Player of the Week
Kerry Blackshear Jr., Virginia Tech
With Justin Robinson and Zion Williamson sidelined, Kerry Blackshear Jr. powered the Hokies to a 77-72 home win over Duke. Shooting 64% from the field, the 6-foot-10 forward scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds to his monster night. It marked his seventh double-double of the season and fourth consecutive game scoring 22 or more points. He was 9-for-11 from the charity stripe and made a pair of free throws with under 12 seconds to clinch the game. Blackshear Jr. and his team head to Tallahassee for another big ACC showdown at Florida State.
Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
The 6-foot-9 sharp shooter is playing the best basketball of his career. In the past six conference games, Johnson has tallied 16 or more points, 18 3-pointers, and 29 rebounds. He was integral in his team’s recent beatdowns of Duke and Florida State, and made two critical threes in the closing minutes at Clemson.
Jack White, Duke
After missing 29-straight three-point attempts, Jack White’s drought finally came to an end. At home against Miami with 12:37 remaining in the first half, White connected on his first three since January 12th, sending all of the Duke fans into a frenzy. He would finish the game 3-3 from downtown. It was a great sign and boost of confidence for the Blue Devils—a team that lacks reliable shooters.
The Cavaliers have won six straight with two more winnable games left against Syracuse and Louisville. In the six-game winning streak, the Cavaliers have held opponents to an average 54.1 points per game. Virginia sits at the top of the conference with a 14-2 record with a tiebreaker over North Carolina.
Miami on the Road
The depleted Hurricanes have not won a game on the road this season. Jim Larrañaga’s group is 0-9 overall, and 0-8 on the road in the league. It looked like the ‘Canes would secure its first road win at Wake Forest, but the team blew a 10-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Top Five Teams Right Now
1. Virginia (26-2, 14-2 ACC)
The Cavaliers should win out with two remaining games against Syracuse and Louisville. If Virginia does what it should, the Cavaliers will claim the ACC regular season title in back-to-back years. In the past six games, three of Virginia’s wins have come over ranked teams on the road—North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Louisville.
2. North Carolina (24-5, 14-2 ACC)
The Tar Heels just keep winning. The Tar Heels have dominating wins against Duke, Florida State, Gonzaga and Virginia Tech and make have a strong case to be a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Cameron Johnson, Coby White, and Luke Maye continue to get better each game. Next weekend, it is round two of Duke-UNC, which will likely determine if the Tar Heels get a no. 1 seed over the Blue Devils.
3. Duke (25-4, 13-3 ACC)
Duke has struggled tremendously without Zion Williamson, dropping two of its past four games. Williamson cleans up the Blue Devils’ offensive mistakes and turns Duke into arguably the best defensive team in the nation. But, without him, Duke’s shaky offense has been exposed. RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish have played well, but the Blue Devils need Zion as another offensive weapon who spreads the floor. Duke has not lost a conference game at full strength.
4. Virginia Tech (22-6, 11-5 ACC)
Virginia Tech has the slight edge over Florida State, simply because the Hokies were able to knock off Duke, which Florida State was unable to do. The Hokies are still without Justin Robinson, but have been playing better, winning four of their last five. The Hokies will be a legitimate NCAA threat once Robinson returns.
5. Florida State (23-6, 11-5 ACC)
Florida State’s program record eight-straight ACC wins was snapped by the Tar Heels, but the Seminoles followed up the loss with two solid wins against NC State and Notre Dame. Florida State hosts Virginia Tech Tuesday night, which will be decisive in which team claims the fourth double bye spot for the ACC tournament.