ACC Basketball Doesn’t Care That It’s 20 Degrees, You’re Still Getting Five Games Tonight!

No rest for Coach K and the Blue Devils. After notching his 1,000th win, his team’s matchup against #8 Notre Dame highlights a five game ACC slate. Find out more about this game, and the other four match-ups across the conference for your viewing pleasure on Wednesday night.

The Match-Up

Wake Forest (9-11, 1-6, RPI: 147) Vs. Florida State (10-10, 2-5, RPI: 138), 7:00 PM ET,

Their Last Game

Wake Forest

Wake led for all but 24 seconds of this contest, with Devin Thomas leading the effort with 17 points and 12 rebounds. However, the Demon Deacons let Clemson hang around, and the Tigers’ Josh Smith got a rebound and a put back with less than a second left to sink Wake Forest, 59-57.

Florida State

Freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes dropped a career-high 35 points to earn ACC Rookie of the Week honors, and almost singlehandedly beat North Carolina by himself on Saturday, but the Tar Heels proved to be too much for the Seminoles, as they won the game 78-74.

The Game And Prediction

Can anyone stop Florida State freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes right now? He has scored in double digits in 8 of his last 9 games, and just registered a career-high of 35 points against North Carolina on Saturday that nearly won his team the game. With the loss of the team’s leading scorer Aaron Thomas to academic suspension, Rathan-Mayes has been pushed into more of a role than the team could have ever imagined entering the season. Now he’s the go to player in the offense, and has helped the ‘Noles stay competitive, even in their losses. Wake Forest meanwhile, is struggling mightily on the defensive end. They are 266th nationally in points allowed, making you wonder if they can even stop a D-3 offense at the moment. They usually play competitively when they are able to match their opponents’ pace of play, but get blown out when they can’t control the game on one end of the court or the other. Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre generally do enough to make their contests interesting, but if either of them go cold, the Demon Deacons are in trouble. Florida State is a tough team to play at home, as the atmosphere seems to lull opponents to sleep at times for whatever reason. Rathan-Mayes will be too much in this game for the road team that plays no defense, so I like the ‘Noles to cover their -4 point home spread.

Florida State 67   Wake Forest 58


The Match-Up

#4 Duke (17-2, 4-2, RPI: 7) Vs. #8 Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1, RPI: 35), 7:30 PM ET, ESPN2

Their Last Game


The Blue Devils avoided an upset bid by a good St. John’s squad on Sunday, but they used a strong second half rally to avoid a non-conference road loss, and record Coach K’s 1,000th win as a head coach, by a final score of 77-68.

Notre Dame

Jerian Grant continues to shine for the Irish, as his strong play earned him ACC Player of the Week honors after another spectacular performance on Sunday evening. His 25 points paced the Fighting Irish, who went on the road to N.C. State and avoided the upset in overtime, 81-78.

The Game And Prediction

And now, what will without a doubt be the game of the night.

The Blue Devils come into this Top 10 showdown hot after their two consecutive losses a few weeks back to North Carolina State and Miami. Coach K finally got the 1,000 win monkey off his back, and his team will no longer have to deal with that distraction. Freshman guard Tyus Jones seems to be finally coming into his own for the Blue Devils, as he has recorded two straight 22 point outings against Pittsburgh and St. John’s, after dropping 10 points and 8 assists in his team’s victory over #6 Louisville. It’s important for Duke that he gets going, as their backcourt scoring has been hit and miss at times this season. With Jahlil Okafor demanding so much attention down low, playing inside-out will be crucial for Duke, and effective when their guards are shooting the rock well. What is even more important for Duke is that he begins to defend with more intensity, because the Blue Devils’ backcourt defense has been exposed at times this season when faced with a match-up of good guards (Miami, N.C. State).

The Irish again present Duke with a problem, as their guards have been nothing short of elite this season. Jerian Grant has put himself right at the top of the ACC Player of the Year ranks, averaging 17.1 points and 6.2 assists per game this season. He has taken over the primary ball-handling role for the most part, and he has done a great job at avoiding turnovers, as he sits currently at just under two per game. Pat Connaughton has shot lights out from the wing for the Irish, averaging 14.0 points per game, while shooting 45% from behind the arc. In the paint, Zach Auguste has continued to play great defense, while exerting his will offensively. It is absolutely crucial in this game Wednesday night, that he stays out of foul trouble. He will be guarding Jahlil Okafor, and if Auguste cannot stay patient and avoid fouls, the Irish may have to turn to freshman Bonzie Colson, who at 6’5″ 225lbs will be no match for Okafor.

I expect this to be a fast paced, high scoring game, with two major factors to keep an eye on: Okafor vs. Auguste, and ND’s guards against Duke’s defense. These two match-ups will dictate the outcome of the game, but with Duke’s lack of perimeter defense being too large to ignore, I like the Irish at home by a hair in this premier match-up of Top 10 teams.

Notre Dame 86   Duke 83


The Match-Up

Clemson (11-8, 3-4, RPI: 102) Vs. N.C. State (13-8, 4-4, RPI: 47), 9:00 PM ET,

Their Last Game


Clemson trailed the entire way against Wake Forest, but a Josh Smith tip-in with less than a second remaining in regulation, led to a 59-57 win at home against the Demon Deacons.

N.C. State

The Wolfpack continue to play well in conference play, but are struggling to record wins. They had Notre Dame on the ropes at home on Sunday night, but Jerian Grant and the Irish proved to be too much late, as the ‘Pack fell in overtime, 81-78.

