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Player of the Week

Austin Rivers

Austin RiversAustin RiversWhat? Were you expecting somebody else here? This week's top player just made a huge mark on perhaps the greatest rivalry in sports; a mark that will be remembered and replayed years into the future. Hmmm... Where should I start? So Duke was playing at North Carolina last week. Like many teams before them, the Blue Devils were having a tough time dealing with Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. It looked like the duo was starting to pull the home team away after Barnes connected on yet another mid-range jumper, giving his team a 10 point lead with just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the game. But Duke hit a couple triples and UNC kept things interesting by missing some free-throws and turning the ball over. Eventually, everything came down to the last possession. Duke was down by two with about ten seconds left. Austin Rivers (who was hot all game, with 26 points at that point) rose up for a three-pointer with Zeller’s arm right in his face... Swish! Everything cultivated into as exciting a finish as we've seen in college basketball this season. Of course that intensity didn't seem to faze the uber-confident Rivers, who really appears to thrive in high-pressure situations. Duke and UNC will face off again at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3rd. I'm sure the Tar Heels will be eager to set the record straight, but it's hard to bet against Rivers after a performance like that.

Hot

Dorian Finney Smith

Though it wasn't as earth-shattering as Rivers' shot, Virginia Tech forward Dorian Finney-Smith hit a game-winner of his own. Granted it wasn't against a top-5 ranked team in the nation and it didn't take place in sports' greatest rivalry, but a game-winner is a game-winner -- even if it was a tip-in. Finney-Smith's tip-in with 1.8 seconds left gave Virginia Tech a 66-65 lead against Boston College and would prove to be the winning bucket. It was a great way to cap a great game for the versatile forward, who scored a career-high 17 points to go along with his eight rebounds and two assists. The freshman has had a nice few games coming back from his unfortunate six-game streak without a made field goal, and hopefully his heroics last weekend will continue to rebuild his confidence. He's a nice piece for the Hokies' future, and he should only get better in time.

Cold

Reggie Bullock

With all due respect to Dexter Strickland, I was really excited to get a chance to see Reggie Bullock in the starting lineup. I was under the impression that his shooting ability would complement Kendall Marshall better in the backcourt. While that is probably still the case, I can't help but be disappointed in the lack of offensive production that UNC's newest starter is putting up. In every game since Strickland's injury, Bullock has played at least 30 minutes, yet he hasn't managed to score more than 11 points in any of those games. That's strange considering he scored 23 points in 18 minutes during a game a couple weeks into the season. The usually sharp-shooting sophomore's efficiency has dropped recently as well, especially from the perimeter. Bullock is only shooting 20% from behind the arc in his last four games, compared to 40% in his previous 21. He's playing a different role than he was before, so a little adjustment time can be expected. Roy Williams just has to be hoping that he figures it out before March.

Top-5 Sophomores

1. Harrison Barnes - He's an extremely gifted, well-rounded wing player with the potential to be a big-time scorer at the next level. As the second-leading scorer in the conference (17.3 ppg), Barnes has a very good chance to be the conference Player of the Year.

2. Kendall Marshall - I may be going out on a limb placing Marshall this high on the list, but he just works so well with the rest of the Tar Heels roster. He's arguably the best playmaker in the nation, and is a potential lottery pick this summer.

3. Terrell Stoglin - Stoglin is leading the entire conference in scoring, currently averaging 21.6 points per game. He's not much of a passer, but in his defense, Maryland doesn't have a lot of other offensive options.

4. CJ Leslie - Leslie is a lot of fun to watch, even if he hasn't had the breakout season some of us were hoping for. He's averaging 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds on the year.

5. Travis McKie - Wake Forest is back at the bottom of the ACC standings with a record of 2-9, but McKie offers some promise for the future. The forward is averaging 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds this season.

Notes


Florida State's winning streak ended via a loss at Boston College. No, that's not a typo. They beat UNC, Duke and Virginia, and lost to Boston College ... Miles Plumlee pulled down a ridiculous 22 rebounds during his 28 minutes of play in Duke's 73-55 win against Maryland ... Duke, North Carolina and Florida State are currently in a three-way tie for first-place in the ACC. Each team has a conference-record of eight wins and two losses ...

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