TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume I, no. VIII, Redux
As promised, here's more news on this week's Guest Dukie, Jeremy
Chapman. Due to the fact that email from netcom to at&t goes
three times around the world in twelve hours before appearing
in my mailbox, Jeremy's picks arrived too late to be included
in yesterday's posting. But fear not! For your edification,
here is a full repost with the added bonus of the honorable
Mr. Chapman's flawless forecast. Thanks, and enjoy!
Kudos to Dave Swanger and Dave Magee, from whom we shamelessly
stole this idea. Thanks, guys!
Guest Dukies needed! Contact Rob or Matt if you're interested.
You need not be a Dukie to apply. We'll indoctrinate you, free of
# - precedes Rob Mac K's comments
% - precedes Matt Norris's incisive commentary
$ - precedes Jeremy Chapman's comments
% The Cavs were less than impressive this weekend in beating up on
% post player-free North Carolina State, but give Jeff Jones some
% credit; hes certainly located his teams strengths. In the win
% over the increasingly hapless Pack, Norman Nolan had 35, Curtis
% Staples had 16, and the rest of the Hoos racked up exactly eight
% points. Yep, eight (Ducharme 3, Dersch 2, Hunter 2, Hand 1).
% Clearly, State "big men" Tim Wells and Kenny Inge, neither of whom
% has much ACC experience, and each of whom weighs around 200
% pounds, were no match for the cagey, 245-pound Nolan, a league
% Clemson, who nearly beat Duke on Saturday, shouldnt be nearly
% so easy to push around in the post. However, given Tom Widemans
% penchant for mindblowingly bad play (he fouled out in a whopping
% eight minutes in Durham), Nolan shouldnt have too much difficulty
% posting a 25-point outing. Nothing against Nolan, who has played
% very well, but he is definitely taking advantage of the lack of
% bulky pivot-dwellers in the ACC this season; Obinna Ekezie is one
% of the only conference regulars who can match him one-on-one.
% That leaves Staples, who may have difficulty scoring against
% Clemson; the Tigers did a nice job limiting Dukes perimeter
% looks, and the Blue Devils have many more outside threats. With
% only Staples to keep track of, the Clemson combination of zone
% and man defense should be functioning at peak efficiency.
% Nolan has 26, Staples 14, and the Tigers rebound from their
% narrow loss in Cameron. Clemson 72, ***ia 60.
# Jeff Jones for ACC Coach of the Year? Despite holding down the
# captain's chair on the ACC's version of the "S.S. Minnow", Jones
# has somehow led his team to a 2-3 conference mark so far.
# Considering I figured the Cavs *might* pick up 2 wins all *season*,
# let me give a well deserved shout out to JJ. He won't win the
# actual COY (barring 6-7 wins, in which case he *should* win it),
# but he's a better coach than he gets credit for.
# That said, let's also recognize that their two wins were at home
# (at least technically -- the Wake game was in Richmond) and
# against the other two teams who will (along with regular-season
# winner UNC) be playing on Thursday when the ACC Tournament rolls
# around. (Assuming I'm remembering the ridiculous new Tournament
# format correctly...)
# Clemson, on the other hand, is finally showing the signs of life
# that I've been predicting all season (it's about time, too). I
# saw them in person last weekend, and let me tell you: believe
# the hype about Terrell McIntyre. He's the best point guard in
# the ACC, bar none. (Injury aside, he's got younger legs than
# SuperEd Cota, and a better outside shot.) I shudder to think
# of the havoc he will cause with the ***ia two-headed point
# guard monster. Vincent Whitt is more than adequate defensively,
# and he'll likely draw the job of defending the dangerous Curtis
# Staples. Not that it will likely matter too much -- but if
# Staples explodes for 25 points to go along with the 25-30 that
# Nolan will get, it could get interesting in Littlejohn. But
# that doesn't strike me as too likely. Clemson cruises, 76-55.
$ ***ia is coming off a squeaker with NC State in which Norman
$ Nolan scored 35 of the Cavs' 59 points, while the Tigers will
$ try to rebound after having a miraculous comeback effort against
$ Duke fall just short of a major upset in Cameron. Make no
$ mistake, this is no longer the Tiger team that went into
$ Winston-Salem and left with a loss to Wake Forest. It is time
$ for Clemson to exorcise their demons of inconsistency and begin
$ to pull away from the lower echelon of the ACC. Curtis Staples
$ for ***ia, though, has been the master of inconsistency thus
$ far, and he really is the key to the Cavaliers' offense.
