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) - Grab a spoonful, North Carolina. Duke, you want to give it a try, too? There's plenty to go around Notre Dame. Give an extra scoop to NC State, Maryland and Miami. BC, it looks like you filled your plate.
(Everyone takes bite, spits out bite, reaches for drinks.)
The ACC slate has been short on the candied yam sweetness of signature wins while serving heaping helpings from the mystery casserole of defeat through the first two weeks. Someone, please pass the gravy.
Since the PPPollsters last met, we have watched the Fighting Irish KO'd and the Tar Heels lose their footing. We've seen the Wolfpack get neutered, the Yellow Jackets get the bug spray, the Terrapins get shell-shocked and the Eagles break up because of that self-righteous Don Henley.
That's already after the Blue Devils got sent to Blue Heaven, the Hurricanes got tropical depressed, the Cavaliers got Count of Monte Cristo'd and the Hokies … we still don't know what a Hokie is.
In short, it hasn't been the feast we thought it would be so far. Our beloved league was left with five undefeated teams, courtesy of schedules fluffier than mammy's mashed potatoes: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Wake Forest and Clemson.
But we're willing to look past the first helping's broken eggshells (missed free throws), burnt edges (turnovers) and the travesty that is instant stuffing (Why is everyone playing Colgate, Stetson or Delaware State??) on our way to a second plate.
On Thursday, a couple of teams finally started carving the turkey. Strap on your sweatpants; it's go time.
Wait, we got one - the Hokies got pokied! Nailed it.
Player Power Poll: Nov. 14 to 21.
1. Montay Brandon, Florida State Seminoles
14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists Thursday vs. VCU (W 85-67)
The sophomore takes the title and decorative refrigerator magnet this week on behalf of his fellow ‘Noles. Really, it could have been any number of them after a well-balanced disassembling of the 10th-ranked team in the nation.
They cut through the full-court press "Havoc" of the Rams to find easy buckets then stifled them on defense, forcing 29-percent shooting. Montay showed off his skill set by helping get the ball up the court and grabbing some boards.
The win could be a sign that FSU was vastly underrated. VCU is a team built to outwork its opponent with depth, athleticism and defensive pressure. And they absolutely were gassed at the end of this one.
2. K.J. McDaniels, Clemson Tigers
21 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks, two steals Sunday vs. South Carolina (W 71-57)
Clemson joins Florida State in the "We May Have Misjudged Them" category. These guys still have the defensive acumen of a year ago, and they look a lot more comfortable on offense since it became K.J.'s team.
The Tigers tried to get most of their scoring out of the post a year ago, leaving them standing around a lot. Now, they are pushing the tempo when opportunities strike and aggressively pushing the ball off the dribble in half-court sets.
McDaniels is without a doubt the best defender in the conference. And it's not a matter of if he'll make the highlights every night with his dunks and blocked shots, but how many times.
3. Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils
21 points, nine rebounds, six blocks Tuesday vs. East Carolina (W 83-74)
Each guy in the rankings gets his best line under his name, and that's usually a no-brainer to pick. For the Must-See Moment Machine, it was a complete toss-up. Three games this week: 21 and 10, four 3s; 21 and 10, four assists; 21 and nine, six blocks.
Here's a knowledge bomb - Jabari is the only freshman to drop 20 in each of his first five games for a Mike Krzyzewski team. In case you've been in a trytophan-induced coma for a while, Coach K's been running the top basketball program in the country for the last 25 years or so.
4. Rodney Hood, Duke Blue Devils
30 points, 8 of 10 shooting, five rebounds Tuesday vs. East Carolina (W 83-74)
Oh yeah, there's a second All-American-caliber wing in Durham, NC. He's hitting 72 percent of his shots. And 73 percent from behind the arc. Aaaaand 83 percent from the line.
5. Daniel Miller, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
20 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, three steals Wednesday vs. Dayton (L 82-72)
The Jackets couldn't stop coughing up the ball in the loss Wednesday to the Flyers, but their big man got his career-high in points and played another all-around solid game.
Daniel is a great interior defender who doesn't let many shots get by him uncontested and prevents second chances by gobbling up the ball. He's also a guy the team doesn't need to run plays for to score, as his offensive rebounding skills are pretty good, too.
6. Rion Brown, Miami Hurricanes
13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, three steals Nov. 14 vs. Texas Southern (W 84-69)
It looks like it's going to be a season of more downs than ups for our friends in Coral Gables, FL. They lost nearly everyone who saw floor time a season ago, and they got their second home loss Thursday against UCF.
Rion, the last remnant of the 27-win team, messed around and nearly got a triple-double in the ‘Canes' win against Texas Southern. For sentimental reasons, we'll get him on the board when we can.
7. Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh Panthers
20 points, five rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers, two steals Sunday vs. Howard
Sure, it's not elite competition. But Pitt shot 81 percent for the half against Howard.
8. Talib Zanna, Pittsburgh Panthers
23 points, 9 of 10 shooting, 14 rebounds Wednesday vs. Lehigh (W 77-58)
When Talib stays out of foul trouble, he's a tough matchup for any team. The 6'9" big man has fancy footwork, a nice shooting touch and a nose for offensive rebounds.
9. Jerami Grant, Syracuse Orange
13 points, eight rebounds, one steal Monday vs. St. Francis (NY) (W 56-50)
With about a minute left, Jerami stole the ball and dished it to a teammate for the go-ahead bucket. Then he picked up a tipped ball on defense, went coast-to-coast, got fouled and hit two free throws.
You wrap up the game, you make the list. It's that simple sometimes.
10. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels
27 points, 13 rebounds, three steals Sunday vs. Belmont (L 83-80)
JMM's game was juicier than a Butterball on Sunday, but his team's cranberry sauce was straight out of the can when it came to free throws.
The junior has progressed on his form, though it didn't show in the 11 of 19 result at the charity stripe. He cleaned more than enough pumpkin off the offensive glass to make up for that, but his teammates burned the pie with a combined 11 of 29 from the line.
Maybe they should have not used so much butter on the cornbread, since, you know, it's slippery. Mmmmm, cornbread.
We give up. We're hungry. Happy Thanksgiving.
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