Twitter Picks for College Football Week Two

Game of the Week
#5 Oklahoma (1-0) at #2 Ohio State (1-0)
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Ohio State by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma- 6th, Ohio State- 2nd


Big Game Guarantee
#14 Stanford (1-0) at #6 USC (1-0)
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Betting Favorite:  USC by 6
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Stanford- 15th, USC- 4th


Upset of the Week
#13 Auburn (1-0) at #3 Clemson (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  Clemson by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Auburn- 8th, Clemson- 9th


Closer Than the Experts Think
Pittsburgh (1-0) at #4 Penn State (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Penn State by 22
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Pittsburgh- unranked, Penn State- 3rd


Not Closer Than the Experts Think
Indiana (0-1) at Virginia (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Betting Favorite:  Indiana by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Bad Spread Game
#15 Georgia (1-0) at #24 Notre Dame (1-0)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Betting Favorite:  Notre Dame by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Georgia- 13th, Notre Dame- unranked


Group of Five Game of the Week
Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan State (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN
Betting Favorite:  Michigan State by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Is This Futbol?
Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET, ACCN
Betting Favorite:  Boston College by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Is This Basketball?
South Carolina (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Betting Favorite:  Missouri by 2
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Toilet Bowl
Minnesota (1-0) at Oregon State (1-1)
Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, FS1
Betting Favorite:  Oregon State by 2
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Miscellaneous:  The Holy War
Utah (1-0) at BYU (0-1)
Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Betting Favorite:  Utah by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Utah- 20th, BYU- unranked


NFL Game of the Week
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Betting Favorite:  Dallas by 4



For what it’s worth…

Overall Record: 5-6
College Overall Record: 5-6
NFL Game of the Week: 0-0

Game of the Week: 1-0
Big Game Guarantee: 0-1
Upset of the Week: 0-1
Closer Than the Experts Think: 0-1
Not Closer Than the Experts Think: 0-1
Overhyped/Bad Spread Game: 1-0
Group of Five Game of the Week: 1-0
Is This Futbol?: 1-0
Is This Basketball?: 1-0
Toilet Bowl: 0-1
Miscellaneous: 0-1

For an explanation of the categories for Twitter Picks, click here.



Tournament Tweeting: ACC Quarterfinals Recap and Semifinals Preview

Quarterfinals Recap

First, some general tweets about the tournament:

#1 North Carolina 78, #9 Miami 53

The Tar Heels used a dominant performance on both ends of the floor to comfortably beat Miami, never leading by less than 11 over the last 12:10 and pulling away for the 25-point win.  After a 7-0 Miami run to close the first half pulled the Hurricanes to a 34-29 deficit, the Tar Heels held a 44-24 advantage over the final 20 minutes.

North Carolina shot 53 percent from the field (28-53), 83 percent from the free throw line (15-18). The Tar Heels had more assists (21) than Miami field goals (19), holding Miami to just 36 percent from the floor (19-53) and 24 percent from three-point range (5-21), while forcing 15 Hurricanes turnovers that led to 21 Tar Heel points.

Four double-figure scorers paced the Tar Heels, with Isaiah Hicks leading the way with 19; ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson scored 12, Joel Berry II netted 11 with five assists, and Kennedy Meeks added 10 with seven rebounds.  Theo Pinson scored nine, but led the Tar Heels with six assists.  Bruce Brown, with 21 points and seven rebounds, was the only Miami player to score more than seven, while the Hurricanes tallied just seven assists.  Brown was 9-13 for the floor; his teammates were a combined 10-40.

North Carolina (27-6) advances to meet rival Duke in the semifinals, while the 25-point loss was the worst of the season for Miami (21-11), who awaits their NCAA Tournament selection.

Tweets from throughout the game:

#5 Duke 81, #4 Louisville 77

Playing a second straight day with little depth against a rested Louisville team was no problem for Duke, who came from behind late to beat Louisville in a top-15 matchup.

After Duke held a 39-37 halftime lead, Louisville used a 24-10 run over the first 6:53 of the second half to take a 61-49 lead.  From that point, Duke held a 32-16 edge over the last 13:07, with three Luke Kennard threes and another by Jayson Tatum keying Duke’s run.

Tatum, who was 9-15 from the field, led all scorers with 25 points, before fouling out in the final minute.  Kennard had 24 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, while Grayson Allen scored 18, breaking out of his recent slump in the second half.  Tatum, Kennard and Allen combined for 41 of Duke’s 42 second half points.

