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ACC Basketball Preview: Jan 11-12

Friday, January 10, 2014 9:57am

SATURDAY

NORTH CAROLINA (10-5, 0-2 ACC) AT NO. 2 SYRACUSE (15-0, 2-0 ACC)

Time: 12:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN/WatchESPN

THE SKINNY

North Carolina doesnt do well against zones. Syracuse, well, I dont know if you know this, ACC fans, but theyre kind of good at the whole zone thing. What could go wrong for Syracuse? Oh, well, theres that whole UNC-hasnt-lost-to-a-top-14-Ken-Pom-team thing. Syracuse is fifth in the latest Ken Pomeroy rankings, a spot below Louisville (a foe UNC has already vanquished) and four ABOVE Michigan State (who UNC beat on the road). But lets be real for a second. Thats not a thing thats going to keep happening. UNC is not going to simply beat good teams and lose to mediocre ones. Right. RIGHT????? For UNC, though, its going to have to value possessions a lot more - take good shots, dont turn the ball over, etc. Defense is somewhat of an issue, but UNC lost at Wake in spite of holding the Deacs to its fourth-worst offensive efficiency of the season. GOTTA MAKE SHOTS! And for Syracuse, dont give up offensive rebounds - contrary to the narrative, a zone does NOT have to mean giving up second looks, as the Orange surrender 30.6% OR% to opponents - slightly above average nationally. But UNC is not even going to be able to keep this game close, in theory, if it cant get offensive rebounds.

NAMES TO KNOW

Leslie McDonald. Its not as simple as to say that a three-point shooter will automatically bust a zone defense, particularly since its not like Syracuse is going to come out of the zone if UNC hits a few. But regardless, McDonald is UNCs only other three-point threat and hes going to need to hit some. More importantly, though, he cant be as big a liability as hes been on the defensive end. He has had multiple knee injuries, but he cant stop penetration and he cant seem to avoid getting into foul trouble. Hes a liability on defense, but UNC pretty much has to play him because it has no other depth at that spot. He just has to help the Tar Heels more than he has so far since his return.

Trevor Cooney. When UNC has a hard time stopping the drive, it has a hard time recovering on the help defense to get back to the shooters. If UNC cant stop freshman point guard Tyler Ennis from getting into the lane (and it has shown no indication it can in recent games), then Cooney will likely just be camping out at three-point line, waiting to drain a wide-open one. Hes hitting a ridiculous 45.3% of his looks this year, even though hes cooled off a bit in recent weeks (7-of-25 in the last three games). But if he gets an open look, hes probably going to make it. And then hes going to get hot. And then theres going to be nothing North Carolina can do. And there might not be anyway.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Dug up some historical UNC stats under Roy Williams, per Ken Pom - the Tar Heels had an effective field-goal percentage of 50% or higher, shot at least 50% from two-point range and had an offensive efficiency of 114 or better in each of Williams first six seasons (2004-09). In the last five years, UNC hasnt had an eFG over 50% (or a two-point percentage over 50%) and has had just one season with an offensive efficiency at 114 or better (exactly 114.0 in 2012). This years group, though, has the second-worst numbers under Williams in each (108.8 efficiency, 48.4% eFG, 48.7% 2-pt FG%). The worst? Yeah, that was all 2010: 105.5, 48% eFG and 47.6% 2-pt. . At the risk of excluding Syracuse in these stats, the Orange have two players in the top 23 in the nation in ORtg - Trevor Cooney at 19 (134.8) and Rakeem Christmas at 23 (133.8). C.J. Fair plays 89.3% of Syracuses minutes; the only ACC player to play a higher percentage is Notre Dames Eric Atkins (91.4% (!!!)). Tyler Ennis isnt far behind Fair at 81.8% (10th in the ACC).

NARRATIVES

North Carolina Win: The UNC roller-coaster season continues! Hey, this is kind of a fun ride for Roy Williams and company, eh? THOSE CRAZY TAR HEELS!

 

North Carolina Loss: Hey roller coasters are fun, right? Lets give the UNC roller coaster a go. OH MY GOD WAIT SOMETHING HAS GONE HORRIBLY WRONG ON THIS ROLLER COASTER AND HELP HELP HELP HELP NOOOOO STOP THE COASTER

 

Syracuse Win: 

Syracuse Loss: Youre going to fit right into the ACC, Syracuse.

PREDICTION

Syracuse, 79-71. Somehow, I look into my ACC Crystal Ball and see Syracuse dominating most of this game and UNC making a run late to get it close(r), but for naught.

