ACC Basketball: 5 Surprises In The First Weekend
Five surprises in First Weekend Of ACC Basketball
The 2013-14 NCAA basketball season tipped off this weekend and to many fans' delight, the freshmen stars around the country surprised no one with great games. Jabari Parker scored 22 points for Duke. Andrew Wiggins notched 16 points for Kansas and Kentucky's Julius Randle posted 15 points against UNC-Asheville Friday and played a fantastic game against Northern Kentucky with 22 points, 14 rebounds and three assists Sunday. Aaron and Andrew Harrison also contributed 29 combined points for the Wildcats.
While most of the opening weekend games were not overly excited, the games allowed fans to see what could come as the season progresses into the first full week where many should-be entertaining games will be played.
The ACC got victories from Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, Clemson, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech and Florida State. Maryland almost came away with an upset victory in a tough loss to Connecticut. Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College (0-2) all suffered losses as well.
Overall, the new-look ACC went an impressive 12-5 for the weekend. Tuesday's games will have many fans salivating with no. 1 Kentucky facing no. 2 Michigan State and no. 4 Duke taking on no. 5 Kansas at the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago.
These games highlight the week, but before this new week officially commences, it is time to take a look back at the first weekend of the 2013-14 ACC basketball season. There were close games, late-game heroics and a close upset that made for an exciting three days of play.
5. North Carolina's Bench
North Carolina needed a pick-me-up after still facing ineligibility issues for both P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald. The Tar Heels were expecting big things from junior forward James Michael McAdoo (21 points, nine rebounds against Oakland on Friday), but also needed contributions from somewhere else.
J.P. Tokoto started and scored 13 points, dished out five assists, collected four steals and grabbed three rebounds against Oakland.
Coach Roy Williams also got quite the lift from his bench with forwards Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks each chipping in with 10 points apiece. The duo also combined for 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.
It is too early to say whether this will carry over for the remainder of the year, especially with a very tough early-season schedule; but with Hairston and McDonald set to return eventually, the bench will be that much stronger.
4. Quinn Cook
Duke was expecting Jabari Parker (22 points and six rebounds vs. Davidson) and Rodney Hood (22 points) to produce quality numbers from the first dribble on, but the Blue Devils still were in need of a third scoring choice.
Point guard Quinn Cook played that role very nicely against Davidson where he racked up 21 points, eight assists and most importantly, no turnovers. Cook does not have to score like that every game, but if he can control the ball consistently, the Blue Devils can easily set their sights on a Final Four berth come April.
3. Nick Faust
Maryland's junior guard Nick Faust carried the load with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in the Terps' loss to Connecticut Friday. Faust put on a quick-strike scoring display when he scored on a layup and hit a 3-pointer to bring the Terps within two points with 2:28 remaining in the game.
Faust’s effort nearly made up for junior star Dez Wells’ poor game (13 points, 3-of-10 FG). If Faust can consistently score like he did against UConn, Maryland may turn from an possible NCAA Tournament outside contender to a group no ACC team wants to play.
2. Garrick Sherman
Notre Dame senior center Garrick Sherman nearly posted a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds in the 80-49 Irish victory over Stetson Sunday.
Sherman made seven of his 11 field goals and helped cover the paint with his 6-foot-11 frame. His effort pushed Notre Dame to a 2-0 record.
Sherman more than made up for his three-point effort in a Notre Dame victory over Miami (Ohio) on Friday.
1. Virginia Tech
The final surprise in the ACC was not a pleasant one as USC Upstate upset Virginia Tech on Saturday. Cadarian Raines' 17 second-half points and Jarrell Eddie’s 18 points paced the Hokies, but it was not enough as Upstate's Babatunde Olumuyiwa hit from inside to break a 62-all tie late.
Virginia Tech shot poorly — 39 percent from field — but did hold the Spartans to only 37.5 percent from the field. However, the scoring on the Hokies side was not evident as only Raines and Eddie hit double-figures and no one else scored more than seven points.