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Bad Years For ACC Offenses

You can win with a mediocre offense but it’s not much fun to watch

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Anaheim
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: M.J. Walker #23 of the Florida State Seminoles drives to the basket against Brandon Clarke #15 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament West Regionalat Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

With its athleticism, depth and defense, Florida State has emerged as a consistent league and national power under Leonard Hamilton. Yet, since winning its only ACC Tournament in 2012, FSU has only recently become a dominating offensive force.

Fifth in ACC scoring offense in 2012 with 69.8 points per game, three years later Hamilton’s club dropped to 10th with a 66.6-point average. Since then Florida State finished fourth or better in scoring in each of six seasons.

That production peaked with last year’s 77.16 average, best in the ACC, after standing second in 2020. FSU finished second in the 2021 regular-season standings with an 11-4 league record and its scoring margin was superior to any other conference team.

Still, the ’21 unit was hardly an offensive juggernaut.

In pacing the ACC in scoring offense FSU registered the fifth-lowest point average ever to pace the league, the fewest to lead the conference since 1982, prior to the advent of even an experimental 3-pointer.

M.J. Walker paced Florida State with 12.2 points per outing last year, lowest to lead the team since Solomon Alabi’s 11.7 average in 2011. No FSU player placed among the ACC’s top-20 scorers in 2021.

Neither did anyone from UNC or Wake Forest, for that matter.

At least in part reflective of a balanced offense, FSU didn’t have a top-20 ACC scorer in 2020 or 2019, either. Or in 2018.

Over the four seasons from 2018 through 2021, only six teams besides FSU failed to place a point-producer in the ACC’s upper echelon. Perhaps surprisingly, Virginia was not among them. Besides Wake and Carolina last year, Pitt had no top-20 scorer in 2020, Georgia Tech was shut out in 2019, and Miami and Pitt were likewise unrepresented in 2018.

Not since Dwayne Bacon averaged 17.2 points in 2017, slightly better than Duke’s Jayson Tatum (16.8), did a Hamilton team produce a top-20 ACC scorer. Bacon finished 11th.

Weakest Team Scoring Offenses To Lead ACC
(Based On Average Points Scored Per Game)
PPG Year Team
70.71 1982 Virginia
71.48 1958 NC State
71.81 1959 North Carolina
73.62 1960 South Carolina
77.16 2021 Florida State
77.28 1981 Wake Forest
77.37 2013 NC State