ACC Basketball: Monday Preview

After an exciting weekend of ACC hoops four teams have a quick Monday night turnaround. We preview the action here.

The Match-Up

#6 Duke (15-2, 3-2, RPI: 7) Vs. Pittsburgh (13-5, 3-2, RPI: 79), 7 p.m ET Monday, ESPN

Their Last Game


The Blue Devils played a great game in a 63-52 road win over Louisville Saturday. Coach K’s group had lost two straight games to NC State and Miami, so the win brings an end to the mini-slump and should keep Duke in the top ten of the national rankings.


The Panthers won a tight one in Atlanta 70-65 lead by 20 points from point guard Cameron Wright.

Players To Watch

F Amile Jefferson, Duke

Jefferson had one of the best weeks of any player in the conference and probably of his basketball life. He finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the home loss to Miami and backed that up with a game and career-high 19 points as well as seven rebounds against Louisville. Jefferson has posted 8.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to play above his averages to help take pressure off some of Duke’s somewhat inconsistent young talent.

F Michael Young, Pittsburgh

Young has emerged this season as Pitt’s leading scorer and rebounder. He’ll have to have a huge game for Pittsburgh to pull the upset here. In Panther wins Young shoots 51.7% from the field while he makes 35.9% in Pitt losses. Young will have to lock down on defense as well if the Panthers have any hope of slowing down the post games of Jefferson and Jahlil Okafor.

The Game And Prediction

Duke definitely righted the ship Saturday against Louisville thanks in large part to the rare implementation of a 2-3 zone defensive scheme by Mike Krzyzewski. Like the Cardinals, Pitt isn’t a team that shoots well from outside (175th in the nation in team 3-point percentage) so the Blue Devils may well mix in some more zone in this one. Pittsburgh has to play strong defensively as well because they simply don’t score much. To this point the Panthers put up just 67.4 PPG (184th in the nation). Pitt needs a score in the low seventies while holding Duke to the same in order to win and that may prove too much of a challenge.

Duke 81 Pittsburgh 70

The Match-Up

Clemson (10-7, 2-3, RPI: 95) Vs. Florida State (9-9, 1-4, RPI: 148), 9 p.m ET Monday, ESPNU

Their Last Game


The Tigers put a grade A thumping on the visiting Syracuse Orange Saturday winning 66-53 in a game not nearly as close as the final score indicates.

Florida State

The Seminoles enter on a three game losing streak after falling to NC State 72-63 after a second half rally fell short in Tallahassee.

Players To Watch

F Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson

The sophomore has been a revelation in the Tiger frontcourt this season leading Clemson in scoring (13.8 PPG) and rebounding (8.5 RPG). He’s become a reliable threat in the post on both ends and has paired well with freshman Donte Grantham to provide some points in the paint.

G Montay Brandon, Florida State

Brandon has to continue to step up in the scoring department for FSU to get back in the win column. He had 20 points against NC State and 12 against Pitt. Oddly, despite being a guard on one of the tallest teams in the nation, Brandon also leads the ‘Noles in rebounding.

The Game And Prediction

Clemson looked terrific and easily played its best game of the season Saturday. A slumping team from FSU is a welcome sight if the Tigers hope to continue to make a move up the ACC standings. Clemson has a string of winnable games coming up and a solid chance to at least secure a berth in the NIT.

Florida State’s season is teetering on the brink of collapse. There is certainly talent on the roster, but it’s yet to come together on a consistent basis. Despite the fact that the ‘Noles have three seven-footers they’re a poor rebounding team, currently 162nd in the nation. Clemson’s rebounding is a strength (76th) but FSU shoots the ball a bit better. Those factors should cancel each other out and make for a competitive game.

Clemson 74 Florida State 67

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