The 2016 ACC Regular Season In 10 Unique Stats

If you’re a numbers person, you’re going to love some of the performances that ACC teams and players put forth during the 2015-16 regular season. From Pitt winning by more than half a century in non-conference play to Brice Johnson turning in a stat line for the ages in Tallahassee, ACC fans have been treated to some great basketball this season. Take a look at the conference regular season recapped in 10 unique stats:

Johnson’s Monster Game (39 points, 23 rebounds on Jan. 4 at Florida State)

Brice Johnson wrote his name all over the North Carolina record book on January 4th in Tallahassee, as the First-Team All-ACC forward scored 39 points and grabbed 23 rebounds while nearly tearing down Florida State’s rims in the process. Johnson joined some legendary company with the performance, becoming one of two Tar Heels with at least 39 points and 23 rebounds in a game. The other? Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham, who did it twice in 1964 during his junior season in Chapel Hill.

Johnson’s 39 points and 23 rebounds were both the most recorded by an ACC player during the regular season, and his 14-of-16 shooting from the floor (88%) was the third-best shooting performance by any ACC player this season. Johnson’s performance was arguably the best by any conference player in the last several seasons.

 

Nnoko’s Block Party (Eight blocks vs. Virginia Tech on Feb. 6)

He didn’t have an impressive night by the standards of Elmore Smith, who blocked an NBA-record 17 shots in a game in 1973, but Landry Nnoko still had quite a game on February 6th vs. Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-10 Cameroon native rejected a career-high eight shots that night, the most in a game by an ACC player this season. Despite Clemson’s loss, Nnoko stuffed the stat sheet: his 17 points and 12 rebounds put him just two blocks away from a triple-double.

Nnoko is only averaging 22.4 minutes per game this season, but his 2.4 blocks per game are a career-best. Clemson has developed a reputation as one of the best shot-blocking teams in the league, and Nnoko has been the driving force behind the Tigers’ defensive success at the rim. His eight blocks against Virginia Tech are just one example of Nnoko’s steadfast presence in the lane: he blocked at least two shots in 11 of Clemson’s 18 ACC games this season.

 

Carolina Crashes The Boards (Outrebounds Duke 64-29 in regular season finale)

There isn’t much doubt that Carolina-Duke is the greatest rivalry in college basketball. For all of the great games and unique matchups featured in the series, college hoops fans have never seen a battle between the Heels and Blue Devils feature such contrasting styles as they did in the game on March 5th. UNC outrebounded Duke by a whopping 35 rebounds (including a 27-8 advantage on the offensive glass) in their 76-72 win. The Blue Devils have made a living from the three-point line in 2015-16, but Carolina’s dominance on the glass was unprecedented for a game between relatively evenly-matched teams. North Carolina’s 64 rebounds were the most by an ACC team this season.

Pitt Pours It On (ACC-high 53-point win on Dec. 6 vs. Central Arkansas)

Sometimes a good, old-fashioned blowout is as much fun to watch as a close game. Pitt basketball fans probably felt this way on December 6th, when their Panthers routed Central Arkansas 100-47 and posted the largest margin of victory by an ACC team this season. Freshman Damon Wilson scored 20 points in 20 minutes, season-highs in both categories, nine different Panthers scored six or more points, and Pitt scored an even 50 in each half. The game could be a glimpse into a promising future for Pitt, as Wilson figures to factor into the equation more for Jamie Dixon in the next few years.

Tech Locks Down The Perimeter (Allows zero 3-pointers March 5 vs. Pitt)

Pitt was also on the wrong side of a conference-best this season, as Georgia Tech held the Panthers scoreless from three-point range in the Jackets’ 63-59 win in McCamish Pavilion on March 5.

Tech guarded the perimeter to perfection, blanking the Panthers on 11 attempts as only one Pitt player, Sterling Smith, attempted more than two 3-pointers. The shooting issues of Jamie Dixon’s club were emphasized by GT sharpshooter Adam Smith, who converted 5-of-7 threes as Tech outscored Pitt 34-23 in the second half to complete the comeback win.

