North Carolina Tar Heels: Olivier Hanlan

Virginia Tech guard Erick Green, the first ACC player to lead the nation in scoring in 56 years, was named the league’s player of the year on Tuesday. He is averaging 25.4 points on 48.2 percent shooting this season for the Hokies, who finished 4-14 in ACC play.

Green joins Maryland's Len Bias as the only players from teams with a losing league record to be named the conference's player of the year.

The senior received 38 of the 76 votes cast. Miami guard Shane Larkin was second (23 votes), followed by Duke's Mason Plumlee (12). Virginia's Joe Harris received two votes and Florida State's Michael Snaer received one.

The rest of the individual league awards, also announced Tuesday:
The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) voted on the awards.

The All-ACC teams, which were announced Monday, can be found here.

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

February, 22, 2013
With roughly two weeks left in the regular season, the race is on for a top-four seed (and first-day bye) in the ACC tournament. In the meantime, here are this week's rankings based on myriad factors, including how teams have performed lately and the foes they've faced:

1. Miami. Clemson and Virginia both tested the Canes, but a late 3-pointer from Kenny Kadji at the Tigers and Reggie Johnson's tiebreaking layup versus the Cavs kept Miami undefeated in league play. The 13-0 record marks the hottest league start since Duke went 16-0 en route to the conference title in 1998-99.

2. Duke. The Devils bounced back from a close loss at Maryland with a blowout win at Virginia Tech as Mason Plumlee followed a four-point, three-rebound performance with a double-double Thursday night. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is now third on the career list for victories at one school (877), behind Dean Smith and Jim Boeheim.

3. NC State. The Wolfpack got a big boost by inserting 6-foot-8 T.J. Warren into the starting lineup this week. Not only did he turn in a 31-point, 13-rebound performance against FSU, but the team grabbed a season-best 45 boards. The Pack have won three straight, and it will be interesting to see whether they stay big against the Tar Heels this weekend.

4. North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams continues to start a smaller lineup with sophomore P.J. Hairston at the 4, and the Tar Heels continue to look faster and more aggressive with another scorer on the floor. Forward James Michael McAdoo's double-double at Georgia Tech, after he scored in single digits for three straight games, is a good sign, too.

5. Virginia. The Cavs are in the midst of a tough stretch. They lost at both UNC and No. 2 Miami in the past week, play a Georgia Tech team this weekend that beat them earlier this month, and then face another test in No. 6 Duke coming up next week. Junior Joe Harris, though, continues to be on a tear, averaging 22.4 points over his past five games.

6. Maryland. Another (way) up and (way) down week for the Terps, who upset the then-second-ranked Blue Devils at home, only to lose on the road to a focused Boston College team that had won just three previous ACC games. After posting an impressive 19-point, nine-rebound game against Mason Plumlee, Maryland big man Alex Len managed only four points against the Eagles.

7. Florida State. For all his last-second shots this season, Seminoles point guard Michael Snaer hadn’t managed 20 points against an ACC foe this year, until this week. He followed a 21-point game in a win against Boston College with 20 during a loss at NC State. Next up: a trip to Virginia Tech.

8. Clemson. Another week, another home heartbreaker for the Tigers, who lost to Miami on Kadji’s 3 after losing to NC State on a Scott Wood 3 on Feb. 10. At least they won a close one in the middle at Georgia Tech. Devin Booker posted his fifth double-double of the season in Clemson’s latest loss.

9. Georgia Tech. Freshman Robert Carter Jr. hit two free throws in the final 10 seconds to beat Wake Forest before Georgia Tech lost by double figures to the Tar Heels. The Yellow Jackets were an ouch-worthy 4-for-11 from the free throw line in their latest game and remain the worst foul-shooting team in the league (63.2 percent).

10. Boston College. And to build on the above note about the importance of free throws: The Eagles hit 16 straight down the stretch to protect the lead in their win over Maryland. Freshman Olivier Hanlan scored a career-high 26 points in that game, and BC has won two of its past three.

11. Wake Forest. A three-point loss at Boston College followed by a one-point loss to Georgia Tech? The bottom tier of the ACC likes to make things interesting, at least. The Deacs are second in the league in steals, sandwiched between UNC and Duke, and C.J. Harris continues to lead the team with 14.8 points per game.

12. Virginia Tech. Erick Green is still really good, adding a 22-point game against Duke to his nation-leading scoring average. His team still is struggling, though, losing nine in a row -- including two in overtime and Thursday's loss to the Blue Devils.

It was a lopsided win for North Carolina, 82-70, at Conte Forum on Tuesday night. But it was a scary win, too.

Tar Heels reserve P.J. Hairston -- who had 14 early points -- was playing defense with about four minutes left in the first half when he took an elbow to the head during a mid-air collision with teammate Dexter Strickland. Hairston lay on the floor in obvious pain for several moments, being attended to by trainer Chris Hirth and coach Roy Williams, before teammates tried to help him back to the bench. But Hairston appeared woozy and lost his balance after a step or two, and he was eventually taken off the court via stretcher.

