Dec. 10-14 ACC Previews
Mississippi Valley State (0-5) at Virginia Tech (7-1), 7:00 PM, ESPN3
What to watch: Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies did a good job shutting down a struggling West Virginia offense last week, but they couldn’t keep the Mountaineers from getting offensive rebounds. Mississippi Valley State’s offense is actually terrible, but the Hokies have made some mediocre offenses look better than expected at times. They can only play defense to a certain level considering their lack of depth, but they need to be able to shut down teams like this.
Random Mississippi Valley State facts: The school is located in Itta Bena, Mississippi, which is one of the cooler names of a city ever. It comes from a Choctaw phrase “iti bina”, which means “forest camp”. And for a small town, it has some pretty famous former residents: former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and the great B.B. King.
Prediction: Virginia Tech, 84-57. Should be a nice recovery game for the Hokies.
Monmouth (5-5) at Maryland (8-1), 8:00 PM, ESPN3
What to watch: Can Maryland win a bit prettier? As their head coach Mark Turgeon said after the 61-46 win over South Carolina State on Saturday, it’s still a win, but it wasn’t fun. After shooting 49% or better in five straight games, Maryland has shot 45% or worse in two of the last three games. The 37% against South Carolina State was their second-worst performance of the year. This game should give Maryland a chance to find get their offensive groove back.
Random Monmouth facts: Again…don’t pass up a chance to have an awesome mascot name. The Hawks could have been the Bisons, the Bees, the MaJiCians or even the Orange Fliers.
Prediction: Maryland, 92-66. Maryland is finally getting an up-tempo opponent in Monmouth, and if they can make a few shots, they should get things rolling again offensively.
Charlotte (9-0) at Miami (5-1), 7:00 PM, RSN
What to watch: Chris Braswell versus Miami’s front line. Charlotte struggled a lot last year, but the 49ers are undefeated and they are legit. Chris Braswell has been great, averaging 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds this year. He’s rebounding 13% of available offensive rebounds and 19.7% of defensive rebounds. And teammate Willie Clayton is fifth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. Miami’s Reggie Johnson has been even better as a rebounder, collecting 15.8% of offensive boards and 27% of defensive rebonds. He and Kenny Kadji have been good against some very good frontcourts this year, including Michigan State’s. They can’t sleep on the 49ers, though, particularly Braswell.
Random Charlotte facts: The mascot Norm the Niner stems not from any kind of gold-mining history. No, it’s because the school was saved from extinction in 1949. That’s literally it.
Prediction: Miami, 75-69. This won’t be an easy game by any stretch. Charlotte’s best win is over Davidson, but it was at Davidson. Miami has had 13 days off and should be focused and ready heading into this one, or they’ll lose.
Last week: 14-2