ACC numbers show Miami's grasp on crown - WSMV Channel 4

ACC numbers show Miami's grasp on crown

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Miami's Julian Gamble gets back-to-back-to-back blocks on Virginia's Akil Mitchell in their low scoring affair Tuesday.  (Source: ACC Digital Network) Miami's Julian Gamble gets back-to-back-to-back blocks on Virginia's Akil Mitchell in their low scoring affair Tuesday. (Source: ACC Digital Network)

(RNN) - Maryland defeating Duke Saturday might be the last of an old school rivalry.

The Terrapins are in their final year of ACC play after agreeing to join the Big 10. Duke leads the all-time record 110-62 since the first meeting in 1925 of the two.

The rivalry is not as substantial as Duke-UNC. However, meetings between the Blue Devils and Maryland have been contentious and favorites of their fan bases since the latter returned to ACC prominence in the late 1990s and 2000s.

As No. 2 ranked Duke fell to unranked Maryland (18-8, 6-7 ACC) 83-81, a popular Shakespeare quote well described the event.

From Henry IV, Part II, act III, scene 1: "Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

That's not an issue now.

Duke (23-3, 10-3 ACC) dropped to No. 6 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings, allowing Miami (22-3, 13-0 ACC) to place a near-stranglehold on the top of the ACC.

The Hurricanes may be placed atop the brackets of those yearning for the Ides of March, too.

Last week, it was Duke, Miami and everyone else - now is it just Miami?

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, indeed.

This week's one big question

Can Miami hold off Duke for a regular season title: Probably, but while the question isn't that simple, a definitive answer might arrive March 2 when the teams meet in Durham, NC.

The passing of a crown is never easy, but Miami looks poised. Despite low-scoring, close games in their last two meetings against Clemson and Virginia, the Canes still extended their winning streak in conference play to 13 games.

The concern for Miami: Can they go back to beating opponents by double digits after a dismal 34.6 percent shooting and a season-low 18 first half points against Virginia on Tuesday?

Duke has a rockier road to end the regular season. Coupled with a home bout against Miami and an away game to UNC in March, the Blue Devils play a tough Virginia squad again.

Duke powered over Virginia Tech 88-56 Thursday.

The rest of Miami's schedule consists of games at Wake Forest and a home game against Virginia Tech to close out the month of February. After their clash in Durham, Miami will play Georgia Tech and Clemson to finish the regular season.

Miami and Duke are statistically similar teams and are the conference's top two in scoring margin (Duke is first with a +13 margin).

Still, Miami will pull off the ACC regular season title with anything more than an epic stumble down the stretch.

Stat of the Week

An overwhelming stat that matters: Possession and efficiency tells the story of the ACC this season.

Calculated on the offensive and defensive proficiencies (also known as tempos) of teams, it eliminates the factor of time and rates a team on a per-possession basis. Factors in this statistic are possessions, possessions per game, points per game and floor percentage.

ACC top three in overall offensive efficiency

Duke - 109.9

NC State - 109.3

Miami - 106.6

ACC bottom three in overall offensive efficiency

Georgia Tech - 89.9

Clemson - 93.0

Wake Forest - 93.4

ACC bottom three in overall defensive efficiency

Virginia Tech - 111.1

Florida State - 107.3

Boston College - 107.6

ACC top three in overall defensive efficiency

Miami - 88.5

Virginia - 93.9

Georgia Tech - 95.0

ACC in the AP Top 25

No. 2 Miami

No. 6 Duke

ACC Play of the Week

NC State defeated Florida State 84-66 Tuesday. Aside from the double digit embarrassment on the road, Florida State was getting dunked all over by junior forward C. J. Leslie.

And it was spectacular.

The play of the week came early in the first half, when Leslie took an offensive rebound and turned it into a backboard shaking, one-handed slam.

Maybe Leslie was showing respect to ACC alum Michael Jordan, who celebrated his 50th birthday last week.

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