UNC at Duke

Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
When: Saturday, March 8th, 9:00 PM
TV: ESPN
Records: UNC 28-2, 13-2 ACC; Duke 26-3, 13-2 ACC

High stakes game, very, very high.

Despite the fact these two teams have played at the top of the ACC for most of the past 20+ years, this is the first time since 1991 they have faced each other in the regular season finale in a winner takes all game to decide the regular season outright. Along with that is the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament and great positioning the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. So despite the fact you have the greatest rivalry in college athletics taking the court and all that goes with that, this game will be more about the postseason implications.

For UNC this game is as much about getting the team adjusted to the return of Ty Lawson and his getting back to 100%. Obviously he will not be on Saturday which is a source of great disappointment for UNC fans like myself who have waited to see Lawson go horrible and unspeakable things off the dribble to Greg Paulus. We can only hope Lawson playing at 80% will still provide us that high quality of entertainment. The other question question is whether Quentin Thomas can be effective against the Duke pressure. I also still think we will see some of Lawson and QT on the floor just to give Duke issues guarding on the perimeter.

Speaking of the perimeter, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green need to show up when it comes to shooting the ball. Granted Duke did a great job playing defense, they still had plenty of open looks. It is paramount the outside shooters show up and force Duke to defend outside the lane so Tyler Hansbrough can have his way in the post. Deon Thompson or Alex Stepheson playing productive at the four spot also can make it more difficult for Duke to double down and making them defend another bigger player.

Of course as much as the offense is under the microscope, the defense could win or lose the game. UNC was baited into doing what Duke wanted them to do giving the Devils open three point looks. Obviously the Heels need to be more careful in how they help on defense if it means leaving an open shooter on the perimeter. The one thing I cannot say for sure is whether or not Roy will opt for a zone since it has been effective in two Duke losses. It seems like, to the common fan, that using a zone would be effective get Duke out of their offensive flow. Roy does not like zone but might be inclined to use it if necessary.

All that being said, if UNC shows up to play then I like their chances because they are the better and more complete team. But the way this season is going nothing would surprise me at this point.

UNC 89 Duke 80

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31 Responses to UNC at Duke

  1. 52BigGameJames says:

    Duke does have Z back, but UNC had been forced to develop other players–I think Graves has a role in this one. I would like to see a little 3/2 mixed in as well, and think we will.

  2. MDTarheel says:

    Force Paulus to drive and make the lay up. He can’t make the tough drive and he is prone to poor passing. Go to Tyler again and again and again. Straight man to man. Big men do not need to be in the oponents face away from the basket but close enough to get a hand up to defend the three. Do not let your man beat you on the drive, forcing a teamate to help and leaving an open shooter. Don’t let the high picks beat us. Hopefully the refs will be on the look out for moving screens. Run the ball as much as possible. Wear Dook out. My coaching tips for victory. I agree with James, Graves will be important if Ellington does not get on track.

  3. My dad, the big Dook fan, has always had complaints about how K stuck with man to man defense and never changed it up the way Dean Smith used to. He’s very excited that they have employed some zone this year.

    It seems to me that a jump shooter is all about rhythm. If you can disrupt the rhythm, they are less likely to make the shot, even if they are open. I’d love to see Roy keep switching the defenses up on Dook. Scramble, 1-3-1, point zone, and full court, to keep them off balance. It would also be nice to see a little zone in a situation where we don’t HAVE to play it because of foul trouble (i.e. it’s a surprise).

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    if K coached a women’s soccer team, this is who they’d be…enjoy!

    http://jmayers.blogspot.com/2008/02/video-wild-brilliant-awful-finish.html

    MD–I think Graves defense and rebounding will be as pertinent as his 3’s if not moreso.

  5. 52BigGameJames says:

    so when does the term “pack” make it into the lexicon? my son & his buds use this term all the time for a blocked shot. don’t any of these announcers have any middle-school aged boys? or are they just so terminally un-hip, or conservative that they won’t take a chance?

    “Stepheson on the pack, and now Ty’s heading the other way”!

    who will be the first, lol?

  6. william says:

    AACK, James, I can never figure out your abbreviations! I will assume you mean Zoubek since PoZus (Pocius) is out for the year at guard.

    ESPN Classic was showing UVa beat Duke in 2001 and that could be an interesting reference.

    That year Carolina beat once and tied for 1st with the eventual national champion Blue Devils, even though in retrospect, Duke was far, far better than Carolina. Carolina won that year in Cameron, but then got wiped out both in Chapel Hill and in an incredibly embarrassing fashion in the ACC finals by close to 30 points.

    I think this year the roles might be reversed and it is Duke that has been playing far above its true level of ability, although that Carolina team did have dissession at the end of the year and these Devils don’t seem to.

  7. Santiago says:

    I keep hearing how Hansbrough looks like Beeker. I s’pose I see it, but it’s a stretch.

    Have you seen the UNC-Duke banner pic currently at espn.com? Paulus looks a lot like Lee Harvey Oswald getting the gut shot from Ruby in that photo, if you ask me. Here’s hoping that he “acts alone,” if at all tonight.

