Saturday, March 13, 2010

3 things to watch in ACC final

GREENSBORO - The ACC final set for 1 p.m. Saturday features a Duke team that’s gotten the most out of its talent all season against a Georgia Tech team whose talented players finally are living up to their potential.

It boasts a talented, physical front line of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal for the Yellow Jackets against a three-player perimeter scoring tandem of Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler for Duke.

Here are three things to watch at 1 p.m. Sunday in the ACC title game:

1. To press or not to press. Erratic Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert committed five turnovers in the semifinals against N.C. State.

And the Yellow Jackets have turned it over 25 and 16 times in their last two games. Because Georgia Tech also is playing for the fourth time in four days, the Blue Devils, who received a first-round bye, might be inclined to use a full-court press to wear down their opponent.

That means Georgia Tech’s guards – and Shumpert in particular – will have to be strong with the ball.

2. Rebound margin. Rebounding has been one of Duke’s most improved areas this season, and that phase of the game has been critical in both previous games with Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets outrebounded Duke by six in a 71-67 win in Atlanta on Jan. 9. Duke held an eight-rebound advantage to split the regular season series with an 86-67 win Feb. 4.

Foul trouble limited Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors in that game and could be an issue for both teams again in the championship game.

3. Free throws. If the last two meetings are any indication, this will be an extremely physical final.

Since the ACC doesn’t want its signature event to turn into a bloody mess, the referees probably will call the game tightly. That should mean lots of free throws, and that could turn the game in Duke’s favor.

The Blue Devils are shooting an ACC-best 75.9 percent from the foul line this season. Georgia Tech is shooting an ACC-low 64.3 percent. The two or three points’ difference over the course of the game that will make could be significant.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

It is a sad day in North Carolina when the Tar Heels are not playing. This is NOT the Carolina way!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the UNC Tarheels who will be playing in the NIT! The second most important college basketball tournament in the US! As a top (#4) seed!

Anonymous said...

Preseason #4 to a 4 seed in NIT!!

Historic, epic fall from grace, Heels!