For Carolina, they just don't look like the same team without Lawson on the court. The post players all had very nice games, as they had size and skill advantages over Tech's big men - Ed Davis in particular played very well. And Hansbrough made all the key plays when the counted - the big layup, clutch free throws, the "jump ball." For UNC's sake, they need to stop him from showing off his jumper to the NBA scouts and get back down in the post where he's close to unstoppable at the college level. There's no reason he should spend so much time floating around 15-20 feet from the basket. As a bonus, here's the +/- from game 1:
In game 2, FSU played just well enough to win. Toney Douglas was again exceptional; 25 points and extremely good perimeter defense. Lewis Clinch scored a lot, but needed way too many shots - unlike Thursday, his points today were not efficient. For the second time this season, FSU and Georgia Tech played to a defensive stand-still. The collective offensive rating for the game was just about 90, which is over a point and a half per possession below the league average for the season. Also, memo to Jimmy Dykes: Gani Lawal does not miss free throws because he lacks "toughness" or a "big valentine"; he misses free throws because he's not a good free throw shooter.
FSU should be hungry to get another shot at the Tar Heels. They had them all but beat in Tallahassee, and then some questionable decision-making (and Ty Lawson playing Tyus Edney) had them walking away with the L. Hansbrough really struggled in that game, with 8 points, 5 boards, 2 turnovers, and 0! free throw attempts (and some foul trouble of his own). He can't afford a repeat of that kind of performance with Lawson out. Nor can Danny Green afford a repeat of today's shooting.
On to the evening session. Last year, Wake had a serious style problem. They had a team that did not shoot the 3 well but that loved to take 3s. They hit barely over 30%, but took about 20 a game. This year, as they got even bigger, Gaudio totally reversed course - they eschewed the perimeter and focused inside, inside, inside, taking a lower percentage of their attempts from three than any team in America. Coming into tonight, they had attempted 11 threes or fewer in half their games. Against Maryland, they have a huge size advantage - Johnson, Aminu, McFarland, Weaver, and Woods are all taller than Neal, Gregory, or Milbourne. And yet for some reason, as soon as Maryland dropped into a 2-3, the Deacs fell in love with the outside shot, to their great detriment. Wake took 25 threes, the most they attempted in any game this year, and made just 3, on their way to shooting under 30% from the field for the game. For Maryland, Vasquez had another solid game, and as a team, the Terps finally took advantage of their skill at the free throw line - 26 attempts tonight against just 2 when they played in College Park. Maryland also had a surprisingly effective day on the offensive glass - getting 45.4% of their misses was their best offensive rebounding performance in ACC play, and came against Wake's front line to boot.
In the nightcap, Duke and BC both struggled with shooting in the first half, heated up a bit in the second half, and came down with an exciting end to a day of close games. I'll have more on this one tomorrow morning when I get a chance to run the lineup numbers and see how the +/- turned out. But it was a good "survive and advance" win for the Devils. Maryland is going to be itching to beat Duke, and beating any team three times in the same season is difficult (I could be wrong, but I believe the last time we did that to Maryland was in 2001, and all three wins were classics). For BC, they shouldn't have to sweat too much - 22 wins, including victories over UNC and Duke (and a 1 point loss to Duke), plus 10 wins against ACC play. But you know they wish they could get those Harvard and St. Louis games back. If Baylor, Tulsa, Mississippi State, or USC wins their conference tourneys, bubble bids will get stolen.