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Duke's loss against North Carolina dropped the Blue Devils out of the top four in the ACC, forcing ...

Around the ACC: Week 17



The ACC regular season wrapped up Saturday, and all 15 teams will be headed to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., this week for the ACC Tournament.

No. 5 North Carolina (26-6, 14-4)

After already clinching the top seed in the ACC tournament last week, the Tar Heels wrapped up an outright ACC regular season title this week. Despite losing to Virginia 53-43 on Monday, the worst offensive performance for North Carolina in the shot-clock era, the Tar Heels cleaned things up in their season finale rivalry matchup against Duke Saturday on Senior Night. 

Led by a sharp performance from Joel Berry II, who dropped 28 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from behind the arc, the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils 90-83. Berry leads the team in 3-point shooting percentage, firing at a 42.6 percent clip for the season. North Carolina is riding strong into the tournament and is looking for a strong performance next week to put itself in the conversation for a top seed in the NCAA tournament.

No. 15 Florida State (24-7, 12-6)

The Seminoles split their final two games of the season, but were able to clinch a double bye in the ACC tournament. On the road at Duke Tuesday, Florida State struggled to find its rhythm, losing to the Blue Devils 75-70. However, Saturday at home against rival Miami, the Seminoles came away with a 66-57 victory led by sophomore Dwayne Bacon. Bacon led Florida State in scoring in both games, dropping 19 against Duke and 23 on Miami. He has been the main force on the offense, leading the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game.

No. 19 Notre Dame (23-8, 12-6)

The Fighting Irish failed to capitalize on a chance to secure a No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament with a 71-64 loss at Louisville Saturday. After trouncing lowly Boston College 82-66 Wednesday, led by Wooden Award finalist Bonzie Colson’s double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, the Fighting Irish struggled to find the range against the Cardinals, connecting on only 28.0 percent of their 3-point attempts. Notre Dame was also outmuscled on the boards, losing the battle 44-27 as Colson was limited to five rebounds.

No. 8 Louisville (24-7, 12-6)

The Cardinals split their two games of the week, losing at Wake Forest Wednesday but coming back with a home win against Notre Dame. With the 88-81 upset loss against the Demon Deacons, Louisville needed a win in the season finale to secure a double-bye in the ACC Tournament. Led by guards Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider, who combined for 37 points on 53.8 percent shooting from downtown, the Cardinals were able to lock up the No. 4 seed.

No. 10 Duke (23-8, 11-7)

The Blue Devils ended a two-game slide with a 75-70 home victory over Florida State Tuesday on Senior Night Tuesday. Led by Frank Jackson’s career-high 22 points and Amile Jefferson’s seventh double-double of the season, Duke took control of a game that was a far more convincing victory than the score suggests. 

However, needing a victory in Chapel Hill Saturday to clinch a much-needed double-bye in the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils faltered in a close contest. Despite Luke Kennard’s 28 points, Duke was unable to overcome Joel Berry’s perfect performance from downtown and fell 90-83 to its arch rivals. The Blue Devils will rest until Wednesday, when they will face the winner of Tuesday's Clemson-N.C. State matchup. Duke beat the Tigers by two and lost to the Wolfpack by two earlier in the season, both at home.

No. 23 Virginia (21-9, 11-7)

Virginia strung together two key victories this week in what will surely be a confidence booster after a tumultuous slide in the middle of the season. The Cavaliers held the potent North Carolina offense—fourth in the nation in offensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy—to 43 points, forcing 14 turnovers and limiting primary Tar Heel scorers Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II to a combined 19 points. Virginia had three starters in double digits, led by Kyle Guy’s 17 points on 54.5 percent shooting. The Cavaliers closed out the season with a 67-42 rout against Pittsburgh, guided by senior London Perrantes’ 22 points in his final home game.

