Saturday, March 15, 2008

ACC, Day 3

So after a season in which the conference set a record for close games and overtime games, the ACC tournament has been largely anti-climactic thus far. Not a single close game yesterday, and only one real upset (BC over Maryland). The top two teams in the conference put up 82-70 wins over their opponents, and Clemson just immolated BC. Virginia Tech scored an important (and convincing) victory over Miami, but conventional wisdom says they still need one more.

Today's games, hopefully, figure to be better. Virginia Tech has been a different team since getting the snot kicked out of them by UNC. They're only loss in that timeframe is by 1 at Clemson. Carolina fans should not be comfortable. During the late game, Duke and Clemson should be an excellent, excellent game. The Tigers lost by 13 at Cameron back in January, and I think they're eager to get another shot at Duke. Last night's performance was nothing short of ridiculous (of course, it's easier when your opponent gives up with about 12-15 minutes to go - shameful effort on BC's part at the end of the game) - they literally wore out the nets with dunk after dunk after dunk.

As for Duke, they simply controlled the game for 32 minutes. Except for an 8 minute, 19-2 run by the Jackets to open the second half, Duke largely got any shot it wanted and prevented Georgia Tech from doing the same. Once again, it was a balanced effort on Duke's part - Scheyer and Nelson were rock-solid, Henderson hit several big shots, and Paulus had good touch from outside. They overcame foul trouble to Singler, they used the bench well, and they picked up a good win. Even the defense was strong - it has been much, much improved over the last 3-4 games. Duke will need to be prepared for a fight today - and 8-minute lull like they had against the Jackets may be too much to overcome against the Tigers.

Updated Odds

I did an update on the pythagorean odds of winning, based just on the four remaining teams and incorporating the game stats from Thursday and Friday. UNC is 84.9% to reach Sunday, and 44.7% to win; Duke is 70.4% and 38.8%; Clemson is 29.6% and 10.5%; and Virginia Tech is 15.1% and 2.9%.

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