If there was any notion that the ACC has been top-heavy this season, look no further than Saturday’s college basketball slate. The top six ACC teams were all in action on Saturday. They all came away with victories. Meanwhile, the bottom of the league came up woefully short with their opportunity for Tier 1 wins. In all, the home team won 3 of the 6 games on the schedule.
2 Duke Blue Devils 94 – North Carolina State Wolfpack 78
Well, it didn’t take long for the Duke Blue Devils (23-2, 11-1) to take an insurmountable lead against the North Carolina State Wolfpack (18-8, 6-7). Zion Williamson scored 32 points on 12 of 16 shooting in 30 minutes of action. R.J. Barrett produced a triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. More importantly, Barrett didn’t record a turnover in the win. The Blue Devils should be rated the No. 1 team in the country on Monday.
16 Louisville Cardinals 56 – Clemson Tigers 55
The Louisville Cardinals (18-8, 9-4) didn’t have much time to dwell on the soul crushing loss to the Duke Blue Devils during the week. However, after struggling to take control against the Clemson Tigers (15-10, 5-7), they finally took a commanding lead in the final minute of the game. Still, the Cardinals almost let a 7 point lead slip in the final seconds due to two turnovers and a held ball possession arrow. The final turnover by Jordan Nwora actually led to Nwora’s game saving block with two seconds left.
8 North Carolina Tar Heels 95 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons 57
All of a sudden, it looks like the North Carolina Tar Heels (20-5, 10-2) are in play for a possible 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament comes around. Their 38-point win over Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-15, 2-10) was easy work from the opening tip. Cam Johnson dropped 27 points in a team high 30 minutes of action. Currently, the Tar Heels in tied for second place in the ACC. They will be playing for a piece of first place this week against the Blue Devils.
17 Florida State Seminoles 69 – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 47
The Florida State Seminoles (20-5, 8-4) may go as far as their defense takes them. They held the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-15, 2-10) to 27 percent shooting from the field. They also had seven players score at least seven points in the victory. Devin Vassell led the Seminoles with 11 points. Currently, the Seminoles are tied for sixth place.
4 Virginia Cavaliers 60 – Notre Dame Fighting Irish 54
Kyle Guy scored 22 points, while De’Ander Hunter chipped in with 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Virginia Cavaliers (22-2, 10-2) to a six point victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-12, 3-9). The Cavaliers are in tie for second place. However, both of their losses have come to the Blue Devils.
22 Virginia Tech Hokies 70 – Pittsburgh Panthers 64
Kerry Blackshear poured in 29 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the field in a must-win for the Virginia Tech Hokies (20-5, 9-4). The Pittsburgh Panthers (12-14, 2-11) pushed the Hokies to the limit but they were unable to get over the hump. The Panthers remain in last place, while the Hokies are tied for fourth place. They are three games back in the loss column.
ACC Thoughts: The Blue Devils will not fall victim in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this season. We saw what happened to the Cavaliers last season. However, the Blue Devils have an extra gear that might make them the favorite to win the championship. They still need to worry about Williamson’s foul trouble when the postseason comes around.
Seven: That’s the number of teams the ACC will likely get into the NCAA Tournament. With many of the schedules backloaded, the middle of the pack teams must provide some upsets in the final three weeks of the regular season.