 

BOSTON COLLEGE (4-11, 0-2 ACC) AT VIRGINIA TECH (8-6, 1-1 ACC)

Time: 12:00 p.m.

TV: RSN/ESPN3

THE SKINNY

Well if this game doesnt give you a good old-fashioned case of the sads, then I dont know what will. BCs disappointing start and Virginia Techs depleted roster that gives Hokie fans no hope for the future? #goacc Well, listen. There are some positive signs for the Eagles here. They had one of their best performances on defense (fifth-best this year, per efficiency) and had the third-best offensive performance by a Clemson opponent this season (and the best by a team that didnt beat Clemson) in a 62-60 loss. As for Virginia Techwho knows? Theyve beaten middle-of-the-pack teams like West Virginia and Miami, but gotten crushed by the elite teams and even lost to some straight-up bad ones. Virginia Techs offense has been a mess, which is the real issue, but the Eagles defense is so bad that it might not matter? WHICH TEAMS FREE FALL WILL STOP???? One has to, at least temporarily.

NAMES TO KNOW

Devin Wilson. Who, you might ask? Well, you might ask that about a lot of Virginia Tech players, to be fair. But Wilson has shown some flashes this year of being pretty good, and right now, hes the only 100% healthy point guard on the Hokie roster as a freshman. Good luck with that! But in spite of playing nearly 80% of Virginia Techs minutes, hes shooting pretty well and has a pretty good assist rate. And he has a free-throw rate that would make Malcolm Delaney blush (114.5, fifth in the country). But he needs to be more of a consistent factor for the offensively-challenged Hokies. (Orjust challenged? Is that fair?)

Garland Owens. Yet again another name that isnt widely known to ACC fans. But it should be. Boston College fans know Garland. They even have a #FreeGarlandOwens hashtag because the freshman is arguably BCs best player who doesnt play. At 6-5, hes one of the most athletic players on the court for BC and leads the Eagles in ORtg (123.7). But hes played just 40.3% of BCs minutes this year and a total of 28 in BCs last two games. He hasnt been in foul trouble, or inefficient - he had two excellent efficiency ratings in the last two games - hes just not playing. Hes arguably BCs most capable defender, too. Im no coach, but maybe play him?

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Part of BCs problem this year is that its best players are regressing. Junior Lonnie Jackson, for instance, shot nearly 39% from three for his career entering this year. Hes shooting 31.1% so far this year and his ORtg is nearly ten points less than it was a year ago (97.9 this year, 106.7 last year). Oh yeah, and hes playing just 36% of BCs minutes this year compared to nearly 73% last year. BC scores 27% of its points from the foul line (20th-most in the country) while Virginia Tech scores 35.5% of its points from the three-point line (17th-most). Ken Poms system compares statistical profiles to find similar players, and the player that Jarell Eddie most resembles this year is.I kid you notformer Hokie A.D. Vassallo (the 09 version). Virginia Tech is 4-4 this season when Eddie posts an ORtg of under 100, and he has done that in three of his last four games.

NARRATIVES

Boston College Win: 

Boston College Loss:

 

Virginia Tech Win: A win! But this season is so sad and were going nowhere! SO MUCH CONFUSION FROM HOKIE NATION!

Virginia Tech Loss: 

PREDICTION

Boston College, 79-68. Yeah, Virginia Tech is a mess. Boston College at least showed signs of life. Give me the Eagles.

 

NOTRE DAME (10-5, 1-1 ACC) AT GEORGIA TECH (9-6, 0-2 ACC)

Time: 12:00 p.m.

TV: ACC Network/TheACC.com

THE SKINNY

Theres a clear winner already of the ACCs Best New Member Award. Congratulations, Notre Dame! Lose at home to Indiana State and North Dakota State, beat Indiana. Beat Duke at home, lose to N.C. State. Wait…….wait. Am I sensing a pattern here? *Checks Notre Dames schedule* YOU GUYS.NOTRE DAME IS 0-4 AGAINST TEAMS WITH STATE IN THEIR TEAM NAME (including Ohio State) AND 10-1 AGAINST EVERYONE ELSE! So this clearly means now that the Irish, having just one more game against a State team (at Florida State), will finish the season 25-6. Anywho, Notre Dame has only played one road game this year and it was at Iowa. And they lost. And it was the only team without state in its name that Notre Dame has lost to. Clearly, this means that Georgia Tech is primed for an upset. Judging by the Yellow Jackets effort against Duke the other night, theyre certainly game. Georgia Techs defense is legit, though the offense is.well. Its a thing that sometimes happens but usually just doesnt. Notre Dame isnt all that great defensively, though, and if Georgia Tech can get its perimeter guys going early, the Yellow Jackets could make this one interesting. Honestly have little to no idea what to make of this game. But its got #goacc written ALLLLLLL over it. And for that, Notre Dame, we thank you. 