The Game And Prediction

Jaron Blossomgame has made the Tigers somewhat watchable this year, which is a welcomed trend to the ACC. While he is only averaging 13.3 points per game, his defense against the opposition’s top wingmen has been extremely impressive throughout most of this season. He locks down on defense, and brings intensity on both ends of the floor to give Clemson a swagger when they are in close games against good teams. While the Tigers are still young, they are showing dramatic improvement in their conference games, and could be a force a couple years down the line, especially if Blossomgame does not take an early jump to the NBA.

Meanwhile, N.C. State continues to flash some of the top shooters in the ACC, as their three-man backcourt of Anthony “Cat” Barber, Trevor Lacey, and Ralston Turner can fill it up in a hurry. Make no mistake when looking at their record, this is a potential Sweet 16 team come March, especially if they get the right match-up. They can upset teams that are asleep at the switch defensively in a hurry, and can generally shoot their way into games which they have no business of being in to begin with. They have had some close losses in conference play, but their 87-75 win against Duke on January 11th shows just how potent this offense can be.

This is going to be one of the more underrated games of the night, as two up-and-coming teams in the conference will be squaring off in Raleigh. Blossomgame will do enough defensively for Clemson to keep at least one of the three Wolfpack scorers down, but a big game from freshman forward Donte Grantham, would do the Tigers a lot of good in this game. In the end though, I think N.C. State’s offense will be a bit too much for Clemson to overcome, but this should be a close match-up, so I’d definitely try to tune in for this one.

N.C. State 74   Clemson 68

The Match-Up

#10 Louisville (16-3, 4-2, RPI: 21) Vs. Boston College (9-9, 1-5, RPI: 119), 9:00 PM ET,

Their Last Game


Terry Rozier’s 26 points were too much for Pittsburgh to overcome on Sunday, as Louisville went on the road and defeated the Panthers, 80-68.

Boston College

The Eagles’ leading scorer Olivier Hanlan scored 25 points and grabbed 7 boards in his team’s 64-62 win over Georgia Tech on Sunday.

The Game And Prediction

Louisville continues to navigate their conference schedule relatively well, clobbering all of the teams they should beat, while staying competitive against the other top tier teams of the conference when given the opportunity. Their plan as of now is to just get through this BC game, to set up a date with #13 North Carolina, to try to get revenge for the one-point loss dealt by the Tar Heels, just two weeks ago. Guard Terry Rozier is one of the most improved players in the ACC, next to Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas, as his 17.8 points per game leads the Cards in scoring. He is helped out greatly down low by monster Montrezl Harrell, whose 15.1 points per game on 58% shooting has helped to solidify himself as a top NBA pick in June.

Boston College, of course, is one of the worst teams in the conference. Tune into their games for guard Olivier Hanlan, who scores 16.8 per game on this woefully bad Boston College team. As I’ve said before, the Eagles are a team that doesn’t impose a ton of fear in the minds of their opponents. If you are able to hold down Hanlan, you will generally be in pretty good shape coming out of a game with BC.

The Cardinals should use their defensive pressure and advantage down low with Harrell to coast through this one. BC just does not have enough talent to contend with Rick Pitino’s club. I like Louisville by a few touchdowns.

Louisville 78   Boston College 64

The Match-Up

Georgia Tech (9-10, 0-7, RPI: 104) Vs. #23 Miami (FL) (14-5, 4-2, RPI: 38), 9:00 PM ET,

Their Last Game

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets solidified themselves as the worst team in the ACC, after falling 64-62 on Sunday against Olivier Hanlan and Boston College.

Miami (FL)

The ‘Canes made a reappearance in the Top 25 this week, after going on the road to Syracuse and defeating the Orange, 66-62, behind 13 points and 15 rebounds by Tonye Jekiri.

The Game And Prediction

Jim Larranaga has his squad playing excellent basketball right now, as the Hurricanes have brought many of the top tier teams in the ACC to the brink of an upset, while beating almost everyone else in the conference along the way. As good as Miami can be at times, they sometimes bring a squad to the arena that seems to be asleep at the switch (see losses to Green Bay, Eastern Kentucky, and Providence). Sheldon McClellan has been special at times for the Hurricanes, as he is averaging 15.0 points per game on 52% shooting. Angel Rodriguez, a former Kansas State transfer, has also provided a scoring pop in the backcourt for Miami, as he is averaging 14.4 points per game, but only on 35% shooting. If they both shoot the ball well, the Hurricanes are generally in the big games that they play, but Rodriguez is the wild card, as there is always the possibility of him having a poor shooting night.

Georgia Tech is still searching for their first conference win, as the Yellow Jackets cannot seem to come up with a close win. Head Coach Brian Gregory is not long for this job, if his team doesn’t improve in a hurry, and quite frankly, I don’t see that happening this season. That’s not to say that they haven’t been competitive at all; they have taken #8 Notre Dame to the wire, twice, lost by two to Marquette, by one to Syracuse, two to BC, and by five to Pittsburgh. The Jackets just can’t seem to find an elite scorer on their squad, and struggle when their leading point getter, Marcus Georges-Hunt, can’t find the basket.

All of this being said, Miami is the much better team, and even a bad Miami squad will be able to show up and beat the Jackets, so not much to see here, ‘Canes by a ton.

Miami (FL) 80   Georgia Tech 64

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