Well a lot transpired over a week. #UVA survived a road upset at Virginia Tech, #NotreDame is all of a sudden 8-1 in the #ACC, and I’m sure we were all worried, but now EVERY TEAM HAS AN #ACC WIN! Yes!!!
Moving on and without further adieu…
Team: Notre Dame (20-2 Overall, 9-1 Conference)
Record (Last 10 games): 9-1
Look out, here come Mike Brey and the #NotreDame Fighting Irish (20-2 overall). Jerian Grant is back with a vengeance, averaging 22.0 ppg, 7.3 apg, 5.3 rpg, and 2.3 spg over the last 3 games for #NotreDame. Over that same 3 game stretch, Grant is shooting an efficient 60% from the field. He’s lead the Irish with his “Have no fear” attitude and I must say, I definitely like it.
However, Grant isn’t the only scorer for #NotreDame because he also leads the #ACC in assists per game with 6.5. He’s also got the help of senior swingman Pat Connaughton, who averages 13 ppg and 9 rpg, junior forward Zach Auguste, who averages 13.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg, and sophomore guard Demtrius Jackson, who averages 12 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, and 1.4 spg. With all these players firing on all cylinders, #NotreDame is nearly impossible to stop. The Irish are 2nd in the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1%. They’ve won 5 straight #ACC games since losing to #UVA at home. Let’s just say, we may be talking a lot more about this team come more March.
Player: Jahlil Okafor
Conference Stats: 18.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 64.3% FG
As a freshman, statistically Jahlil Okafor is 1st in points per game & field goal percentage, 3rd in rebounds per game, 7th in blocks per game, and the definition of hot from the field shooting an efficient 63.3% from the field in #ACC play. Okarfor’s season high in rebounds currently sits at 20 and as we get in to the tougher part of the #ACC schedule, I expect that number to change soon. Against #NotreDame, Okafor played still played big for #Duke scoring 22 points and snagging 17 rebounds (5 offensive) in a close loss.
Coach K is coaching another stud, and if you ask me. Okafor is the best well-rounded big man the Blue Devils have had since Elton Brand. The expectations get a bit higher for Okafor as the season progresses too. They’ve still got to play that other blue team from across town twice (#UNC), then there’s #NotreDame again on Feb. 1, and #Syracuse twice.
Team: NC State (13-9 Overall, 4-5 Conference)
Record (Last 10 Games): 4-6
Since defeating #2 #Duke on January 11, #NCState has lost 4 of their last 5 games and have lost their last 3 conference games; 2 of those game were at home. The Wolfpack beat Duke at home, but lost to Clemson at home. Consistency is again the Achilles heel for #NCState. While junior guard Trevor Lacey has done all he can in leading the team, his supporting cast has been anything but stellar.
As a team, #NCState shot a mere 28.6% from the field on 18-63 shooting against #Clemson. This cold shooting spell came on a night where the Wolfpack snagged 21 offensive rebounds. Sophomore forward Beejay Anya has seen foul trouble and turnovers slow down that 14 point outburst he had off the bench not too long ago against #Duke. Since then, Anya has scored just 4.2 ppg in the last 5 games and only played 6 minutes in the #Clemson loss on Wednesday.
At 13-9 overall and 4-5 in the #ACC, #NCState may not get by the bubble but, if they can find their offensive rhythm and upset some teams, they could be dancing come March. Right now, it’s safe to say they’re #NIT bound.
Player: Angel Rodriguez (Miami)
Conference Stats: 13.7 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2 rpg, 29.5% FG, 24.4% 3pt FG
While you can appreciate the points and assists, Angel Rodriguez is the epitome of “When you’re hot, you’re hot & when you’re cold, you’re cold.” Over the last 4 games, Rodriguez has shot 0-8, 2-11, 2-8, and 1-10 from the field, in that order. Against Georgia Tech on Wednesday, he was held scoreless, at home where he also was 0-5 from 3pt land. Seems the theme Miami Hurricanes is fitting of Rodriguez.
There’s hope, nonetheless. It wasn’t too long ago Rodriguez was an efficient 8-15 against #Duke to the tune of 24 points and 4 threes. But if there’s anything to improve, maybe its shot selection. Jim Larranaga has the #Canes playing at a high level so far at 14-6 overall, but if there’s anything they don’t want to do, it’s leave it up to the #NCAA to putting them in the tournament. The #Canes have a rather favorable #ACC schedule with the only ranked teams remaining being #10 #CardNation and #13 #UNC, but if they drop another loss at home like they did against #GaTech there may be some grumbling come March about an #NIT selection. Lets go Angel!