Go Figure: A Basketball Score
During Saturday’s football game, I was trying to think about statistics, momentum-changing plays and the importance of one touchdown over another. And it all became almost laughable at some point. “Oh yes, Georgia Tech’s seventh touchdown was the most important game-changer!”
And so like most ACC fans this time of year, my mind drifted to basketball. First, it went to Georgia Tech - the Yellow Jackets had an anemic offense last year and failed to break 40 more than once. The football team scored 40 in the second half on Saturday. Both stats are mind-boggling, for all the wrong reasons.
Georgia Tech’s basketball team scored 68, the total its football team had - or less - in 22 of 31 games last year. Even North Carolina’s total of 50 points either equaled or outscored the 2011-12 Georgia Tech basketball team seven times.
With all the ugly ACC basketball we’ve seen in recent years, I started to wonder where Saturday’s football offensive explosion would rank. After all, it was about as enjoyable for most of the Carolina faithful as it is to watch the slow-down basketball games. But there were an ACC record 118 combined points scored.
In the 2011-12 season, ACC basketball teams played in 65 games that totaled 118 or fewer points, and 25 of those involved two ACC teams. The lowest combined score involving one ACC team last year was - you guessed it - Virginia! The Cavaliers faced off against Drexel in an epic battle that ended in a 49-35 Virginia win. Woof.
Virginia was the worst offender - the Cavaliers were in 19 games that totaled 118 points or less, including one of only two such games that Carolina was in last year. The other? That’s right - Carolina and Wisconsin combined for 117 last year. (“Good thing those two are playing this year in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge! That will be must-see TV,” something no one said ever.) And Carolina - the team that supposedly can’t win low-scoring affairs - won both. Only Duke was in fewer such games - just one, when they beat Virginia Tech 60-56 in the ACC Tournament.
Georgia Tech’s 68 points on the gridiron either equaled or surpassed the total an ACC team was able to reach in 201 games last season. ACC defenses held opponents to 68 or fewer points 235 times. Carolina’s 50 points were actually equal to or higher than the total an ACC team hit in 29 games last year.
As I suspected, Georgia Tech’s basketball team was the worst offender here, failing to score more than 50 points eight times last year. Boston College did it five times, Virginia four times, and no one else more than three. ACC teams were 3-26 in those games and two of the wins came against another ACC team.
ACC teams held opponents to Carolina’s total on Saturday of 50 or fewer points in 42 games last year and went 39-3 in such games (two losses to another ACC team). Virginia led the way in this category too, holding 12 opponents to 50 or fewer points and going 11-1 in such games (compared to 1-3 in games when they failed to hit 50).
This year, basketball is here again and ACC teams have held their opponent to 68 or fewer points 13 times in 17 games so far (to 50 or fewer four times). Thankfully, we’re experiencing a bit of a scoring barrage early in ACC play - only three ACC games have seen a league team fail to score 68 or more. We haven’t had an ACC team fail to hit 50 yet, but there have already been two games where the total hasn’t hit 118 (yes, Virginia was in one).
But there’s hope for the future - Boston College scored more than 68 points just three times last year and they already have an 84-point outing, surpassing their total in any game a season ago. The Georgia Tech basketball team put up 79 in its opener, more than it had in all but three games last year. Virginia Tech had 80 in its opener, more than it had last year in all but three games.
We’re living in a bizarro ACC where Carolina and Duke have yet to break 80 points while teams like Boston College, Virginia Tech and Florida State already have and - oh yeah - Florida State’s defense has allowed 46% shooting (47% from three) to South Alabama and Buffalo. So we’re just waiting on you to do something crazy, Virginia.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, the Carolina basketball team has held its first two opponents to a combined 115 points - less than the combined score of Saturday’s football game. You’ll be sick of this joke pretty soon, but...wait...yes, I think Georgia Tech just scored a touchdown.