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The Ways ACC Teams Scored Their Points Last Season Reveals Strengths And Weaknesses

Like many things in the Covid season, some aspects of offense in the ACC weren’t what they usually are.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke Louisville
Mar 10, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) drives to the basket against Louisville Cardinals forward Quinn Slazinski (11) during the second half in the second round of the 2021 ACC tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. The Duke Blue Devils won 70-56. 
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Ball goes in basket, points awarded: A simple equation familiar to every player and fan. (Unless the officials find a reason to wave off the score, but that’s another story.)

Looking at the ways ACC teams derived points in 2021 tells you a lot about what they tried to do, and how well they succeeded.

Consider, for instance, that two of the top teams in points via 3-pointer were laggards during the regular season, paddling desperately to keep pace with the team that fared best by cashing in most heavily from the bonusphere.

Wake and BC finished at the bottom of the standings, trailing the field in accuracy from floor and foul line. BC had one player in the top 20 in rebounding (Steffon Mitchell), bespeaking a weak interior game, and Wake had none.

Clearly the teams tried to compensate from beyond the arc.

Two Eagles, Jay Heath and Rich Kelly, were among the ACC’s top 10 in threes made per game. (Both are gone this year.) BC also had a player in the ACC’s top 15 in field goal percentage (Heath) and assists (Makai Ashton-Langford). The Demon Deacons had none.

BC finished last and fired its coach before the season ended. Wake had a new coach and finished next-to-last, its struggles surprising no one.

Virginia, on the other hand, settled atop the ACC standings with the league’s second-best scoring margin, field goal and 3-point accuracy, and its top free throw acuity. In fact, the Cavs’ .816 foul shooting was best in ACC history.

UVa also paced the conference in the portion of its points derived from long range (41.3 percent), a significant jump from 2020 (29.8).

Those ’21 strengths compensated for the next-to-worst offensive rebounding in the league. Conservatism (or was it ineffectiveness, or both?) in crashing the boards contributed to Virginia’s getting only 13.8 percent of its points via free throw.

That line conversion rate was second-worst in the ACC and a decided underuse of the Cavs’ record-setting foul shooting. Unfortunately no team attempted fewer foul shots overall than UVa (288, 11.5 per game).

Duke also departed from program custom by deriving a mere 13.1 percent of its points via free throw. That trailed everyone in the ACC including UVa.

HOW THEY GOT THERE
Team Points Derived By Various Means
(Accuracy By Category In Alternating Rows)
Tm Gs Pct by FT Pct by 3 FGM-A FTM-A 3FGM-A Pts
BC 20 17.3 37.8

500-1186
.422

247-352
.702
180-546
.330
1427
C 24 15.1 38.1 562-1303
.425
236-307
.769
198-574
.345
1558
D 27 13.1 33.1 692-1479
.468
239-396
.691
201-571.
.352
1824
FS 25 18.2 29.9 693-1461
.474
351-474
.741
192-510
.376
1929
GT 26 16.0 29.6 722-1513
.477
312-430
.726
192-551
.348
1948
UL 20 19.4 23.6 494-1146
.431
264-368
.717
107-347
.308
1359
UM 27 19.5 25.1 647-1524
.425
350-500
.700
150-508
.295
1794
NC 29 19.1 22.3 801-1826
.438
417-624
.688
162-509
.318
2181
NS 25 17.1 27.5 671-1425
.471
311-443
.702
167-464
.360
1820
ND 26 15.7 37.5 679-1479
.459
296-383
.773
236-642
.368
1890
UP 22 20.1 27.6 554-1283
.432
314-473
.664
144-426
.338
1566
SU 28 17.8 33.9 743-1682
.442
372-476
.782
237-679
.349
2095
V 25 13.8 41.3 629-1326
.474
235-288
.816
212-566
.375
1705
VT 22 18.2 34.1 558-1240
.450
289-414
.698
180-508
.354
1585
WF 22 17.9 40.1 501-1222
.410
261-359
.727
195-562
.347
1458

Team Points Derived By Various Means
School Pct by FT Pct by 3 FGM FTM 3FGM Pts
BC 17.3 37.8 500 247 180 1427
C 15.1 38.1 562 236 198 1558
D 13.1 33.1 692 239 201 1824
FS 18.2 29.9 693 351 192 1929
GT 16.0 29.6 722 312 192 1948
UL 19.4 23.6 494 264 107 1359
UM 19.5 25.1 647 350 150 1794
NC 19.1 22.3 801 417 162 2181
NS 17.1 27.5 671 311 167 1820
ND 15.7 37.5 679 296 236 1890
UP 20.1 27.6 554 314 144 1566
SU 17.8 33.9 743 372 237 2095
V 12.4 41.3 629 235 212 1705
VT 18.2 34.1 558 289 180 1585
WF 17.9 40.1 501 261 195 1458