ACC Basketball: Sunday Preview

While I assume that many will be watching Week 12 in the NFL this afternoon, there are still three ACC games to keep an eye on throughout the day and into this evening, including #6 Duke, who is in action on ESPNU at 12:30 before the early NFL games kick-off. Whether you plan on tuning into these three games or not, here is a preview to guide you as you check the box scores on all of the ACC action tonight.

Utah State (4-0) Vs. #6 Duke (5-1), 12:30 PM ET on ESPNU

Game Notes

  • Duke guard Grayson Allen has received a good amount of attention, and rightfully so, as he is averaging 22.7 points per game on nearly 51% shooting. However, the unsung hero of this year’s team thus far has to be Amile Jefferson. Jefferson is averaging a double-double with 11.5 points on 67.5% shooting, and 10.8 rebounds per game.
  • Utah State senior guard Chris Smith leads the Aggies with 16.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He has been the catalyst to Utah State’s 4-0 start.


Utah State has only two victories against Division I opponents so far this season, with the other two victories coming against teams on the Division II level. The Aggies have been impressive so far, but the schedule is a big reason why. They will step up in class this afternoon as they take on the Blue Devils and their young, but balanced scoring attack. Derryck Thornton, Duke’s freshman point guard, could be the key to the game. He needs to improve his 1.35 to 1 assist to turnover ratio, but his defense on Aggies guard Chris Smith will be substantial in determining how long Utah State stays in this game. The Blue Devils are much too talented to lose this one at home, but don’t be surprised if the Aggies make a game of it, especially in the first half.

Duke 84  Utah State 70

Alabama (3-2) Vs. #17 Notre Dame (4-1), 7:00 PM ET on ESPNU

Game Notes

  • Notre Dame has had an interesting week at the Advocare Invitational. They committed 14 turnovers in a head-scratching 80-78 loss to Monmouth, before bouncing back on Friday to beat Iowa 68-62 behind V.J. Beachem’s 16 points. This team is young and will figure it out eventually, but they will need to be at their best to beat Alabama.
  • While this is not football, Alabama still has a very good team. The Crimson Tide is led by first year coach Avery Johnson, and managed to upset #20 Wichita State. Alabama is not ranked very high statistically in any category, but have the athletes necessary to play with the Irish.


Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson is the X-Factor in the game tonight. Jackson has been stellar in an increased offensive role this season, as he as averaged 18.8 points per game on 57% shooting. Alabama will need to try to slow him down with their bevy of guards, beginning with Retin Obasohan. Obasohan has the veteran presence of countering Jackson’s offense, but whether or not the team can defend Notre Dame’s offensive attack for a full 40 minutes is a whole other question. The Irish are dangerous, especially from three point land, and I believe their ability to make a couple of more shots beyond the arc will decide the game late. I’ll take the Irish in a very competitive contest.

Notre Dame 73   Alabama 66

Boston College (3-2) Vs. Santa Clara (0-7), 7:30 PM ET on

Game Notes

  • Boston College has gotten off to a rather pedestrian start, dropping to a 3-2 record following a 13 point loss to UC Irvine on Saturday. The Eagles allowed Irvine to shoot nearly 52% from the floor in the game, which was a big reason why they lost the game. Guard Eli Carter, a transfer from Florida, has paced Boston College’s scoring attack this season at 18.4 points per game, and will be the player who Santa Clara pays the most attention to on Sunday evening.
  • Santa Clara is 0-7, and have struggled to create offense save guard Jared Brownridge. Brownridge is averaging 20 points per game in what is essentially a one-man offensive attack. The Broncos are towards the bottom of the barrel offensively as a team, scoring a mere 59.3 points per game, which ranks 342nd in college basketball.


This game is interesting because it pits a team that has struggled defensively against a team that essentially cannot score. It will be a back and forth affair in my opinion, but Boston College has more athletes with Eli Carter and Jerome Robinson leading the way for the Eagles. Boston College enters the game as an eight-point favorite, but because of their defensive struggles, I believe that the point line is extremely generous. I think the Eagles will be able to squeak one out late, as the Broncos will have to wait just a little while longer to snag their first win of the season.

Boston College 68  Santa Clara 64


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