Deng Adel led Louisville with 21 points, while Quentin Snider scored 15 with five assists.  First team All-ACC selection Donovan Mitchell was held to eight points, shooting 3-14 from the field.

With his 59th career ACC Tournament win, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski passed North Carolina’s Dean Smith for the most all-time, and his Blue Devils (25-8) will meet North Carolina in the semifinals.  Louisville (24-8) will play in the NCAA Tournament after falling to 0-2 all-time in ACC Tournament play.

Tweets from throughout the game:

#2 Florida State 74, #7 Virginia Tech 68

Florida State used a physical gameplan to overmatch an undersized Virginia Tech team in the second half and earn their first semifinal appearance since 2012.

The Seminoles outrebounded the Hokies 45-31, including 18-8 on the offensive glass, and outscored them in the paint 42-20.  The Seminoles used a 16-1 run to turn a 52-52 tie with 9:17 to play into a 68-53 lead with 4:01 left, then withstood a late 10-0 Virginia Tech run to advance.

Dwayne Bacon led the Seminoles with 17 points despite struggling from the floor (4-17), hitting nine of his 10 free throws.  Jonathan Isaac scored 11 with 12 rebounds and Terance Mann netted 11 with nine rebounds.  Xavier Rathan-Mayes had nine points with six assists.

Zach LeDay, who scored a tournament-high 31 points on Wednesday, had 22 points and nine rebounds , yet appeared oversized at times on the boards against bigger Florida State players.  Seth Allen had 17 points and five assists, while Justin Robinson scored 14 with six assists.

Florida State (24-7) will meet Notre Dame in Friday’s semifinals, while Virginia Tech (22-10) will begin preparations for their their first NCAA Tournament since 2007.

Tweets from throughout the game:

#3 Notre Dame 71, #6 Virginia 58

In a surprising role reversal, the Notre Dame defense held Virginia in check while the Irish offense was efficient against Virginia’s defense, resulting in a convincing, nearly wire-to-wire win for the Irish.

Notre Dame, who had never beaten Virginia since joining the ACC in 2013 (0-5) and has typically struggled against Tony Bennett’s packline defense, shot 52 percent from the field (24-46), with an identical 12-23 mark in each half, while holding the Cavaliers to 39 percent (22-57).  The Irish were more proficient in more activity at the free throw line (Notre Dame 18-25, Virginia 7-12).

First team All-ACC honoree Bonzie Colson led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish.  Matt Farrell scored 14, while V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia each netted 12, and Vasturia added five assists.  Devon Hall and Darius Thompson led Virginia with 12, with Hall adding nine rebounds, while Ty Jerome and Marial Shayok each scored 10 and Jerome dished out six assists.  Virginia team leader London Perrantes was held to three points, while Kyle Guy was held scoreless; the pair combined to go 1-17 from the floor.

Notre Dame (24-8) advances to challenge Florida State in the semifinals, while Virginia (22-10) will await their NCAA Tournament seeding.

Tweets from throughout the game:

Semifinals Preview

#1 North Carolina (27-6, 14-4) vs. #5 Duke (25-8, 11-7)
7:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  North Carolina- 1st, Duke- 5th
AP Poll:  North Carolina- 6th, Duke- 14th
Regular Season:  Feb. 9 in Durham:  Duke 86, North Carolina 78;  Mar. 4 in Chapel Hill:  North Carolina 90, Duke 83

#2 Florida State (24-7, 12-6) vs. #3 Notre Dame (23-8, 12-6)
appr. 9:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Florida State- 3rd, Notre Dame- 6th
AP Poll:  Florida State- 16th, Notre Dame- 22nd
Regular Season:  Feb. 18 in Tallahassee:  Florida State 83, Notre Dame 80;  Feb. 11 in South Bend:  Notre Dame 84, Florida State 72

For commentary throughout the ACC Tournament and most major sporting events, follow me on Twitter:  @cstiles24

For what it’s worth….
My ACC Tournament Record:  8-3

First Round
Record:  2-1
Second Round Record:  3-1
Quarterfinals Record:  3-1

Tournament Tweeting: ACC Second Round Recap and Quarterfinal Preview

Second Round Recap

First, some general tweets about the tournament:


#9 Miami 62, #8 Syracuse 57

A game that I predicted would be a low-scoring game got there eventually, but not before both teams scored early and often in the first half before slowing down.  In a true “tale of two halves,” it was the best of games early and the worst of games late.  Miami, who led 36-28 at halftime, shot 62 percent in the first half (13-21) and 30 percent in the second (9-30), while Syracuse shot 52 percent (11-21) and 35 percent (8-23), respectively.

