ACC Basketball

ACC Quarterfinals…The Afternoon Games



The Seminoles advance after holding off a stubborn Clemson squad who scored 33 points in the game’s final nine minutes, ruining a pretty good defensive effort by the Seminoles.

For only the second time all season, the Cavaliers are rebounding from a loss. They are also facing the Seminoles for a second. In their first meeting in Charlottesville, Florida State struggled to hold onto the ball (Virginia got 12 steals) and struggled from deep, hitting just 4-for-19 from the floor.

Yet, at the ten-minute mark, Virginia only led by one, 38-37. That’s when the Cavaliers tightened up the D. They gave up just six more points in the game’s final 10 minutes and walked away with a 51-41 victory. Xavier Rathan-Mayes was the only FSU player to hit double figures, scoring 13, but he need 16 shots to do it (failing to reach the FT line). Anthony Gill led Virginia with 13 points and nine boards, but in that win, the Cavaliers certainly missed Justin Anderson, going just 1-for-11 from three.

Of course, Mr. Anderson will most likely miss this game as well, which means Malcolm Brogdon and Gill will need to continue to shoulder the scoring load. Neither is a real threat from deep, so the Seminoles will try to keep the paint clear with their seven footers.

Yet, it’s still hard to see how the Seminoles score against the nation’s most efficient defense. The big boys inside simply don’t have the muscle or the basketball smarts to work through the pack-line defense and Florida State doesn’t have the shooters to rely on the deep ball.



Now this is a quarterfinals game worth watching. Louisville got here by winning four of their last five, including a home win against Virginia. North Carolina limped into the ACC Tournament, losing six of 10, but had no problem against Boston College in the second round.

In their first meeting back in Chapel Hill, the two teams got into a dog fight. Carolina led early, but Louisville seemingly took control, building a 63-50 lead behind their big three. However, the Tar Heels rallied and in the game’s final 40 seconds, we saw three game-winning shots. Of course the last game-winning shot is the only one that matters, as Marcus Paige nailed a jumper with nine seconds left to finish up the comeback, 72-71.

The rematch in Louisville would also feature a solid comeback. This time, North Carolina appeared to have control, holding a 43-25 lead with 18 minutes left to play. Yet, they couldn’t keep the Cardinals off the line (44 free throw attempts in the game). With three minutes remaining to play, the game was tied at 60, but neither team had much left in the tank and both failed to score. In overtime though, Chris Jones and Terry Rozier re-discovered their scoring touch, combining for 15 points, as Louisville out-scored the Tar Heels, 18-8 in the extra period, winning it 78-68.

This time around, the Cardinals won’t have Chris Jones (dismissed). He scored 36 points in the two games against UNC (although he went just 1-for-9 from two in the second contest). To make up for the loss of their senior point guard, Rick Pitino’s club has tried to become a more balanced team. Wayne Blackshear has asserted himself and even Quentin Snider managed to hit some threes against Virginia.

Yet, the heart and soul remains Montrezl Harrell. While he struggled in their loss in Chapel Hill (scoring nine points), he did manage to muscle his way to 22 points and 15 rebounds in the rematch. He’ll be looking to repeat that second performance, especially if North Carolina is without Kennedy Meeks again.

The key for the Tar Heels is to take care of the ball. They’ve struggled at times to do just that¬†(10th in the ACC in turnover %) and the Cardinals feast on turnovers. However, Marcus Paige has played back-to-back great games and even Joel Berry is starting to get aggressive with the ball (he scored seven against Boston College, pulling down five defensive rebounds).

I believe North Carolina is the better team, but when was the last time this better team beat anyone good? Let’s just say it’s been a while. I like for Louisville to match North Carolina on the boards. Without Meeks, the Tar Heels are without a big, important body. No big deal against a soft team like Boston College, but the Cards have size. I also like Terry Rozier to have some success, even against Tokoto. He may not be as good a scorer as Olivier Hanlan, but he’s crafty and you know he’s seen what Duke’s Tyus Jones has done against this Carolina team.



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