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Admirable Ball Control By ACC Teams

From time to time, it’s nearly impossible to take the ball away

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Virginia v North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 11: Ty Jerome #11 and Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers are two of the most reliable ball handlers in the ACC
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Most coaches preach minimizing turnovers. A ballhandling miscue is by definition a loss of possession. Independent of situation, live-ball possessions fueling an opposition fast break are the worst.

There have been 17 regular-season games over the past three years (through mid-February 2019) in which ACC teams were so disciplined with the ball they committed four or fewer turnovers.

This season Virginia twice had a paltry pair of turnovers in road wins against Maryland and Notre Dame, the Terrapins in November in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge and the Irish in late January. The Cavaliers had five of the ACC’s 17 low-turnover performances since the 2017 season -- consistent with their deliberate, close-to-the-vest style.

Last year at Charlottesville the Cavs suffered their sole regular-season loss in overtime against Virginia Tech despite committing just two turnovers.

North Carolina had a breathtaking two ballhandling mistakes against Duke in their meeting at Chapel Hill last season, and won. That tied a UNC record for the fewest turnovers, first set in an NCAA game in 1997.

Five of the 17 most modest turnover performances since 2017 still resulted in a loss for the abstemious team. This year Notre Dame twice lost at neutral sites to nonconference opponents while committing just four turnovers.

Duke, which averages 12.9 turnovers per outing, had four to open the season in its 118-84 win against Kentucky.

Fewest Turnovers By ACC Team In Game, Last Three Seasons
(Regular Season Only, 2017 Through Feb. 22, 2019) 
TO School, Opponent Result Date
2 Virginia @ Notre Dame W, 82-55 Jan. 26, 2019
2 Virginia @ Maryland W, 76-71 Nov. 28, 2018
2 North Carolina v. Duke W, 82-78 Feb. 8, 2018
2 Clemson v. S.C. State W, 93-65 Dec. 13, 2016
3 Louisville v. Virginia Tech W, 94-90 Feb. 18, 2017
3 Notre Dame v. Bryant W, 89-64 Nov. 12, 2016
4 Duke v. Kentucky W, 118-84 Nov. 6, 2018
4 Notre Dame v. Oklahoma L, 80-85 Dec. 4, 2018
4 Virginia v. Coppin State W, 97-40 Nov. 16, 2018
4 Notre Dame v. Radford L, 60-63 Nov. 14, 2018
4 Virginia v. North Carolina W, 71-63 March 10, 2018
4 NC State v. Clemson W, 78-77 Jan. 11, 2018
4 NC State v. Louisville W, 76-69 Mar. 3, 2018
4 Virginia v. Virginia Tech L, 60-61 Feb. 10, 2018
4 Wake Forest v. Villanova L, 81-100 Nov. 18, 2016
4 Wake Forest @ Duke L, 94-99 Feb. 18, 2017
4 Duke @ Elon W, 72-61 Dec. 21, 2016
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