5 Things To Watch In ACC: Duke, Syracuse Ready For Round 2 In ACC This Week
A look at five things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 1 Syracuse at No. 5 Duke. It’s time for the rematch of what might have been the game of the year in college basketball. The Orange (26-1, 13-1 ACC) are coming off their first loss — a shocker to lowly Boston College — and edged the Blue Devils 91-89 in overtime on Feb. 1 in front of a Carrier Dome-record crowd of 35,446. Saturday’s game will draw a crowd of about one-fourth that size in the Orange’s first trip to cramped Cameron Indoor Stadium. As for the Blue Devils, it’s a tough turnaround because it comes less than 48 hours after their rescheduled rivalry game at North Carolina — a stretch that coach Mike Krzyzewski said was “really like a Final Four.”
LOOKING AHEAD: Three teams — Maryland, Clemson and North Carolina State — have the chance to help their postseason resumes. The Terrapins host Syracuse on Monday, Clemson travels to struggling Wake Forest on Tuesday and N.C. State hosts rival UNC on Wednesday. They entered this week’s games at 6-7-8 in the muddled ACC standings.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Olivier Hanlan has been a bright spot in a tough year for Boston College. The sophomore and reigning ACC rookie of the year has scored in double figures in 33 of his last 35 games and has reached the 20-point mark nine times — including a 20-point performance in the Eagles’ upset of No. 1 Syracuse that was keyed by his 3-pointer in overtime.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Things look much more dire at Wake Forest than they did a month ago. Since winning their 14th game — their most under fourth-year coach Jeff Bzdelik — the Demon Deacons have lost six in a row. This marks their third losing streak of at least six games in Bzdelik’s time at the school.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: North Carolina star freshman Diamond DeShields has been on a high-scoring tear. The daughter of former major league baseball player Delino DeShields scored 30 points in last week’s win at then-No. 3 Duke, then had a school freshman record 38 points six days later in the win at then-No. 10 N.C. State. Overall, the 6-foot-1 rookie entered the week averaging nearly 22 points in ACC games. “My decisions so far have been good, so I’m just playing off my instincts and not playing in a rush,” she said.
AP Basketball Writer Aaron Beard and AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.