Pictured: Kyle Guy
Source: Abbie Parr / Getty Images North America

ACC Tournament 2019

The three titans of the ACC are expected to thrive at the 2019 ACC tournament with No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on the line. 

Virginia, who won the regular-season crown, enters the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the No. 1 seed, while North Carolina and Duke are on the same side of the bracket as the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively. 

But before the Cavaliers, Tar Heels and Blue Devils hit the floor, a crucial game with NCAA tournament bubble implications has to be played. 

While Tuesday’s opening games at the ACC tournament might not be intriguing, the competition heats up Wednesday, and it will only continue to get better as it builds up to Saturday’s championship game.

To play this tournament at FanPicks…click here

Bracket

Odds

Matchups

All Times ET. 

Tuesday, March 12

No. 12 Miami vs. No. 13 Wake Forest (Noon) 

No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Notre Dame (2 p.m.) 

No. 11 Boston College vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh (7 p.m.) 

 

Wednesday, March 13

No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Clemson (Noon) 

No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. Miami/Wake Forest winner (2 p.m.) 

No. 7 Louisville vs. Georgia Tech/Notre Dame winner (7 p.m.) 

No. 6 Syracuse vs. Boston College/Pittsburgh winner (9 p.m.) 

 

Thursday, March 14

No. 1 Virginia vs. NC State/Clemson winner (12:30 p.m.) 

No. 4 Florida State vs. Virginia Tech vs. Miami/Wake Forest winner (2:30 p.m.)

No. 2 North Carolina vs. Louisville vs. Georgia Tech/Notre Dame winner (7 p.m.) 

No. 3 Duke vs. Syracuse vs. Boston College/Pittsburgh winner (9 p.m.) 

 

Friday, March 15

Semifinal No. 1 (7 p.m.) 

Semifinal No. 2 (9 p.m.) 

 

Saturday, March 16 

Championship (8:30 p.m.) 

 

Predictions

Clemson Beats NC State In Bubble Showdown 

The first game in Charlotte with NCAA tournament significance opens Wednesday’s slate.

Clemson and NC State both have work left to do in order to secure their respective spots in the field of 68, and luckily for the selection committee, the head-to-head meeting in the ACC tournament should provide some clarity.

NC State, who won the regular-season meeting with the Tigers, is one of the last four teams in, according to ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi, but CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm has the Wolfpack as one of his first four teams out.

The Wolfpack are once again associated with the bubble after losing two of their last three regular-season games to Florida State and Georgia Tech, the latter of which was especially bad. 

Clemson is the second-to-last team in, according to Lunardi and Palm’s most-recent projections. 

Conversely, Clemson enters Charlotte with wins in four of its last five games, including back-to-back victories over Notre Dame and Syracuse. 

The Tigers are playing the better basketball, and we’re picking them to advance into the quarterfinals for a matchup against Virginia.

Senior guard Marcquise Reed will be the driving force of Clemson’s victory, as he enters the ACC tournament off five 20-plus point performances in his last six games. 

Clemson might not be able to earn a quality win over Virginia, but by beating NC State, it will separate itself from at least one of its fellow bubble contenders.

Virginia Adds To Trophy Case

Virginia has an opportunity to become the first back-to-back ACC tournament champion since Duke won three in a row from 2009-2011.

Although the road to the championship will be difficult for Tony Bennett’s team, it appears to be focused on not suffering a postseason disappointment again in 2019. 

The Cavaliers, who should secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they win the ACC tournament, have only lost to Duke this season. 

Of course, a third meeting with Duke in the ACC tournament final would be an ideal outcome for the Cavaliers, as a final quality win would reinforce their resume to earn a No. 1 seed. 

With Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Co. hungry for a victory over Duke, the Cavaliers avenge their defeats to Duke by controlling the production of the Blue Devils freshmen. 

It won’t be an easy task for the Cavaliers since Duke is looking to get back into a rhythm with Zion Williamson potentially returning to the lineup, but we’re trusting the experience of the Cavaliers to finally get the job done after losing by 12 combined points in their meetings with Duke. 

