Friday, March 12, 2010

5 things to watch in ACC quarterfinals

GREENSBORO - After North Carolina and Wake Forest choked Thursday, N.C. State held on to salvage some of the in-state interest (along with Duke) for the quarterfinal round of the ACC tournament.

Here are five things to watch on Day 2:

1. Pack’s persistence. N.C. State will be exhausted Friday night after spending 40 minutes battling Clemson’s press in the first round.

How well the team can push through its fatigue will be a huge factor against Florida State. Tracy Smith played 37 minutes for N.C. State in the first round and faces a huge front line with Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton that’s a challenge even for a rested player.

You know N.C. State can’t count on Scott Wood making seven 3-pointers again vs. the Seminoles, so Smith is going to have to show a whole lot of toughness against those big guys.

2. Jerome Meyinsse. The Virginia senior center’s out-of-nowhere strong finish has included a career-high 21 points in a loss to Duke on Feb. 28.

Meyinsse needs to have that kind of game again if the Cavaliers are going to have any kind of chance to pull a shocking upset against the No. 1 seed. The reality is, Duke’s perimeter players will pressure Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski with much more determination than Boston College did when Zeglinski scored 21 points Thursday.

That means Meyinsse needs to get a lot of offense going for the Cavaliers in the low post against a physical Duke front line.

3. Zone busters. Miami’s zone caused Wake Forest fits Thursday, but the fact is, the Deacons don’t have the kind of perimeter shooters that Virginia Tech does.

ACC scoring leader Malcolm Delaney and catch-and-shoot specialist Dorenzo Hudson give the Hokies a backcourt that should be able to make enough 3-pointers to abuse Miami’s zone.

The last couple years, Clemson and then Florida State have made appearances in the ACC finals as schools better known for football than basketball. If they can do it, why can’t Virginia Tech?

4. Buzzing with motivation. If not for a crushing defeat on a last-second Cliff Tucker 3-pointer at Maryland on Feb. 20, Georgia Tech would have entered this tournament with an NCAA bid just about wrapped up.

The Yellow Jackets know they can play with this Maryland team, and that makes them dangerous. Point guard Iman Shumpert’s play against ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez will be a key.

5. Favorites advance. The lower seed won in three of the four games Thursday.

Contrary to popular thinking, though, that makes it less likely that the top four seeds will fall Friday. No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Virginia Tech are rested and playing opponents that did not finish with .500 records in ACC play.

That bodes well for the four top seeds advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.

Ken Tysiac


juicy couture cargo said...

im gonna be watching this

Anonymous said...

Looking at this after the games makes me appreciate how wrong his predictions were in these games and how severely underestimated the teams that won really are.