Hairston was diagnosed with a concussion. He returned to the end of the bench in the second half for a stretch before returning to the locker room. He was expected to be able to fly home with the team.

Turning point: The Tar Heels were trailing 8-2 when Hairston came off the bench and jump-started 19-4 run that pushed his team ahead, for good. Hairston had four 3-pointers during the stretch. Then, fouled on a 3 with 8:22 left in the first half, he buried two free throws to propel the Tar Heels ahead 29-18.

Standout player(s): Hairston had three assists to go along with 14 points in 12 minutes before his injury, continuing his roughly one-point-per-minute trend over his past few outings. Against Georgia Tech last week, he scored 15 points in 17 minutes; at NC State, he recorded 19 points in 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, teammate James Michael McAdoo finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double in his past four games.

Freshman Olivier Hanlan led BC with 22 points, tying his career high.

Number(s) to know: The Tar Heels scored 38 points in the 15 minutes, 58 seconds before Hairston left the game, and 44 points in the 24:02 after he was hurt.

What it means for UNC: A bounce back. After falling behind by as many as 28 points in their loss to NC State on Saturday, the Tar Heels were more active from the outset, diving for loose balls, building as much as an 18-point lead, then holding on. They are now 4-3 in ACC play, and pushed their record to 5-5 away from home.

“We feel very fortunate right now, we really do,’’ coach Roy Williams said after the game. “To go 7-for-13 from the 3-point line is good, but P.J. was 4-for-4, so that gives you a good start.”

Williams was also happier with his team’s rebounding; UNC won 33-25 on the boards.

What it means for BC: More learning for a freshman- and sophomore-laden team. Perhaps more frustration, too. It marked the fifth straight ACC loss for the Eagles, although three of its previous defeats during that stretch had been by five or fewer points. But this time, guard Joe Rahon -- averaging 10.4 ppg -- was held to four points; and teammate Lonnie Jackson -- shooting .568 from 3-point land in his previous seven games -- was 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Next up: UNC plays Virginia Tech at home on Saturday; Boston College plays Clemson at home the same day.

UNC at Boston College: What to watch

January, 29, 2013
Asked this week about the keys to winning on the road, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said it takes very good players -- as well as poise, confidence, focus and toughness.

The Tar Heels haven’t shown much of the latter quartet of qualities away from the Smith Center this season, contributing to their 2-5 record when not competing in the comfy confines of home. And they’ve got another challenge when they play at Boston College on Tuesday night.

“Going into BC is not easy," Williams said. “BC, they shoot the ball well, they shoot more 3s than anybody in our league, present some match-up problems for us.

“Everybody will be fired up when North Carolina comes; that’s the way it is, and that’s the way I like it because if nobody is fired up when you come in there, that means they’ve been beating your rear end a lot, so I don’t like that scenario for sure.”

The Eagles have struggled of late, losing four straight ACC games. Three of those losses, though, were by five or fewer points – meaning the Tar Heels can’t afford to fall behind big, like they did in defeats to Butler in the Maui Invitational (29 points), at Indiana (32), at Texas (19) or at NC State (28).

Williams said his team will need to have a focused, confident mindset to win on the road. And the Tar Heels have shown they can do that already this season, winning at always-rowdy Florida State.

“I think it’s a toughness factor, handling the adversity and sticking to what you’re supposed to do, as opposed to trying to go do it on your own,’’ he said. “I think it’s handling the adversity that we have, and making sure [that] whatever your job is, that you do that job to the best of your ability.

“… So far, I haven’t done a very good job of getting this year’s club to handle that, and yet we are probably the youngest club I’ve ever coached or the least experienced that I’ve ever coached. But we’re trying to do the same things with this group that we’ve done in the past, and hopefully it’ll take hold pretty soon.”

A few things to watch during the game, which tips off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU:


One of Williams’ biggest concerns this season was where his team’s points would come from, and the Tar Heels aren’t getting many from their starting backcourt. Point guard Marcus Paige and shooting guard Dexter Strickland combined to shoot 4-for-18 against NC State, and they are 20-for-76 in ACC play.


Remember how young the Eagles were last season? That hasn’t changed much.

Boston College starts three sophomores -- led by Ryan Anderson (16.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg), a unanimous selection to last season’s All-ACC rookie team -- and two freshmen -- led by Olivier Hanlan (13.7 ppg), who has earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors three times already.

Freshmen and sophomores have played 3,589 of the 3,825 minutes this year for the Eagles, according to BC’s games notes. Also, 95 percent of the scoring, 94 percent of the rebounds and 97 percent of the assists have come from underclassmen.


Both teams rank in the bottom third of field-goal percentage defense in league play: UNC is ninth at 43.8 percent, and BC is 12th at 48.3 percent. Who will be more stick-to-itive? ... UNC reserve P.J. Hairston has seen his minutes drop to 17 each of the last two games; it will be interesting to see whether his playing time increases, or if Williams tweaks the rotation. ... UNC has won seven of the last nine games against BC, including three in a row.