Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) - This week, Coastal Carolina joins Duke, Virginia, Tennessee and several other big name schools at PNC Arena for a weekend of games as the NCAA Tournament is off and running. TomorrowMore >>
Chants take the floor for a practice in Raleigh before taking on top-seeded Virginia Friday night.More >>
(RNN) – Here's a name you need to know – Devon Bookert. He doesn't lead Florida State in any statistical category, but part of the reason people spend so much time talking about Michael Snaer and Okaro White is because of their freshman point guard.
The Seminoles (14-11, 6-6) need Bookert, and they know it.
"It's a lot easier when you've got a point guard on the floor that knows what his role is and is really good at passing and setting people up, getting us in and out of our offense, and that is something we really struggled with early in the season," Snaer said after Saturday's win against Boston College. "Devon moving into that spot has really helped us gel and be a good team."
The Alaska native was making himself a factor before he got his first start of the season two games ago. Remember Snaer's game-winner against Clemson? It wouldn't have happened had Bookert not made every shot he took in the second half, including the 3-pointer that tied the game with 44 seconds left.
It was Bookert's poise that put the ball in Snaer's hands with just enough time to beat Georgia Tech at the buzzer two weeks ago.
This past weekend the freshman delivered a career-high eight assists and didn't turn the ball over once.
It's imperative he takes another step in his maturity against NC State (18-7, 7-5). The engine that makes the Wolfpack run, point guard Lorenzo Brown, is back in the lineup after an ankle injury.
In two games back, Brown has made a game-winning layup and scored six points in overtime. Coincidentally, his return broke a three-game losing streak.
This is possibly the best matchup of the midweek because of a point guard that has been there and done that and another who is just starting to figure it out.
The Seminoles and Wolfpack tip off at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2.
Maryland at Boston College, Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST
Apparently, beating Duke is the en vogue thing to do this season.
If you are at all shocked that the Terrapins (18-7, 6-6) beat the Blue Devils, you must still be living in football season.
The team is more than center Alex Len. They have long, athletic players that can force opponents into bad shots. Their offense still hasn't hit full stride, which could be a good thing considering they have already done some positive things with a lot of season left.
If only they could cut down on that unreal amount of turnovers. They had more than double the turnovers that Duke committed and still won. Think about that.
As far as Boston College (11-14, 3-9), well, let's just say this team is not quite there yet. The Eagles' inability to defend 3-point shooting, by far the worst in the ACC, is what's going to get them hurt.
Even if they contain the 7-footer Len – and that's hard to imagine – all Len has to do is kick out to sharpshooting guard Logan Aronhalt, who has been hot the last seven games and shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc this season.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST
What do you get when you throw the highest-scoring team in the ACC into a faceoff with the worst shooting team in the ACC?
Well, we'll find out later on tonight.
Hopefully, no one was fooled into thinking the Tar Heels (17-8, 7-5) had rounded into form by winning three straight against the likes of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. They showed their true colors – and it isn't the usual intimidating shade of Carolina Blue – by getting stomped in Miami and blowing a lead to Duke.
Georgia Tech (14-10, 4-8) seems an unlikely candidate to give Carolina another loss, but you don't know which player on that roster will go on the attack on any given night, and that's a bit scary.
Surely, by now every other team in the league has figured out that as Mfon Udofia goes so does the rest of the team, so that's probably a good place for UNC's defense to start.
Virginia at Miami, Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST, ESPNU
For the past week and a half, Virginia has done something they don't normally do – score points.
The Cavaliers (18-7, 8-4) have scored 70 or more in four straight games for the first time in three seasons. The best defensive team in the ACC must have smelled blood in the water when it saw Miami manage 45 points in a road win over Clemson this past weekend.
Despite the anorexic performance last game, the Hurricanes (21-3, 12-0) are hearing none of that. They have crushed conference opponents by an average of 21 points at home and held the last 10 below 70.
This is gonna get interesting.
The Cavaliers make a living – or earn their scholarships, whatever – by causing equal amounts of frustration to every opposing player on the floor.
But this is the first and only time during the regular season they will get a taste of Kenny Kadji and Shane Larkin, who are as unselfish as they are dynamic.
The Wahoos will need even more from guard Joe Harris, who has averaged nearly 23 points and 55 percent from long range the last six games.
Duke at Virginia Tech, Thursday, 9 p.m. EST, ESPN
Because we are tired of mentioning a certain shooting guard whose last name is the same as a color, we will talk about the most consistent player currently for the Hokies – Cadarian Raines. He has six points and nine rebounds right on the dot the past three games, albeit in the middle of an eight-game losing streak.
The Hokies (11-14, 2-10) can also tout Marshall Wood, who had season highs of 14 points and 16 rebounds last game against NC State. Doubtful that will happen again this season, but at least someone stepped up other than Eri… whoops, almost slipped!
In case it is not yet apparent we are grasping for straws, let's make it clear – Duke (22-3, 9-3) will probably take out their frustration over the loss to Maryland on Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech has one conference win at home this season, and Duke has followed both of its previous losses with wins that averaged 18-point margins.
The Hokies give up the most points in the conference and are worst or second-worst in all the following categories – shooting percentage, scoring margin, rebound margin, assists, steals and turnover margin.
Mason Plumlee is one of two players in the ACC averaging a double-double. The grind of carrying Duke has shown lately, but a five-day rest should take care of that.
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