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) - It could be a rough week for Duke. It could also be a great one.
A quirk of the 15-team ACC is the unbalanced schedules that have some battling tougher foes than others. One item of note is only three "old" ACC squads - Duke, Clemson and NC State - have road games against all three newcomers - Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse.
The Blue Devils get the added bonus of facing two of the three back-to-back. Their labor starts Monday when they take on the Panthers and continues Saturday with a date at the Carrier Dome to face the Orange.
Monday: No. 18 Duke (16-4, 5-2) at No. 20 Pittsburgh (18-2, 6-1), 7 p.m. ET
Pitt has little in the way of flash, but it makes few mistakes and takes advantage of other teams' errors. Lamar Patterson embodies those attributes, and he led the way with 28 points in the 83-79 victory Saturday over Maryland.
A dogged defense is countered by an efficient offense that ranks 10th in assists nationally and 14th in field goal percentage. Cameron Wright has picked up the scoring lately, averaging 11 points in the last five games.
Duke has recovered nicely from a shaky start in ACC play by winning four straight, including an exceptional effort at home Saturday against Florida State, 78-56. The victory was legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski's 900th since taking the helm in Durham, NC.
Jabari Parker has been more aggressive on the glass in the last couple of weeks and is providing the Blue Devils with some much needed rebounding help. And everyone on the team has amped up the defensive intensity, which helped them get easy buckets in transition off turnovers.
Tuesday: Virginia (15-5, 6-1) at Notre Dame (11-9, 2-5), 9 p.m. ET
The Cavaliers continued their impressive play through the ACC slate Saturday by knocking off Virginia Tech 64-45. Large leads have been a trend for them; all six of their conference wins featured double-digit leads.
Malcolm Brogdon, who sat out last year, has added a new dimension to the offense. The extra firepower has made a team that was already among the stingiest defensively even more dangerous. Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell have started to come back to form after an offseason where both dealt with injuries.
The Fighting Irish knocked off Duke in their ACC opener but have struggled since. The 65-58 loss Saturday at Wake was their fifth in six games, and the team is still searching for someone to step up since Jerian Grant left.
However, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton and Garrick Sherman are all capable of lighting up a scoreboard, and Notre Dame has been the site of many big wins for Mike Brey-coached teams. If the trio can all find success, they can overcome the deficiencies on the defensive end of the floor.
Wednesday: North Carolina (12-7, 2-4) at Georgia Tech (11-9, 2-5), 7 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets took the home team NC State to the limit and past, forcing overtime Sunday before falling 80-78. The outburst of offense was something they had not been able to do much since losing Robert Carter Jr. to injury.
Daniel Miller had one of his best statistical games (21 points, 14 rebounds), and he has never shown a shortage of energy when battling in the low post. Marcus Georges-Hunt showed he is not afraid to put more shots up since Carter went down. The accuracy has not been there to this point, but flashes of his substantial ability could be a sign of better days.
The Tar Heels looked like the team that knocked off top-ranked opponents Sunday when they decimated Clemson, 80-61. There are some glaring inadequacies for UNC, namely free throw and 3-point shooting, but it is still an athletic, highly skilled team.
James Michael McAdoo has been a mystery for much of his collegiate career. His combination of power, size and speed is amazing when he puts it on display by flying to the rim and grabbing offensive rebounds. However, he can get passive to avoid trips to the foul line, where he shoots only 52 percent.
Also on deck:
Virginia Tech (8-11, 1-6) at Boston College (5-14, 1-5), 7 p.m.
No. 2 Syracuse (19-0, 6-0) at Wake Forest (14-6, 4-3), 9 p.m.
Florida State (13-6, 4-3) at NC State (13-7, 3-4), 9 p.m.
Miami (10-9, 2-5) at Maryland (11-9, 3-4), 9 p.m.
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Need something to help you get through two weeks of March Madness? Try playing Basketball Cliche Bingo. Mark off the words or phrases that are overused during each game of the tourney.More >>
Don't like basketball? Need something to help you get through two weeks of March Madness? Try playing Basketball Cliche Bingo. Mark off the words or phrases that are overused during each game of the tournament.More >>