Some really fun games this week as we get into crunch-time…
(54-18 on ACC season picks)
7:00 PM ET – Clemson 63 Georgia Tech 58 (Atlanta) – Both come off road games – Georgia Tech losing by a Dorenzo Hudson buzzer-beater in overtime, and Clemson’s streak-ending bid in UNC slipping away into a blowout late. For a second-straight game, Glen Rice Jr. will ride the bench with a suspension – he led the Yellow Jackets in Clemson with 19 points in the 64-62 loss earlier this season, while Clemson’s leading scorer Andre Young posted a career-high 29-points. Georgia Tech may be without another guard in Jason Morris also with a foot injury – leaving them with just six scholarship players. Either way, Brad Brownell’s Tigers are the better team, and the Yellow Jackets aren’t able to recover quick enough from the heartbreaker in Cassell Coliseum.
8:00 PM ET – Miami 68 Maryland 63 (College Park) – Up-and-down the Terps have gone of late – topping Clemson in Littlejohn and dominating BC at home, while losing by 27 at Virginia and 18 at Duke. Both dealing with knee ailments, Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson played major minutes in a 74-56 win over Wake Forest, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds between them. These two dueled to two OTs in Coral Gables before Miami came out on top 90-86. The Terps’ Terrell Stoglin scored 33 points, but Miami had five players score in double-digits (Scott with 24 points). Miami center Kenny Kadji missed that game, and that might be the difference here with the Hurricanes at full strength in College Park Tuesday.
8:00 PM ET – UNC 74 NC State 67 (Raliegh) – There’s a game too? Well, the earlier matchup didn’t work out too well for the Wolfpack in Chapel Hill – allowing 48 percent shooting (31-64) and hitting just 37 percent themselves (21-57) in a 74-55 loss. They’re not playing much better now – coming off a 76-62 loss and hitting just 17-of-58 shots…and course, that Duke loss too. The Wolfpack displayed for 30 or so minutes in Cameron they can compete with the bigs in the ACC, but I just don’t like how they matchup here.
9:00 PM ET – Virginia 56 Virginia Tech 53 (Blacksburg) – Virginia Tech went into Charlottesville, and despite scoring 47 points, won (mainly because Virginia shot 33 percent from the field and 7 percent from three, 1-14). The Cavaliers have lost their last three on the road, but all in tough environments (FSU, UNC and Clemson). These two rank last and second-to-last in possessions per 40 minutes in the conference, and I like the ‘Hoos to grind out a win here for a little revenge for the series split.
7:00 PM ET – FSU 71 Duke 66 (Tallahassee) – One stays atop the ACC, while the other falls a game back with just three to go in the race for that top seed in the ACC Tournament. FSU charged to the front of the pack by shooting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from the perimeter in a 76-73 win at Duke – a balanced effort across the lineup. At No. 1 in ACC offensive and defensive field goal percentage (45.7 off./38.9 def. ), and 6-0 in conference home games (68.6-57 average final) – it’s hard to go against the Seminoles in a charged atmosphere ready to take another step towards one of the best seasons in FSU basketball history. (Of course, Duke hasn’t lost a conference road game either – 6-0 also, winning at UNC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia Tech and BC already this season. This should be a fun one.)