Nov. 16 ACC Previews

Boston College (1-1) vs. Dayton (1-1), 2:30 PM, ESPNU (Charleston Classic)

So…Dayton’s mascot is the Little Caesar’s guy?

What to watch: BC’s three-point shooting. The Eagles got going from three somewhat against Baylor, hitting 10-of-26 (38.5%), but they’ve made just 27.9% on the year. Meanwhile, their opponents have made 21-of-50 (42%). BC can’t afford to continue to be outscored like that from three.

Random Dayton facts: Dayton is coached by former NC State point guard Archie Miller. But the Flyer mascot – whose name is Rudy Flyer – comes from that whole thing where Ohio thinks they were first in flight just because the Wright Brothers are from there and built the plane there. Okay, that’s fine I guess. But the flight thing happened in North Carolina, so let’s get that part straight.

Prediction: Boston College, 75-66.

No. 6 NC State (2-0) vs. Massachusetts (2-0), 5:00 PM, ESPN2/U/3 (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)

Even the UMass Minuteman is irritated that Andy Roddick didn’t live up to his potential.

What to watch: The running game. Both of these teams are fine with going up-tempo, and that should keep NC State engaged on both ends. The Wolfpack got out to a big lead last night but seemed to lose interest defensively late in the game, per their head coach, in a slow-paced affair. Massachusetts will have to be wary of when they run against NC State, because if they try to out-run the Wolfpack, they’ll lose. UMass creates more possessions with pressure defense (at times full-court), so NC State will have to make good decisions.

Chaz Williams versus Lorenzo Brown. Brown will be nearly half a foot taller than the diminutive UMass point guard, but Williams has never let size get in the way. The junior averaged 16.9 points and 6.2 assists last season and he’s up to 7.5 assists this year. Like Brown, he’s a good rebounder (4.4 a game last year, 5.0 this year). Also like Brown, he’ll turn it over from time to time but has a knack for getting steals. Brown became a much better defender last season, but this will be his biggest challenge yet on both sides of the ball.

Random UMass facts: You’d think that UMass would have been the Minutemen for most of its history, but no – they were the Redmen until 1972.

Prediction: NC State, 89-71.

Wake Forest (1-0) vs. No. 23/UR Connecticut (2-0), 6:30 PM, CBS SN (Paradise Jam)

Jonathan II, an Alaskan Husky, meets Rhode Island’s ram.

What to watch: Turnovers. Wake Forest shot 64% against Radford in their season-opening win, but only won by 12 points, in large part because they turned it over 18 times. Radford had 22 of their 67 points off of Wake’s turnovers. UConn has made opponents pay for turnovers, turning 31 turnovers into 39 points in two games. This isn’t a great matchup for Wake anyway, and they can’t afford to give away possessions.

Random Connecticut facts: UConn decided to get a mascot in the 1930s because they were inspired by a story of Rhode Island’s ram mascot being kidnapped. The husky was selected by a student poll. Jonathan IV was notoriously feisty: he once bit Yale’s bulldog mascot on the nose and would growl when an opposing basketball team scored on UConn.

Prediction: Connecticut, 75-69.

Clemson (1-0) at Furman, (1-1), 7:00 PM, ESPN3

What to watch: The Clemson freshmen. Four saw at least 16 minutes, and three of them combined for 26 points in 57 minutes. Last year, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell couldn’t trust his freshmen for extended minutes. He may not have a choice this year, so this young group is going to have to come along quickly.

Random Furman facts: For awhile, the Furman football team was “the Hurricane” and the baseball team was the Hornets. Only the basketball team was the Paladins, and they were dubbed that by a sportswriter. It was adopted for all teams in 1961.

Prediction: Clemson, 76-57.

Florida State (1-1) vs. BYU (2-0), 7:00 PM, TruTV (Coaches vs. Cancer)

A Cougar that’s asleep, I guess.

What to watch: Florida State’s defense. According to Ken Pomeroy, Florida State’s defense is 48th in the country. That’s a respectable ranking for most, but not a team like Florida State that’s perennially in the top 10. BYU is more than capable of putting up very good offensive numbers, so FSU is going to have to get this fixed, and quickly. The Seminoles have allowed 72 points per game to two subpar teams on 46% shooting and 47% from three.

Random BYU facts: It’s still Hammer Time at BYU, evidently. But the Cosmo the Cougar, can break it down.

Prediction: BYU, 82-71.

Jacksonville (1-1) at Miami (1-1), 7:00 PM, RSN

What to watch: Miami looks to go 2-1 against the Atlantic Sun. That’s right – their first three opponents are from the Atlantic Sun. Miami struggled with Stetson and lost to Florida Gulf Coast because they couldn’t defend them inside the arc (40 points in the paint) or on the backboards (the Canes were out-rebounded 40-32). Starting shooting guard Durand Scott will serve the final game of his suspension against Jacksonville, and he had nothing to do with either of those ugly stats from the Miami loss.

Random Jacksonville facts: The dolphin became the official mascot in 1947, and a 59-year-old live dolphin – Nellie – is the live mascot (she lives in St. Augustine).

Prediction: Miami, 83-75.

Long Island (0-2) at Maryland (1-1), 7:00 PM, ESPN3

Blackbird singing in the dead of night…

What to watch: Long Island is an up-tempo team that thrives on getting to the foul line, and the Blackbirds are as good of a team as Maryland will see before the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. The Terps were sloppy at times against Morehead State, and they can’t afford to let down too much in this one.

Random Long Island facts: Long Island used to be known as the Blue Devils, but then they dressed all in black and a local reporter wrote they reminded him of a blackbird.

Prediction: Maryland, 84-68.

No. 11 North Carolina (2-0) at Long Beach State (1-1), 11:05 PM, ESPNU

Long Beach State’s home venue, the Walter Pyramid…

…or the Luxor in Las Vegas?

What to watch: How will the young Tar Heels handle the road? Carolina has looked good at times and shaky at others. Now, they’ll be in a very difficult environment facing a team coming off of a program-changing season a year ago. The 49ers are not going to just roll over for UNC, and they’ll have to tough their way through it.

Random Long Beach State facts: They’re the 49ers, but the baseball team doesn’t use this mascot. Instead, they’ve dubbed themselves the Dirtbags. It stems from 1989, when the lack of a field meant infielders often had to use a local all-dirt Pony League field to practice, thus rejoining their teammates covered in dirt. And that’s easily the most flattering definition of dirtbag ever.

Oh, and also, Long Beach State has a senior guard named Peter Poppageorge. They could dominate an all-name team tournament: Branford Jones, Deng Deng, Gatete Djuma?

Prediction: North Carolina, 75-64.

Last week’s picks: 10-2

Overall: 21-3

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