Brooklyn native Kamari Murphy led Miami with a double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.  Davon Reed scored 14, Ja’Quan Newton scored 11 with six assists, and D.J. Vasiljevic scored 13 off the bench.  Syracuse was led by Andrew White III with 22 points and Tyus Battle with 14, and while Tyler Lydon was held to five points, he had 12 rebounds.

Syracuse led just once in the second half, at 41-40 with 12:23 to play, but got as close as two in the final minute; John Gillon missed a potential game-tying three in the closing seconds.

Miami (21-10) advances to play top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday, while Syracuse (18-14) will now settle in for a stressful Selection Sunday, with many suggesting their resume may not make the NCAA Tournament cut.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose teams are 0-3 in the ACC Tournament since joining the league, made headlines after the game for comments (see below) that the ACC Tournament had no value in Greensboro (where it has been held 28 times and is set to return in 2020).


Tweets from throughout the game:


#5 Duke 79, #12 Clemson 72

Led by a trio of 20-point scorers, Duke slowly pulled away from Clemson in the second half before withstanding a late Clemson charge to hold on for the win.  Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson, and Stiles on Sports ACC Player of the Year Luke Kennard each scored 20 points for the Blue Devils, with Tatum grabbing nine rebounds and dishing four assists.  Amile Jefferson added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Grayson Allen, in 12 minutes, was held scoreless for the first time since 2015.

Jaron Blossomgame led Clemson with 19 points, adding eight rebounds, while Shelton Mitchell scored 17 and Marcquise Reed netted 13.  Sidy Djitte earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

A back-and-forth first half led to a 33-33 tie at halftime, before Duke slowly pulled away, leading 62-49 with 8:28 to go.  A 19-7 Clemson run pulled the Tigers to a 69-68 deficit at the 2:51 mark, but Clemson’s momentum sputtered down the stretch.  Late free throws by Tatum turned a 75-72 game with 0:36 left into the final 7-point margin.

The Blue Devils outshot the Tigers 49 percent (30-61) to 39 percent (22-56), although Clemson used free throw shooting (24-26, compared to Duke’s 14-18) to stay in the game.  Duke (24-8) advances to meet Louisville in a top-15 quarterfinal matchup, while Clemson (17-15) awaits, most likely, an NIT bid.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski improved to a near-unfathomable 58-22 in the ACC Tournament, tying North Carolina legend Dean Smith for the most wins in ACC Tournament history.


Tweets from throughout the game:


#7 Virginia Tech 99, #10 Wake Forest 90

The Hokies used a 62-point second half to come from behind and defeat Wake Forest in the second highest-scoring regulation game in ACC Tournament history.  Zach LeDay led the Hokies with 31 points and 15 rebounds, both the most by any player so far in the tournament.  Four additional Hokies scored in double figures–Seth Allen scored 18, Justin Bibbs scored 15, Ty Outlaw scored 14 and Ahmed Hill scored 13–while Justin Robinson dished out seven assists.

Wake Forest led 44-37 at halftime after the first half ended with reserve forward Greg McClinton hitting an 80-foot buzzer-beater when after the ball deflected into his arms on Virginia Tech’s last-second play; the shot was the first made three-pointer of the junior’s career.  From that point, however, the Hokies held a 62-44 advantage, shooting 62 percent in the second half (16-26) for the third highest-scoring half in a game in ACC Tournament history.

Bryant Crawford led the Demon Deacons with 21 points and fellow point guard Brandon Childress added 15, while John Collins (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Dinos Mitoglou (12 points, 13 rebounds) each earned double-doubles.  McClinton’s miraculous shot before the half marked his only points of the game in just two minutes of action.

Virginia Tech’s win avenged an 89-84 Wake Forest win in Saturday’s regular season finale, and ended the Demon Deacons’ four-game winning streak.  The Hokies (22-9) advance to meet Florida State on Thursday, while Wake Forest (19-13) will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday–most projections have the Deacs in the field, although whether or not they will play in the “First Four” in Dayton or earn a bye to the Round of 64 is unclear.


Tweets from throughout the game:

#6 Virginia 75, #14 Pittsburgh 63

Virginia’s defense was solid, as usual, but the Cavaliers played just as solid of an offensive game in their second round win over Pittsburgh.  The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from three-point range (11-22) and 52 percent from the field in the second half (11-21), and were balanced offensively with four players earning three or more assists:  Ty Jerome with four and Devon Hall, Kyle Guy and London Perrantes with three each.