With the win over Duke, the Cavaliers will make a compelling case to secure the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament as they start their quest to eliminate the bad memories of the 2018 first-round loss to UMBC. 

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Isaiah Mucius (middle)
Source: Chris Richards

Preview: Wake Forest at Duke

One of the ACC’s worst teams takes on one of its best as Wake Forest visits Duke on Tuesday evening in the penultimate regular-season game for both. The Demon Deacons are coming off a lopsided home loss to Syracuse, while the No. 4 Blue Devils improved their record to 2-1 without Zion Williamson following a blowout win over Miami on Saturday.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

Wake Forest was within five points early in the second half before going without a basket for over 13 minutes as the Orange ran away with it 79-54. “It’s tough playing against the Syracuse 2-3 (zone),” Wake Forest freshman forward Isaiah Mucius told reporters after the loss. “They’re super athletic. … We tried as best we could. They just played great defense and we had a tough time scoring the ball.” Duke bounced back following last Tuesday’s loss at Virginia Tech with a resounding 87-57 home win over Miami on Saturday where everyone contributed, much to the delight of its head coach. “Our guys played really well today. They responded to the practice we finally had. We had two really good days of practice. Especially our defense; our defense was outstanding. I’m proud of them. Everyone helped us today,” coach Mike Krzyzewski told the media afterward.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT WAKE FOREST (11-17, 4-12 ACC): Sophomore guard Chaundee Brown led the Demon Deacons in scoring against the Orange with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while Mucius added 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench. Leading scorer Brandon Childress (14.6 points) had an off-day with just five points on 1-of-8 shooting, including 1-of-7 behind the arc. Wake Forest shot just 32.7 percent from the field while getting outscored 44-10 in the paint and turned the ball over 23 times against Syracuse.

ABOUT DUKE (25-4, 13-3): Freshman RJ Barrett, the ACC’s leading scorer at 23.1 points per game, scored 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting against Miami, while Cameron Reddish matched him for game-high scoring honors on 7-of-14 from the field. Even Jack White, who hadn’t made a 3-pointer in his last 28 attempts, got in on the action as the junior forward scored nine on 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range. The Blue Devils completely overwhelmed the Hurricanes, shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and winning the rebounding battle 45-29.

TIP-INS

1. Duke leads the all-time series 172-78 and has won nine straight over Wake Forest, including an 87-65 win earlier this season.

2. Barrett needs 25 points to break the Blue Devils’ all-time scoring record for a freshman. The current record was set last season by Marvin Bagley III (694 points).

3. The Blue Devils lead the ACC in offensive rebounding (13.7 per game) and offensive rebounding percentage (36.1).

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: R.J. Barrett
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images North America

Williamson out as No. 3 Duke plays at No. 20 Virginia Tech

Duke figured out how to cope without freshman star Zion Williamson for one game.

It will have to do it again Tuesday night when the third-ranked Blue Devils play at No. 20 Virginia Tech in an ACC game in Blacksburg, Va.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

Coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Monday that Williamson is making progress from a Grade 1 knee sprain suffered last Wednesday, but he added that the program will be cautious about the forward’s return.

“There’s no timetable,” Krzyzewski said. “We don’t want to put the pressure of time on him.”

Williamson went out with a sprained knee Wednesday night in the opening minute of a loss to North Carolina. He didn’t play Saturday night at Syracuse, but the Blue Devils found other sources to get it done in a 75-65 victory.

Most notably, RJ Barrett scored 30 points and sophomore guard Alex O’Connell added a career-best 20 points.

“We practiced a couple of days without Zion so we got a feel for our team without him,” O’Connell said. “As great of a player as he is, we have a lot of other talented guys on the team. It just shows once he gets back we will be an even stronger team.”

Duke (24-3, 12-2 ACC) shares first place in the conference with Virginia and North Carolina, while the Hokies (21-6, 10-5) sit in fourth place.

Virginia Tech is also dealing with the absence of a top player, having gone a few weeks without standout guard Justin Robinson, who has a foot injury. The Hokies are 4-3 since he went out, and coach Buzz Williams is keeping a timetable for his potential return under wraps.

