ACC Basketball: Games to Watch Besides Duke vs. Kansas Tuesday

By Gregory Philson
T.J. Warren
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The hype for Duke vs. Kansas is certainly more than well-deserved with two of the top three freshmen — Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins — set to face each other Tuesday.

ACC basketball fans have a few other games to keep an eye on while two of the best teams of the country highlight the week.

A solid match-up between unranked teams will have North Carolina State (1-0) taking on Cincinnati (1-0) in the Global Sports Shootout at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday. The Wolfpack are coming off a very sound outing against Appalachian State Nov. 8. Sophomore star T.J. Warren went off fro 27 points on 13-of-20 shooting with eight rebounds and three steals. Not to be outdone was the performance by junior Desmond Lee. Lee accumulated 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.

Cincinnati handled North Carolina Central, 74-61, Nov. 8. Sean Kilpatrick led the Bearcats with 22 points and seven rebounds. The Bearcats had three players score in at least 10 points against the Eagles.

This could be an interesting non-conference game for both teams because each will have a different challenge to overcome. N.C. State will have to crack a Cincy defense that held UNNC to only 21 percent shooting from behind the arc.

N.C. State will counter with a potent attack of offensive scorers. Along with Warren and Lee, the Wolfpack shot 62 percent from field against Appalachian State.

Later at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, a very interesting in-state rivalry could very well be as entertaining as Duke/Kansas when Virginia Commonwealth (1-0) faces Virginia (1-0). Both teams are ranked in the top-25, and this game will show what each team can do against much better opponents.

Virginia used a balanced attack in a 61-41 victory over James Madison Nov. 8. Nine players scored with forward Anthony Gill shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field with 13 points. Darion Atkins contributed off the bench as he grabbed 11 rebounds and scored eight points. Virginia did not shoot well from the field but held James Madison to only 31 percent shooting.

VCU had a very different victory after thrashing Illinois State, 96-58, Nov. 8. The Rams shot 55 percent from the field, had five players score in double-figures and held the Redbirds to only 32 percent shooting. Treveon Graham led VCU with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Terrance Shannon also notched 14 points for the Rams.

The final interesting Tuesday game is actually the earliest with a tip at 1 p.m. and features a cross-state battle between West Virginia (1-0) and Virginia Tech (0-1). Tech is coming off am upset loss to USC Upstate. The Hokies want to right the ship and getting a victory over WVU could help.

Virginia Tech will need to overcome a poor shooting performance of 39 percent against Upstate. Tech’s leading scorer, Jarell Eddie, shot only 6-of-21 from the floor on his way to 18 points. Obviously, the Hokies will need a better performance from Eddie and the the entire team against West Virginia.

West Virginia defeated Mount Saint Mary’s, 77-52, Nov. 8 after shooting 56 percent from the field and holding the MSM to 7-of-21 shooting from three-point land. WVU was led by Juwan Staten‘s 22 points, six assists and five rebounds. Eron Harris also added 19 points, four rebounds and three assists.

West Virginia could pose problems for VT. The Mountaineers had four players score in double-figures, shot 35 percent from behind the arc and hit 83 percent (15-of-18) from the charity stripe. Virginia Tech will need to bounce back on both sides of the ball if the Hokies want to notch their first victory of the season.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC basketball writer for Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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