Guy led the Cavaliers with 20 points, with Perrantes adding 15 and Jerome scoring 11, while Isaiah Wilkins had eight points and eight rebounds.  Pittsburgh was led by Cameron Johnson with 20, while Jamel Artis and Michael Young ended their collegiate careers with 18 and 14, respectively.

Virginia led 34-23 at halftime, and after Pittsburgh closed to a 44-43 deficit with 13:08 left, the Cavaliers held a 24-11 edge over a methodical stretch of over 10 minutes to put the game away.  While Virginia played well offensively, they held Pittsburgh to 40 percent from the field (18-45) and 34 percent from three (10-29).  Virginia’s bench scored 23 points, while Pitt’s was held scoreless.

Virginia (22-9) advances to play Notre Dame in Thursday’s quarterfinals, while the loss ended the season for Pittsburgh (16-17).



Tweets from throughout the game:



Quarterfinals Preview

#1 North Carolina (26-6, 14-4) vs. #9 Miami (21-10, 10-8)
12:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  North Carolina- 1st, Miami- 9th
AP Poll:  North Carolina- 6th, Miami- receiving votes
Regular Season:  January 28 at Miami:  Miami 77, North Carolina 62


#4 Louisville (24-7, 12-6) vs. #5 Duke (24-8, 11-7)
appr. 2:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Louisville- 2nd, Duke- 5th
AP Poll:  Louisville- 10th, Duke- 14th, Clemson- unranked
Regular Season:  Jan. 14 at Louisville:  Louisville 78, Duke 69


#2 Florida State (24-7, 12-6) vs. #7 Virginia Tech (22-9, 10-8)
7:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Florida State- 3rd, Virginia Tech- 7th
AP Poll:  Florida State- 16th, Virginia Tech- unranked
Regular Season:  Jan. 7 at Florida State:  Florida State 93, Virginia Tech 78


#3 Notre Dame (23-8, 12-6) vs. #6 Virginia (22-9, 11-7)
appr. 9:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Notre Dame- 6th, Virginia-4th
AP Poll:  Notre Dame- 22nd, Virginia- 21st
Regular Season:  Jan. 24 at Notre Dame:  Virginia 71, Notre Dame 54


For commentary throughout the ACC Tournament and most major sporting events, follow me on Twitter:  @cstiles24


For what it’s worth….

ACC Tournament Record:  5-2

First Round
Record:  2-1
Second Round Record:  3-1

Tournament Tweeting: ACC First Round Recap and Second Round Preview

First Round Recap

#12 Clemson 75, #13 NC State 61

The Tigers turned a 39-28 halftime lead into a comfortable victory, as the Wolfpack never got closer than 10 in the second half.  Clemson earned their third straight win–and first in the ACC Tournament since 2014–by outscoring NC State 40-22 in the paint.  The Tigers were led by Shelton Mitchell and Jaron Blossomgame with 22 points each, while Sidy Djitte led all players with 13 rebounds.

Abdul-Malik Abu and Maverick Rowan led NC State with 14 points each, while ACC Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. was held to seven points in reportedly his final collegiate game before turning pro.  The Wolfpack, who lost their 10th game in the 11 since a Jan. 23 win at Duke, shot only 38 percent from the floor (19-for-50) in their final game under coach Mark Gottfried, whose end-of-season firing was announced on Feb. 16.


Tweets from throughout the game:


#10 Wake Forest 92, #15 Boston College 78

The Demon Deacons used a 14-1 run in the second half to turn a 53-53 tie into a 67-54 lead, on their way to a 14-point win over Boston College for their first ACC Tournament win in three years.  Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford led all players with 20 points and six assists, while All-ACC First Team forward John Collins turned a first-half struggle into a 19-point, 12-rebound performance.  Keyshawn Woods and Austin Arians added 17 for the Deacs, with Arians nailing five three-pointers.

Jerome Robinson led the Eagles with 17 points, as they were more competitive than many expected, but picked up their 15th straight loss.  ACC All-Freshman honoree Ky Bowman left with a knee injury late in the first half with seven points and two assists in 14 minutes.

Wake Forest, who likely solidified their NCAA Tournament bid with the victory, shot 53 percent from the field (25-47) and 47 percent (9-19) from three after hitting four in a row to start the game.  The Demon Deacons (33-43) made more free throws than the Eagles (18-26) attempted, and have now beat an opponent three times in a season for the first time since 2003 (Florida State).

