No. 1 Duke 90, Santa Clara 77
The nation’s top team trailed early in the second half but a 26-5 run led by Seth Curry, who finished with 31 points, allowed the Blue Devils (12-0) to win going away against a physical Santa Clara (11-3) team. Early national Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee added 22 points and 13 rebounds for Duke, who recorded heir 101st straight nonconference win at home. Guard Quinn Cook (15) and forward Ryan Kelly (10) also scored in double-figures for the undefeated Blue Devils.
No. 23 NC State 84, Western Michigan 68
Five players scored in double-figures for the Wolfpack (10-2) as they pulled away from Western Michigan (8-5) in the second half to record their sixth straight win. The big men, CJ Leslie and Richard Howell dominated for State up front. Leslie led the Pack with 19 points and seven rebounds while Howell added 18 points (on 8-8 from the floor) and nine rebounds. TJ Warren (15), Scott Wood (11), and Lorenzo Brown (10) rounded out the scoring for State, who has won eight straight home games, a streak dating back to last season.
Maryland 79, Delaware State 50
Freshman Charles Mitchell recorded a career-high 19 points off the bench to lead Maryland (11-1) over Delaware State (5-8) at home for their 11th straight win- the longest such streak for the program in ten years. Transfer Dez Wells and freshman Seth Allen each scored ten points for the Terps, as Allen added 14 rebounds for the game’s only double-double performance.
Boston College 70, Holy Cross 60
Patrick Heckman led all scorers with 19 as Boston College (7-5) downed Holy Cross (7-6) at home. Forward Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Olivier Hanlan scored 14 points to round out the Eagles in double-figures. Boston College only received two points off the bench, playing just seven players in the victory.
North Carolina 79, No. 20 UNLV 73
North Carolina (10-3) got their most impressive of the season as the took down No. 20 UNLV (11-2) at home 79-73. Dexter Strickland led five Tar Heels in double-figures with 16 points. Guard P.J. Hairston (15), forward James Michael McAdoo (13), Brice Johnson (12), and Marcus Paige (12) rounded out the scoring leaders for the Heels, who played without Reggie Bullock because of a concussion suffered earlier in the week.
Florida State 82, Tulsa 63
Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic at Sunrise, Florida
Guard Michael Snaer led four Seminoles (8-4) in double-figure scoring with 19 points in a win over Tulsa (7-6). 12 of the 13 Seminoles to see the floor scored, as Terrance Shannon (16), Okaro White (12), and freshman Devon Bookert (10) rounded out the scoring for Florida State.
BYU 97, Virginia Tech 71
At Salt Lake City
Guard Tyler Haws’ 42 points led the Cougars (10-4) over Virginia Tech (9-4) in Salt Lake City. Three Hokies, led by forward Jarell Eddy’s 17, scored in double-figures. Guards Robert Brown (13) and Erick Green (12) rounded out the scoring for Tech, who was over-matched from the start.
Coming up at 7pm, Fordham at Georgia Tech
Virginia guard Joe Harris will have shoulder the scoring load, in Mike Scott's absence, this season (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).
Check out our team-by-team analysis to get ready for the ACC season! (All-ACC teams and full order of picks are here)
7) Virginia Cavaliers
2011-12 Record: 22-10 (9-7 ACC)
Starting Five… (2011 Stats)
Jontel Evans – 5-11 188, 8.6 PPG/3.9 APG
Joe Harris – 6-6 211, 11.3 PPG/3.9 RPG
Akil Mitchell – 6-8 234, 4.1 PPG/4.4 RPG
Evan Nolte – 6-8 207, Freshman
Mike Tobey – 6-11 227, Freshman
Key Bench Players: G Malcolm Brogdon (6.7 PPG/2.8 RPG), F Darion Atkins (2.3 PPG/2.3 RPG), G Paul Jesperson (1.5 PPG/0.8 RPG), G Justin Anderson (Freshman).
Strengths: Defense (as usual), veteran guards.
Weaknesses: Health (Evans missing first few games with foot injury), replacing Mike Scott’s production, perimeter shooting, young frontcourt.