NAMES TO KNOW

Garrick Sherman. Considering Notre Dames big man had 21 points and 18 rebounds against a physical (albeit inexperienced) N.C. State front line earlier this week, he should be plenty capable of handling Georgia Tech in the post. Now, his big game against the Wolfpack didnt necessarily lead to anything as the Irish lost, but thats mostly because Eric Atkins struggled. And hes really emerged as more and more of a go-to guy, something Notre Dame desperately needs. 

Daniel Miller. My fascination with Georgia Techs seven-footer not getting more touches has been well-documented. I feel somewhat vindicated after he had 14 points and eight rebounds against Duke.  And he took 11 shots! His third time attempting more than 10 shots all year! (Of course, Georgia Tech is 0-3 in those games, but whatever.) Hes such a good player and he needs to be a bigger part of this offense. Bigger than, say, anyone other than Marcus Georges-Hunt driving to the basket and chucking up an ill-advised shot/pass.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Georgia Techs Poole brothers continue to bewellinteresting to watch. Solomon Poole recorded an ORtg of 19 against Duke, his worst of the season in a game where he saw enough minutes to qualify, and he ended 36% of Georgia Techs possessions in the 11 minutes he was on the court. He missed his only two shots (both three-pointers) and had two assists, but turned it over four times and had one foul. Stacey saw five minutes and missed his only two shots (again, both threes) and had one rebound, one turnover and one foul. I meanyeah. Notre Dames bad free-throw luck continues - N.C. State, which went into the game struggling from the foul line, drained 25-of-32 attempts (78.1%) and Notre Dames free-throw defense actually got worse as a result; their opponents are now shooting nearly 78% from the foul line. The national average for all teams is 69.3%.

NARRATIVES

Notre Dame Win: I mean, I dont even know. Is Notre Dame supposed to win this game, or not? Is it more #goacc for them to win? Probably is.

Notre Dame Loss: Wow, this Duke hangover really lasts a long time, huh? Should probably take something for that.

Georgia Tech Win: FUN!

Georgia Tech Loss: With Robert Carter, Jr. out and this team looking as inept offensively as it ever has, this team is as depressing as any other in the league, and thats saying something.

  

PREDICTION

Notre Dame, 69-63. Your guess is as good as mine, folks.

WAKE FOREST (11-4, 1-1 ACC) AT PITTSBURGH (14-1, 2-0 ACC)

Time: 12:00 p.m.

TV: RSN/ESPN3

THE SKINNY

Wake Forest in a road game against a good team? Theres just no possible way this will end well for the Deacs, right? Although on the other hand, Pitt has yet to fully adapt to the ways of #goacc, and maybe the Panthers will succumb to its irresistible forces. Probably the most relevant statistic here is that while Pitt hasnt been fantastic rebounding the ball yet in league play, Wake Forest has been horrendous at it. Its dead last in league games only (yes, in just two games, but still) in both offensive and defensive rebounding. And if we know one thing, its that Pitt can usually rebound. But what has to be the biggest concern for Wake Forest fans is how badly they defended at Virginia, since that had been what the Deacs do best this season. (More on that in the stats section, though, if you want to know – HOW BAD IS IT?!?!)

NAMES TO KNOW

Durand Johnson. After hitting double figures in five of Pitts first nine games and averaging 10 points in that span, he scored a total of 23 in Pitts next five games. But the sophomore guard who provides Pitt a scoring spark off the bench, in theory, came alive again against Maryland with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting (3-of-4 from three) in just 23 minutes. That snapped a slump over his last eight games, when hed hit 5-of-27 from deep. Lets face it, Lamar Patterson cant score all of Pitt's points and Johnson, who hit nearly 38% of his threes last year (but has already attempted nearly the same amount he did all of last season), could be a guy who steps up more consistently.

