ACC: Must Watch Games This Week

By Anthony Lenahan
Rob Kinnan-USA Today Sports

Last week ACC play kicked off and every team began conference play.  It was a slow week in the ACC with no real suprises except for Virginia beating North Carolina.  This week there are a couple of intriguing match-ups involving two ACC foes.  Here are the three most eye appealing match-ups along with my prediction:

Florida State at Maryland (Wednesday 8:00):  Maryland has been one of the most surprising teams in the country while Florida State has been one of the most disappointing teams.  People are wondering if the Terrapins are for read and they get a chance to beat a quality team tonight in Florida State.

FSU came into the season ranked in the top 25, but after a few embarrassing losses, the Seminoles have quickly dropped out.  Florida State is looking to make a run in conference play like they did last year and tonight is a huge opportunity for a big win.

Look for Maryland to control the glass and get a big game out of Alex Len while Florida State needs Michael Snaer to get back to his star like play.  Both teams are 1-0 in conference play and are looking to get to 2-0.

Prediction: Maryland 77 Florida State 70.

No. 1 Duke At No. 20 North Carolina State (Saturday 12:00):  Duke has gotten off to a 15-0 start and a 2-0 start in conference play with the help of player of the year candidate, Mason Plumlee.  North Carolina State came into the season with so much hype and have gotten off to a modest 12-2 start.

The key factor in this game is Ryan Kelly.  Kelly came down with an injured foot in Duke’s win over Clemson last night and his status is unknown for this top 20 showdown.  Kelly and Plumlee are Duke’s main big men and the Blue Devils really have depth at that position.

Not to point out the fact that Kelly can bring out his defender because of his ability to shoot the outside shot which allows a lane for Duke’s athletic guards to drive.

If Kelly is unable to play, North Carolina State has the talent down low to dominate the game.  Forwards; C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren, and Richard Howell combine for 42 points per game.  With Kelly in the game he is a 6’11” body that isn’t easy to score on, but no Kelly means no problem for the Wolfpack forwards.

Duke has to travel on the road to hostile environment and might come out with their first loss of the season.  With the injury to Kelly, North Carolina State shocks Duke 78-75.

North Carolina At Florida State (Saturday 2:00): I’m sure everyone remembers when a very good North Carolina team went on the road to Tallahassee last year and got blown out.  Florida State welcomed the Tar Heels and college game day and was able to prove their ability to beat a good team on national television.  Not only did they win, they destroyed and embarrassed Carolina by 33 points.

Then the Tar Heels and Seminoles met in the ACC championship and Florida State beat the Tar Heels again to win the season series and ACC tournament.

This year, these two teams are almost completely different, but that doesn’t mean Carolina doesn’t want a little bit of redemption in Tallahassee.  Both teams haven’t gotten off to the start they wanted to this season and are going to be playing this game like a must win.

With the lack of presence in the paint for Florida State, look for James Michael McAdoo to dominate down low.  Also Carolina is going to try and push the pace, but the Seminoles have to be aware that they can not fall into that style of play.

The lack of defensive intensity has been a major problem for Carolina and look for Snaer and Okaro White to attack the Heels on offense.  Snaer seems to live for games against the Carolina’s and the Duke’s and he will want to shine once again.

This game is going to be a war, but Carolina gets their revenge from last year when they went on the road to Florida State and wins 87-75.



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