ACC Week: Duke-UNC, NC State-Clemson, UNC-FSU - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ACC Week: Duke, UNC face busy week

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Desmond Lee (5), Cat Barber and the rest of the NC State Wolfpack go to Clemson on Tuesday. (Source: NC State Athletics Communications/GoPack.com) Desmond Lee (5), Cat Barber and the rest of the NC State Wolfpack go to Clemson on Tuesday. (Source: NC State Athletics Communications/GoPack.com)
(From left to right) Amile Jefferson, Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker have helped No. 5 Duke to a 9-3 mark in the ACC. (Source: Duke Photography/GoDuke.com) (From left to right) Amile Jefferson, Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker have helped No. 5 Duke to a 9-3 mark in the ACC. (Source: Duke Photography/GoDuke.com)
Aaron Thomas and Florida State could add a tournament resume-building win Monday when they host North Carolina. (Source: Florida State University Athletics) Aaron Thomas and Florida State could add a tournament resume-building win Monday when they host North Carolina. (Source: Florida State University Athletics)

(RNN) - A snowstorm that melted away days ago could still have a profound effect on Duke and North Carolina.

The programs are scheduled to square off Thursday in the first of their two regular-season meetings. The game had to be moved from its original slot of Feb. 12, when severe winter weather made conditions too dangerous for the Blue Devils to make the short trek to Chapel Hill.

The abrupt change could lead to tired legs by the end of the week. Both teams started a four-games-in-eight-days stretch Saturday, and Duke has the No. 1 team in the country coming to town two days after meeting its biggest rival.

Monday: North Carolina (17-7, 7-4) at Florida State (15-10, 6-7), 7 p.m. ET

The Seminoles' NCAA tournament life has a pulse - barely - thanks to the 67-60 win at Wake Forest on Saturday. The victory stopped a skid where they had lost five of their last six.

Ian Miller appeared back in form with 25 points and 5-of-7 shooting from long range against the Demon Deacons. It was his second game after missing most of the three prior with a sprained ankle. FSU is one of the few teams that can match up with Carolina, in terms of size and athletic ability. The biggest issue will be turnovers - it averages a league-worst 14.3 per game, and UNC's defense causes a league-best 14.2.

The Heels have been the most unpredictable team in the ACC, maybe the country. Non-conference play was marked by big victories and inexplicable losses, and then they opened conference play by going 1-4 before winning six straight. They gained their biggest conquest of the new year Saturday, beating Pitt 75-71.

James Michael McAdoo kept his recent tear going with 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Panthers. At 6'9" and 230 pounds, he is a rare combination of size and speed. But Florida State offers a different challenge for him in the form of 7-footers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo.

Tuesday: NC State (16-9, 6-6) at Clemson (15-9, 6-6), 7 p.m.

The Wolfpack were a bad pass away from a marquee victory Saturday over No. 1-ranked Syracuse, falling 56-55. They travel to Clemson for a contest of two teams getting discussed for at-large tournament bids.

NC State's big men must block out and secure rebounds to leave with a win. Clemson makes a living out of getting second chances after misses, and the 'Pack is statistically the worst defensive rebounding team in the ACC (64.4 percent). T.J. Warren has cranked up the intensity on the court and social media in recent weeks. His eight-straight performances of 20 points or better have recalled NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, whom he frequently mentions on Twitter.

The Tigers have lost three straight and let a game with No. 14 Virginia slip away in the final minutes Saturday. Someone besides K.J. McDaniels needs to contribute on offense if they want to avoid another late-season swoon. Two guys who got a bump in minutes in recent games - Austin Ajukwa and Demarcus Harrison - could be coach Brad Brownell's latest candidates to fill that secondary scorer role.

A man-to-man defense that uses no overall strategies other than "play hard" and "pay attention" has made Clemson one of the most ungenerous teams in the land. McDaniels uses long arms and a 36-inch vertical to block several shots in impressive fashion, with 6'10" Landry Nnoko backing him up in the lane.

Also Tuesday:

Wake Forest (14-11, 4-8) at Maryland (14-12, 6-7), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Duke (19-5, 9-3) at Georgia Tech (13-12, 4-8), 9 p.m.

No. 14 Virginia (21-5, 12-1) at Virginia Tech (9-15, 2-10), 9 p.m.

Wednesday:

Boston College (6-19, 2-10) at No. 1 Syracuse (25-0, 12-0), 7 p.m.

Notre Dame (14-12, 5-8) at Miami (12-13, 3-9), 9 p.m.

Thursday: No. 5 Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m.

The fans at the Dean Dome may be even rowdier than usual, since they were forced to wait another week for their most bitter of rivals. Both teams are stocked with playmakers, and the pace should be frenetic from the outset.

The players most central to UNC's outcome are McAdoo and Marcus Paige. Paige suffered a bit of a downswing during the open of ACC play, but he has returned to the form that helped the team slay some of college basketball's biggest giants (Louisville, Michigan State, Kentucky) early on.

The Tar Heels are talented enough that they don't need to be outstanding from the free throw line, but they do need to improve on their average to beat Duke. Outside of Paige (91 percent), they shoot a miserable 57 percent from the line.

The Blue Devils have been on a hot streak as well. They won nine out of their last 10, and the one loss came in overtime against Syracuse, which was widely regarded as the game of the year. They took care of another rival Saturday by defeating Maryland 69-67.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has Duke playing much-improved defense and turned freshman standout Jabari Parker into a one-man rebounding machine - something they will need to beat a larger UNC team. Parker's most impressive feat may be the recovery from a rough stretch of games when his shot wouldn't fall; he responded by becoming a more physical player who pounds the lane with ferocity.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • YOUR TURN ON 9

  • Who is the ACC Player of the Year?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
    8%
    11 votes
    Rodney Hood, Duke
    6%
    10 votes
    Jabari Parker, Duke
    22%
    35 votes
    Dez Wells, Maryland
    0%
    0 votes
    Marcus Paige, North Carolina
    22%
    35 votes
    T.J. Warren, NC State
    27%
    42 votes
    Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh
    1%
    2 votes
    C.J. Fair, Syracuse
    6%
    9 votes
    Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
    3%
    5 votes
    Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
    5%
    8 votes
  • MoreMore>>

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