2010 ACC Tournament -- Day One Preview

It's finally here! My favorite four-day weekend of the year is upon us. The ACC Tournament tips off Thursday at noon, starting the festivities that will end Sunday afternoon by crowning its 57th champion. 

Let's take an in-depth look at the four games slated for Thursday.

 

#9 Virginia vs.


#8 Boston College, 12:00 p.m.


ACC Championships –

Virginia – 1 (1976)

Boston College – 0

Regular season results: Boston College won at home 68-55

Team Records: UVA 14-15 (5-11) Boston College 15-15 (6-10)

Projected Starters:

Boston College

G- Reggie Jackson (12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.5 apg)

G/F- Rakim Sanders (10.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.1 apg)

F- Joe Trapani (14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

F- Corey Raji (11.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg)

C- Josh Southern (4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

Virginia

G- Mustapha Farrakhan (6.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

G- Sammy Zeglinski (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 38% 3pt.)

F- Mike Scott (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg)

F- Will Sherill (3.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

C- Jerome Meyinsse (6.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

Team Statistical Comparison

BC

STAT

UVA

69.4

Points Per Game

66.0

12.9

Turnovers Per Game

10.8

4-9

Record Away From Home

3-9

Overview – Virginia will play tomorrow’s game, and any possible game after that, without leading scorer Sylvan Landesburg, who was suspended indefinitely for academic reasons. The Cavaliers began the conference season very promising, winning five of their first seven games, before ending the season on a nine-game losing streak.

Boston College has played about to its ability level this season. After losing Tyrese Rice to graduation, the cupboard was pretty empty for coach Al Skinner. Winning six games in conference play is nothing to brag about, but it doesn’t have Skinner, a well respected coach in the league, anywhere near the hot seat.

As for the game itself, the loss of Landesburg will make it very hard for the Cavaliers to advance past this game. His 17 points per game are virtually irreplaceable. Tony Bennett placed an emphasis on defense when he took over as Virginia’s head coach, but that is what has plagued them this season. The Eagles’ flex offense can be very effective, especially against slower teams – like Virginia.

The Cavaliers’ best hope in this game is for Zeglinski to shoot exceptionally well from beyond the arc, and Jeff Jones to come up big off the bench. Neither team is very deep, so expect a slow-paced, low scoring game.

Prediction – Boston College 61, Virginia 51

#5 Wake Forest vs.


#12 Miami, 2:30 p.m.


ACC Championships –

Wake Forest – 4 (Most recent: 1996)

Miami -- 0

Regular season results – Miami 67-66 at home Jan. 9, Wake 62-53 at home Feb. 2

Team records – Miami 18-12 (4-12) Wake Forest 19-9 (9-7)

Projected starters –

Wake Forest

G- Ishmael Smith (13.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 4.7 rpg)

G- C.J. Harris (10.0 ppg, 84% FT)

G- L.D. Williams (9.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

F- Al-Farouq Aminu (15.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg)

C- Chas McFarland (7.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg)

Miami

G-Malcolm Grant (9.4 ppg, 40.9 3pt. %)

G- James Dews (11.7 ppg. 2.8 rpg)

F- Adrian Thomas (7.3 ppg, 41.8 3pt %)

F- Reggie Johnson (5.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

C- Julian Gamble (3.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg)

Team statistical comparison –

WAKE

STAT

MIAMI

73.4

Points Per Game

72.1

31.7

3-point %

36.2

42.1

Rebounds Per Game

35.9

Overview –

This game has the makings of a potential upset. The Demon Deacons ended a four-game skid by closing out the regular season beating Clemson 70-65. Before the losing streak, Wake seemed to be on its way to a big season. Wake seems to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament still, but a loss to Miami would force the Deacs to sweat it out on Selection Sunday.

Miami’s leading scorer Dwayne Collins is out with stress reaction in his tibia. The injury kept him out of the Hurricanes’ season finale against Florida State. Durand Scott may not start, but he will have a big impact on the game. The freshman guard has been sensational at times for coach Frank Haith, scoring 10 points and dishing out 3.5 assists per game.

This game will come down to Miami’s ability to control Wake in the paint. The Deacons average the third most rebounds in the country, and Al-Farouq Aminu is one of the most ferocious players on the boards you’ll find anywhere. He disappeared at times during the losing streak, but he will have to play well tomorrow and the rest of the way for Wake. If Miami can force turnovers, score in transition, and shoot the ball well in the half-court, they have a chance.

