Two games stick out on a loaded ACC Saturday slate

By Mychal Hunter

I don’t really have enough time to do a game by game break down which is unfortunate because I enjoy it but looking at today’s schedule I see an opportunity to really hash out who stands where in this league. Of course, there is a flip side to that coin, where some of the teams I view as bottom tier connect on a hay maker and cause some dissension in the ranks.

One game that really intrigues me Louisville heading to Clemson. I have thrown my full support behind the Tigers according to yesterdays Power Rankings and am fully on board with this team right now. That said, Louisville has more talent and a front court that matches up incredibly well with Clemson. Something interesting here, over the course of his career Donte Grantham gets progressively worse over the course of the season. Check this out:

Donte Grantham Games PPG RPG
November 25 12.5 5.5
December 26 10.3 5.3
January 25 9.32 4.3
February 22 7.59 4.13
March 11 5.72 2.3

I think this season may be an outlier because having seen Grantham play several times already, I think he is really coming into his own. It is still interesting regardless.

Getting back to the game, I believe it will be decided in the back court as the front courts appear to be so evenly matched and will essentially cancel each other out. The match-up of Gabe Devoe and Deng Adel is going to be pivotal. Adel has shot the ball poorly from deep in true road games this season, connecting on only two triples in two games. Granted that is a small sample size but in 20 true road games over his career he is still only shooting 33%. If Devoe is able to slow down Adel down and give the Tigers a solid contribution today, which he has done all season, Clemson wins this game.

Of course, there is the possibility that Quentin Snider comes out and scores 22 points and Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spaulding combine to block 11 shots while completely shutting down the Clemson front court and Louisville wins by a dozen. Neither outcome would completely shock me.

Given the games I have seen so far this season, I am sticking with Clemson, winners of nine straight games, at home. The Tigers guard play and leader ship is at a higher level in my opinion and I am not fully buying in to David Padgett quite yet. Not that I am a huge believer in Brad Brownell either but “devil you know” and all that.

UNC at Virginia is far less intriguing than I think it would typically be but is still a game I intend to watch. The Tarheels, coming off of a loss to Florida State, have not played particularly well lately, just skating by Wake Forest prior to the game in Tallahassee. Theo Pinson has been, quite honestly, disappointing so far this season and has really played poorly the last two games. This is not entirely his fault as fans unfairly assumed that he would step in and become a reliable scorer for this team in his senior campaign, when in reality that is just not who he is. He is a great glue guy and a player that does a little bit of everything as far as rebounding and assists (he actually leads the Heels in assists) but he is not going to give you 15 points a game.

Virginia on the other hand is coming into this game playing incredibly well as Ty Jerome appears to be coming into his own. The sophomore point guard is averaging 17.8 points over his last four games and has only turned the ball over six times in his last 131 minutes played (five games).

I expect Virginia to win this game as I don’t really think UNC is the team we have come to expect over the last couple of seasons. Reags from Barstool said it best the other day, “they aren’t a top 10 team but they are a solid top 25 team.” But!! Once again, I would not be shocked to see Virginia to shoot 34% and lose by double digits. Will Joel Berry allow the Heels to lose two games in a row? Will Roy Williams finally go to a 4-out lineup? Will Kyle Guy hit 7 triples? Will Mamadi Diakite have that breakout game that is definitely on the way? These questions are why I will be tuning in.

The Notre Dame at Syracuse game would typically interest me but without Colson and Farrell I don’t really expect a whole lot from the Irish on the road. This is a game that Syracuse has to capitalize on at home, if they were to lose this game my head might explode.

The other game I like today is Wake visiting Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College in what will probably be a high scoring game of insanity and chaos. Boston College has to win that game to prove to everyone that they are a team that can play well over the course of a season and prove the Duke win wasn’t the flukiest of flukes.  Wake on the other hand just has to win a game to show that:

A) They are capable of beating a (semi) quality team on the road

B) Show the Syracuse game was not a fluke.

I look for Jordan Chatman to get back on track and the Eagles to get the win.

The full slate for todays games:

Match-up Time TV
Louisville @ Clemson Noon ACCNE (watchESPN)
Pitt @ Virginia Tech Noon ACCNE (watchESPN)
Notre Dame @ Syracuse 3:15 ESPN2
Wake Forest @ BC 4:00 ACCNE (watchESPN)
Yale @ Georgia Tech 7:00 ACCNE (watchESPN)
Duke @ NC State 8:00 ESPN

Enjoy it fellas!! Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for the ACC Basketball Report podcast where I will review today’s games and give my thoughts on a big week in the conference. I will have game reviews, transfer information and recruiting notes tomorrow.

Remember to drink some water with your bourbon today.

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