Friday, March 13, 2009

5 things to watch Friday at the ACC Tournament

Obviously all eyes will be on North Carolina point guard and ACC player of the year Ty Lawson and his injured toe Friday in the ACC Tournament. Besides Lawson’s ailing digit, here are five things to watch in the quarterfinals:

1. Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney vs. North Carolina’s suspect perimeter defense. Delaney knows how to get into the lane and score, and he’s also a threat to kick out to A.D. Vassallo for 3-point shots.
The Hokies are desperate to win this game, especially after the Tar Heels edged them 68-66 last year in a heartbreaker in the semifinals. With Lawson out, North Carolina will get Virginia Tech’s best shot today.

2. Lewis Clinch. The Georgia Tech senior guard has erupted for 78 points in his last three games, including a career-high 32 as the 12th-seeded Yellow Jackets eliminated No. 5 seed Clemson in the first round.
Florida State has a lot of huge guys to defend the lane and Toney Douglas providing excellent ball pressure on opposing point guards. The one thing the Seminoles don’t have is a strong defender on the wings to take away the 3-point shot. That’s where Clinch could hurt them.

3. The big dudes for Wake Forest. That’s James Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu and James Johnson.
Undersized Maryland center Dave Neal will challenge the Deacons’ defense some because he can move outside and score on the perimeter. But the Terrapins don’t have anybody who can stop Wake Forest’s big guys from dominating in the post and on the boards.
The talent differential in this game is so lopsided that Maryland coach Gary Williams should be admitted into the Mensa society if he can find a way to win.

4. Boston College’s Tyrese Rice vs. Duke’s Elliot Williams. Rice scored 21 points against the Blue Devils in the game before Williams was inserted into the starting lineup to improve the ball pressure on the opposing point guard.
Rice is at his best when he’s driving into the lane and tossing up unbelievable shots that bank off the glass and into the basket. At 6-foot-4 Williams is tall enough to stop those shots – if he can move his feet quickly enough to stay between Rice and the basket.

5. Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. Presuming Lawson doesn’t play, North Carolina wings Ellington and Green will need to carry an extra load with improved play on the perimeter.
That means making 3-pointers when the defense collapses inside on Tyler Hansbrough and defending A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney. Over the course of their careers, Ellington and Green have demonstrated that they’re capable of doing that.
They’ve also shown that there’s no guarantee that they will.

- Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Wake has two guys named James Johnson?

More quality reporting from the Charlotte "Our Paper Costs More Than Our Stock Price" Observer.

Anonymous said...

Well ol' Roy and the Tarheel Observer certainly are trumping up the Lawson excuse just in case they lose, aren't they??

Anonymous said...

Who needs Lawson when UNC has the refs???

Anonymous said...

So, I'm assuming that Gary Williams' Mensa invitation is in the mail