Make or Break Player: PG Jontel Evans
Final Analysis: Outside of UNC, no team in the ACC is taking the hit in the frontcourt Virginia is, losing first-team All-ACCer Mike Scott, and it’s likely a pair of freshman will occupy the paint. Jontel Evans’ foot injury throws a wrench into the rotation early on (out until mid-November), but at full-strength, the ‘Hoos should be their typical tough defense and slow-tempo-self grinding out games here and there. Overall, you wonder, again, where the scoring will come from consistently. – Brandon Rink
8) Clemson Tigers
2011-2012 Record: 16-15 (8-8 ACC)
Protected Starting Five (2011 Stats)
Rod Hall – 6-1 210, 3.6 PPG/1.1 APG
T.J. Sapp – 6-2 195, 3.6 PPG/1.6 RPG
K.J. McDaniels – 6-6 195, 3.9 PPG/1.8 RPG
Milton Jennings – 6-9 225, 9.7 PPG/5.6 RPG
Devin Booker – 6-8 250, 10.5 PPG/7 RPG
Key Bench Players: F Bernard Sullivan (1.4 PPG/1.1 RPG), G Adonis Filer (Freshman), G Damarcus Harrison (BYU transfer), G Jordan Roper (Freshman), F Josh Smith (Freshman), C Landry Nnoko (Freshman), F Jaron Blossomgame (Freshman).
Strengths: Defense-minded, young talent.
Weaknesses: Two upperclassmen total (all underclassmen guards), perimeter shooting, scoring period, rebounding.
Make or Break Player: F Milton Jennings
Final Analysis: There are young teams, and then there’s Clemson, with two upperclassmen total. The pressure is on seniors Milton Jennings and Devin Booker to perform in the paint and lead this youthful squad. Almost equally, the pressure on the class of sophomores moving into key roles with leading scorers Andre Young and Tanner Smith moving on. Somebody has to score, along with the notoriously tough Brad Brownell D, for the Tigers to make any headway in the ACC. – Brandon Rink; The Clemson Tigers come into the 2012-2013 season with a ton of question marks. Who is going to back up Devin Booker and Milton Jennings? Who is going to be the go to , consistent scorer? The questions far outweigh the known for the Tigers this season. What they do know is Devin Booker will be a force to be reckoned with in the post as long as he stays out of foul trouble. The Tigers also added a number of freshmen and one key transfer in Damarcus Harrison from BYU whom Brad Brownell recruited out of high school. He could be a big help with depth on a very young team. Freshman Jaron Blossomgame, if he can stay healthy, could also play a big role coming off the bench. – Billy Watson
9) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2011-12 Record: 11-20 (4-12 ACC)
Starting Five… (2011 Stats)
Mfon Udofia – 6-2 195, 9.9 PPG/2.8 APG
Brandon Reed – 6-3 182, 7.5 PPG/3.2 RPG
Jason Morris – 6-5 224, 7.5 PPG/3.2 RPG
Kammeon Holsey – 6-8 231, 9.4 PPG/4.9 RPG
Daniel Miller – 6-11 257, 8.1 PPG/6.5 RPG
Key Bench Players: F Julian Royal (4.4 PPG/2.8 RPG); G Pierre Jordan (1.5 PPG/0.9 RPG); F Robert Carter (Freshman); G Corey Heyward (Freshman); F Marcus Hunt (Freshman).
Strengths: All upperclassmen starting lineup; defense (4th in scoring D and FG pct. defense last season); rebounding; blocked shots.
Weaknesses: Turnovers, scoring, free throws, perimeter shooting.
Make or Break Player: G Mfon Udofia
Final Analysis: Going into year two, Brian Gregory has a veteran lineup back, for better or worse, from a 20-loss team. In one sense, Tech was balanced in terms of scoring last season, but also hot and cold player-to-player and they need somebody to step up as a consistent scorer to turn it around in 2012. They’ll be in games, with Gregory’s defensive-emphasis, but the jury is out on if the points will follow in the new Alexander Memorial Coliseum. – Brandon Rink
10) Virginia Tech Hokies
2011-12 Record: 16-17 (4-12 ACC)
Starting Five… (2011 Stats)
Erick Green – 6-3 185, 15.6 PPG/3.3 RPG
Robert Brown – 6-5 190, 6.8 PPG/2.1 RPG
Jarell Eddie – 6-7 218, 9.1 PPG/4.8 RPG
C.J. Barksdale – 6-8 232, 2.7 PPG/2.7 RPG
Cadarian Raines – 6-9 238, 5.9 PPG/3.9 RPG
Key Bench Players: G Marquis Rankin (2.7 PPG/2.7 RPG), F Joey van Zegeren (Freshman), F Marshall Wood (Freshman).