“As our roster has changed, we categorize guys in one or two ways in rebounding — they’re either go-gets or get-backs guys,” Williams said. “One way we try to gain possessions is through offensive rebounding, which has never been a forte of ours.”

Redshirt junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. has become a go-to player for the Hokies, recording double-doubles in the past two games.

“He has just become integral to literally everything we do on both ends,” Williams said.

Barrett, who leads the ACC with 23.3 points per game, drained several big shots from the perimeter at Syracuse, but he also picked up some of the interior slack for Duke.

“It was just important for me to get in there and make reads,” Barrett said.

Barrett leads the ACC with six games with 30 or more points. He has set a conference freshman record with 20 games with at least 20 points; the previous mark of 19 was set by Georgia Tech guard Kenny Anderson in 1989-90.

Duke will be playing its third game in seven days. This trip will be its final out-of-state game until the NCAA Tournament, as all eyes continue to be on the potential return of Williamson, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

“The main thing is for him to get healthy and continue to improve,” Krzyzewski said via ESPN. “We’ve got some new things we saw against Syracuse (on Saturday) and maybe there’ll be more (vs. Virginia Tech).”

Virginia Tech has lost two of its past three home games, falling to Louisville and Virginia, with a victory against Georgia Tech in between.

Duke has lost in each of the past two seasons in Blacksburg.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images North America

Preview: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

Things could be better for No. 16 Virginia Tech, which enters Wednesday’s home contest against Georgia Tech riding a two-game losing streak and remaining without senior standout Justin Robinson. The point guard injured his left foot in a victory over Miami on Jan. 30 and has missed the past three games, a stretch in which the Hokies are 1-2 and are averaging just 54 points per game – 24.4 points fewer than before losing Robinson and his 14.4 points and 5.5 assists per contest.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

The offensive struggles continued in Saturday’s 59-51 defeat at Clemson, as the Hokies shot an abysmal 28.3 percent from the field in losing consecutive games for the first time this season. “I think they’re trying incredible hard,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams told reporters after Saturday’s loss when asked about revamping the team in Robinson’s absence. “I think our staff and our guys are trying really hard to do what we want to do.” The Yellow Jackets look to snap a five-game losing streak after falling 69-59 Sunday at Notre Dame, and despite holding the Fighting Irish to 32.8 percent shooting from the field could not overcome allowing 20 offensive rebounds and committing 14 turnovers. “They hurt us with those offensive rebounds and turnovers,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner told the media after his team was outscored 29-12 off turnovers and second-chance opportunities.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Raycom

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (11-13, 3-8 ACC): Freshman guard Michael Devoe hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts Sunday en route to a career-high 18 points, and has reached double-figures scoring in four of his past six games to bump up his scoring average to 9.2 per game. Junior forward James Banks finished with 12 rebounds against Notre Dame and is shooting 55 percent from the field on the season. The Yellow Jackets are last in the ACC in scoring at 65.5 points per game but limit opponents to 64.3 points per game (25th nationally).

ABOUT VIRGINA TECH (18-5, 7-4): Sophomore guard and leading scorer Nickeil Alexander-Walker shot 3-for-14 from the field against Clemson to finish with 13 points, and is averaging 13.7 points per contest since the Hokies lost Robinson – off his season average of 17.3 points per game. Junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting Saturday, and the ACC’s seventh-leading scorer (17.3 points per game) is shooting 16-for-32 from the field in his past three games. The Hokies begin the week ranked second in the nation in 3-point shooting (41.5 percent).

TIP-INS

1. Georgia Tech’s seven 3-pointers Sunday is its most against ACC competition this season.

2. The Hokies tightened their playing rotation against Clemson, using just seven players and employing their bench for only 22 minutes total.

