#4 Duke Blue Devils (12-1, 0-1)
Duke has been off since last week when they defeated Evansville 104-40.
#9 Virginia Cavaliers (11-1)
12/22 - defeated Hampton 82-48
UVA soared up the rankings this week largely due to other teams tripping up but the Hoos did pick up an easy win last Friday. The Cavaliers were a bit slow out of the gate but G Ty Jerome caught fire late in the first half and G Kyle Guy picked up the load in the second to propel Virginia to a 34 point win. Virginia’s defense shut down Hampton in the second half, holding the Pirates to just 20.6% from the field.
#13 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2)
12/23 - defeated Ohio State 86-72 in the CBS Sports Classic
The Tar Heels bounced back from their Wofford loss to defeat Ohio State in New Orleans last Saturday. North Carolina dominated the Buckeyes both in the paint (out-rebounded tOSU 39-25) and at the arc (shot 52% from 3 point range to Ohio State’s 31%) to push the Heels to a fairly easy win. Seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson stepped up to lead UNC. Both scored 19 points and Pinson went 10 for 10 at the free throw line to ruin Ohio State’s comeback attempt.
#15 Miami Hurricanes (11-1)
12/23 - defeated Hawai’i 75-57 in the Hawaiin Airlines Diamond Head Classic
12/23 - lost to New Mexico State 54-63 in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
12/25 - defeated Middle Tennessee 84-81 in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
Miami spent the Christmas holiday in Hawai’i, taking home a third place finish in the Diamond Head Classic. Their first round game tipped off late on the 22nd Hawaiian time against the host Rainbow Warriors. After a halftime tie, Miami shot nearly 70% from the field in the second half to sink Hawai’i. G Ja’Quan Newton and F Dewan Huell paced Miami with 16 points each. The Hurricanes fell from the ranks of the undefeated the following day, getting upset by New Mexico State 54-63. Miami came within a point several times but ultimately trailed the entire second half. The Canes were ice cold beyond the arc, shooting just 2/14 from deep. Dejan Vasiljevic’s 15 points led Miami. The Hurricanes were able to salvage a third place finish in the classic by holding off Middle Tennessee 84-81 on Christmas Day. Miami bounced back to shoot 60% from the field in a game full of offensive highlights. Huell led Miami with 21 points on 7/8 shooting while Bruce Brown added a season-high 20.
#24 Florida State Seminoles (11-1)
12/21 - defeated Southern Miss 98-45
In an Independence Bowl preview, Florida State shot the lights out of the Tucker Center, to cruise to a 53 point win over Southern Miss. The ‘Noles made 19 three pointers, one short of the program record, hitting on 52.8% of their deep shots. No starter played more than 21 minutes or scored in double digits, but Gs P.J. Savoy and M.J. Walker both came off the bench to hit 5 3s to lead FSU with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Boston College Eagles (10-3, 1-0)
12/23 - defeated Richmond 78-73 in OT
Sharp-shooting G Jordan Chatman hit 7 three pointers, scoring 30 points while never leaving the floor in Boston College’s 78-73 overtime win against Richmond. The Eagles were outrebounded 45-36 and, aside from Chatman, didn’t shoot well, but still ended non-conference play with a nice win. Ten wins is the most Boston College has had in a season since 2014-15.
Clemson Tigers (11-1)
12/22 - defeated Louisiana 89-60
Clemson didn’t quite crack the rankings this week but they did earn an easy 11th win to cap off the non-conference slate. The Tigers won because of their defense, yet again, holding a high-scoring Louisiana team to 28 points below their season scoring average. The Ragin’ Cajuns shot just 28% from the field, while the Tigers hit 57% of their shots. F Donte Grantham recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Louisville Cardinals (10-2)
12/23 - defeated Grand Canyon 74-56
After a closely contested first half, Louisville turned up the defensive pressure early in the second, going on a 21-3 run to put the game out of reach. The Cardinals shot the ball poorly (21% from beyond the arc) but forced 19 turnovers and outrebounded the Antelopes 41-35. F Ray Spalding tallied career highs with 21 points and 16 rebounds to pace Louisville.
