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ACC: Must Watch Games This Week

Mitch Stringer-USA Today Sports

Last week, ACC play provided a bunch of exciting games including North Carolina State taking down previously unbeaten Duke.  A couple of upsets mixed in with a lot of close games is what conference play is all about and that was exactly what happened last week.

This week, expect the same action packed games throughout the ACC. North Carolina State and Miami are both looking to stay undefeated in the conference. Duke is looking to bounce back after a difficult loss and every other team is just looking to get on a roll.

Let’s now take a look at this weeks must watch games in the ACC with analysis and predictions. Last week I went 2-1 on my predictions with North Carolina State over Duke and North Carolina over Florida State being the two wins. The only loss I suffered was Florida State coming back and beating Maryland in a great game.

North Carolina State at Maryland (Wednesday 7:00 p.m.): North Carolina State is headed to College Park coming off the biggest win of their season while Maryland comes in after losing their last two games. North Carolina State seems to be getting their chemistry together and is really coming along as a team lately and look for them to do the same tonight. Maryland got off to a 13-1 start on the year and was flying under the radar until losing two very difficult games last week.

The Wolfpack just have to much talent for Maryland to handle. With Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie scoring in the paint like they do along with a great point guard in Lorenzo Brown to create open shots for 3-point specialist Scott Wood, North Carolina State has to many different options. Don’t forget about T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis because those two kids can play too.

Maryland is centered around big man Alex Len, who is playing really well so far this year, but the lack of experience is really hurting the Terrapins. A weak non-conference schedule didn’t really help them and it is showing so far in ACC play. Dez Wells and Len will really need to carry the Terrapins if they want to walk away with a victory tonight. They will also have their fantastic home court advantage, but I don’t see it being enough to knock off a streaking Wolfpack team.

Prediction: North Carolina State 82-Maryland 70

Maryland at North Carolina (Saturday at noon): Both teams have not gotten off to the start in conference play that they would have liked, but both still have time to make up for it. This is a huge game for both teams as they look for a confidence building and resume building win.

Look for James Michael McAdoo to have a difficult time scoring due to the size of Alex Len, but P.J. Hairston and Reggie Bullock will take advantage of their opportunities to score. Both players can shoot from the outside, attack the inexperienced guards from Maryland and have big time games. A young team heading on the road is never a good thing, especially when they are traveling to Chapel Hill.

Prediction: North Carolina 76-Maryland 63

Florida State at Virginia (Saturday 4 p.m.): Virginia got off to a hot start in ACC play when they knocked off North Carolina, but since then they have dropped two games against the weaker part of the conference. Florida State had a tough time winning in the non conference, but are 2-1 in conference play and were only a couple minutes away from beating North Carolina before they let a late lead slip away.

For Florida State, the key is Michael Snaer. As Snaer goes, so does Florida State, but also if they can continue to play great defense, they will be in good shape to make a little bit of a run. For Virginia, defense is key for them too. They want to play the game in the 50′s and no higher. On offense, if they make 3′s they win, but if they don’t, they lose. Against Carolina, they shot 57 percent from three and that was a main reason they won. Consider: in their two losses, they shot under 30 percent in both. This game is going to be an offensive struggle and look for the 3-pointer to be a major factor.

Prediction: Florida State 53-Virginia 49