$ Without him hitting the three, defenses are just going to
$ smother the inside games of Ducharme and Nolan, and Clemson has
$ one of the better defenses around. Nolan is probably better
$ than Harold Jamison, but Tom Wideman has fouls to give at the
$ center position. Terrell McIntyre and Curtis Staples probably
$ neutralize each other, but ***ia really has no answer to
$ Greg Buckner. I suspect that Willie Dersch will not be able to
$ stop Buckner. If Buckner is able to get into the lane,
$ ***ia's defense gets all shot to hell. Clemson 79,
$ ***ia 64.
ACTUAL SCORE: CLEMSON 69, ***IA 52
% Ron Kelleys injury and a depleted post presence should not
% hurt State to a great extent against North Carolina, although
% Antawn Jamison will assuredly register his average point total
% of 22, and will probably go higher. On the other end of the
% floor, however, unless Kenny Inge comes alive, the Pack has no
% one poised to take advantage of North Carolinas total lack of
% inside defense, their most critical weakness.
% Like most contests involving NCSU, this game will be decided in
% favor of the team that is able to force its style of play on the
% other. If the Wolfpack can slow the pace, spread the floor, and
% exploit one-on-one drives to the basket, drawing fouls from UNC,
% They may be able to exploit the Heels lack of a bench. On the
% other hand, if North Carolina can ratchet up the pace, force bad
% shots by State, and capitalize with easy scoring opportunities
% by Jamison and Vince Carter on the offensive end, theyre heading
% for a double-digit win.
% One nutty theory Ive developed this season is that containing
% Carter is the key to stopping North Carolina. Lets face it - -
% Jamison is going to get his points, and stopping Shammond from
% hitting those open threes that the UNC offense creates can be
% very difficult. Carter, however, usually piles up most of his
% points on layups, dunks, and other high-percentage shots (its
% true that he is shooting 43.1% on distance shots this season,
% but he has only hit 22 threes, or just over one a game). Worse,
% many of Carters buckets, like the patented alley-oop on a feed
% from Cota or Williams, can be highly demoralizing for the
% opposition. Contain Carter and his high-flying antics, and North
% Carolina opponents have a chance. Let him score more than his
% average of 16, and youre dead. Interestingly, the Wolfpack
% player who will likely draw Carter, Ishua Benjamin, has an
% excellent reputation as a defender. If he can hold Carter in
% check - - limit him to 10 points for the game, say - - State has
% a good chance to win.
% Another factor that cannot be overlooked is Reynolds Coliseum.
% I attended the North Carolina game at Reynolds last season, and
% the din was absolutely amazing. In fact, I have rarely heard
% Cameron as loud as Reynolds was that night. Remember, Reynolds
% is larger than its progenitor by about 2,700 seats, and the
% alums who fill the non-student areas are far more rabid,
% particularly when UNC comes to visit, than the Durham-dwellers
% who sit in the upper section of Cameron. The noise could be a
% significant factor, but it should be pointed out that State lost
% that game last year, albeit just barely.
% I dont sense a State upset here, although it is something
% devoutly to be wished - - Pack fans deserve it. No one will be
% happier if Im proven wrong, but Ill have to say North Carolina
% 68, North Carolina State 61.
% This just in: Tim Wells dislocated his shoulder Monday while
% "horsing around" with other players in the locker room. Hes out
% indefinitely, and the Pack now has eight healthy players: Inge,
% Harrison, Benjamin, Miller, Gainey, Luke Buffum, and two guys who
% never play, freshmen Williams and Thomas. Nice, and good timing
% for that hilarious horseplay, fellas.