3. Virginia Tech senior G Ahmed Hill scored 15 points as the Hokies held off the Yellow Jackets 52-49 in the first meeting on Jan. 10 in Atlanta despite shooting just 18.5 percent from 3-point range.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Zion Williamson
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Image North America

Preview: Boston College at Duke

While Zion Williamson is making a mockery of the ACC with his offensive play during conference action, Tre Jones is also showing he has few peers on the defensive end. Behind the contributions of two of the country’s best rookies, No. 2 Duke sets its sights on a sixth straight victory Tuesday in its final tune-up before the most challenging part of its schedule when it hosts Boston College.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

Williamson is averaging a league-best 25.1 points while shooting 71.8 percent from the field during ACC play, dipping below 25 points only once over the last six contests while converting at least 60 percent of his field-goal attempts in every game. He scored 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting, added six rebounds and five steals in Saturday’s 91-61 rout of St. John’s, but Jones was not to be outdone. He had 13 points, a career-high seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals while holding Shamorie Ponds – the Big East’s third-leading scorer – to nearly 10 points below his season average. “If (Jones is) doing his job, then they’re going to shoot under 40 percent. … He’s as good as anybody in the country on defense,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Jones’ next challenge will be to lock up the ACC’s third-leading scorer in 6-1 junior guard Ky Bowman (20.8 points), who exploded for 30 points, 10 boards and nine assists in an upset of the Blue Devils last season.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNews

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (11-9, 2-6 ACC): Bowman, who also paces the Eagles with 3.5 assists and ranks second with 7.8 rebounds, has reached double figures in an ACC-best 29 consecutive games and posted his seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 25 points and 10 boards in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Freshman Wynston Tabbs (13.9 points) – the team’s second-leading scorer – was spotted with crutches on the bench and missed a third straight game with a left knee injury. The Eagles owned a 15-5 edge on the offensive glass Saturday – turning it into a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points – but they allowed the Fighting Irish to become the third conference opponent to shoot over 50 percent against them.

ABOUT DUKE (19-2, 7-1): Williamson (22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), who ranks second overall in the ACC in scoring, third in rebounding and third in the country in field-goal percentage (68.7), extended his school freshman record of 25-point games to 10 and is 43-of-54 from the field over the last four contests. RJ Barrett (ACC-best 23.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), who recorded his fourth double-double and third in the last seven games with 15 points and 14 boards versus the Red Storm, needs 15 more points to reach 10th place on the single-season Duke freshman scoring list. Fellow freshman Cam Reddish (13.0 points) tallied 16 points Saturday and is averaging 13.9 points in his last six outings, nearly double the 7.7 points per game he scored over his previous six contests.

TIP-INS

1. After BC, four of Duke’s next six opponents are ranked – including three of the next four: No. 3 Virginia, No. 17 Louisville, North Carolina State and No. 8 North Carolina.

2. Bowman has played 403 of a possible 405 minutes over the last 10 games and averages a Division I-high 39 minutes for the season.

3. Jones’ five turnovers Saturday matched the number he has committed during ACC play.

Download the FanPicks Fantasy App. Click on the links below.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

ACC Games of the Week

Saturday lives for College Football and FanPicks has your fantasy football fix. If you are a fan of the ACC conference, then you’re in luck because we got the ACC Games of the Weeks contest. Only ACC games are allowed.With 6 games on tap, there will be no shortage of draft picks. Check out all of the ACC Saturday games preview below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Louisville Cardinals vs Florida State Seminoles

Louisville announced its presence as a national championship contender in 2016 by annihilating then-No. 2 Florida State, but both teams find themselves struggling just to stay relevant in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference just over 13 months later. A pair of recent powers hovering around the .500 mark hope to improve their recent fortunes Saturday when the Cardinals visit the Seminoles (Noon Et on  ESPN).

Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson accounted for five touchdowns as Louisville throttled Florida State 63-20 last September – a victory that marked the third of four straight games in which the Cardinals scored at least 59 points. While the offense has more than held up its end of the bargain this season despite not maintaining the same pace as last season’s team, the defense has not after giving up at least 520 total yards for the third time in 2017 in last weekend’s 45-42 home loss to Boston College.

