Monday, January 2, 2012

ACC teams gear up for conference play

ACC play gets started Monday, with Virginia visiting Duke and Virginia Tech traveling to Clemson part of the five-game opening-day package. To help get you ready, here's a primer on the ACC through the teams' non-conference schedules:

Preseason poll

1. Miami; 2. Duke; 3. Maryland; 4. Florida State; 5. Georgia Tech; 6. North Carolina; 7. N.C. State; 8. Virginia; 9. Boston College; 10. Wake Forest; 11. Clemson; 12. Virginia Tech.

If we were doing the poll today....

1. Maryland; 2. Duke; 3. Miami; 4. Virginia; 5. Georgia Tech; 6. N.C. State; 7. Florida State; 8. North Carolina; 9. Wake Forest; 10. Boston College; 11. Clemson; 12. Virginia Tech

Best non-conference win

In terms of cache, RPI muscle and surprise value, no victory registered higher than Virginia's 69-64 overtime stunner over then-No. 3 Tennessee.

Worst non-conference loss

North Carolina A&T 77, Clemson 67

Best individual performance

Duke's Chelsea Gray's triple-double (14 points, a school-record 13 assists and 11 rebounds) against Pitt was terrific. But given the quality of the opponent, our nod goes to Miami's Riquna Williams, who poured in 31 of her 36 points after intermission as the Hurricanes rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Rutgers 92-81 in double-overtime. The 36 points are the most by any ACC player this season.

Best quote

"(Georgetown) smacked us in the face and we ran and called our moms and asked for help instead of turning to each other." Miami coach Katie Meier after the Hurricanes' 71-46 loss to the Hoyas.


Maryland (13-0)
One of only six undefeated teams left in Division I (Baylor, Ohio State, Green Bay, Colorado, Texas Tech). Still want to see how the Terrapins fare against a quality team in legitimately hostile territory - all but four of their games so far have been either at home or somewhere in the Washington/Baltimore area, at places where Maryland often had more fans in attendance than the home team.

Duke (9-2)
Offensively challenged no more? This year's Blue Devils have scored at least 92 points four times so far.

Miami (11-2)
Hurricanes have won 32 straight at home, but are just 11-7 in road/neutral site games since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Virginia (12-2)
The (zone) defense never rests for Joanne Boyle's Cavaliers, who have held eight opponents to 49 points or less.

Georgia Tech (10-3)
Probably should have finished off Green Bay in the San Juan Shootout - the Yellow Jackets led by 9 points in the second half and by five in overtime before dropping a 67-62 decision.

Florida State (8-6)
All of the Seminoles' losses are to quality teams (Arkansas, Florida, Louisville, Nebraska, Ohio State, Vanderbilt), and five of the six were by single digits.

N.C. State (10-3)
Nice bounceback campaign for the Wolfpack, winners of six of their last seven including quality victories over South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida Gulf Coast.

North Carolina (10-2)
Talented but injury-riddled Tar Heels cruised through their typically Charmin-soft schedule, but in their only two games against Top-50 caliber foes UNC lost by 19 at Penn State and by 31 on a neutral court against South Carolina.

Wake Forest (10-3)
The Demon Deacons played 11 of their 13 non-conference games at home. To their credit, they did win both of their road games (at Seton Hall, at SMU).

Boston College (4-8)
Disappointing start includes a humbling 70-62 loss to crosstown rival Boston University, the Terriers first win over the Eagles since 1990.

Clemson (4-7)
Tigers have dropped five of their last six, with the lone victory in that span coming over MEAC newcomer North Carolina Central (1-12)..

Virginia Tech (4-9)
Rebuilding Hokies lost in the opening game of their own tournament (to Cincinnati) for the first time in the 22-year history of the event. Sophomore guard Monet Tellier scored 31 points in a loss to William and Mary. Tellier joins Miami's Williams as the only ACC players to score at least 30 points in a game this season.

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