Tweets from throughout the game:


#14 Pittsburgh 61, #11 Georgia Tech 59

An experienced Pittsburgh team who struggled all season extended their season another day, while ending the NCAA Tournament hopes of Georgia Tech (17-15), as the Panthers survived a final-minute surge by the Yellow Jackets for the 2-point win.  Pitt’s four seniors scored 53 of their 61 points, with Michael Young leading the way with 17, while Sheldon Jeter had 14 and Jamel Artis and Chris Jones each added 11.

Second Team All-ACC selection Ben Lammers was held to six points for Georgia Tech, although he grabbed 15 rebounds.  Tadric Jackson led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points, with Quinton Stephens adding 16 with 10 rebounds and Josh Okogie scoring 15.

Both teams struggled from the floor, with Pittsburgh shooting 39 percent (21-54) overall and 26 percent (6-23) from three, and Georgia Tech shooting 35 percent (22-62) overall and 22 percent (4-18) from three.  The Panthers, who assisted 15 of their 21 field goals, can guarantee NIT eligibility (a record of .500 or better) with a win tomorrow against Virginia, and such a quality win would help the likelihood of actually getting a bid as well.


Tweets from throughout the game:


For commentary throughout the ACC Tournament and most major sporting events, follow me on Twitter:  @cstiles24


Second Round Preview

#8 Syracuse (18-13, 10-8) vs. #9 Miami (20-10, 10-8)
12:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Favorite:  Miami by 2
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Syracuse- 10th, Miami- 9th
AP Poll:  Syracuse- unranked, Miami- receiving votes
Regular Season:  Jan. 4 at Syracuse:  Syracuse 70, Miami 55


#5 Duke (23-8, 11-7) vs. #12 Clemson (17-14, 6-12)
appr. 2:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Favorite:  Duke by 6.5
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Duke- 5th, Clemson- 11th
AP Poll:  Duke- 14th, Clemson- unranked
Regular Season:  Feb. 11 at Duke:  Duke 64, Clemson 62


#7 Virginia Tech (21-9, 10-8) vs. #10 Wake Forest (19-12, 9-9)
7:00 pm ET, ESPN2/ACC Network
Favorite:  Wake Forest by 2
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Virginia Tech- 7th, Wake Forest- 8th
AP Poll:  Virginia Tech- unranked, Wake Forest- receiving votes
Regular Season:  Mar. 4 at Virginia Tech:  Wake Forest 89, Virginia Tech 84


#6 Virginia (21-9, 11-7) vs. #14 Pittsburgh (16-16, 4-14)
appr. 9:30 pm ET, ESPN2/ACC Network
Favorite:  Virginia by 10
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Virginia-4th, Pittsburgh- 13th
AP Poll:  Virginia- 21st, Pittsburgh- unranked
Regular Season:  Jan. 4 at Pittsburgh:  Pittsburgh 88, Virginia 76, overtime;  Mar. 4 at Virginia:  Virginia 67, Pittsburgh 42


For what it’s worth….

ACC Tournament Record/First Round Record:  2-1

Tournament Tweeting: ACC Semifinals Recap and Championship Preview

Semifinals Recap

#1 North Carolina 78, #4 Notre Dame 47
The Tar Heels used a 24-0 run over the closing minutes of the first half and the opening minutes of the second half to turn what had been a close game into an absolute blowout of the Irish, and the biggest semifinal blowout in ACC Tournament history.  North Carolina’s Marcus Paige led all scorers with 16 points, and was one of five Tar Heels to score in double figures.  Isaiah Hicks came off the North Carolina bench for a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.  Bonzie Colson led Notre Dame with 15.  The Tar Heels advance to the ACC Tournament championship game for a record 34th time, and for the fifth time in the last six years, although they are looking for their first title since 2008.  Friday’s win avenged last year’s title game loss for the Heels, as that loss came to Notre Dame.


#2 Virginia 73, #3 Miami 68
Virginia wasn’t as dominant as North Carolina, but produced the same result, beating Miami by leading wire-to-wire in front of a predominantly pro-Cavalier crowd.  The Cavaliers defense forced 16 Hurricane turnovers in the game.  ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon led all players in both points and assists, scoring 24 and dishing four dimes.  London Perrantes scored 11 and Mariel Shayok scored 10 for the Cavaliers, while Ja’Quan Newton, my choice for ACC Sixth Man of the Year, scored 19 off the bench to lead Miami.  Virginia reaches the title game for the sixth time in their history, and is looking for their third title, but their second in three years.