The Seminoles avoided their first 1-4 start to a season since 1975 with a 17-10 triumph at Duke – their fourth consecutive contest decided by seven points or fewer. The Seminoles have yet to win outside the state of North Carolina, however, losing in Atlanta to No. 1 Alabama in the opener as well as at home versus North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.).

ABOUT LOUISVILLE (4-3, 1-3 ACC)

Jackson (3,221 career rushing yards) continues to set school records by the week, breaking Walter Peacock’s mark (3,204; 1972-75) for the most ever by a Cardinal; he also scored his 42nd career rushing touchdown, breaking Lenny Lyles’ mark of 41 from 1954-57. For only the second time in school history, the Cardinals had a pair of 100-yard receivers and 100-yard rushers in the same game last week, as Dez Fitzpatrick (127) and Jaylen Smith (118) each topped 100 yards receiving while Jackson (180) and Reggie Bonnafon (107) surpassed the century mark on the ground. Fitzpatrick’s seventh touchdown catch moved him into a tie with Arnold Jackson (1997) and Mario Urrutia (2005) for most receiving touchdowns in a season by a freshman.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (2-3, 2-2 ACC)

The Seminoles rank 121st in the country in scoring offense (18.2 points) and 110th in total offense (346.6 yards), but a new offensive line tweak seemed to spark them against Duke as left tackle Derrick Kelly moved to left guard while freshman Josh Ball took over at Kelly’s old spot. Florida State allowed a season-low two sacks while its 84th-ranked rushing attack (144.8) churned out a season-high 228 yards on the ground, including 115 from freshman Cam Akers. Auden Tate paces the team with 19 receptions, 312 yards and five touchdowns despite finishing with only three catches for 30 yards against Duke; he has scored one touchdown in every game this season – tied for the longest active streak in the nation.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs Duke Blue Devils

Teams in search of a much-needed win and better quarterback play meet Saturday when Pittsburgh meets Duke in an ACC Coastal Division matchup (12:20 p.m. ET on ACC Network). The Panthers have dropped five of six since an opening-week victory over FCS foe Youngstown State, while the Blue Devils have dropped three straight conference games after opening the season with four wins by a combined 101 points.

Pittsburgh routed Duke 56-14 last season behind 237 yards passing and three touchdowns from current Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, but the Panthers have not received consistent play from either injured Max Browne or sophomore Ben DiNucci this season. The two have combined for just eight touchdown passes and 1,609 yards passing, opening the door for freshman Kenny Pickett to play in the second half of last week’s 35-17 loss to North Carolina State. During the Blue Devils’ season-opening four-game winning streak, sophomore Daniel Jones completed 62 percent of his passes for an average of 226 yards per game with five touchdowns against two interceptions. In the last three contests, the 6-5 signal-caller has completed just 48.3 percent of his passes for an average of 165 yards per game with one TD against three picks.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (2-5, 0-3 ACC)

With Browne out for the season with a shoulder injury, DiNucci (55-of-97, 612 yards, three TDs, three interceptions) will remain the starter against the Blue Devils. The Panthers have rushed for a combined total of 433 yards in their last five games after breaking out for 363 yards in the first two games of the season.

ABOUT DUKE (4-3, 1-3 ACC)

With Jones struggling, the Blue Devils may want to use senior running back Shaun Wilson more, as the senior has averaged 5.4 yards per rush during the losing skid but has toted the ball on average less than 10 times per game. Sophomore defensive back Mark Gilbert leads the team with four interceptions – tied for fifth in FBS – and the team’s total of 12 is two more than they registered in the entire 2016 campaign and tied for second in FBS. The defense ranks 19th in FBS in total defense (313 yards per game), including 16th against the run (108).

Boston College Eagles vs Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia aims for its first five-game winning streak in 10 years when it hosts Boston College and surging running back A.J. Dillon in an ACC clash Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET on RSN). Dillon erupted for 272 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a surprise 45-42 win at Louisville last week, posting the third-highest single-game total in program history and the most ever for a freshman.

He will take aim at a defense that is allowing 312.8 total yards per game – the third-fewest among ACC teams – and let up just 257 in last week’s 20-14 win at North Carolina. That result put the Cavaliers one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011. The Eagles are the only ACC team that Virginia has never beaten, having dropped each of the first five meetings, the last coming in 2010 at Boston College.

