Thursday, January 15, 2009

Duke 70, Georgia Tech 56

Three ACC games, three wins, and most impressively, three games during which the opponents scored fewer than 20 points in a 20 minute stretch. Against Virginia Tech and Florida State, it was easy to tell as there were full half scores in the teens. Against Georgia Tech, the stretch spanned the two halves. Alade Aminu made a bucket for Tech's 25th point with 7:11 to go in the first half. With 4:35 showing on the clock in the second half, the Jackets had 44 (one second later, Maurice Miller hit one of his 3 threes to cross the 20-point threshold). 22 1/2 minutes, 33 possessions, 19 points, good for a 57.58 D rating. Three games into the season, and opponents simply can't score against Duke, putting up just .79 points per possession.

Which is a good thing, because the offense is still somewhat a work in progress. Lots of one-on-one play, lots of missed jumpers, and just a general appearance of disjointedness at times. The end results have been alright - an offensive rating of 103.54 for the three games - but getting there has been a little bit of a struggle. Henderson continues to assert himself - there was a point with about 6:00 to play in the game where he demanded the ball on the wing, then waved everyone away for a clearout, and hit a ridiculous side-fading jumper over a 6'9" guy (I think Peacock). Singler continues to be all over the place - he did excellent work on the offensive glass. And Scheyer overcame a bad shooting night with 5 assists against no turnovers and solid work getting to and converting from the line.

Overall, you can put me in the camp of being not too concerned. The team is still adjusting to conference play, and adjusting to the size and physicality of the opponents, which has been hugely different from teams like FSU and Georgia Tech than we saw in the pre-conference season. From what I've seen, the team has the talent and versatility on offense to make the necessary adjustments, and I think we'll see that come over the next few games.

Here's the HD Box:

Around the ACC
Last season, Wake went to Boston College and got housed. The Eagles put up 112 and won by 39. The Deacs went into this trip to Conte Forum with a chip on their shoulder, and it showed. They jumped all over BC and never looked back, coasting to a 20 point win that really wasn't that close. Teague again was excellent - in his last 5 games, he's put up offensive ratings of 134, 131, 157, 165, and 124 while using 23.36% of the team's possessions. That's high usage, ridiculously high efficiency offense. Wake may not be the best team in the country, but if they win at Littlejohn (far from a foregone conclusion), they might be most deserving of a #1 vote.

Miami and Maryland, for some reason, play memorable games, at least to me. A couple years ago, they had the single worst combined offensive performance I can recall in the ACC (much worse, if it can be believed, than the Maryland-Georgia Tech stinkfest last weekend). Last night's game was another memorable one, but not in the way that Terp fans would like. Maryland controlled the entire game - they never trailed in the first half, took a 12-point lead into the break, and led by 17 with under 12:00 to go. From that point, the Canes closed out on a 27-8 run in 16 possessions - ridiculous offensive and defensive efficiency for Miami - capped off with a big 3 from Jack McClinton. Maryland was especially hurt by three straight turnovers from Adrian Bowie that helped Miami swing from down 4 to up by 1 without Maryland getting off a shot. Bonus pace note - even though the final score was 62-60, it was not a defensive struggle. It was just an extremely slow game (just 57 possessions) and the respective offensive ratings were 108.25 and 103.72.

Carolina finally got that elusive first conference win, facing a Virginia team that was simply overmatched. The Tar Heels still didn't really shoot well (except from the line), but they capitalized on easy transition opportunities and really cold shooting by the home team to coast to a win. Virginia missed 57 shots and was just 4-27 from beyond the arc. Mamadi Diane continued his senior season disappearing act - last season he averaged almost 12/game and played nearly 30 minutes per. This year, he's playing less than 20 mpg, has scored a total of just 59 points, and has an atrocious 79.26 offensive rating.

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