Where’s the Whistle? (Louisville shoots just two FTs Feb. 17 vs. Syracuse)

Syracuse’s zone often disrupts their opponents’ offensive rhythm, but on February 17th against Louisville it just produced a really weird stat. The Orange certainly didn’t disrupt the flow of Louisville’s offense --- the Cardinals shot 48% from the floor and made seven 3-pointers in a 72-58 win -- but Jim Boeheim’s team only committed nine fouls in 40 minutes. As a result, Louisville shot a conference-low two free throws on the night and made just one, something the Cards hadn’t done in six years. Per ESPN Stats and Information, two free throws was the fewest attempted by Louisville in a game since 2010 at Marquette. Good teams are capable of winning in a variety of ways and the Cardinals did just that, prevailing in spite of a -19 margin in free throws attempted.

Brogdon Catches Fire (5/5 from 3-point range on Feb. 3 vs. Boston College)

The struggles of Boston College basketball this season have been well-documented, but Malcolm Brogdon didn’t have any pity on the struggling Eagles. The ACC Player of the Year caught fire from downtown in UVA’s February 3rd win over BC, converting all five of his three-point field goal attempts. Not only did the senior Atlanta-native not miss a 3-pointer, but he also posted quite a stat line: 27 points, six rebounds, and a perfect 8/8 from the foul line. Impressive nights have been the norm for Brogdon over the course of this season, but his performance versus Boston College was one of his best. He was one of only two ACC players to go a perfect 5-of-5 from three in 2015-16 (Seth Allen).

 

Cat Can’t Miss (Perfect from foul line vs. LSU, Pitt and Miami)

Cat Barber’s rise to the elite tier of players in the ACC this season has been remarkable. A year after averaging just over 12 points per game, Barber has almost single-handedly carried NC State through the regular season by averaging 23.3 points per night. One main reason he has become so effective is because of his ability to get to the free throw line. An 87% shooter from the charity stripe on the season, the Wolfpack star had three games this season where he shot more than 10 FTs and didn’t miss a single one: November 24th vs. LSU (12/12), January 19th at Pitt (14/14) and January 30th vs. Miami (10/10). Barber also has the two best games in the ACC this season in terms of free throws made, as he made 19 and 17 foul shots vs. Winthrop and Wake Forest, respectively. A year after making 73% from the line, Barber’s 14% improvement has been one of the factors in his emergence as one of the best players in the ACC.

Miami Makes It Rain (8/11 from 3 on Feb. 27 vs. Louisville)

Miami has several different players who are capable of catching fire from three-point range, but the Canes entire roster was hitting at the same time on February 27th vs. Louisville. Led by Ivan Cruz Uceda, who was 3/3 from distance on the night, Miami drained eight of its 11 three-point attempts in what was the most accurate three-point shooting performance by an ACC team this season. Davon Reed made three of his four attempts and Anthony Lawrence and Angel Rodriguez each made their only 3-point shots of the night. The Hurricanes trailed at halftime but were easily able to overtake Louisville for a resume-building win thanks in no small part to their strong shooting.

 

Clicking On All Cylinders (UNC makes 39 field goals on Feb. 20 vs. Miami)

How do you overcome a loss to your bitter rival? Take your frustration out on the next team you play. That’s exactly what North Carolina did to No. 11 Miami on February 20th. One game after dropping a heartbreaker to Duke in the Dean Dome, the Tar Heels offense exploded to life, converting a whopping 39 field goals in a 25-point blowout win over the Canes. The 39 made shots were a season-high for an ACC squad, as the Heels narrowly surpassed the 38 FGs they made in early January vs. FSU. Brice Johnson led the ‘Heels with seven makes, but Isaiah Hicks and Justin Jackson added six and five made shots, respectively.