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That Guy

Player of the Week:

Kyle Guy

Kyle GuyKyle GuyIn case you missed it, Virginia is undefeated in conference play. The No. 2 team in the country is 21-1 overall, and is poised to get a No. 1 seed come March. Sophomore Kyle Guy has become the leading scorer for the Cavaliers this season after being upgraded to a starting role. Albeit no man-bun, Guy has been shooting lights out, including 41.5% from three and 88.1% from the foul line. Guy may not the most athletic player, but through his hard work he has earned head coach Tony Bennett's respect to place him in the starting lineup. The improvement on the defensive end is the most note-worthy thing to point out, as Guy is able to blend right into the Cavaliers upper-escalant defense. Good news for Virginia, Guy is expected to be with the program for a long time, and the Cavaliers will be able to see him develop into one of the premier players in college basketball.

The Cavaliers enjoyed a great week of basketball. They went 2-0, beating No. 4 Duke and Louisville. Perhaps one of the more hyped up games of the season, Virginia traveled into Cameron Indoor and played spoiler, beating Duke 65-63. Although the Blue Devils fought their way back into the game, Virginia's defense came through once again and stopped Duke's explosive offense from taking home the victory. Guy was the leading scorer for the Cavaliers, scoring 17 points en route to the win. While he wasn't entirely efficient from the field, he went 5-6 from the charity stripe, which is huge considering it was a close game towards the end. Being able to have the confidence to knock down free throws will come in handy for Virginia when it comes tournament time. Following the Duke win, the Cavaliers returned home and beat Louisville 74-64. Guy was the leading bucket-getter in the game, scoring 22 points on 10 made shots. It's clear that Guy doesn't shy away from shooting the ball, so if he's able to maintain his scoring prowess, Virginia will remain one of the most dangerous teams come March Madness.

Who's Hot
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Allerik Freeman

Despite losing [Player: Dennis Smith Jr.] to the NBA Draft and head coach Mark Gottfried getting fired, NC State is a bubble team trying to fight its way into the tournament. While few expected the Wolfpack to be playing this good, perhaps the argument can be made that addition by subtraction was the best option. On the other hand, Allerik Freeman transferring from Baylor has made a world of a difference. He's accepted his sixth man role, and is an instant energizer for NC State's offense. The graduate senior is averaging 14.3 points and 33.5 minutes per game, so Freeman has plenty of opportunities to get his shots up. Winners of five of their last seven games, the Wolfpack are primed for a spot in the tourney.

While NC State only had one game last week, it was perhaps its best offensive game of the season. NC State traveled to in-state rival North Carolina and defeated the Tar Heels 95-91 in an overtime thriller. The Wolfpack shot an absurd 50% from behind the arc, and Freeman himself shot a perfect 7-7 from three. Freeman tallied 29 points on only 11 shot attempts. The offense display is a huge building block for the Wolfpack.

Who's Not

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

To give credit where it's due, Notre Dame was able to get a quality win over Boston College in its last game. Matt Farrell is now back in the starting lineup which made a world of a difference. Five players on Notre Dame scored 13 or more points, and the team as a whole shot 52.5% from the field and 55.2% from three. That being said, this victory over the Golden Eagles ended a seven game skid for the Fighting Irish. The team was playing some of its worst basketball in recent memory. Notre Dame has been able to enjoy a ton of success, doing damage in both the ACC and in the NCAA Tournament. While a win over a quality Boston College squad is a step in the right direction, let's not forget about what transpired previous to the game.

Notre Dame has enough on offense to score with the best of them; however, defense is a whole other story. In their last game, the Fighting Irish allowed Jerome Robinson to drop 46 points on them. Robinson is one the best scorers in the ACC, nevertheless, no team gets a pat on the back after the offensive clinic Robinson put on Notre Dame's defense. When the shot not falling for the Fighting Irish, they're extremely vulnerable and are easily beatable. In the loss to NC State, Notre Dame shot 38.9% from the field and 33.3% from the three. The lack of offensive production led to a 18 point defeat. The trend was quite similar in the blowout loss to Duke. Notre Dame shot even worse from the field, only making 28.0% of its three point attempts and 36.1% overall. Notre Dame is without star senior Bonzie Colson for an extended period of time, and the odds of reaching the tournament are slim to none. The Fighting Irish would need an improbable run in the ACC Tournament in order to go dancing in March.

Top 5 Biggest Questions in February


1) Does North Carolina have another run in them to reach the Final Four for the third consecutive year?