Strengths: One of the ACC’s top scorers, new blood at coach.
Weaknesses: 8 scholarship players, first-year coach, frontcourt depth.
Make or Break Player: F Cadarian Raines.
Final Analysis: Virginia Tech is in the half of the ACC with their leading scorer back, Erick Green (15.6 PPG), but lost one of their most prized recruits recently (Dorian Finney-Smith) in the transfer of power from Seth Greenberg to first-year coach James Johnson. I don’t think the Hokies lose a great deal from the starting lineup from last season, but depth is the issue, with just eight scholarship players left. And I also am very curious to what Johnson does differently than Greenberg. – Brandon Rink
T-11) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2011-2012 Record: 13-18 (4-12 ACC)
Starting Five… (2011 Stats)
Codi Miller-McIntyre – 6’3” 195 lbs, Freshman
C.J. Harris Senior – 6’3 190 lbs, 16.7 ppg; 2.5 apg; 3.1 rpg
Travis McKie Junior – 6’7” 220 lbs, 16.1 ppg; 7.0 rpg
Arnaud Adala Moto – 6’6” 215 lbs, Freshman
Tyler Cavanaugh – 6’9” 230 lbs, Freshman
Key Bench Players: G Chase Fischer (6.3 PPG/1.5 APG), F Daniel Green (1.4 PPG/1.7 RPG).
Strength: Youth (seven Freshman), Free throw shooting.
Weakness: Lost five players from last year (three transferred).
Make or Break Player: Miller-McIntyre
Final Analysis: This team is super young (only three upperclassmen) and will depend on the leadership of Mckie and Harris. In addition, Miller-McIntyre must successfully run the offense as a freshman. Wake Forest probably will not be very good this season. Best case scenario they surprise some people and make a run at the N.I.T. Worst case scenario they win four or less conference games. – W. Gustin Vandiford
T-11) Boston College Eagles
2011-12 Record: 9-22 (4-12 ACC)
Starting Five… (2011 Stats)
Jordan Daniels – 5-8 153, 6.4 PPG/2.6 APG
Lonnie Jackson – 6-3 173, 8.3 PPG/1.6 APG
Patrick Heckmann – 6-5 205, 8.3 PPG/3.0 RPG
Ryan Anderson – 6-8 200, 11.2 PPG/7.4 RPG
Dennis Clifford – 7- 250, 8.9 PPG/4.7 RPG
Key Bench Players: G Danny Rubin (1.1 PPG), F Eddie Odio (0.9 PPG), C K.C. Caudill (2.2 PPG), G Olivier Hanlan (Freshman), G Joe Rahon (Freshman), F Andrew Van Nest (Harvard transfer).
Strengths: Young lineup a year older (top-5 scorers back are sophomores), solid duo in paint, shoot a lot of threes and should make more this season.
Weaknesses: Still very young, quality depth behind starting forwards, last or second to last in several defensive categories last season.
Make or Break Player: G Patrick Heckmann.
Final Analysis: Boston College is one of a couple underclassmen-heavy teams in the ACC, but with more sophomores than freshman this time around, battle-tested after a rough 2011-12 season. Patrick Heckmann is an intriguing player, who flashed signs of being a solid scorer before going down for a month with mono last year. If he can score, the Eagles have a solid base in the frontcourt to improve this season, but there’s still a number of unknowns everywhere else. – Brandon Rink
(All-ACC teams and full order of picks are here)
Year two in Chad Morris' offense could vault junior Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on to the national scene and All-ACC postseason (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).
A week from now – we’ll have ACC football to look forward too, so let’s wrap up some final thoughts/projections going into the seasons…
Top Five Games I’m Looking Forward To
1) Florida State at Virginia Tech, Nov. 8 (Thursday) – Divisional picks face off on a Thursday in Lane Stadium. What else can ya say?
2) Clemson at Florida State, Sept. 22 – If Clemson and FSU take care of business, this could be your primetime and maybe College Gameday site in week four. If all goes well, I plan on this being my first trip to Tallahassee – pumped about that.
3) Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Sept. 3 – I’m a big fan of these ACC Labor Day games and it doesn’t get much better than the two teams that have dominated the Coastal going at it in week one.