# Interesting question: What would happen to North Carolina if they
# caught the injury bug as badly as NC State has this season?
# Answer: pandemonium, and desperate pleas for Roy Williams to get
# Missouri every year any more, he just might be willing to listen,
# too) and right the Titanic.
# It's only theoretical, however, because as long as Dean Smith
# keeps breathing, Satan has to live up to his end of the bargain,
# and that means more good fortune for the Tar Heels. Tim Wells's
# injury leaves the Wolfpack with only Kenny Inge to work against
# the toothless interior D of the Heels. Inge will be a really
# good player -- eventually. Right now he's just a freshman, and
# the only guy State has to play against Antawn Jamison, who will
# almost certainly go ballistic. Look for him to score at least 4
# times on offensive rebounds. This game will be low scoring due
# to the pace, and the margin will probably be deceptive. Don't
# be fooled -- the game probably won't be this close. UNC, 65-52.
$ Woe is Herb Sendek. He has finally begun to recruit the players
$ with the skills to drag the Wolfpack out of the perennial cellar
$ of the conference. The problem is that none of these highly
$ touted players can stay healthy. The latest casualty is Tim
$ Wells, who will be out for at least a week with a separated
$ shoulder suffered while "horsing around" in the locker room.
$ UNC will be the ones engaged in horseplay on the court as they
$ toy with the depleted Wolfpack, who try to face the Tarheels
$ with 8 active players. Carolina will try to stay within
$ striking distance of Duke until the showdown, and NC State will
$ be little more than a pothole on that road. State's defense
$ will keep the game close until they get tired. UNC 81, NC
$ State 59.
% Next to Wake Forest (be patient, well get to them in a second),
% the Terps have been a highly difficult team to pick this season.
% I was lucky enough to guess that they would beat North Carolina,
% mostly because I knew that the overrated and loss-free Tools
% were heading for a fall, but losing to Wake? By twelve? Good
% Maryland dropped the game in Winston-Salem for a variety of
% reasons; lets start with the combination of Rodney Elliott and
% Mike Mardesich, each of whom was so strong against UNC on
% Wednesday. Against Wake, both fouled out, and Mardesich failed
% to scratch, missing all four of his shot attempts. Elliott shot
% 2-5 and scored just five points in 19 minutes, a pathetic showing
% against a team missing its seven-foot center and starting largely
% freshmen in the frontcourt. The poor play of Mardesich and
% Elliott wasnt the only problem; the Terps shot a ridiculous
% 11-24 (45.8%) from the free throw line, their shot selection was
% awful, and they allowed OKelley and Goolsby to bury them with
% open three-pointers.
% Maryland is so streaky this season that its difficult to pick
% them to win with a straight face anymore, but I am not taken with
% Tech. In their loss to Florida State on Sunday, no one except
% Harpring and reserve Jason Floyd broke into double figures.
% Opposing teams are starting to solve Dion Glover, and Harpring
% is once again forcing shots, just as he did last year - - he was
% 7-22 from the floor against the Noles, whose defense is not
% If the Jackets can beat Maryland, it will be because of greater
% athleticism, but Alvin Jones should have difficulty stopping
% Ekezie down low. If the Terps can key on Glover, they will win
% easily; look for Laron Profit to shift to the backcourt to cover
% the 6-5 freshman when Tech has the ball. Glover shoots 5-17
% from the floor, Harpring has 25, and Maryland wins, 83-74.
# Here's the best way to pick Maryland this season: "How did they
# do in their last game? Looked bad? Okay, they'll win this one."
# Fair enough. Maryland 77, Georgia Tech 72.
$ Can anyone figure out either of these teams? The Terps win big
$ games, but fall flat for games they should win. Georgia Tech
$ was picked to finish last in the conference by many, yet they
$ were in third going into the weekend. Enter Florida State, and
$ the Jackets lose a close one in Atlanta to a team that had been
$ in last place. The bottom line is that Tech's freshmen are
$ really good, but they are just freshmen. Experience does count
$ for something. Maryland has taken over third place in the ACC
$ with a .500 record, but is coming off a loss in Winston-Salem.
$ Both teams will be ready to get back in the win column, but I
$ think the inside presence of Ekezie, Mardesich, and Elliott will
$ be too tough on the offensive end for Tech to overcome.
