ACC Preview: Jan. 2
Rhode Island (2-12) at Boston College (5-8), 1:00 PM, ESPN3
BC Interruption’s post on the Eagles’ loss to Harvard highlighted an odd choice in playing time distribution: Jordan Daniels was left on the bench for 15 of 20 second-half minutes. Daniels was 3-of-5 in the first half (2-of-2 from three) for a team-high nine points in 15 minutes. In the second half, he saw stints of 2:28, 0:48 and 1:22 and missed two shots and had a turnover.
Playing time aside, Boston College led 22-19 with 7:45 to go in the first half. The Eagles got turnover-happy, turning it over four straight times and going nearly three minutes without a shot attempt. It was a trend as the Eagles would have 10 total turnovers over the next 12:19 of game action (spanning both halves).
Rhode Island isn’t very good, particularly offensively. But Rhode Island has some athletes inside who get offensive rebounds (10th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage) and block shots (74th in block percentage).
Prediction: Rhode Island 76, Boston College 69
Random: Rhode Island’s blue is not the same as Carolina blue. Rhody’s blue came from their former basketball coach/chemistry teacher. Frank Keaney came up with his own shade of blue in his laboratory and the school adopted it. Recently, the school changed to a darker shade of blue now called “Rhody Blue”. Rhode Island named their official mascot the ram in 1923, while Rameses made his first appearance at Carolina in 1924. That one seems to be a coincidence. Rhode Island hasn’t had a live ram since 1974, but at least they’ve updated their costumes since this:
Virginia (12-1) at LSU (10-3), 7:00 PM, CSS
Virginia’s non-conference schedule has been called into question as people evaluate their legitimacy as a top-25 team, but the Cavaliers have generally dominated those weaker opponents. Most ACC schools can’t say that. That wasn’t the case against Towson, a team that hasn’t won a game in over a calendar year. Virginia made just 33.3% of its two-point tries, their lowest mark this season.
Virginia also had a season-low eight points in the paint and allowed Towson to score 15 points off of their 10 turnovers. Towson shot nearly 56% from inside the arc against Virginia’s vaunted defense (the highest percentage allowed this year).
Maybe it was just a blip for the Cavaliers. Head coach Tony Bennett said it best after the game: “When we play well, I think we can play with a lot of teams in the country and be successful,” Bennett said. “When we’re off and we’re not sharp and some of the things aren’t right, we become very susceptible and any team can play with us.”
LSU, who has knocked off previously undefeated Marquette this season, is at least decent. And considering what a disappointment the ACC has been in non-conference road games, not to mention the fact that UVA barely survived a road game at Seattle this year, this seems like Virginia’s second loss.
Prediction: LSU 66, Virginia 58
Random: LSU adopted its “Tiger” nickname in 1896 in honor of Louisiana’s Confederate heritage. Robert E. Lee’s Louisiana troops in Northern Virginia became known as the tigers (because of their bravery). Mike the Tiger – the live version – has been around LSU since 1935. LSU also has a person wearing a tiger costume, but they place the real tiger’s cage right by the visitor’s locker room in the football stadium so that they have to walk right by it.
Wofford (7-6) at Wake Forest (9-4), 7:00 PM, RSN
Rebounding has become a big concern for Wake Forest. In its previous two games, Wake had out-rebounded Gardner-Webb and UNC-Wilmington after not out-rebounding any opponent in its first ten games. But the Deacons were out-rebounded by Yale 43-32 and 17-7 on the offensive glass. Yale rebounded nearly half of its missed field goals and converted them into 16 second-chance points. Opponents have out-rebounded them by 5.0 per game on the season and are averaging four more possessions a game because of the offensive rebounds.
It’s puzzling that they’ve had so much trouble on the boards in general. The Deacons have two 7-footers seeing significant minutes (Ty Walker and starting center Carson Desrosiers) to go with starters Travis McKie (6-7) and Nikita Mescherlakov (6-8). You’d think sheer luck would lead to more rebounds falling their way.
Wofford isn’t good, so it shouldn’t be a problem in this game. If it is, a Wake team that seemed to be improving might end up being just as bad as it was last year in the ACC season.
Prediction: Wake Forest 79, Wofford 63
Random: The 1909 Wofford baseball team adopted a Pit Bull Terrier named Jack and that was the inspiration for the Terrier mascot. Now, their live representation of a terrier is a Boston Terrier that they call Blitz; he/she actually attends some road games as well:
UNC-G (2-12) at Miami (8-4), 9:00 PM, RSN
Miami is rolling right now. The Hurricanes have shot 54% or better against its last three opponents after failing to do so all season. They’re also finally getting contributions off their bench as it is averaging 25 bench points in the last three games, finally taking some pressure off their main scorers.
One of the bench contributors is DaJuan Jones. He has played just two games since returning from suspension, and he is quietly making almost as much of an impact as Reggie Johnson, who returned one game before he did. Jones has 18 points and 14 rebounds in 39 minutes on 7-of-14 shooting. Jones came into the season averaging 13.7 career minutes and averaging 4.3 points on 43% shooting.
Prediction: Miami 85, UNC-G 61
Random: UNC-G’s mascot was not covered here when the Spartans faced Duke, but not much to say about him. However, they did recently change its name to “Spiro” after taking fan submissions. It used to be a real person in the costume:
Last week: 12-3