Arnaud William Adala-Moto. HELLO MOTO! (Im sorry.) He was the lone bright spot, if you want to call it that, in Wakes 23-point loss at Virginia (that wasnt even that close), with a season-high ORtg of 120. He is averaging 10 points in the last two games on 5-of-11 shooting (10-of-14 from the foul line), and to win a road game, at least one (somewhat) unusual suspect needs to stop up. Just one thing, Billy Moto - no more 3s. Youre 0-of-6 this year and 4-of-30 for your career. CHECK THE ANALYTICS!

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Against North Carolina, Travis McKie had 16 points, his second-most this season, and posted a 107 ORtg. Against Virginia, the senior disappeared again with two points on 1-of-4 shooting and a season-low ORtg of 45. Welp. In its first two ACC games as a new member, Pitt has edged its two opponents in the first half 56-54, but dominated the second half by a combined score of 91-57. And its been about the same in both games, with a +14 over Maryland and a +20 at N.C. State. Wakes defense has been pretty good this season, but against the three highest-ranked Ken Pom teams it has faced - Kansas, Virginia and Tennessee - it has, not coincidentally, given up its three worst defensive performances, all in losses. Weird. Pitt has hit 51.7% of its two-point attempts in two league games, a figure that leads the league, not to mention 45.5% of its three-pointers (second in the league so far).

NARRATIVES

Wake Forest Win: A road win, huh? This will be Jeff Bzdelik:

 

Wake Forest Loss: Hmm. Enough of those and maybe no one will notice.

Pittsburgh Win: MAYBE THIS WILL BE ENOUGH TO GET RANKED? Probably not, but at least Ken Pom loves the Panthers (theyre No. 7 in his rankings) even though they have yet to beat a top-50 team this season, and that wont change with this win. SO ARE THEY OVERRATED OR UNDERRATED? Im confused.

Pittsburgh Loss: 

PREDICTION

Pittsburgh, 81-63. Yep. More road woes for Bzdelik and company. No worries, though! N.C. State is coming to town on January 15! (not saying just saying)

NO. 16 DUKE (12-3, 1-1 ACC) AT CLEMSON (10-4, 1-1 ACC)

Time: 2:00 p.m.

TV: RSN/ESPN3

THE SKINNY

WAIT A SEC ITS A TRUE ROAD GAME FOR DUKE AGAIN HOW WILL THE BLUE DEVILS DO IT?!?!?!?!?! Okay lets be serious. Clemson continues to be just completely and utterly inept offensively - in the loss to Florida State (a very good defensive team, to be fair), the Tigers turned it over on nearly a third of their possessions and made just 10-of-31 two-point baskets. Woof. Oh, and finished with 41 points. Whats worse for Clemson, though, is that its defense was exposed as potentially being not as good as advertised, giving up a point per possession to an FSU offense that had been struggling.

Clemson does have the worst strength of schedule of any ACC team so far, and it showed. But its about to get a lot tougher, and Clemson gets about a day or so to rest and lick its proverbial wounds before Duke comes to town. Littlejohn should be packed and the crowd should be rocking, but Duke brings the best offense in the country into this game (per Ken Pom). Welp. The only real area where Clemson could potentially hurt Duke is on the offensive glass, but Duke has been much better in that department recently. Dukes defense isnt all that great this year, but if Clemsons offense is a self-check, will it even matter? (And make no mistake - it is.)

NAMES TO KNOW

K.J. McDaniels. In spite of what Clemsons softer non-conference schedule might have indicated, the Tigers arent going to win many games when McDaniels doesnt play well, and theyll probably still lose plenty even when he does. In fact, he has 73 points in Clemsons four losses this season. But hes still capable of taking over a game, and the dynamic and versatile 6-6 slasher seems like he could be a bit of a problem for Duke. But McDaniels had one of his worst games of his career last year against the Blue Devils (albeit in Cameron) with six points on 3-of-12 shooting, no assists, five turnovers and four fouls. Hes not even close to the same player this year, though. And if he gets going and gets SOME help from his teammates, who knows what could happen? (Yeah, we know. But good try anyway, K.J.)