NC State Wolfpack (10-3)
12/22 - defeated Jacksonville 116-64
NC State bounced back from their loss to UNCG to end their non-conference schedule with a bang, putting up 116 points in an offensive outburst against Jacksonville. The Wolfpack shot 57.5% from the field and 50% from 3 in the dominant win. Six NCST players scored in double figures, led by 25 from G Allerik Freeman and 20 from 6th man Sam Hunt. Freshman PG Braxton Beverley scored 15 along with a career-high 11 assists for his first career double-double.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-3)
12/21 - defeated SE Louisiana 86-50
Star F Bonzie Colson scored 16 points to make it 30 consecutive games with double-digit points but Notre Dame won the game with Colson off the floor. About halfway through the first half, Colson took an elbow to the face, sending him to the locker room with a bloody nose. With him off the floor, Notre Dame’s guards stepped up in a big way. TJ Gibbs, Matt Farrell, and Rex Pflueger scored 18, 17, and 17, respectively, most coming without Colson in the game. By the time the star forward returned, Notre Dame had the game firmly in hand.
Pittsburgh Panthers (8-5)
12/22 - defeated Towson 63-59
Pitt turned the ball over 21 times and started the game ice cold from beyond the arc but held on for a narrow win over Towson. The Panthers struggled with the Tigers’ press all game but started to find some openings in Towson’s defense in the second half. As bad as Pitt shot, Towson shot worse, hitting just 6.7% of their shots beyond the arc. The Panthers’ leading scorer was G Parker Stewart who had 13 points.
Syracuse Orange (11-2)
12/22 - lost to St. Bonaventure 57-60 OT
12/27 - defeated Eastern Michigan 62-47
Syracuse held St. Bonaventure scoreless over the last 7:17 of regulation and to just 13 total points in the second half but still couldn’t come away with a win. The Orange zone was suffocating, but their offense couldn’t convert on enough of the opportunities created, hitting on just 3 of 19 shots beyond the arc. G Frank Howard led Syracuse with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. The Orange bounced back on Wednesday, defeating Eastern Michigan 62-47. G Tyus Battle scored a game-high 22 points, including 10 straight in the second half that helped put Syracuse out of reach, but the star of the game was C Paschal Chukwu. Normally a 48% free throw shooter, Chukwu hit 9 of 11 shots from the charity stripe on his way to 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
Virginia Tech Hokies (10-2)
The Hokies tipped off their last non-conference game at noon today against North Carolina A&T.
12/23 - lost to #21 Tennessee 60-79
Wake Forest trailed by just 1 point at halftime but couldn’t hang with Tennessee in the second half, losing 60-79. Wake struggled to find the basket, especially in the second half. The Deacons shot just 37% from the field on the day, while Tennessee hit nearly 52% of their shots. Sixth Man Keyshawn Woods scored 18 points off the bench to lead Wake Forest.
The non-conference schedule ends with a bang when Louisville travels to Rupp Arena to face arch rival Kentucky Friday at 1:00 pm (CBS). ACC play starts in earnest on Saturday. The team to watch this week is #24 Florida State. On Saturday they travel to Durham to play #4 Duke. They follow it up on Wednesday when #13 UNC comes to Tallahassee. We’ll know if Florida State is a legitimate contender for the ACC crown or merely a very good team by this time next week.
NC A&T at Virginia Tech - 12:00 pm
Louisville at #16 Kentucky - 1:00 pm (CBS)
Wake Forest at #13 UNC - 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
#24 FSU at #4 Duke - 2:00 pm (CBS)
Boston College at #9 Virginia - 2:00 pm (RSN)
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame - 2:00 pm (ESPN2)
#15 Miami at Pittsburgh - 4:00 pm (ACCN)
NC State at Clemson - 4:00 pm (RSN)
Virginia Tech at Syracuse - 6:00 pm (ESPNU)
Pittsburgh at Louisville - 9:00 pm (ESPNU)
#13 UNC at #24 FSU - 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Syracuse at Wake Forest - 7:00 pm (ESPNU)
Clemson at Boston College - 7:00 pm (RSN)
#9 Virginia at Virginia Tech - 9:00 pm (ACCN)
#15 Miami at Georgia Tech - 9:00 pm (RSN)
NC State at Notre Dame - 9:00 pm (ACCN)