Virginia Tech (21-9, 10-8)

After shooting lights-out against at home against Miami Monday, the Hokies struggled against Wake Forest Saturday, leading to a split of the season’s final two games. In the 66-61 defeat of the No. 25 Hurricanes, Virginia Tech shot 50.0 percent from downtown, with junior Ty Outlaw pouring in 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting from long range. However, at home on Senior Night against the Demon Deacons, the Hokies were only able to connect on 30.8 percent of their 3-point attempts in an 89-84 shootout loss. Virginia Tech may have the opportunity to exact revenge against Wake Forest Wednesday if the Demon Deacons defeat Boston College Tuesday.

Syracuse (18-13, 10-8)

The Orange got the job done this week with a 90-61 rout of Georgia Tech at home Saturday. In the offensive explosion, Syracuse shot 53.7 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from downtown. Andrew White III had a career day, dropping 40 points on a red-hot 8-of-9 performance from behind the arc. Tyus Battle chipped in 22 points in a game that was actually close about midway through the second half, with the Orange only leading by five. Syracuse has wins against Duke, Virginia and Florida State, victories most bubble teams would die to have. But a rollercoaster season and lackluster play on the road places the Orange squarely on the bubble, and they may need a win Wednesday against Miami in the ACC Tournament.

No. 25 Miami (20-10, 10-8)

Miami faltered against two strong ACC foes this week, losing on the road to both Virginia Tech and Florida State. After a four-game winning streak, including wins against Virginia and Duke, the Hurricanes were unable to continue the momentum and fell to ninth in the logjam that is the middle of the ACC standings. They will need to get back on track against a desperate Syracuse team in the ACC tournament in order to regain confidence going into the NCAA tournament.

Wake Forest (18-12, 9-9)

The Demon Deacons managed to finish the ACC season at .500 with two huge victories this week that greatly improved their chances for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. Starting with an 88-81 victory against Louisville at home Wednesday for its first win against a ranked team of the year, Wake Forest continued its momentum with a road victory against a solid Virginia Tech team. 

Sophomore John Collins was a force in both games, combining for 38 points and 20 rebounds. He leads the team in both categories, averaging 19.1 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game, and finished second in ACC Player of the Year voting. Wake Forest will look to extend its three-game winning streak in the ACC tournament and solidify its status in the Big Dance.

Georgia Tech (17-14, 8-10)

Led by center Ben Lammers’ 20-point performance at home against Pittsburgh Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets defeated the Panthers 61-52. But Lammers only scored 10 on the road Saturday at Syracuse, as Georgia Tech was thoroughly beaten 90-61. The Yellow Jackets were porous on defense, allowing the Orange to shoot 53.7 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from downtown. If John Pastner’s team hopes to be considered for an at-large bid in the Big Dance, it will need to make some noise in the ACC tournament as the No. 11 seed.

Clemson (16-14, 6-12)

Clemson closed out the season strong, winning both games this week against N.C. State and Boston College. Finally ending on the right side of a close game, the Tigers defeated the Wolfpack by four, led by Jaron Blossomgame’s 16 points. Clemson finished the regular season with a rout at home Saturday against the Eagles, winning 82-68 behind 17 points from senior Avry Holmes.

N.C. State (15-16, 4-14)

The Wolfpack lost their only game this week, a 78-74 nail-biter at Clemson Wednesday. Despite a balanced offensive performance with four scorers in double digits, led by forward Abdul-Malik Abu’s 18, a late triple by Jaron Blossomgame was the dagger for N.C. State. The Wolfpack will have a chance for revenge, with a first-round matchup against Clemson in the ACC tournament set for Tuesday.

Pittsburgh (15-16, 4-14)

The Panthers’ skid continued this week, extending their losing streak to four. Michael Young and Jamel Artis were held below their season averages of 19.9 and 18.4 points per game, respectively, in both games. The duo combined for only 46 points total against Georgia Tech and Virginia, resulting in losses to the Yellow Jackets 61-52 Tuesday and the Cavaliers 67-42 Saturday.

Boston College (9-22, 2-16)

The Eagles did not come close to snapping their losing streak, which stretched to 14 this week with routs at the hands of Notre Dame and Clemson by scores of 82-66 and 82-68, respectively. Boston College heads to the tournament in last place in the conference for the second straight year.


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