Quinn Cook. With Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood and the various dramas surrounding other players on his team (whats wrong with Rasheed Sulaimon?, for instance), Dukes junior point guard has kind of been forgotten. You wouldnt know how good of a season hes having: 14.0 ppg, 6.1 apg, 1.7 spg season youll see out of an elite point guard. And hes shooting a career-best 46.5% from the field. Maybe its just the fact that Cook always seems on the verge of being out of control on the court. And not in a bad way - hes unpredictable. He even high-fived an unsuspecting Coach K during the Georgia Tech game last week. The best thing about Cook, though, is that hes been there and done it. He wasnt afraid in the loss at Notre Dame - he had 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and played all but one minute, adding four assists and two steals (but four fouls). In Dukes three losses, he has 11 fouls compared to 16 in 12 wins. But other than that, he is capable of taking over this game offensively and maybe it’ll be his afternoon to do that.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Um, so, losing to Florida State at home meant that Clemson dropped 15 spots in Ken Poms rankings from 33 to 48. Thatsprecipitous. Duke would know about that, though - in a one-point win over Vermont earlier this year, it fell from 8th to 28th (the lowest its been ranked this season) and is now back up to 16. In typical Clemson fashion, the Tigers just cant seem to catch a break - the one year they can actually make foul shots (77.5%, 7th in the country), they dont get to the line at all (theyre 314th in free-throw rate). So far, Duke is last in the ACC in terms of scoring the lowest percentage of its points in league play from two-point range (34.6%). For all the talk about Dukes improved second-half defense - and it was - Georgia Tech still had an eFG of 53.8%, its fifth-best this season.

NARRATIVES

Duke Win: 

Duke Loss: DUKE CANT WIN ON THE ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAD!!!!!!!!!!! everyone shouted with glee.

Clemson Win: 

Clemson Loss: This is what I think almost every time Clemson is on offense:

PREDICTION

Duke, 71-59. Avert your eyes, if you can. Blue Devils should be able to do just enough to grind out an ugly win.

VIRGINIA (11-4, 2-0 ACC) AT N.C. STATE (11-4, 1-1 ACC)

Time: 5:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN2/WatchESPN

THE SKINNY

In this battle of strength vs. strength, N.C. State is hitting 52.7% of its two-point baskets (46th in the country), while Virginias defense allows just 45.7% from inside the arc (97th). In ACC games only, though, N.C. State has found a way to win in spite of hitting just 42.2% of its two-pointers. Of course, the Wolfpack has scored 28.1% of its points in league play from the foul line (2nd-most in the league so far), so that doesnt hurt. Its not going to be easy to score around the rim against Virginia (which has held league opponents to 36.2% from two), but N.C. State has overcome its issues not only from the foul line, but also  by taking care of the ball. It hasnt cracked the 50% eFG mark since before Christmas, but its 2-2 with an almost-win over Missouri because it has taken care of the ball (the one exception being the Pitt game, and, well, the result was indicative of that).

Theres absolutely no telling which Virginia team is going to show up - the Cavaliers are 1-2 on the road this year, but the losses were at Green Bay and at Tennessee (by 35). So.transitive property, since N.C. State beat Tennessee at Tennessee? Anyway, Virginia is capable of getting hot from 3 - the Cavaliers are shooting just 34.6% on the season, but 13-of-45 (28.9%) on the road compared to 36.1% at home, and 43.3% in its last two ACC games. N.C. States three-point defense has been good all year and in ACC play, and it will need to be again.

NAMES TO KNOW

Joe Harris. Well, I guess that concussion thing healed up, eh? Harris had 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting against Wake (albeit in just 27 minutes). He had hit 3-of-20 three-pointers in the previous six games combined entering that one, and he hit 3-of-6 three-pointers against the Deacs alone. Last year against N.C. State, Harris averaged 17.5 points (on just 39.3% shooting), hitting 6-of-18 threes. In a game filled with inexperienced guys on both sides, Harris is going to be the wise old grizzled veteran, and that matters in a situation like this.

Ralston Turner. Virginia isnt going to give up much easily in the paint (not on purpose, anyway), and N.C. State is going to need someone to step up and make a few outside shots, probably. And its probably going to have to be Turner. Hes is starting to find his shooting touch again, hitting 17-of-30 threes in the last seven games. After he started the season 6-of-11 in the first three games, he hit 5-of-21 over the next five games. And hes still shooting 43.1% on the season. In the last two games (both ACC), hes averaging 11.5 ppg and has attempted more foul shots in those two games than he had the previous eight games combined. The more weapons around T.J. Warren, the better for N.C. State, and particularly one that can shoot 3s.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

N.C. States T.J. Warren posted his worst ORtg of the season to date at Notre Dame, and his team still won. Hes only been below 100 three times. Speaking of Warren, he made 14-of-27 three-pointers last season (51.9%) and hes nearly doubled his attempts barely halfway into the season (54). Hes shooting just 22.6% from three. N.C. States free-throw percentage has improved significantly and is up to 67.1%. Maybe the Wolfpack should share with Virginia (shooting 64.5%) what they did to turn things around. Virginias opponents are scoring 32.2% of their points from three. N.C. State has scored 17.7% of its points from three.

