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ACC Roundup: #21 UNC vs. East Carolina and Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Southern

It’s a quiet weekend for the ACC but North Carolina will grab the headlines with its Saturday game against neighbor East Carolina. Pirates coach Jeff Lebo has a little familiarity with the Smith Center; he played for the Tar Heels (1985-1989). It will also be a homecoming with his former assistant coach, Roy Williams.

On Friday, Miami (6-1) kicked things off for ACC weekend play with a 77-46 win over Charlotte (9-1). With its loss, Charlotte snapped a nine-game win streak.

The Hurricanes led the entire game and by halftime, they had an 11-point advantage. They returned from the break and kept the momentum going by outscoring the 49ers 14-6 in the half’s first five minutes.

Kenny Kadji led the Hurricanes with 17 points, followed by Durand Scott (16 points and 12 rebounds).

Also on Friday, Miami coach Jim Larranga announced that redshirt freshman guard Bishop Daniels had left the team. In his three games this season,  Daniels averaged 5.0 points.

Next up for Miami is a road game to UCF on Dec. 18.

In other ACC action, Virginia Tech (8-1) will host Georgia Southern (3-5,0-2) on Saturday.

#21 North Carolina vs. East Carolina

UNC Forward James McAdoo

Pirates coach Lebo had a successful UNC career at the Smith Center, ranking No. 24 in career scoring with 1,567 points and No. 2 in career three-pointers shooting percentage (42.8). He was a member of the Tar Heel teams that won two ACC season titles and a tournament championship.

Saturdays’ return represents his first time playing against his former coach.

Lebo’s team is off to a good start. On Dec. 4, the coach grabbed his 250th career win when the Pirates  defeated NAIA school St. Andrews 111-59.

Maybe inspired by its coach’s collegiate talent, the team has improved their three-point shooting and in last week’s big win, they hit a school record going 18 for 36.

The Pirates leading scorer is Maurice Kemp with 16.7 points per game; this ranks him as No. 4 in Conference USA scoring.

As for the young Tar Heels team, they will enter the game with two recent big wins. Freshman point guard Marcus Paige has returned from a shoulder injury and in last Saturday’s game, he had a season-high seven assists on a team that is leading the nation with its 20.1 assists per game.

For now, UNC is all about forward James McAdoo to get points on the board. He is the team’s leader with 15.0 points per game and 8.4 per game rebounds.

UNC is coming together but Williams has said he’d like improved defensive play and more experience for his players.

History is not on the Pirates side for a win. They have neither defeated a ranked team on the road nor beat a ranked opponent.

Look for this trend to continue with a Tar Heel win (-16.5, 149 o/u).

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Southern

VT Guard Erick Green

For the second round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, the Hokies will play Georgia Southern after coming off a big win against Mississippi State, 70-49. While feeling under the weather, Erick Green still led the team with his 23 points (10 assists, four rebounds) and Marquis Rankin grabbed a career-high 10 points upon exiting the bench.

Green has already received two ACC Player of the Week honors this season; he currently leads the conference in scoring and more impressively, he is No. 2 in the nation for scoring.

The team’s sole loss came against West Virginia last Saturday, 68-67.

As for Georgia Southern, two of their five losses have come against good teams, Charlotte and Maryland. They’ve been close a few times for the win but they struggle against Division-1 teams.

The team’s best player is forward Eric Ferguson who leads across all categories: 15.4 average points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and two steals per game.

Virginia Tech has the physical advantage and needs the win to lift its RPI. Looks like the Hokies will head to Vegas (-16.5) with another win after Saturday’s game.


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