In the true spirit of the holidays, why not give our fellow ACC hoops programs what they truly need this year. Unlike Santa and the folks at the NCAA, we don't divide people into "Naughty" or "Nice" categories because at this time of year, we could all use a little something extra. Let's get these gifts opened up...
More of the same from Amile Jefferson. He's far from the featured player on the Blue Devils, but he's averaging a double-double and his experience could help guide the younger Duke team as it looks to repeat. You just hope that Jefferson can hold up in his ninth year of college hoops, but maybe that's what those top-secret Duke Medicine labs are working to insure....and of course after writing this, I saw the news. Pressure's on Duke Medical staff.
Offensive rebounding. Somehow a Tar Heels team with Brice Johnson, Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks is only 9th in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game. In the loss to Texas last weekend, those 3 guys combined for 1 offensive board.....maybe there is a department in Chapel Hill that can help out in this area with some extra credit work?
Avoiding George Washington in the post-season since only the Colonials have been able to knock off Virginia this year. If you head over to Kenpom.com, you'll see that he has the Cavaliers #1 in his rankings and shows they are currently 7th in Adjusted Offense and 5th in Adjusted Defense. Now if we can do something about the haircuts on this squad...not sure what Anthony Gill is going for with this look- DJ Khaled meets Joakim Noah maybe?
Industrial fans inside the BankUnited Center as the Hurricanes have been scorching the nets this season. They lead the ACC with an effective FG% of 57% and are averaging 85 points per game behind a balanced attack (4 players average double-figures). Miami just needs to leave some money aside for more dance lessons for Jim Larranaga
A marquee win early in the ACC season. The Seminoles haven't beaten anyone of note thus far, and as a team sitting as an 11 seed in the latest Bracketology, big wins are going to be an important resume booster come March. The 'Noles get a shot at Florida in a couple of weeks, and early games against UNC and Miami that can be key to their post-season hopes.
Improved offensive efficiency. Rebounding issues aside, the Orange have been pretty good on the defensive end, but Syracuse will need to improve on the offensive end. Right now, they are averaging 1.29 points per shot, which is 12th in the ACC and are dead last in FG% at 41%. This is the biggest area for improvement for the Orange as they prepare for ACC play.
Defense from somebody, anybody. Right now Wake's last in the ACC in steals and their opponents are averaging 80 points per game, which seems crazy when you see Wake is 6-2 and has wins over Indiana and UCLA so far this season. I said Danny Manning was bringing a New Day to Winston Salem, but he needs someone to get some stops.
Better shooting from the floor, but especially from Cat Barber. He's averaging 20 ppg and only shooting 36% from the field, including 7% from 3!! On the flip side, Cat is averaging over 10 FT attempts per game and hitting at an 87% clip there. If he can get his FG % over 40%, he'll probably win the ACC Scoring title.
Hoping Justin Fuente's able to rejuvenate the Hokies offense next Fall....oh wait, sorry we were talking basketball here. Well, actually like their gridiron counterparts, the hoops team could cut down on the turnovers. Right now the Hokies are 2nd worst in the league when it comes to turnovers per game with 13.8 per game. Also, we hope that the Va Tech marketing folks find enough reasons for Buzz Williams not to wear a suit on the sidelines because this
looks a lot better than this...
To keep a talented local player home. Imagine if BC was able to keep Georges Niang, Jake Layman, or Wayne Selden home? This is a program in desperate need to land a major recruit. Also, BC could use better decision-making when it comes to off-campus dining options. I mean there is a Wegmans in Chestnut Hill now, so stop going to Chipotle.
Getting to the line. The Irish are taking 40% of their shots at the rim, but only get to the line 19 times per game. The perception that ND is a 3-pt team isn't true, but they have a well-balanced offense and need to draw more fouls to take advantage of all the trips to the paint. You won't see us looking to give Mike Brey any ties as they would just be a wasted gift to the leader of #TeamNoTie
Keep the ball in the hands of James Robinson. In 9 games this season, Robinson has 44 assists and only 5 turnovers. As a team, the Panthers average over 20 assists per game and an assist to turnover ration of 1.84, and while the non-conference schedule doesn't tell us much about this team, if they can take care of the ball in ACC play they will be dangerous.
The Cardinals need better FT shooting than the 67% mark they currently have. They rank near the top of the ACC in almost everything except this category and it's the one weakness in Pitino's squad. Ok, maybe the Cardinals have another weakness, but that's not the type of holiday gift we are going to purchase.
GT needs to pay less attention to the 3-pt line as the Jackets are only shooting 33% from behind the arc, and 52% when they step inside. It probably would be wise if Charles Mitchell plays a little more as he's averaging 14.5 ppg and 13 rpg in only 27.5 minutes of action.
Last, but certainly not least are our good friends at Clemson. We struggled with you because first we thought about a Dabo tattoo, but someone beat us to the punch. Then, we realized we gave you a gift win at the College Cup...so we're left with shots. The Tigers are last in the league in field goal attempts, only getting 54.8 attempts per game. Clemson is 2nd to last in the ACC in scoring and they will need to find ways to grind out some wins.
Did we miss anything off your list? Let us know in the comments and Happy Hoop Holidays from all of us at TNIAAM.