Where has all the scoring gone?
In the first couple weeks of ACC play, seven teams have won by scoring 62 points or less (Clemson making up that stat twice) and five have failed to reach 50 points period (Clemson opponents making up that stat twice as well).
Seven of the 12-member ACC league are averaging 64 points or fewer (and three in the 50s). Just this week, one team in five games topped 60 points (Duke, 73).
Five seasons ago, all but two teams averaged over 70 points per game in conference play (Clemson – 77.8, going 10-6). Two years later, it was all but two averaging over 65. And now, just four are scoring at least 70 points (Duke, NC State, BC and Virginia Tech) and seven, 63.5 or lower.
They ask if it’s better defense or less offensive talent, and I’d say it’s both.
On the season, six teams are in the top-80 nationally in scoring defense (upper 25 percent out of 346 division one teams) – led by Virginia (2) then Clemson (8), Georgia Tech (25), Miami (29), Maryland (44) and Duke (70).
Going back again to 2007-08, eight of the 12 gave up within a point or over 70 points a game, compared to nine currently holding opponents to less than 68 per game.
In that same comparison, every team shot above 41 percent from the field and half the conference above 45 percent five years ago. So far this season, none are shooting above 45 percent and five are averaging below 40 percent (the Tigers included, 39.7).
The more defensive league isn’t hurting as much as you might think in the national rankings though.
In ’07-08, UNC finished No. 1 in the AP, with Duke (9) and Clemson (22) also cracking the top 25. Duke, at No. 3, and NC State (14) make up the current rankings. Miami should enter the fray next week, taking a 13-3 (4-0 ACC) record into a home date with Duke.
It’s still early, so this trend is something to track as the season goes on, with two extra in the conference slate.