Championship Preview

#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Virginia
9:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Spread:  North Carolina by 2.5
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Virginia- 1st, North Carolina- 2nd
AP Poll:  Virginia- 4th, North Carolina- 7th
Regular Season:  February 27 at Virginia, Virginia 79, North Carolina 74


For what it’s worth…
My Opening Round Record:  2-0
Second Round:  3-1
Quarterfinals:  3-1
Semifinals:  2-0
Tournament Total:  10-2

Tournament Tweeting: ACC Second Round Recap and Quarterfinals Preview

Second Round Recap

#9 Pittsburgh 72, #8 Syracuse 71

In what many considered an NCAA Tournament play-in game, the Panthers were simply better, although Syracuse did come from down 66-54 with 4:22 left to tie the game with 1:58 to play before falling just short when Trevor Cooney missed at the buzzer.  Cameron Johnson led Pittsburgh off the bench with 24 points and six rebounds.  Michael Gbinije led Syracuse with 24, while DeJuan Coleman scored a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds.  The Panthers are now considered to be safe in the NCAA field, and can further solidify that today against North Carolina, while Syracuse will now have to sweat out CBS’s two-hour long Selection Show.


#5 Duke 92, #12 NC State 89

This instant classic was the highest scoring regulation game in the ACC Tournament game since 1990, although it was later matched by the Virginia Tech-Florida State contest.  After the Wolfpack turned an 86-77 deficit with 5:13 to play into an 89-89 tie, Marshall Plumlee, who had broken his nose earlier in the game, put the Blue Devils on top for good with an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:14 to go.  Four Blue Devils scored in double figures, including freshmen Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard with 22 each, while Grayson Allen had 19 points and six assists, and Plumlee had 17 points and 10 boards.  Anthony “Cat” Barber led the Wolfpack, who also had four double-figure scorers, with 29.


#10 Georgia Tech 88, #7 Clemson 85, overtime

With 9:25 left, it appeared Clemson would cruise to a win, as the Tigers led Georgia Tech 65-47.  The Yellow Jackets methodically crawled back into the game, and found themselves tied at the end of regulation, before keeping their momentum in the overtime session on their way to stealing a win.  Marcus Georges-Hunt led the Yellow Jackets with 28 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Adam Smith scored 23.  Clemson first team All-ACC forward Jaron Blossomgame, who eventually fouled out in overtime, led the Tigers with 22.


#6 Virginia Tech 96, #11 Florida State 85

The Hokies, playing in front of a virtual home crowd in Washington, D.C., never trailed, on their way to a convincing win over the Seminoles.  The game’s two leading scorers were both off the bench, with Seth Allen scoring 20 for the Hokies, and Devon Bookert scoring 19 for the ‘Noles, leading them in scoring off the bench for the second straight game.  Justin Robinson scored 18 for Virginia Tech, while Justin Bibbs netted 16, and Zach LeDay had 15 points and 12 rebounds.  While Florida State’s three outstanding young guards all scored in double figures (Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 13; Dwayne Bacon, 13; Malik Beasley, 10), Jarquez Smith had a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards. The Hokies extend their league-high winning streak to six games.



Quarterfinals Preview

#1 North Carolina vs. #9 Pittsburgh
12:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Spread:  North Carolina by 7.5
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  North Carolina- 2nd, Pittsburgh- 12th
AP Poll:  North Carolina- 7th


#4 Notre Dame vs #5 Duke
appr. 2:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Spread:  Duke by 2.5
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Duke- 5th, Notre Dame- 6th
AP Poll:  Duke- 19th


#2 Virginia vs #10 Georgia Tech
7:00 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Spread:  TBA
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Virginia- 1st, Georgia Tech- 8th
AP Poll:  Virginia- 4th


#3 Miami vs #6 Virginia Tech
appr. 9:30 pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network
Spread:  TBA
Stiles on Sports ACC Ranking:  Miami- 3rd, Virginia Tech- 7th
AP Poll:  Miami- 11th


For what it’s worth…
Opening Round Picks:  2-0
Second Round Picks:  3-1
Tournament Total:  5-1


ACC Basketball Power Rankings, Week of 1/25

Douglas MacArthur, whose 136th birthday is Tuesday, once said, “In war, you win or lose, live or die–and the difference is just an eyelash.”

While ACC basketball is not a life or death scenario like World War II, the general is correct that the difference in the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is often so very little.  One shot that rolled off of the rim, one ill-timed turnover, or one missed opportunity over the course of 40 minutes can come back to change the outcome of a game, or sometimes even a season, when the games are so close.

That being said, MacArthur also said “In war, there is no substitute for victory.”  Sports, including college basketball, are a results business, measured in simple wins and losses, and while the outcomes of games are often determined by the most minute of details, winning the game is the objective, and losing will punish a team in rankings such as these, even win winning is sometimes so painstakingly close.  It’s why Notre Dame, after beating two bottom half teams, still moves up three spots, while Clemson, losing to a strong Virginia team on the road, still drops from third to sixth.

With that, here are this week’s rankings.

1. North Carolina (18-2, 7-0 ACC, Last Week: 1st, AP Poll: 2nd)
Last Week:  def. Wake Forest, def. Virginia Tech
This Week:  Saturday vs Boston College
The Tar Heels remain the undisputed leader in the ACC, and 2nd in the AP Poll, and are in the midst of a week off before hosting Boston College.  Brice Johnson continues to play well, averaging 23 points and 14 rebounds per game over the last week on his way to ACC Player of the Week.

2. Louisville (16-3, 5-1 ACC, LW: 2nd, AP: 16th)
Last Week:  def. Florida State, def. Georgia Tech
This Week:  Wednesday at Virginia Tech, Saturday vs Virginia
The Cardinals continue to impress, with wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech, although they are going into a tough week as they travel to Virginia Tech and host Virginia.  The Cardinals rank second nationally allowing just 58.8 points per game.

3. Virginia (15-4, 4-3 ACC, LW: 5th, AP: 11th)
Last Week:  def. Clemson, def. Syracuse
This Week:  Tuesday at Wake Forest, Saturday at Louisville
The Cavaliers had a great week, beating Clemson and Syracuse to get back above .500 in the league, and back to just outside the top 10 in the ACC.  While the Wahoos are sixth in the country in defense (61.4 ppg), one weakness is in rebounding, where they rank 314th (32.8 per game).

4. Notre Dame (14-5, 5-2 ACC, LW: 7th, AP: 25th)
Last Week:  def. Virginia Tech, def. Boston College
This Week:  Thursday at Syracuse, Sunday vs Wake Forest
The defending ACC champions are starting to play like it, although their roster makeup is different from a season ago.  The Irish have now won four straight, and could realistically head to Miami on February 3rd with a six-game winning streak.  Zach Auguste is fourth in the league in rebounding (10.1 rpg), while Demetrius Jackson is third in assists (5.0).

5. Miami (15-3, 4-2 ACC, LW: 6th, AP: 15th)
Last Week:  def. Boston College, def. Wake Forest
This Week:  Monday vs Duke, Saturday at NC State
While it wasn’t against the best teams in the league (the bottom two in fact), the Hurricanes bounced back from a two-game losing streak with a current two-game winning streak, although that streak will be tested this week as the ‘Canes get a taste of Tobacco Road.  While four double figure scorers for Jim Larranaga’s team can’t be ignored, Tonye Jekiri (8.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg) is an inside presence that has been huge this season for the Hurricanes.

6. Clemson (12.7, 5-2 ACC, LW: 3rd, AP: receiving votes)
Last Week:  lost to Virginia
This Week:  Wednesday vs Pittsburgh, Saturday at Florida State
You know it’s a tough league when one loss to a top 15 team on the road drops the Tigers from 3rd to 6th.  Now the Tigers are finished with a brutal stretch of schedule that they nearly aced, and won’t play another ranked opponent for at least two weeks.  The Tigers only rank 266th in points per game (69.4), but are winning on the strength of the 16th ranked scoring defense (62.7 ppg allowed).

7. Pittsburgh (16-3, 5-2 ACC, LW: 4th, AP: receiving votes)
Last Week:  lost to NC State, def. Florida State
This Week:  Wednesday at Clemson, Sunday vs Virginia Tech
The Panthers had one of those head-scratchers in a home loss to NC State that wasn’t even close, but bounced back to beat Florida State in Tallahassee.  The Panthers, led by James Robinson, who is second in the ACC in assists (5.0 apg), fell out of the top 25, but are still projected comfortably within the NCAA Tournament field.

8. Syracuse (13-8, 3-5 ACC, LW: 11th)
Last Week:  def. Duke, lost to Virginia
This Week:  Thursday vs Notre Dame, Saturday vs Georgia Tech
The Orange beat Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, quite a feat in itself, although they fell just short at Virginia.  Winning at home is important for a mid-pack ACC team, and the Orange will have the chance to do just that this week.  Malachi Robinson is the ACC’s Rookie of the Week after scoring 18.5 ppg over the last week, including a career-high 23 points at Virginia.

9. Duke (15-5, 4-3 ACC, LW: 8th, AP:24th)
Last Week:  lost to Syracuse, def. NC State
This Week:  Monday at Miami
After losing to Syracuse, the Blue Devils had lost three straight, and were on the verge of making it four in a row before a strong second half shooting performance to win in Raleigh.  Mike Krzyzewski’s offense is great, averaging 85.7 points per game (5th nationally), but outside of five double-figure scorers, depth is a big issue, although that issue gets some help with a week off after tonight’s contest in Coral Gables.

10. Virginia Tech (12-8, 4-3 ACC, LW: 9th)
Last Week:  lost to Notre Dame, lost to North Carolina
This Week:  Wednesday vs Louisville, Sunday at Pittsburgh
One of the teams that showed how little the difference in winning and losing can be is the Hokies, who are “ahead of schedule” as they rebuild.  A 2-point loss at Notre Dame and a 5-point loss (that was really even closer) to the 2nd-ranked Tar Heels shows how well the Hokies are actually playing, but they drop a spot to 10th, simply because wins mean so much more.  Statistically, the Hokies are mid-pack pretty much everywhere, but they have no huge holes, something that is helping Buzz Williams to rebuild more rapidly.

11. NC State (11-9, 1-6 ACC, LW: 14th)
Last Week:  def. Pittsburgh, lost to Duke
This Week:  Wednesday vs Georgia Tech, Saturday vs Miami
If NC State could have played the entire conference schedule like they played at Pittsburgh, they would be higher than 11th.  They led by 10 late in the first half against Duke, but were beaten to the finish by the sharp-shooting Blue Devils.  The Wolfpack boast the league’s leading scorer in Anthony “Cat” Barber (22.1 ppg) and shot blocker in BeeJay Anya (2.6 bpg)

12. Florida State (12-7, 2-5 ACC, LW: 10th)
Last Week:  lost to Louisville, lost to Pittsburgh
This Week:  Tuesday at Boston College, Saturday vs Clemson
A week after the Seminoles looked like they were beginning to come around, they suffered a blowout loss at Louisville, and a close home loss to Pittsburgh.  There will be growing pains for this young of a team in the tough ACC, particularly defensively, where the ‘Noles are allowing 73.6 points per game (224th nationally).  Xavier Rathan-Mayes leads the ACC with 5.2 assists per game.

13. Georgia Tech (11-8, 1-5 ACC, LW: 12th)
Last Week:  lost to Louisville
This Week:  Wednesday at NC State, Saturday at Syracuse
While it’s unfortunate to punish a team in the bottom third of the league for a loss to a ranked team, if the Yellow Jackets want to start a winning tradition under Brian Gregory, they’re eventually going to have to win a close game or two, particularly at home.  It gets tougher on this week’s road trip, although the Yellow Jackets do have Charles Mitchell, the league’s leading rebounder, who is averaging a double-double (11.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg).

14. Wake Forest (10-9, 1-6 ACC, LW: 13th)
Last Week:  lost to North Carolina, lost to Miami
This Week:  Tuesday vs Virginia, Sunday at Notre Dame
While the Demon Deacons two losses last week were against ranked teams on the road, there were very few positives to take away.  They practically didn’t show up in Chapel Hill, before turning a 48-48 tie with 10:00 to go into a 77-63 loss in South Beach.  One positive is Devin Thomas, who is second in the ACC in rebounding and fifth in blocks (16.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg), but for the Deacs to have any success, they have to improve on defense (317th nationally at 79.1 ppg).

15. Boston College (7-12, 0-6 ACC, LW: 15th)
Last Week:  lost to Miami, lost to Notre Dame
This Week:  Tuesday vs Florida State, Saturday at North Carolina
The uphill climb seemingly continues to get steeper for the Eagles, who have now lost all six conference games by an average score of 75.3-53.5.  While Saturday’s game in Chapel Hill must seem like an impossible task, the Eagles were in a similar situation two years ago when they traveled to #1 Syracuse and pulled arguably the ACC’s biggest upset in this decade.  However, for a team in the 300’s in both points and rebounds per game, going against a team in the top 19 in both, a miracle sure doesn’t seem likely.

Game of the Week:  Virginia at Louisville (Saturday, 1:00 pm ET, CBS)
Naturally when the second- and third-ranked teams in these rankings play, it is a big game.  Both teams are playing well, particularly on defense, and particularly at home.  That should come into play as these two meet on Sunday, as the winner will likely be the consensus second best team in the league.  As has been the case all season long in the ACC, expect home-court advantage to come into play.
Louisville 62, Virginia 60.