Syracuse/Pittsburgh/Notre Dame - All three of the ACC newcomers from the Big East won their conference debuts. Syracuse struggled with youthful Miami at home, but managed to pull out a 49-44 victory. Pittsburgh trailed early at North Carolina State, but used a 48-28 second-half scoring advantage to claim a 74-62 victory. Notre Dame, which fell in tragic fashion two weeks earlier to Ohio State and then lost its leading scorer/assist man Jerian Grant to academics, used a 20-4 second-half run Saturday to claim a 79-77 victory over Duke.
ON THE RISE
Maryland - In their final season in the ACC before moving to the Big Ten, the Terrapins finished 8-10 in conference play a year ago despite a pair of victories over Duke. But Mark Turgeon’s squad is off to a fast (2-0) start in conference play after recently falling to Boston University and struggling to defeat Florida Atlantic at home. The Terps opened ACC play in mid-December with an 88-80 victory at Boston College and then knocked off Georgia Tech, 77-61, for its seventh straight victory over the Yellow Jackets. Reality could hit Monday night at Pittsburgh.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Virginia - Head coach Tony Bennett, whose teams manage the clock and control tempo, opened ACC play with a huge 62-50 victory at Florida State, one game after getting blown out (87-52) at Tennessee. With just one player in double-figure scoring - Joe Harris at a mere 10.3 points per game - Virginia thrives on pace to compensate for its poor shooting (.437 FG, .336 3-pt., .644 FT). The Cavaliers’ style and liberal use of the bench makes for a tricky match-up.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Wake Forest 73, North Carolina 67 -- One day after Notre Dame knocked off Duke in its ACC debut, the Demon Deacons upstaged the Irish, limiting the Tar Heels to .387 shooting from the field, including 2-of-12 from three-point range in Wake Forest’s first victory over North Carolina since 2010 and first home win over the Tar Heels since 2009. It was a much-needed ACC victory for head coach Jeff Bzdelik after the Demon Deacons won just 11 times in 50 ACC games under Bzdelik his first three seasons.
T.J. Warren (North Carolina State) - The hottest player in the ACC arrives at Purcell Pavilion Tuesday night. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound sophomore leads the conference in scoring at 23.9 points per game while sitting in a tie for third in rebounding at 7.9. Warren, who kept the Wolfpack in the game in Saturday’s 12-point home loss to Pittsburgh (23 points, eight rebounds), is averaging 25.8 points per game over the last 10. He’s also second in the conference in field-goal shooting at .529.
Eric Atkins (Notre Dame) - Without Jerian Grant’s 19.0 points and 6.2 assists per game, the 6-foot-2, 182-pound senior has had to take on more of a scoring role for the Irish. So far, so good. Atkins tossed in a career-high 30 points - including a career-high six three-pointers - in Notre Dame’s narrow victory over Canisius. Atkins came back in the ACC opener against Duke and scored 19 points while handing out 11 assists in the upset victory over the Blue Devils.
Jabari Parker (Duke) - The rookie sensation ran into his first snag against Elon and Notre Dame, shooting just 7-of-23 in those two games, including 2-of-10 for seven points in his ACC debut against the Irish. But 6-foot-8, 235-pound freshman still is averaging 20.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game after scoring at least 20 points in his first seven games and 10 of his first 12. He already has four double-doubles in his brief collegiate career.
WEEK IN REVIEW
@ Tennessee 87, Virginia 52
North Carolina State 68, UNC Greensboro 64
@ Florida State 67, Charleston Southern 59
@ Miami 71, Loyola (Md.) 48
@ Clemson 80, VMI 50
Duke 86, Elon 48 (Greensboro)
@ Pittsburgh 58, SUNY-Albany 46
@ Maryland 70, North Carolina Central 56
@ Syracuse 70, Eastern Michigan 48
@ Virginia Tech 82, Maryland-Eastern Shore 66
@ North Carolina 84, UNC Wilmington 51
@ Harvard 73, Boston College 58
Pittsburgh 74, @ North Carolina State 62
@ Syracuse 49, Miami 44
@ Maryland 77, Georgia Tech 61
Clemson 62, @ Boston College 60
@ Notre Dame 79, Duke 77
Virginia 62, @ Florida State 50
@ Wake Forest 73, North Carolina 67
SCHEDULE (Jan. 6-12)
Jan. 6 (Monday)
Maryland (10-5, 2-0) @ Pittsburgh (13-1, 1-0)
Jan. 7 (Tuesday)
Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1) @ Duke (11-3, 0-1)
North Carolina State (10-4, 0-1) @ Notre Dame (10-4, 1-0)
Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) @ Virginia Tech (8-5, 1-0)
Jan. 8 (Wednesday)
Wake Forest (11-3, 1-0) @ Virginia (10-4, 1-0)
Miami (8-6, 0-2) @ North Carolina (10-4, 0-1)
Jan. 9 (Thursday)
Florida State (9-4, 0-1) @ Clemson (10-3, 1-0)
Jan. 11 (Saturday)
Boston College (4-11, 0-2) @ Virginia Tech (8-5, 1-0)
Notre Dame (10-4, 1-0) @ Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1)
North Carolina (10-4, 0-1) @ Syracuse (14-0, 1-0)
Wake Forest (11-3, 1-0) @ Pittsburgh (13-1, 1-0)
Duke (11-3, 0-1) @ Clemson (10-3, 1-0)
Virginia (10-4, 1-0) @ North Carolina State (20-14, 0-1)
Jan. 12 (Sunday)
Maryland (10-5, 2-0) @ Florida State (9-4, 0-1)