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (3-4, 1-3 ACC)

Starting quarterback Anthony Brown completed 5-of-17 passes before being knocked out of the win at Louisville with a shoulder injury, and backup Darius Wade went 7-for-10 to help finish the upset. Dillon and junior Jon Hilliman have combined for 967 rushing yards and nine TDs for the league’s fifth-rated ground game.

ABOUT VIRGINIA (5-1, 2-0 ACC)

Benkert ranks second in the league behind Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with 15 TD passes and he’s thrown just three interceptions in 248 attempts. He has plenty of targets, as three Cavaliers have at least 377 receiving yards and four TDs, led by junior running back Olamide Zaccheaus, who needs 32 yards to move into the top 20 all-time at Virginia. Safety Quin Blanding leads all active FBS players in career tackles (419) while Kiser ranks sixth (329) after the pair combined for 18 against North Carolina.

Syracuse Orange vs Miami Hurricanes

If Miami (Fla.) had any thoughts of looking past Syracuse, those surely disappeared last weekend. The seventh-ranked Hurricanes hope to avoid the upset at the hands of the visiting Orange when the ACC foes square off Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Syracuse defeated No. 2 Clemson, the defending national champion, in its last outing behind three touchdown passes from Eric Dungey. Coach Dino Babers now hopes his team can re-focus in time to face the undefeated Hurricanes, who escaped last week’s date with Georgia Tech with a 25-24 triumph.

ABOUT SYRACUSE (4-3, 2-1 ACC)

The Orange are aiming to knock off consecutive top 10 opponents for the first time in school history behind Dungey, who ranks fifth in the nation in completions per game (26.9), and Steve Ishmael, who leads the nation in receptions (62). Ishmael has scored a touchdown in four straight games, although he is averaging 5.7 catches over the last three outings after averaging 11.3 catches in the first four contests. Dungey leads the team in rushing (386 yards) and has eight of the team’s 11 scores on the ground.

ABOUT MIAMI (5-0, 3-0 ACC)

The Hurricanes have won 10 games in a row dating back to last season, although last week’s win was a mini-miracle. Darrell Langham caught a fourth-down pass on a lucky bounce to keep the game alive before Michael Badgley kicked the decisive field goal with four seconds left. Travis Horner ran for a career-high 170 yards on 20 attempts and scored two touchdowns – one on the ground and one through the air.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Virginia Tech Hogies

Teams heading in opposite directions meet Saturday when North Carolina visits No. 14 Virginia Tech during homecoming weekend (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2). The Hokies are 5-1 with their lone loss against defending champion Clemson and coming off a bye week after dropping Boston College 23-10 on October 7, while the Tar Heels are trying to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in one season for the first time since 2006.

The Tar Heels have averaged just 12 points per outing during their skid after last week’s 20-14 defeat against Virginia, and their only win has come against FCS foe Old Dominion. Virginia Tech will have a decided advantage at the quarterback spot, as Josh Jackson leads all FBS freshmen with 1,700 passing yards and 13 touchdowns and is second in passer rating (158.2), while North Carolina will give LSU transfer Brandon Harris his second start of the season Saturday.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (1-6, 0-4 ACC)

Harris replaced Chazz Surratt last week and completed only 7-of-18 passes for 46 yards with three interceptions. The offensive highlight last week was 5-9 freshman Michael Carter, who ran for a season-high 157 yards and two touchdowns, including 127 yards and both of his scores in the third quarter as the Tar Heels came back from a 10-0 halftime deficit. Jackson, whose TD passes are the most ever by a Virginia Tech freshman, needs 141 yards to overtake Michael Vick’s freshman record for passing yards (1,840 in 1999) and is looking forward to attacking a defense that is surrendering 31 points and 461 yards per contest.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (5-1, 1-1 ACC)

Jackson leads the ACC in passer rating (158.17), which is 13th in FBS, is third in the conference in total offense (309 yards per game) and fifth in passing yards per game (283.3). Wide receiver Cam Phillips, who ranks second in Tech history with 207 catches and third in receiving yards with 2,671, is hopeful to return after leaving the Boston College game with a foot sprain. Led by defensive backs Brandon Facyson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander, opponents are completing just 44 percent of its passes for 387 yards with only one TD in three home games this season, and the defense is second in the ACC and seventh in FBS in scoring defense (13.7 points).

