Monday, February 4, 2008

Duke/UNC preview

The only worthwhile game going on tonight is Gonzaga/St. Mary's, which isn't even at halftime yet because it's out on the West Coast. It's huge for the Zags if they can beat St. Mary's on the road, but I would hope that both teams get into the NCAA Tourney regardless. Kansas stomped Mizzou and Marquette got a swift kick in the groin courtesy of Louisville, a team that is silently making tons of noise (poetic, no?) in the mess that we call the Big East. Oh yeah, and apparently UConn is back. I consider them the most dangerous team in the conference.

Bob Knight has called it a career after 42 years and 902 victories. I don't think he should have done it in the middle of the season, but he definitely wanted to get to that 900-win plateau, and furthermore, his son, Pat Knight, has been in line to take over the job at Texas Tech for almost three years now. Texas Tech is 12-8 so far this season and would be hard-pressed to earn a ticket to the Big Dance. The biggest losers? The media.

Onto the headline feature...Wednesday night's big game. Not only is it Duke @ UNC, not only is it #2 vs. #3, but DICKIE V is finally coming back! I never would have imagined with all that screaming he's done that he would form ulcers on one of his vocal cords, but alas, he did. The surgery is over and he's recovered just in the nick of time!
(Un)Fortunately, Ty Lawson was injured in the Tar Heels' game at Florida State and his status for the big game won't be known until after practice on Tuesday. Roy Williams isn't confident that his star point guard will play, and that could mean big trouble for the Heels since their backup is also out for the season.
While the biggest stories coming into the game are all listed above, I don't think it at all tells the tale of how the game will go.
I only say this because of that guy down in the paint. You know, the best player in the country? Tyler Hansbrough.
Duke just doesn't match up with him. Granted, the Blue Devils have a suffocating defense that might eat a third string point guard alive, but Quentin Thomas was only responsible for two of the Heels 22 turnovers against the 'Noles. Also, the other option, Marcus Ginyard, the starting SG only committed four turnovers. Duke's defense is proportionally better than FSU's, but even though I'm a die hard Dukie, I still think UNC finds a way to win at home.

UNC 91
Duke 80

Big stats of the game: Tyler Hansbrough 28 points, 20 rebounds
Shock of the game: Duke gets into early foul trouble due to inability to defend Hansbrough, and Kyle Singler realizes he isn't facing chump teams anymore as he is shut down completely.

If Duke isn't hot from downtown, the margin might be even wider.


Anonymous said...

1. Tyler Hansbrough is not the best player in the country, leave that one to Michael Beasley.
2. UNC will not score 91 points, period.
3. Lawson's presence or lack thereof will be the biggest factor in this game.

Travis Miller said...

I hope you're right on all three counts!

Anonymous said...

Beasley is clearly the best player in the Country. I think we need to give Duke some more credit. They won't lose by 11.

I see the freshmen playing big tomorrow. Watch out for Nolan Smith...and who is going to stop Nelson? no one matches his strength and speed for the Tar Heels.

Travis Miller said...

Not many in the country match Nelson's strength AND speed.

I like Beasely, and he's averaging almost 25/13 per game which is insane, but as a diaper dandy, I'm not sure he'll continue to be so dominant through the entire season. I still pick Hansbrough in the end.

I gave Duke much more credit than they deserved last year, so before I put myself out on a limb again, I want them to prove it to me. I've watched more than 3/4 of their games. They have a problem on the inside, exactly where Hansbrough can destroy them. They don't rebound, they get into foul trouble, and much like the Jason Williams through J.J. Redick eras, the more three-pointers they miss, the more they take. It will haunt them sooner or later.