Prediction – Wake Forest 75, Miami 71


#7 Georgia Tech vs.


#10 North Carolina, 7:00 p.m.


ACC Championships –

Georgia Tech – 3 (Most recent: 1993)

UNC – 17 (Most recent: 2008)

Regular season results – GT 73-71 at UNC Jan. 13, 68-51 at home Feb. 16

Team records – GT 19-11 (7-9) UNC 16-15 (5-11)

Projected starters –

Georgia Tech

G- Iman Shumpert (10.0 ppg, 4.0 apg)

G- De’Andre Bell (6.4 ppg, 40.6 3pt %)

G – Glen Rice, Jr. (5.3 ppg, 46.9 3pt%)

F- Derrick Favors (11.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg)

F- Gani Lawal (13.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg)

UNC

G- Larry Drew II (8.6 ppg, 5.9 apg)

G- Will Graves (9.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg)

F-Marcus Ginyard (8.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

F- John Henson (5.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

F- Deon Thompson (13.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg)

Team Statistical Comparison –

GA TECH

STAT

UNC

74.7

Points Per Game

75.7

16.2

Turnovers Per Game

15.6

0.9:1

Assist/Turnover Ratio

1:1

66.3

Points Allowed Per Game

72.6

Overview –

The most glorified on-court struggles North Carolina have had this season deal with offensive inefficiency. Statistically speaking, the Yellow Jackets are equally inept. They average more turnovers, score fewer points per possession, and are equally as poor from the free throw line.

What the Jackets do have entering this game is motivation. A loss to Virginia Tech last Saturday made this first round game a must-win if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels, on the other hand, have gone on record saying their season was "screwed" and doomed from the start. The buzz out of Chapel Hill is not of a team on a mission to salvage a forgettable season.

Despite that aspect of the game, the Heels match up fairly well with the Jackets. The Heels have a deeper bench, and boast the kind of length on the interior that will make life difficult for Favors and Lawal. Glen Rice, Jr. and De’Andre Bell are deadly outside shooters, something the Heels have struggled guarding against all season.

Prediction – Georgia Tech 80, North Carolina 63


#6 Clemson vs.


#11 North Carolina State, 9:30 p.m.


ACC Championships –

Clemson – 0

NC State – 10 (Most recent: 1987)

Regular season results – Clemson 73-70 at NC St. Jan. 16

Team records – Clemson 21-9 (9-7) NC State 17-14 (5-11)

Projected starters –

Clemson

G- Demontez Stitt (11.2 ppg, 3.3 apg, 2.6 t.o. per game)

G- Andre Young (9.1 ppg, 1.7 spg)

F- Tanner Smith (9.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg)

F- David Potter (7.2 ppg, 39.2 3pt. %)

C- Trevor Booker (15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg)

NC State

G- Javier Gonzalez (10.0 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.1 t.o. per game)

G- Julius Mays (5.0 ppg, 88.5 FT%)

F- Dennis Horner (11.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg)

F- C.J. Williams (4.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg)

F- Tracy Smith (17.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg)

Team Statistical Comparison –

CLEMSON

STAT

NC STATE

73.8

Points Per Game

68.3

70.3

Possessions Per Game

66.3

9.6

Steals Per Game

6.3

45.5%

Field Goal Percentage

43.9%

Overview –

Clemson is a tough team to figure out. Athletically, they can keep up with anyone in the league. They lack a true scorer on the perimeter. Stitt is a solid player who fits coach Oliver Purnell’s system well, but he is not a good creator in the half-court. Trevor Booker needs to have a strong performance all weekend for the Tigers to have a chance. Tracy Smith is a hard worker in the post for the ‘Pack; watching him and Booker battle it out under the rim will be fun.

The Wolfpack have one of the more anemic offenses in the country, which is not a good sign considering how heavily Clemson relies on creating extra possessions with heavy defensive pressure. The Tigers will give up easy scores on occasion, but Gonzalez and Mays turn the ball over nearly 6 times per game between themselves.

This game is not a foregone Clemson victory, mainly given the Tigers’ inconsistent performances during February. That being said, Clemson is the better team and had better win this game, or they’ll be headed in the wrong direction when the NCAA Tournament begins next week.

Prediction – Clemson 74, NC State 67

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