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech is two one-point losses away from being undefeated on the season, but the Yellow Jackets enter Saturday’s home contest with Wake Forest (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU) with no time to wonder what could have been. The Yellow Jackets face a Wake Forest team that threw a scare into Clemson before having its bye last week, and Georgia Tech’s remaining schedule features matchups with the No. 8-ranked Tigers, No. 14 Virginia Tech, Virginia and No. 3 Georgia.

The Demon Deacons started the season 4-0 before suffering a pair of losses to Clemson and Florida State, and begin a pivotal stretch in which Wake Forest plays three of its next four games on the road. Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, who missed the Clemson game with a shoulder injury, and running back Cade Carney (rib) are expected back for Saturday.

ABOUT WAKE FOREST (4-2, 1-2 ACC)

Wolford has completed 63.2 percent of his passes this season with eight touchdowns and only one interception, while rushing for four touchdowns and 6.3 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman receiver Greg Dortch ranks second in the ACC and 19th nationally with 136 all-purpose yards per game, finishing with 156 yards against the Tigers. Wake Forest’s defense is surrendering only 16.7 points per game, third the conference and 12th in the country.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-2, 2-1 ACC)

The Yellow Jackets scored fewer than 28 points last week for the first time in nine games, but still lead the ACC and rank third in the nation in rushing yards per game (362). Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has combined for 14 touchdowns (nine rushing, five passing) and leads the team in rushing, but was held to just 18 yards against the Hurricanes. Georgia Tech has allowed opponents to convert third downs just 22.4 percent of the time, ranking second in the nation.

Download the FanPicks Fantasy App. Click on the links below.

Posted in CFB

College Football Primetime

5th CLEMSON(3-0) vs GEORGIA TECH (3-0)

Fifth-ranked Clemson survived two weeks of underwhelming performances before returning to its dominant ways last week. The Tigers can’t afford another subpar effort when they visit Georgia Tech for an ACC showdown on Thursday night College Football Primetime (Enter Contests). Last year’s national finalist will put their 18-game regular-season winning streak on the line as they aim for their first victory at Georgia Tech since 2003.

Team’s Breakdown

After squeaking out a six-point victory in their first two games, the Tigers routed South Carolina State 59-0 last week and put up predictably impressive numbers in the process. They’ve outgained the Bulldogs 555-102 in total yards. Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Deshaun Watson (692 passing yards, seven touchdowns, three interceptions) hasn’t done much damage on the ground thus far this season. Running back Wayne Gallman (197 rushing yards, two TDs) hasn’t had much rushing action ether collecting 74 yards over the past two games. He ran for 123 yards in the season opener against Auburn. Clemson’s defense has picked up exactly where it left off last year. They ranks eighth in the nation for total defense (250 yards per game) and 11th for scoring defense (12.3 points per game). Clemson is having a short week to prepare against the Yellow Jackets’ option attack. Dabo Swinney’s team racked up 537 total yards in a 43-24 home victory over Georgia Tech a year ago, a game the Yellow Jackets would like to forget.

The Yellow Jackets’ option attack has been in high gear in the last two games. They’ve rolled up a total of 955 yards in their lopsided wins over Mercer and Vanderbilt. Quarterback Justin Thomas (169 rushing yards, one touchdown; 335 passing yards, one TD) is the catalyst for this team’s offense, though running back Dedrick Mills (126 yards, four TDs) has also done some damage and Clinton Lynch (116 yards on nine carries) is a big-play threat as well. The Yellow Jackets have allowed 305 total yards per game but have been a bend-don’t-break unit, giving up only 10.3 points per game. It’s the seventh-fewest total points given in the nation.

Posted in CFB