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(RNN) - So who knew the best game of last weekend would be played Saturday, not Sunday? Besides us, we mean.
That so-called Super thing flopped, but the ACC Game of the Century of the Week was all anyone could have hoped for. Duke and Syracuse in top form! The best players playing their best games! Buzzer beater! Overtime! 35,000 screaming "Orange Juliuses!"
(No idea what Syracuse calls its fans. 'Cuse Cruisers? Carrier Pigeons? City by the Boeheim-ers? We should look that up.)
A last-second game-tyer was topped by a game-winner the next day in Virginia-Pitt. It was basically an all-star weekend, as long as no one counts what happened Sunday after dark.
Special PPP shoutout to our boys the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though. We've missed the Unplugged format that was so popular in the heyday of MTV. We're glad it's back.
Player Power Poll: Jan. 30 - Feb. 5
1. Trevor Cooney, Syracuse Orange
33 points, 11-for-15 shooting, 9-for-12 on 3-pointers, four steals Monday vs. Notre Dame (W 61-55)
Wait, so the performance of the week doesn't come from the GOTCOTW?
We can barely believe it either, and we wrote the frickin' thing. But the sophomore sharpshooter did his best Forrest Gump impression by dragging his entire squad to safety amid a flurry of missed shots - every Orange not named Trevor went 10-for-31 combined - and keeping their record perfect (22-0, 9-0) with a career-best performance.
Yes, Boeheim is Lt. Dan in that scenario.
Here's the thing: No one would have blamed 'Cuse for dropping one right after the heavyweight bout two days before. It wouldn't even have been that surprising. But just like several other times this season, someone stepped up to make sure it didn't happen. That's what makes this team special.
2. Jerami Grant, Syracuse Orange
24 points, 10-for-10 free throws, 12 rebounds Saturday vs. Duke (W 91-89 OT)
With the Blue Devil big men fouled out, Mr. Fire found himself the tallest person on the court in overtime. Jerami had a dunk-tacular five minutes, scoring eight in the extra frame and finishing the game with a career-high in points.
3. C.J. Fair, Syracuse Orange
28 points, five rebounds, two blocks Saturday vs. Duke (W 91-89 OT)
Mr. Ice went sub-zero in the second half, hitting pull-up and spot-up jumpers at will along with his usual allotment of strong finishes at the rim. He, too, had a career-best scoring night.
We think we even caught a smile from his typically expressionless face. We were glad to see you enjoy your work on that left-handed slam, C.J. Have fun out there.
(Turns out Syracuse fans don't have a name. Knowledge.)
4. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia Cavaliers
16 points, five rebounds, four assists Sunday at Pitt (W 48-45)
Walks into the Pete. Stares down Oakland Zoo. Hits a game-winning 3. Drops mic.
If anyone isn't on the Brogdon Bandwagon yet, they better be soon. It's gonna fill up real quick.
5. Akil Mitchell, Virginia Cavaliers
10 points, 5-for-7 shooting, 12 rebounds Sunday at Pitt (W 48-45)
We have always been a fan of the way Akil plays; he is hustle personified on both ends of the floor. His on-ball and off-ball defense in the low post is excellent, and most of his points come by way of his work on the offensive glass or running the floor in transition.
6. K.J. McDaniels, Clemson Tigers
26 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks Saturday at Florida State (W 53-49)
It looked like Clemson was ready to begin a high-speed descent down the conference standings after two blowout losses where they gave up 76 and 80 points.
K.J. wasn't ready to cancel his postseason plans, though. He put on a one-man show in Tallahassee and kept the Tigers in striking distance of an NCAA tournament berth.
7. Marcus Paige, North Carolina Tar Heels
25 points, seven assists, three rebounds, three steals Tuesday vs. Maryland (W 75-63)
8. Brice Johnson, North Carolina Tar Heels
19 points, 8-for-8 shooting, seven rebounds Tuesday vs. Maryland (W 75-63)
Don't look now, but the Heels have won four in a row and are averaging 79 a game in that stretch. Brice maximized his time this week, with two double-digit point efforts despite averaging 21 minutes per game, and Paige's shooting woes appear to be a thing of the past.
9. Dez Wells, Maryland Terrapins
19 points, 6-for-9 shooting, 7-for-8 free throws Saturday at Virginia Tech (W 80-60)
The Terps are hanging around at 5-5 in conference, and coach Turgeon keeps his player fresh for a late-season dash. Only one guy (Jake Layman) averages more than 30 minutes per.
Sidenote: Does anyone think it was a coincidence Maryland didn't get Duke, UNC or NC State at home this season? Yeah ... don't let the door hit you on your way out of the ACC, fellas.
10. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke Blue Devils
16 points, six assists, four 3-pointers Saturday at Syracuse (L 91-89)
"Stone Cold 'Sheed" solidified his status as a man with chilled, high-quality H2O pumping through his veins by sinking the 3-ball that sent the 'Cuse game to OT. His trey at the end of the Virginia game Jan. 13 kept Duke from falling to 1-3 in the ACC.
It's been a long way back for Sulaimon - the guy got benched for an entire game in December - but he looks ready for the type of stretch run that may drive the "Cameron Crazies" a little more insane.
Cameron Crazies, that's a good name.
Feel free to take Carrier Pigeons, Syracuse. No charge.
Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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 >>