NARRATIVES

Virginia Win: Hey, ACC.remember us.with our slow offense and pack-line defense???? WERE BACKKKKKKKK!

Virginia Loss: 

N.C. State Win: 

N.C. State Loss: 

PREDICTION

Virginia, 64-59. I dont want to do this, because I genuinely think N.C. State can win this game, but then I sorted the Ken Pom defensive rankings. And I saw the following: No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Virginia and No. 9 Pittsburgh. Just dont think N.C. State is at a place quite yet where it can score even against very good defenses like this one. Also, Virginia seems to be playing well but who even knows with any team in this league anymore? 

SUNDAY

MARYLAND (10-6, 2-1 ACC) AT FLORIDA STATE (10-4, 1-1 ACC)

Time: 8:00 p.m.

TV: ESPNU/WatchESPN

THE SKINNY

Maryland has been giving up the three-pointer this year. Florida State has not been hitting three-pointers. So theres that. But theres also the fact that FSU is back to being FSU on defense, and Maryland is back to being.well, not back to anything, but its offense is 78th in the country. But the offensive glass is an area opponents can hurt FSU (hello, Maryland).  But the Terps have been a straight up derpfest on offense, particularly when it comes to taking care of the ball, and posted its worst efficiency rating of the season so far in the loss at Pitt (87.4). FSU cant hang on to the basketball either, but thats been a decades-old problem in Tallahassee because of the humidity. (The last thing was a thing I made up.) Really, its pretty simple for FSU - play good defense, win game. Its science. FSUs four worst defensive performances this year have all been losses (and all to Ken Pom top 39 teams, by the way). Marylands defense has been mediocre at best, and inconsistent at worst. Florida States offense hasnt been much different, but the Seminoles are capable of getting hot.

NAMES TO KNOW

Ian Miller. If he plays well, Florida State can beat almost anyone. If he plays poorly, they can lose to almost anyone. And he played well at Clemson, posting his best ORtg (118) since a 122 against Charlotte a few games ago. He had 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, adding five assists and two turnovers. Which is good because against Virginia, he had six points on 2-of-8 shooting (1-of-4 from three), adding four assists and.seven turnovers. WOOF. Oh, and he fouled out. Hes not hitting threes much the last few games (4-of-18 in the last four), and hes had problems on and off with turnovers all year, but when hes good, he can be really, really good.

Jake Layman. Hes playing nearly 80% of Marylands minutes this season, and theres no question that, except for his shorter hair, Layman has improved in almost every area of his game this season. But he didnt play that much in the last two games (49 out of a possible 80) and he hasnt been great in those games, scoring nine points on 3-of-12 shooting and just six rebounds. Hes hit just 7-of-25 threes in the last five games and 4-of-10 from two-point range. Maryland doesnt need him to be amazing, but it does need him to be a bit steadier than he has been so far in ACC play.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

The combined halftime score of FSUs win at Clemson on Thursday was a grand total of 37 points. This is not a thing you can make up. For perspective, even the Miami-UNC game on Wednesday hit 50 combined points by halftime. One reason for that might be that there were a total of 26 fouls called (and just 13 total foul shots attempted). FSU dominated Clemson in spite of Okaro White scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting (but no fouls! SOMEONE READ MY PREVIEW! #OkaroDontReach). Marylands Dez Wells posted his worst ORtg of the season in the loss at Pitt (54); he shot 2-of-6 and finished with five points to go with four turnovers and two fouls in 30 minutes. Crazy to think about this considering some of the talent on Marylands roster, but the Terps are projected by Ken Pomeroy to finish the season 16-15 overall and 8-10 in the ACC. I mean, theyre not even getting to the NIT if that happens.

NARRATIVES

Maryland Win: Sup, rest of ACC. Weve still got one more year left in this stupid league before we go on to bigger and better things, and were ready to WRECK SOME STUFF!

Maryland Loss: 

Florida State Win: The basketball team is good again? And the football team just won the national championship? This is basically #FSUTwitter right now:

Florida State Loss: Oh, Florida State. Sigh.

PREDICTION

Florida State, 69-65. I want to believe in you, FSU. Dont let me down.

Overall: 16-10 (8-6 ACC)