$ Harpring will, of course, bust his ***keeping the game close,
$ but it won't be enough. Maryland's press was uninspired against
$ Wake, but it will provide a spark in this game, in spite of the
$ fact that the Terps are 1-3 on the road. Maryland needs to stay
$ out of foul trouble and make their free throws (two things that
$ plague them from time to time). Tech must get points from
$ Maddux and Glover and steady point play from Spivey. I've
$ rambled long enough - Terps in a tight one. Maryland 85, Tech 82.
% It never matters what I write about the Demon Deacons, a team
% that defies all analysis this season, so frankly, Im going to
% wrap this up and go enjoy myself for the rest of the evening.
% Since I would naturally pick FSU, playing at home, over Wake,
% I will pick Wake in this one. Wait a minute! [attempts lousy
% impression of Robert Stack in "Airplane!"] Thats just what
% theyll be expecting us to do! Accordingly, FSU wins, 79-69.
# Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Dean Smith used to have a saying (well, I
# suppose he still does have it -- we discussed his death above)
# that went something along the lines of "A team missing a good
# player can always play one great game without him". While that
# rings of classic Smith paranoia, he's right. Wake played a
# fantastic game without troubled sophomore center Loren Woods in
# stunning Maryland last week. The question is: Will Wake use this
# as a springboard to a better-than-expected season (a la Duke going
# to the doughnut lineup last season and limping home with a first-
# place finish in the regular season) or was it yet another one-game
# aberration in a season of one-game aberrations?
# Hard to say, and it may not matter. Florida State has losses to
# Duke, UNC, and rejuvenated Clemson, which is nothing to be ashamed
# of. Wake, on the other hand, has lost to ***ia. Granted, they
# beat an up-and-down Maryland team last week, but FSU has played
# better every time out that Maryland did against Wake. That said,
# if the Deacs play with the same efficiency on offense and
# effectiveness on defense, they could sneak out a road win. FSU's
# "home arena" isn't terribly homey, but the 'Noles play well there.
# I expect Tony Rutland to continue to play well, and Robert
# O'Kelley will be his usual scintillating self (with the recent
# fade by Dion Glover, O'Kelley's chances at ROY increase by the
# week). On the other side, Randell Jackson has really picked it
# up lately, and the inexperienced Wake front line will have trouble
# with him all night long. Also let's recognize Kerry Thompson, who
# I thought stunk less than usual over the weekend.
# I just flipped a coin, and it came up heads (which I had called for
# Wake Forest). Accordingly, I'll go with Florida State as well.
# Call it 'Noles 78, Deacs 75.
$ Wake Forest is coming off of an emotional win at home against
$ Maryland without their big man, Loren Woods, who averages 11
$ points and 8 rebounds. Can they continue to play with such
$ emotion? I doubt it. The Deacs are 2-2 on the road, including a
$ loss to Marshall. FSU is a much improved team from last year,
$ even though their home court isn't all that much of an advantage.
$ Their 4 conference losses have come at the hands of the 4
$ teams that I think are better than the Noles (UNC, Duke, Maryland,
$ Clemson). I do not think that Wake is better than FSU. The Deacs
$ now have a gaping hole in the middle without their seven footer,
$ and I expect Louis, Jackson, and Shabazz will have a good time
$ exploiting Wake's lack of depth in the paint. If Shoemaker
$ and/or Vidauretta pick up early fouls, this one could be over in
$ a hurry. Kerry Thompson has been struggling lately, while Wake's
$ perimeter guys seem to experiencing a reawakening after the
$ drubbing given them by Duke. If Rutland, Goolsby, and O'Kelley
$ heat up from the outside, Wake will stay close. However, Greer
$ and Baker should be able to keep the three point contest close
$ enough so that FSU can compensate with their inside guys. FSU 73,
$ Wake 61.
# #1 Duke 103, NC A&T 56. I think no more need be said.
ACTUAL SCORE: Duke 101, NC A&T 66
Rob 2-2 (.500)
Matt 2-2 (.500)
Shawn Spence 0-2 (.000) Whoa! This isn't very good.
Rob 16-8 (.667)
Matt 15-9 (.625)
Guests 6-2 (.750)
*** Rob Mac K **** ]}uke Blue Devils - NCAA Champs 1991, 1992 ***
*** Duke '93 ******* http://SportToday.org/***
"Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You BASTARDS!!!"