ACC Basketball

Last Day in the ACC

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

We have a pair of heavyweight battles this Saturday when Virginia tussles with Louisville and Duke faces North Carolina. Yet, they’re not the only teams facing off.

SYRACUSE AT NC STATE

The Orange got crushed by the NCAA on Friday and it’s hard to see how they show up for this road trip in Raleigh. It’s bad enough Syracuse has nothing to play for, but it certainly won’t help they can’t seem to hit a shot from anywhere. Rakeem Christmas can’t handle the double team, Trevor Cooney couldn’t hit a shot if he was standing on the rim and Michael Gbinije has gone south. I’d talk about Kaleb Joseph, but he got just three minutes of action against Virginia on Monday and I can’t think of anything worth talking about.

NC State will smother Christmas inside with their combination of Kyle Washington and Beejay Anya, while Anthony Barber (16.5 PPG in last eight), Ralston Turner (three 3’s in five straight) and Trevor Lacy (14 straight double-digit games) handle the scoring load.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: NC State, 74-57

PITTSBURGH AT FLORIDA STATE

The Panthers don’t shoot the ball particularly well (just 10th in the ACC in Effective FG%), yet they’re fourth in Offensive Efficiency. How does that add up? First, they rebound (4th in Off. Reb %) and are second in turnover %. Jamal Artis is the go-to guy, 11th in the ACC in scoring with 13.7 PPG. However, it’s Michael Young who has really taken over inside. The undersized center has scored 22 in each of his last three games, hitting 19-fo-32 from the floor, getting to the FT line 27 times.

Now Pittsburgh can’t play defense, but luckily for them, the Seminoles can’t hold onto the ball. Florida State is just 312th in the nation in turnover %, coming off a 21-turnover game against Louisville. When they can get through a possession without fumbling the ball away, they rely on freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who has hit double figures in five straight, including that 35-point explosion against Miami. However, to have success, the Noles need points in the paint from their bigs. In their last game, Michael Ojo and Kiel Turpin delivered just two points, but at least Boris Bojanovsky got 11 points, getting to the FT line eight times.

WORTHLESS PREDICTIONS: Florida State, 67-65

WAKE FOREST AT BOSTON COLLEGE

In the grand scheme of things, this game is meaningless. Wake Forest is stuck in the 11th spot in the ACC, while Boston College can do no worse than tie for 12th and either way will face Georgia Tech in the first-round of the ACC Tournament. For the Eagles, this is about keeping up the momentum. They’ve won two straight over NC State and then on the road against Virginia Tech, behind Oliver Hanlan. The ACC’s top scorer is on fire, as he’s averaged over 26 points per game in his last nine.

Wake Forest is coming off a 43-point whipping in Cameron, as Devin Thomas remains one of the most perplexing players in all of basketball. Just two weeks ago, he looked like a man capable of taking on the best in the NBA, hitting 10-17 from the floor against Notre Dame, as he played through a injured wrist. Yet, when Wake sputters on offense, the biggest guy on the court can’t find a way to get the ball in his hands. Against Duke on Wednesday, he took just two shots and made none. It’s the fifth time in seven games he’s been held under six points for a game.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Boston College, 73-68 

CLEMSON AT #12 NOTRE DAME

With the three-seed wrapped up, the Fighting Irish don’t have much to play for, although it’s important to go into the post-season hot. The Tigers have dropped five of seven and haven’t beaten a top-50 team since January 28th when they beat NC State.

These two teams couldn’t be any different. Notre Dame is the third most efficient team in the country, rarely turning the ball over (2nd in turnover %) and nailing the deep ball (20th in country in 3P%). On the flip side, Clemson struggles to produce offense (217th in offensively efficiency), turning the ball over too much (252nd in steal %) and 321st in 3P%.

Of course the Tigers can play a little D, third in defensive efficiency in the ACC, second at preventing two-point buckets. Luckily for the Irish, their points come from deep.

WORTHLESS PREDICTIONS: Notre Dame, 75-60  

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