Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Season Sweep

Hokie Hi! Virginia Tech pulls off an improbable season sweep of UNC, as well as what must be an exceedingly rare pair of wins both in Cameron and the Dean Dome. Dowdell and Washington saved the day (and prevented Sailes' clank-clank from making him a goat) as VT snuck by UNC 81-80 in OT. The game was foul heavy, featuring lots and lots of free throws (an astonishing 37 attempts combined for Dowdell and Hansbrough) and 3 starters fouling out. It was also a position defense affair - very low turnover numbers (around 12-14%) for each teams, and also low shooting percentages). The biggest difference in the game was UNC's ice cold 3pt shooting, as the Heels hit only 3 of 17 from beyond the arc. Heck, that was really the only statistical difference - rebounding, turnovers, free throws, and overall shooting was for all intents and purposes identical between the teams. UNC's loss gives BC a full game cushion on first place, and also means that 8 teams are within 3 1/2 games of one another with 5 or 6 (or 4 in FSU's case) left to play. 12 of the 30 remaining conference games pit teams in that 8 team group against each other (and another 5 involve BC against a member of that 8 team group) - should make for a wild and wooly finish to conference play.

Florida State looks like they just might be in trouble without Toney Douglas. He was a reliable second scoring option that forced teams to at least think before relentlessly doubling Thornton, and no one for the Noles has been able to step up and fill his shoes. Javaris Crittenton is asking voters to glance a little southward before blindly filling in the name Brandan Wright for ACC freshman of the year. After a tough four game stretch where he averaged just 8 ppg, shooting 11 of 46 and turning the ball over 17 times, Crittenton has exploded over his last four - 22.3 ppg on 30 of 54 from the floor and a 1.32 A/TO ratio. He put the Jackets on his back tonight when Morrow and Young couldn't hit a thing. Once again, the Jackets cling to tournament hope just a bit longer.

Virginia pounded Longwood (side note - my former roommate's brother went to Longwood for a year, and he and his buddies made versions of the school-name-on-the-rear shorts that placed Longwood on the frontside instead of the backside - this site endorses such cleverly puerile (or puerilely clever) humor) behind excellent offensive rebounding (over 50% of misses) and very excellent shooting defense - Longwood hit barely 1 in 4 shots. Totally meaningless game except that it puts UVA one win closer to the magic number 20.

As for the Devils - Duke was (I believe) the only team in the ACC this year to face each opponent once before a single rematch. Rematch number 1 happens tomorrow night in Chestnut Hill. Duke's last win came against these Eagles, a 75-61 performance in which the Devils thoroughly controlled BC on the inside - 15 offensive rebounds on 27 misses, .542 2pt% against .381 2p% for BC, and 8 blocked shots. The Devils kept Dudley from controlling the game - he still got his (17 and 8), but Shamari Spears ended up taking 3 more shots. Mark it down - if Spears out-attempts Dudley again tomorrow, Duke wins. Scheyer did an excellent job defending Marshall (he shot just 2 of 11), and will be called on to do the same tomorrow. BC's ORating in non-Duke games: 115.23. In the 3 conference games (all wins) since the Duke loss: 121.46. Against Duke: 96.98. If the Devils keep BC south of 105, they should be able to win, because BC's defense has not been so hot (even with the emergence of Tyrelle Blair as Sean Williams Jr.). This should be a slooow game - the last one was 63 possessions, and BC's last 3 conference games have all been right at 61, so it should be close throughout. Not worth highlighting this as a must win - the Devils have to treat them all as must-wins from here on out.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Ya gotta wonder:

Duke's erratic play on the floor leaves me wondering whether Coach K and the coaching staff are spread a little too thin. I mean, Saint...err, Coach K is head coach for USA hoops, and Duke assistant coach Johhny Dawkins is also the Director of Player Personnel for Team USA.

That leaves Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins as the only two assistant coaches on Duke's roster who aren't cross-listed with other major basketball organizations. Not to take anything away from them -- they were both standouts as Duke players -- but they're both...well...young.

Is this hurting Duke's chances? Does the Duke hoop organization need to refocus on the University's program?

I know that Coach K is a brilliant, organized, focused man with a looooooong record of accomplishment. We all also know that he loves coaching for Duke -- just ask the L.A. Lakers' front office. I don't doubt his talent, his coaching ability, nor his dedication to the cause.

Likewise, Dawkins (also a standout Duke alum) is the stalwart lieutenant, even though he's GOT to be on the A-list for any number of NCAA head-coaching vacancies.

But aren't they like the rest of us? I mean, if Team USA called me, I'd almost be obliged to say 'yes'. Who wouldn't? In Coach K's own words, "What could be more important than serving your country?" However, taking on such a monumental responsibility (think about what other coaches have said about Kobe Bryant) would mean that some of the 'not-vital' stuff on my desk right now would be left undone...

...just like it is while I'm blogging.