ACC Basketball: Friday Preview

Neutral-site games rule the day across ACC basketball on Friday. A good amount of intriguing non-conference match-ups are taking place in the tip-off tournaments across the 50 states and beyond. Here’s the preview.

Hofstra (2-0) Vs. Florida State (2-0), 3:30 PM ET in St. Thomas on CBS Sports Network

Game Notes

  • Just how good is Florida State guard Dwayne Bacon? In his first two games of his college career, he has put up 27 points and 23 points respectively, while shooting a combined 19 of 33 from the field (57.5%).
  • Hofstra spreads the ball around offensively as well as any team in the nation thus far in 2015. The Pride currently have six players averaging at least 12.5 points per game.


This will not be a walk in the park for Florida State this afternoon for their game in paradise against Hofstra. As I mentioned above, the Pride have numerous players who have an ability to score in bunches, which makes them extremely difficult to defend. With that being said, the Pride have not faced an offensive player like Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon and their defense will be challenged unlike any match-up thus far in the young season due to the size differential they will face in the paint. Due to this, I’ll take the Seminoles in a close one.

Florida State 76  Hofstra 70


Miami (FL) (3-0) Vs. #16 Utah (3-0). 7:00 PM ET in Puerto Rico on ESPNU


Game Notes

  • Utah misses guard Delon Wright. Wright, who left the Utes for the NBA, was the go-to scorer at Utah last season, and without him, the team has struggled to shoot consistently well thus far this season. Their field goal percentage as a team has gone down in every game since the opener, as Thursday night they shot a mere 38% from the field in their 10 point win over Texas Tech.
  • Miami, as expected, has cruised through their first three contests in 2015, although their offense has looked even better than predicted before the season.  The Hurricanes eclipsed the century mark in their last outing against Mississippi state, a 105-79 victory, for the first time since the 2004 season.
  • Guard Sheldon McClellan has been everything that the Hurricanes could have asked for so far this season offensively. He is averaging 17.3 points per game on nearly 59% shooting thus far heading into the Utah match-up.


I’m not sure what to think of Utah yet this season. They undoubtedly have some athletes in Jakob Poeltl and Jordan Loveridge, but can the offense as a whole shoot the ball as consistently as they need to in order to keep up with Miami in this game? The Hurricanes offense is legit, and if they can continue their stout team defense to the extent that they have in the opening three games, I think that they could easily cover their -2.5 line at a neutral site. I love McClellan and veteran guard Angel Rodriguez to help the ‘Canes capture their fourth victory of the season in a high-scoring affair, where the better team is the one that is unranked in the ACC.

Miami 87   Utah 78


#5 Duke (2-1) Vs. VCU (2-0), 7:30 PM ET at Madison Square Garden on ESPN2
Game Notes

  • Duke will be looking to bounce back after getting torched on Tuesday night against #2 Kentucky. The young Blue Devils squad struggled mightily on offense, highlighted by a 2 for 11 shooting night for Grayson Allen, who also had four turnovers.
  • VCU will be playing their first ranked match-up under new head coach Will Wade, but the defense is remarkably similar with their “Havoc” full-court press that was employed during the Shaka Smart era.
  • Duke is 26-8 all-time in games at Madison Square Garden under Coach K.


About the only thing that matters in this game is whether or not Duke’s freshman point guard, Derryck Thornton, can handle the VCU defensive pressure for the full 40 minutes. I know that it takes more than one man to break the press, but Thornton is the primary ball-handler for the Blue Devils and his ability to limit the turnovers is paramount to Duke’s success in this match-up. Thornton didn’t look very good against Kentucky, but will need to have a bounce-back game, as he is vital to the team’s long-term success this season.  Marshall Plumlee has been terrific down-low for Coach K’s squad, and I believe that if the Blue Devils can get into the half-court offense, they hold a tangible advantage over the Rams. Give me the Blue Devils in this one, for better or for worse.
Duke 84   VCU 68


Detroit (1-0) Vs. Pittsburgh (1-0), 8:00 PM ET on
Game Notes

  • Can Detroit stop Pittsburgh forward Michael Young? Young is averaging 16 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists per game so far this season, as he has been an absolute force on both ends of the floor.
  • Detroit spread the ball around well in their opener, as four players scored in double figures in the team’s win over Central State. Freshman guard Josh McFolley was impressive in his collegiate debut, scoring a team-high 17 points.


Pittsburgh has a veteran presence with freshman guard James Robinson, and has a man on a mission in the paint with forward Michael Young. Talent and experience win out in this one, as I don’t see Detroit finding a way to keep this one close.
Pittsburgh 77   Detroit 52


Long Beach State (3-0) Vs. #6 Virginia (2-1), 9:30 PM ET in Charleston, SC on ESPNU
Game Notes

  • After being questioned about the legitimacy of their defense following the loss to George Washington on Monday night, Virginia bounced back with a 25 point win on Thursday against Bradley, holding the Braves to less than 40% shooting from the field.
  • Long Beach State has lost 13 straight games against opponents ranked in the top 25, with their last win coming in 2011.


Virginia’s defense will be tested more against Long Beach on Friday night than they were against Bradley, as the 49ers have perhaps the most efficient scoring offense of any team the Cavaliers have played to date. While “The Beach” can score in bunches, I would not expect a second defensive letdown in a week for the ‘Hoos, who will undoubtedly be on their toes following getting thrashed on Monday against George Washington. Mike Tobey will make the difference in this game on Friday night, as his defense and rebounding ability in the paint should add and extend possessions offensively for Virginia. Look for the ‘Hoos to dominate the boards and pull away late.
Virginia 66    Long Beach State 54



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