  8. I like Tyler banging heads with Singler and Zoubek and Tyler winning big. All of that, of course, depends on how well Green, Ellington, and maybe even Graves can hit the three. Hopefully Roy puts Ginyard on Nelson in man-to-man defense because Nelson is the only threat to drive the basket and make it.
    I say 85-77, Carolina.

  9. william says:

    Here is some trivia for you guys: Who are the only three coaches to take 2 different teams to the NCAA Finals?

  10. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Roy Williams and Larry Brown are two of them. Can’t name the third.

  11. DG4heels says:

    Was it Frank McGwire with St. John’s? I’m pretty sure of the other two…

  12. Schwartzy says:

    Frank McGuire took UNC and South Carolina to the NCAA finals

  13. william says:

    Apparently, it takes a Tar Heel to do it….

  14. william says:

    It was McGuire at St. John’s and UNC. He was ranked number one at both UNC and USC, but he never made it to the Final Four at USC. He was coach of the year at all three schools.

  15. william says:

    Here’s another one: what former McGuire player and college coach in the state of North Carolina had a winning record against Dean Smith in post-season play?

  16. Santiago says:

    They took down that picture of Paulus right after my post. Who knew espn.com (aka “DSPN”) read THF?

    If we don’t play at least a little zone, I don’t see us winning tonight. ‘Course, Duke could be as cold tonight as they were hot in the SAC last month.

    Unsolicited advice for ‘Heels fans everywhere: Pace yourself. Hopefully we’ll get another piece of ’em a week from tomorrow.

  17. Chris says:

    Hey THF, you and Billy laughed at me in the thread about Lawson being a girl when I causually mentioned that Duke’s previous losses in the ACC were against teams that used a zone, and that Roy shouldn’t be so foolish as to play man to man the whole game. Read the thread. So now in this thread you basically say the same thing in your article above. So what’s up? If I was an idiot and laughable in my post on the other thread then you and Billy must be the same in this one. Where’s the love around here? And don’t send me a fictitious “Josh Bowling” note…….I know computer stuff and you and he have the same IP address.

  18. jackiemanuel says:

    Bobby Cremins I think.

  19. william says:

    The difference is, Chris, that THF did not insult our coach and merely made a point that has crossed everyone’s mind on this site if you have been around the last week, while recognizing that Coach Williams sees the guy’s every day in practice and is the foremost expert in his field.

    You, on the other hand, essentially laid down a mark in the sand and said that if Coach Williams doesn’t do what you prescribe, then he is “foolish.” If you cannot perceive the difference between those two things, then I don’t know what to tell you. This site is a positive site and I rarely see any of the players or coaches disparaged by those who post here.

  20. william says:

    You know what, Jackie Manuel, you might be right if post-season play includes the ACC tournament as Cremins coached at ASU and played for Frank McGuire at USC. Excellent job, although I would have to check the records. It probably is close since Cremins beat Smith twice in the finals.

    There is another correct answer though.

  21. rbl says:

    Al McGuire played for Frank McGuire, coached at Belmont Abbey, and beat Carolina in 1977 while at Marquette.

  22. Chris says:

    The difference is Billy, that you are not Master and Commander. If I think Roy would be a fool to play Duke man to man the whole game, i would hope that I could express my opinion. Duke wins by nine if Roy is foolish enough to play them man to man for the whole game. I like Roy, but he’s not God, and neither are you, billy. You just sit at home with your NCAA stats book and try to impress everyone with your so-called knowledge. It fools no one.

  23. Chris says:

    Let’s all play Jeopardy with Billy…………

  24. Chris says:

    Gee Bill, could you look up some more stats from your book and ask us some questions?

  25. jackiemanuel says:

    I didn’t know Al played for Frank.

  26. jackiemanuel says:

    St. John’s I guess?

  27. rlb says:

    the difference in this game is that the last time these teams played dook was the playing better and unc was playing their first game w/o lawson. dook is still good but are not playing on the same level and i believe they are starting to get exposed. unc on the other hand is starting to peak. it will be a battle but unc should pull it out late.

  28. TxTarheel says:

    Limit Duke’s open looks from 3 and limit their 2nd/3rd opportunities, since Duke can be very active on the boards. Wouldn’t waste time on the ‘Scramble’…UNC just is not efficient at calling switches or will double the wrong dude above the high post (don’t leave Schreyer to open looks in the corner !)
    Offensively I predict that Ellington + Green will combine for a better offensive output tonight than 1st showdown in Smith Ctr. combine with Lawson playing = more favorable outcome.

    Dallas Morning News wasted 14 pages today without even a mention about this game. Granted it’s a big weekend in Big 12 play but seriously !?!

  29. william says:

    You got it RBL. Dick and Al McGuire both played for Frank in New York. Al coached at Belmont Abbey and then went off to Marguette and had an amazing 8 year run between 1969 and 1977, one that was about as good as anybody back then not named Wooden.

  30. william says:

    There will be a moment of silence before the game for Eve Carson. It will be interesting to see if that lowers the level of antagonism in the building tonight. It is such a fine line between going on with life and keeping things like basketball in perspective….

  31. yomammaisatarheelfan says:

    i was very impressed with roy’s coaching. coah k has usually out coached him but not last night. if he continues this same course we have a strong chance of winning it all.

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