ACC Basketball: Wednesday Preview

Six ACC games are scattered across the Thanksgiving Eve schedule on Wednesday, including a peculiar game this evening between Clemson and Rutgers beginning around Midnight Eastern. Here’s the preview.

Syracuse (3-0) Vs. Charlotte (1-2), 2:30 PM ET on ESPN2

Game Notes

  • Another year, and another sound defensive attack for Syracuse. The Orange have employed their 2-3 match-up zone to great success thus far in 2015, as their 56.0 points per game allowed is tied for tenth in the country.
  • While Syracuse has struggled to score in their first three games, center Michael Gbinije has led the way at 18.3 points per game for the Orange.
  • Charlotte has struggled to defend as a team, giving up an excess of 80 points per game during their 1-2 start this season.


The Orange have the experience, size, and three-point shooting to give them an edge in this game. Additionally, Charlottes struggles defensively as a team will only further magnify Trevor Cooney and the Orange’s three-point shooting ability. I’ll take Syracuse big.
Syracuse 79   Charlotte 56
Yale (3-1) Vs. #6 Duke (4-1), 7:00 PM ET on ESPNU
Game Notes

  • Due to all of the buzz made about Duke’s influx of freshman talent, evaluators have seemingly forgot about veteran forward Amile Jefferson. Jefferson has been a consistent force on both ends of the floor for the Blue Devils, and has flown under the radar quite a bit, averaging 12.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, and nearly one block per game,
  • Duke freshman guard Derryck Thornton will have his hands full with Yale guard Makai Mason. The 6’1″ sophomore out of Greenfield, Massachusetts is averaging 20.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game for the 3-1 Bulldogs.


Despite a big game from Makai Mason, I just don’t believe that Yale has the horses to keep up with all of Duke’s athletes. Could Yale keep it competitive? Sure. However, the Blue Devils will show the talent gap late in the contest, pulling away from the Bulldogs and concluding a tough week of non-conference play.
Duke 84   Yale 72
Cornell (3-2) Vs. Pittsburgh (2-0), 7:00 PM ET on
Game Notes

  • Cornell’s defense has been a sieve this season through five games, giving up an average of 90.0 points per game, which is 335th in college basketball.
  • Pittsburgh has had an interesting start to the season, winning their second and third games on the schedule following the halftime cancellation of their match-up against 9th-ranked Gonzaga in Okinawa nearly two weeks ago. The Panthers have scored just shy of 90 points per game as a team through two games, putting them in the top 25 in the nation in the team scoring category.


Cornell plays terrible defense, and the Panthers appear to be an offensive juggernaut. Pitt, big.
Pittsburgh 104   Cornell 76
Lehigh (0-4) Vs. #12 Virginia (4-1), 7:00 PM ET on
Game Notes

  • Don’t look now, but Virginia is finding ways to score. The team that has relied on stout defense to overcome offensive shortcomings seems to finally be remedied, as the Cavaliers are averaging over 81 points per game thus far.
  • Lehigh is 0-4, and statistically haven’t done much well offensively or defensively. The Mountain Hawks are tied for 300th in scoring at 66.0 points per game, and are 271st in scoring defense giving up  80.5 points per game. Additionally, they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the country, as they only pull down 30.8 boards per game, which is 333rd nationally.


The Cavaliers will cruise into Thanksgiving with a big win. I don’t see Lehigh overcoming the size disadvantage down low, and it will show in the rebounding statistics in the box score after the game. I expect a big game for Virginia forward Mike Tobey, both scoring and rebounding.
Virginia 88   Lehigh 60
Wake Forest (3-2) Vs. UCLA (3-2), 7:30 PM ET on ESPN2
Game Notes

  • Whether it was a hangover from the upset win over #13 Indiana or not, the Demon Deacons got blown out of the gym on Tuesday night against a much more talented #19 Vanderbilt team. Although a Vanderbilt win was predicted, a 3 for 18 effort from three-point land for Wake Forest was not.
  • UCLA will come out motivated to prove that they are a better team than they showed against Kansas on Tuesday. UCLA got smoked by 19 against the nation’s number five team, in a game that wasn’t ever close.


This game is going to be extremely close. UCLA is favored by 5.5 in this match-up, but Wake Forest could easily cover, and even win the game outright due to one key statistic: Rebounding. Wake Forest sits in the top 35 in the country in that category, while UCLA is outside of the top 70 in the ranking. I think that the Demon Deacons find a way by extending a couple of possessions late, which could be the difference in the ballgame.
Wake Forest 78   UCLA 74
Clemson (3-1) Vs. Rutgers (3-2), 11:59 PM ET at MGM Main Event, No TV Coverage
Game Notes

  • The Tigers have emerged as one of the top defenses in the ACC and across the entire country. Clemson ranks in the top ten in college basketball, giving up less than 56 points per game so far this season.
  • Deshawn Freeman and Mike Williams for Rutgers have been the two catalysts offensively, averaging 14.8 and 14.4 points per game respectively. Stopping the duo is key to slowing down the Scarlet Knights, who average 75 points per game.


Because Clemson is as good as advertised on defense, I believe they hold the distinct advantage in the game this evening. It is a peculiar match-up given the fact that it is being played at Midnight and on no major television networks, but the Tigers will win running away due to their ability to take away the best scoring option of their opponents.
Clemson 74   Rutgers 56

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @MikeMcDanielACC and check out InsideTheACC on Facebook and on Twitter @InsideTheACC.

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