|Jerian Grant informs the Irish student section that they expected to win this game.|
Notre Dame Tops Duke This game was inevitably going to have a lot of dramatic runs, as it featured arguably the two most explosive offenses in the nation with two defenses that have struggled mightily in ACC play. The final big run came when Duke led by 10 points with a little over 10 minutes to go, when the Irish went on a 12-0 run to take the lead. Jahlil Okafor had a huge night (22 points and 17 rebounds) but he did miss key free throws down the stretch (2-for-7 for the game), and Duke as a team was an ugly 10-for-20 at the line. But this was Jerian Grant's night. Grant had 23 points and 12 assists and hit some absolutely spectacular shots, as well as this goofy with a minute to go:
Notre Dame is now 8-1 in ACC play and 20-2 overall, with 5 wins against the RPI Top 50. With a loss already in their only game against Virginia they're likely not going to win the ACC, but they're getting themselves in the mix for a 3 seed in March, or even possibly a 2 seed.
Purdue Runs Indiana Off The Court I've talked about this to death on this blog, but Indiana has to hit three pointers to beat anybody. They don't score inside reliably and their defense is a mess. And Purdue cruised to 1.24 PPP here, their best offensive performance of the season. In contrast, Indiana went ice cold from deep, hitting just 4-for-19 behind the arc. The Hoosiers aren't going to beat anybody shooting like that.
This Indiana team seems destined for the tourney bubble. They have to avoid a look-ahead loss at home against Rutgers on Saturday, because they're just 5-3 with a road game at Wisconsin coming up on Tuesday. If they can get to 11-7 in conference play that should earn them an at-large bid. At 10-8 it will likely come down to what they do in the Big Ten tournament.
Purdue is now 5-3 in Big Ten play as well, but after a fairly disastrous non-conference performance they are going to need to get to 11-7 to get any kind of at-large consideration. A potential letdown game at Northwestern is up next.
Rhode Island Buzzer Beater It was Gilvydas Biruta who finished off a chaotic final sequence with the game winner for Rhode Island. Watch it all in the video below:
Miami Stumbles Against Georgia Tech Miami has been an incredibly up-and-down team this season. They beat Duke and Florida and took Virginia to double overtime, but they also have suffered bad losses to Eastern Kentucky and now Georgia Tech. Miami's offense was a disaster here. They were 6-for-26 on threes, as well as 6-for-16 on layups. They scored just 0.82 PPP after scoring more than 1 PPP in every previous ACC game.
At 4-3 in ACC play, Miami is still in reasonably good shape for an at-large bid, but this loss removes a large chunk of the gap between them and the bubble. Their upcoming schedule is pretty soft, but they need to get to 11-7 to be safely in the NCAA Tournament.
This is Georgia Tech's first win in ACC play after an ugly 0-7 start. It also gets them back to .500 overall (10-10), though the odds are that they'll be back below .500 before the end of the season.
Clemson Shuts Down NC State It was a night of goofy ACC results, and NC State's offense was totally suffocated by Clemson's defense. Brad Brownell's team is built around interior defense, and they don't score much against anybody, but this was ridiculous. NC State hit just 24% of their two-point attempts (compared to 46% of their three-point attempts). Clemson outscored them 34-to-20 in the paint.
Just two weeks ago NC State had beaten Duke and nearly taken out North Carolina and looking like an at-large team, but they've fallen into an ugly three game losing streak and are just 4-5 in ACC play with a difficult two weeks coming up next. The Wolfpack will be in pretty good shape if they can get to 10-8 in ACC play, but at this point that seems unlikely.
Clemson lost to Gardner Webb, Winthrop and Rutgers in non-conference play, but they're now 4-4 in ACC play with a soft week up next (vs Boston College, at Florida State). They could still make a run at an NIT bid.