The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament is upon us once again, this time from our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. There are few things more exciting for me personally and if you grew up in the mid-atlantic region you probably have a similar feeling. The conference and tournament have both grown considerably and that only makes the festivities more fun.
Day one features N.C. State-Wake Forest and Florida State-Boston College.
That’s a bit like Christmas morning, except you find Boston College under your tree instead of a sweater from Grandma. But still, it’s going to be a blast and you can follow along with InsideTheACC as I resort to my habit of sarcasm and casual analysis.
This game is very indicative of both programs. Florida State, despite having loads of talent very rarely puts teams away and inexperienced, undermanned Boston College never gives up even when things look bleaker than a Boston winter.
Dennis Clifford has fouled out now for BC with 15 points and nine boards, and after that FSU was finally about to pull away with the lead now 76-60 with just under six minutes remaining. The Seminoles will advance to play Virginia Tech in the nightcap Wednesday night at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Boston College will return to the drawing board after this season comes to a merciful end (now officially with a 7-25 overall record), but they’ll no doubt keep scratching away in this one.
Okay, now things are getting a bit out of hand. Dwayne Bacon came out and hit a couple of nice shots to give him 10 points in the game and FSU has stretched it’s lead to 13 points with 15:13 remaining. The tempo has picked up as well which is no good for BC and the entire lineup is sucking wind now. Unless they can find their early shooting stroke again, I think this one might be in the danger zone for the Eagles (where is Maverick Rowan when you need him?).
Well, things got away from BC a bit, but the Seminoles didn’t completely run them out of the game as the ‘Nole lead sits at 39-30 at the half. The Eagles got into major trouble with the bulk of the starting lineup on the bench due to fouls. Leonard Hamilton wisely chose to extend the defense at that point and FSU really handled the previously hot-shooting Eagles. Not a good sign for BC are the offensive efficiency numbers. The Eagles finished the first period at 96.2 versus 121.1 for the Seminoles. That’s what happens when you shoot 56% from the field.
Well the run is on to some extent. FSU has been able to claw out a seven-point advantage on the backs of some timely outside shooting. Devon Bookert has 11 points but the ‘Noles are getting very balanced scoring. BC is hanging on, but they’ve switched to a zone to avoid having the entire team fouling out before halftime and zone + shooters = trouble.
Oddly, Sean McDonough and Doris Burke just waxed poetic for a very long stretch of game time on the considerable disadvantages that Boston College athletics face. It’s very true, but usually you start talking about random things once the game has been decided.
I’m really impressed with BC so far despite the turnover troubles. Dennis Clifford is playing just about perfectly with 12 early points and six rebounds. Lots of foul trouble however for the Eagles including two on Garland Owens and three one Eli Carter. If they can avoid giving up a run before the half, they’ll be very fortunate.
Boston College were the aggressors early as they came out and knocked down a number of open shots. This is a terrible match up for them though. I’m not sure we’ll see a bigger style/talent disparity in the tournament. Already, we’re seeing the Seminoles canning shots and collecting turnovers (6) from the Eagles. They have so much athleticism and depth that they may just take their time and pull away late. BC has come out aggressive and motivated though and that’s a credit to Jim Christian. This team in playing for pride and they’re doing it the scrappy way.
FSU leads just 15-13 nearing the midway mark of the first half.
Well that turned into a fun time somehow. The Wake Forest seniors stepped up in the final minutes while Bryant Crawford turned completely into a freshman by making silly fouls and taking bad shots. Codi Miller-McIntyre finished with 15 points and nine rebounds while Devin Thomas posted 12 points and 13 boards.
Maverick Rowan finished with 24 points after that late three-point outburst to lead the Wolfpack to a 75-72 win. Cat Barber had possibly the quietest 22 points you’ll ever see, and he took a physical beating which may linger into the next round where N.C. State will be rewarded for this victory with a match up against Duke.
Here’s the footage of Maverick Rowan’s latest three-point attempt.
The kid is suddenly draining everything and his 22 points on 6-of-12 outside shooting has N.C. State opening up as much of a lead as either team can in this one up 68-63 under three left.
The hidden stat of today is probably that Cat Barber has only gotten to the free throw line once and made both shots. He simply hasn’t been able to do “Cat things” and that’s a credit to a tremendous defensive gameplan by Danny Manning. Maverick Rowan has made some plays for State and has been the only guy to really step up and help in the scoring department with 19 points to compliment Cat’s 18.
Wake needs to settle down. They’ve made a number of silly errors by simply being too excited. You can tell they aren’t comfortable closing out games successfully and it doesn’t help that they’re the second worst free throw shooting team in the conference.
We’d like to apologize on behalf of basketball for the poor quality of play in this ACC Tournament opener. Wake has 12 turnovers and so does State, plus the officials just missed a blatant out of bounds decision. It’s the perfect storm of mediocrity.
The Demon Deacons have done a nice job defending Cat Barber who still hasn’t been able to really get going. He had just four points in the second half before a beautifully-banked jumper off a screen. Perhaps that will get him going.
Dinos Mitoglou has been dreadful shooting the ball now just 1-5 from the field and they haven’t looked pretty but he’s been working hard on the glass with eight rebounds. Sure enough as I’m finishing this update, Barber got a shooter’s roll on a made three-pointer and that ties the game yet again at 50 with under nine remaining.
These are two sloppy basketball teams. Both State and Wake have nine turnovers with just shy of 15 minutes remaining in the game. State was able to briefly stretch a lead to six points, but timely three-pointers from Wake erased that in a hurry to tie things at 41. There’s been no separation in this game from the start because both teams are roughly on the same level.
Worth noting is that Wake guard Mitchell Wilbekin got hurt when he fell awkwardly on a drive. He’s returned to the bench area flexing his left leg and knee which got twisted in the fall. He has five points so far today.
I’m watching this game on ESPN which is fine, but they’re using some new-fangled technology that “lights up” the three-point line when a shot is launched beyond the arc. I can’t stand it. We can actually tell on our own roughly 99% of the time.
Anyway, Cat Barber got knocked down and went out briefly holding his elbow but he came right back and drained a three. He’s struggled in the first half making just 4 of 14 shots from the field but he’s still making things go for State. Someone else desperately needs to score for the Wolfpack, but then that’s been the story all season. Devin Thomas nearly had a double-double in the first half with seven points and nine boards. Freshman Bryant Crawford has been the difference though for Wake and has shown the typical high-risk, high-reward play that so often comes with youth. He scored nine points and notched four steals but cancelled those out with four turnovers. He has to continue scoring for Wake to have a shot, but they lead 34-33 at the half.
The biggest thing to happen in the first few minutes was when official and resident grump Jamie Luckie demonstrably had the children who sweep the floor move behind the cheerleaders. I can’t wait for him to yell at them later when they aren’t all over a floor drop because they’re behind six rows of people.
The ACC tournament is not going to have any rogue court sweepers on Jamie Luckie's watch. pic.twitter.com/Mxje408Bq1
— Ira Schoffel (@IraSchoffel) March 8, 2016
Both teams are sloppy which is to be expected. Even with teams at the bottom of the standings, you don’t really expect the teams to combine for a turnover per minute (N.C. State 5, Wake Forest 4) at the 10:30 mark of the first half. State is getting balanced scoring while Wake is predictably top-heavy with Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas leading the charge with the score tied at 13. Dinos Mitoglou already has two fouls for Wake which is a significant problem.