some open three-pointers, it could pave the way for the Seminoles to record a road win.

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