Head coach Roy Williams was able to lead his team to the championship game back to back years. In 2016, a buzzer beater shot by Kris Jenkins was enough to prevent the Tar Heels from winning it all. However, the experience of heartbreak added fuel to the fire, and UNC was able to get back to the championship game and defeat Gonzaga for its sixth national title. That being said, this North Carolina squad is no where near as talented as it once was. Joel Berry was arguably the biggest part in the Tar Heels tournament run, but he hasn't been able to replicate that same level of play his senior season. Luke Maye has been the most consistent player on this Tar Heels team, leading the team in both points and rebounds. From a walk-on to the go-to-scorer on one of the most storied college basketball programs, it's safe to say Maye has been on quite a journey. While the Tar Heels aren't lacking talent, the defense is nowhere near what it once was, as they are currently ranked 198th in the country in points allowed. It's been rough times to say the least, as North Carolina is losers of three of its last four, with the only win being Pitt. It's hard to imagine North Carolina reaching the Final Four for its third consecutive season, as the team is nowhere near what it once was. That being said, maybe the experience on the roster is enough to get them over the hump come tournament time.

2) Is the youth on Duke's roster detrimental to the teams future success?

When your starting lineup consists of four freshman and one senior, there could be a cause of concern. That being said, all five were high school All-Americans, so the Blue Devils clearly have the talent to go all the way. The loss to St. Johns was a complete embarrassment, giving the Red Storm were losers of 11 straight entering the contest. With youth comes inexperience. There's been games where the Blue Devils were able to overcome adversity and claw their way back into games where they shouldn't have won. The wins over Michigan State, Texas, and Florida are a few good examples that prove that this Duke team has what it takes to stay in games. That being said, Duke needs to have this same winning mentality in every game, not only in the games "that matter". When facing the top-tier teams, Duke tends to rise up to the occasion. However, Duke tends to play down to its opposition, which is what's happen over its last couple of games. When looking at Duke's 2015 national championship team, the three freshman starting were able to accumulate eventually despite hitting rough patches along the way. There can be an argument made that this Duke roster is even more talented than the 2015 one, and will need to stay the course in order to have the same success. It's been a roller coaster ride for the Blue Devils in ACC play, but if they can build momentum come March, it's hard to argue that this team can't reach the Final Four.

3) Just how good is Clemson?

There's no doubt that the Clemson Tigers have been the most surprising team in the ACC this season. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll, and are in second place in the conference. There may not be one star player on this team, but it's been the team basketball displayed on both ends that has led to Clemson's successful season. Head coach Brad Brownwell deserves Coach of the Year recognition for the job he's done with his team. No one expected Clemson to be this good, especially after losing its best player Jaron Blossomgame to the NBA Draft. Clemson is able to get it done on both ends of the floor, as its margin of victory is almost 10 points per game. While the loss of Donte Grantham is a huge blow to the program, there's still four other players averaging double-figures in the scoring column. The Tigers play hard every game, as if they have a chip on their shoulder. As alluded to earlier, points are hard to come by when facing the Tigers. The team has bought in to the game plan, and puts equal amount of energy onto both ends of the floor. The toughness, length, athleticism, and underdog mentality presented by Clemson makes them a dangerous team in the ACC.

4) Does Virginia have enough on offense to get by in the NCAA Tournament?

There's no denying the strength of Virginia's defense. Year in and year out, head coach Tony Bennett has put together a stout defense that is able to make it difficult for the opposition to get anything going on offense. There's a strong case to be made that Virginia has been the best team in the entire country. The Cavaliers are winners of their last 16 games, and have only lost one this season. While Virginia is first in the nation in points allowed, it's a horrendous 289th in points per game. Virginia does a nice job covering up its offensive woes by controlling the pace of the game. Virginia wants to play a slow, grimy game that plays into its advantage. The goal of the Cavaliers is that to win the game through their defense, and hit shots when it matters most. Kyle Guy has been the go-to option on offense this season after being the sixth man his freshman year. Devon Hall and Ty Jerome are both able to generate shots for both themselves and their teammates. The offensive weapons really ends there for the Cavaliers. Lackluster to say the least, Virginia may have a difficult time come March. If Virginia runs into a team that's firing on all cylinders and turning the game into a fast-paced style of play, the Cavaliers will have their hands full.

5) What bubble team in the ACC could cause damage in the tournament?

Albeit 16-8 and 10th in the ACC standings, Syracuse has what it takes to stir the pot come March. First, the Orange need to make sure that they actually get their name called on Selection Night. The good news is that Syracuse's remaining schedule consists of plenty opportunities for resume building wins. If the Orange are able to pull off some upsets and have continue success in the ACC Tournament, there's a great chance they'll be dancing in March. Looking at the team as a whole, the backcourt tandem of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard is amongst the best in the country. After feeling out of place his freshman year, Battle has really come along and embrace his role as the No. 1 scorer for his team. He's capable of scoring in an array of ways, including stroking it from deep and taking it to the rim. While he doesn't provide much other than his scoring prowess, he at least plays hard on defense and has bought into head coach Jim Boeheim's famous 2-3 zone. Now looking at Howard, he's more of a traditional point guard who's looks to get others involved first. However, don't let that fool you, as Howard is capable of scoring when it matters. With many pieces leaving the team from a season ago, it appeared that this would be a rebuilding year for Syracuse. That being said, there's enough talent on this Syracuse roster to not only make the tournament, but pull off a few upsets in the process.