4) Virginia Tech at Clemson, Oct. 20 – The rematch of the ACC title rematch of 2011 – the Hokies have a lot to prove after struggling mightily in two games with the Tigers last season.
5) Chick-Fil-A Kickoff games, Aug. 31-Sept. 1 – Cheating here, hey – they’re both in Atlanta. Tennessee-NC State up first on Friday and Clemson-Auburn to follow. I’ll be in town for part two and can’t wait.
Top Five Games That Could Be Better/More Important Than You Think
1) NC State at Clemson, Nov. 17 – As you noticed, there was a lot of FSU, Clemson and Virginia Tech in the list above, because they’re my top three teams this season. But if someone’s going to upset the apple cart (don’t even know what this means), it’s the Wolfpack. The Atlantic could come down to this one, and NC State beat down the Tigers 37-13 in Raleigh last season.
2) Florida State at NC State, Oct. 6 – Same reason as above…FSU fell 28-24 at Carter-Finley in 2010, but dominated in the Tallahassee rematch last season, 34-0.
3) Clemson at Wake Forest, Oct. 25 (Thursday) – This one went down to the wire last season with the division on the line, with the Deacs missing an opportunity to put the pressure on leading in the fourth quarter in Death Valley and the Tigers hitting a field goal at the gun to win, 31-28. Wake may or may not be in the same title hunt, but they can certainly spoil Clemson’s chances here.
4) UNC at Virginia, Nov. 15 (Thursday) – Depending on early season results, this could determine who challenges the Hokies in the final week for at least a share of the Coastal (UNC can’t advance on to Charlotte though).
5) Wake Forest at Duke, Sept. 29 – This will likely have no bearing on the title race, but it’s just been fun over the years. 39.4-34.2 average final with an overtime game and four decided by a touchdown or less in the last five.
Five Players Not All-ACC Preseason That Could Be Postseason
1) Bjoern Werner, FSU DE – 7 sacks/8 PBUs last season
2) DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson WR – Over 1,600 receiving yards in first two seasons with 9 touchdowns going into the second year in a prolific offense
3) Kevin Pierre-Louis, BC LB – 83.5 tackles average in two seasons
4) Xavier Rhodes, FSU CB – 1 INT/4 PBUs last year, but 4 INTs/12 PBUs in his freshman season
ACC Teams in Final Regular Season Top-25 (Projection)
No. 4 Florida State
No. 12 Virginia Tech
No. 17 Clemson
No. 21 UNC
No. 22 NC State
ACC’s Rank Among Big 6 (for now) Conferences in 2012 (Top-25 teams, bowl eligible, OOC performance, championship contenders)
2) Big 12
4) ACC (Close to PAC-12 though)
5) Big Ten
6) Big East
ACC Heisman Contenders
1) Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB – Up until the stumble at the end last year, Boyd was putting up numbers on par with RGIII. In year two of the Chad Morris’ offense, maybe even better? (I tend to think they’ll be around last year’s numbers with the new o-line and his ’11 season being pretty good on its own…probably short of an invite to NYC).
2) Giovani Bernard, UNC RB – Behind an experienced o-line and new scheme, Bernard could turn his breakout sophomore campaign (1,253 yards/13 TD) into an All-American junior season.
3) Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR – He certainly has the name recognition after last season, but missing two games to start the season, the sophomore stud has some work to do starting week three against FCS-level Furman.
Positions That Could Derail the ACC Contenders
FSU: O-line – It’s been a weakpoint due to injury and otherwise over the last couple seasons, and ‘Noles quarterback E.J. Manuel needs all the protection he can get for a healthy 2012 season.
Clemson: O-line – Basically four new starters – two replaced by guards with no career snaps (LG David Beasley and RG Tyler Shatley) and possibly a third with zero snaps to start at right tackle in the opener (Shaq Anthony until sophomore Gifford Timothy’s knee heals enough to get back in action).
Virginia Tech: Wide receiver – You could just as easily say offensive line here too, but junior QB Logan Thomas needs reliable (and healthy) options at receiver to replace his top two targets from ’11.
NC State: Linebacker – After being a spot Jon Tenuta could count on of late, they replace all three starters here.
Georgia Tech: D-line – Three upperclassmen are projected as starters, replacing two seniors, in a critical part of Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme.