It's Wednesday afternoon. It's winter break. Frankly, there is nothing going on in the world right now. Let's have some fun with numbers in the ACC.
If you're not a fan of Duke, you have to be downright terrified at the thought of playing them. They start three seniors. They have an elite coach. Mason Plumlee is the #2 scorer in the ACC (19.3 points per game on 64% shooting) and the #1 rebounder, at 11.5 rebounds a game). They hold three wins against top 5 opponents. IT'S DECEMBER. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? They won't beat themselves. Ugh. After watching Miami lay an egg against Indiana State, I seriously question how we could even compete with the Dukies.
Speaking of my beloved Canes, it's about time that we recognize this: This is our season. It's do or die time. There are 6 seniors on the roster, and 4 of them start, and one of them is the first man off the bench. The talent is there. Shane Larkin is proving to be an elite PG in the ACC, averaging 13 points and 4 assists and 2.4 steals a game (he leads the conference in steals). They have the playmaker in Durand Scott. They have the bigs in Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji and Julian Gamble. After a bad choke against Indiana State this past weekend, and a bad loss early in the season at Florida Gulf Coast, it's time for Coach L to lay in to these guys: We can't afford any more of those. I promise you that the date January 10th is circled on the calendar right now. Miami AT UNC. Put up or shut up time for the U.
NC State came in to the season at #6. They have one noteworthy win since them, UConn by 4. Besides that, they've lost to both Michigan and OK State. They've since fallen to #23 in the rankings. The truth about NC State is probably somewhere in the middle. According to statsheet.com, they have 3 of the top 10 players in terms of offensive rating: Freshman TJ Warren (3), Senior Scott Wood (4), and Senior Richard Howell (8). They're the second highest scoring team in the ACC, but also allow the second most points in the conference, tied with UNC in that regard. They don't play a quality opponent until Duke on January 12th, so that game is when we should find out the truth about NC State.
There is only one other team with two players in the top 10 of offensive rating in the ACC. You're probably saying something like "It has to be Duke. Duh." Well, if you said that, you're wrong. Then you probably guessed UNC. You'd still be wrong. It's Maryland. Yes, the Terps. Shaquille Cleare and Alex Len come in at #5 and #9, respectively. The good news for Terps fans? Cleare is a freshman and Len is a sophomore. If they choose to stay, the future is bright in college park. More good news for Maryland fans: They've lost one game, and it was to Kentucky. In the first game of the season. By 3 points. They don't have many quality wins since then, but there is talent on this team. Don't sleep on Maryland.
More fun with numbers. What team is 3rd in the country in scoring, 3rd in rebounding and 1st in assists per game? Okay, now the answer is UNC. The bad news for Tar Heels fans is that they've lost to all three of their quality opponents (Butler, Indiana and Texas), and have been scoring against teams that don't even have their own ESPN team page. Still - they have one of the most talented duos in the conference in Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo, along with one of the premier coaches in the country in Roy Williams. Their upcoming game against UNLV should be very telling in terms of what to expect out of UNC for the rest of the season.
The rest of the teams in the ACC are really nothing to write home about, so here are some more fun numbers from around the conference.
BC's Ryan Anderson is 3rd (16 points per game) in the conference in scoring and 2nd (9.7 per game) in rebounding. That's good. Everybody else on BC is not very good. Anderson shoots 52% from the floor. The next two leading scorers, Olivier Hanlan (12.8 PPG) and Joe Rahon (10.4 PPG) shoot a blazing 39% and 36% respectively. Yeah.
Michael Snaer, FSU's star guard, averages 16 points per game, but only on 38% shooting. You get the feeling that FSU needs him to shoot better if they want to make any sort of run at the ACC crown (ground breaking analysis, I know).
Virginia Tech's Erick Green leads not only the ACC in scoring, but the entire nation, at 25.4 points per game. And he isn't just a volume scorer - he shoots over 50% from the floor and makes 35% of his 3s.
This is my first post here at State of the U, so hopefully you enjoyed it. There will be plenty more to come. Find me on twitter @IK_Canes.