TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIII, Episode 50
March 30, 2010
THEY'RE STILL PLAYING EDITION
Matt’s comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.
(4ST) NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (19-16, 5-11) v. (2BL) RHODE ISLAND (26-9, 9-7 Atlantic 10)
Wow - - in watching the Tools’ 60-55 win over Alabama-Birmingham, I was reminded of how I used to think of Mike Davis after he succeeded Bobby Knight at Indiana; namely, how he was pretty stupid in his on-court decisionmaking. I had forgotten all that. Coach Davis seemed to have made the right decision in leaving Bloomington - - the IU fans apparently never were going to accept him, not after his program seemed to crash following that loss to Sweaty in the 2002 title game, anyway. Crash being a relative term, of course, but finishing sixth, tied for ninth, and twice tied for fourth in the Big Ten doesn’t get it done at Indiana. If only the Hoosier fans had known what was coming, but Tom Crean seems to have the ship steered back in the right direction now. Meanwhile, Davis went on to . . . well, coach one of the dumbest games I’ve ever seen against the Soiled Pedestrians last week. For some reason, despite being down about five points for almost the entire second half, the Blazers played stallball, waiting until there were about six or seven seconds left on the shot clock, then throwing up a wild and/or heavily contested shot. My favorite sequence came when UAB had the ball, down five, from approximately 7:20 to 5:25 of the second half. They did what I described above, got an o-board, repeated the sequence, got another bound, and then lathered and rinsed again before the Tools claimed the carom. I get this if you’re up five. Mike Davis gets it if you’re down five. Great job, Rrhoid!
Jim Baron of URI can coach a little bit, as Duke fans will remember from the Rams’ visit to Cameron two seasons ago. Baron’s son Jimmy graduated, but Baron put together a pretty good season this time out, finishing fifth in the A-10 despite a mid-February swoon, and defeating Northwestern, Nevada, and - - quite welcomely - - homestanding VPI to make it to NYC. URI features three double-digit scorers in 6-4 senior Keith Cothran, 6-8 junior Delroy James and 6-6 senior Lamonte Ulmer, solid role players in 6-1 junior Marquis Jones, 6-1 freshman Akeem Richmond (from Sanford, NC), and 7-0 junior Will Martell, and additional depth in 5-9 sophomore Stevie Mejia and one of college basketball’s All-Name First Team selections, 6-9 sophomore Orion Outerbridge.
Rhode Island offers some fascinating statistical contrasts. The Rams featured the 27th most efficient offense in the country, and were fourth nationally in turnover percentage, ninth in opponents’ steal percentage, and second in Division I in opponents’ steal percentage, so we shouldn’t expect to see them turning the ball over to the Tools with regularity. URI boards well offensively, but also gives up a shortbusload of offensive rebounds to its opponents. Rhode Island doesn’t get to the line very often, but they do allow their enemies to do so. They don’t shoot all that well from three-point land or from the line, but neither do the Tools really; the most important stat here might well be turnovers, where the Rams give up very few, as noted, and force/benefit from quite a lot (#40 in steal percentage, and #48 in opponents’ turnover percentage). That doesn’t sound good for Tarheelio.
URI defeated Dayton at UD Arena this season, and beat Providence and BeeCee (in Chestnut Hill) in the early OOC portion of the schedule. I don’t know - - on the one hand, the Twinks look like they’re on a mission of some kind, and on the other hand this is probably just dumb luck. It *is* putting the more obnoxious members of Tool Nation in a bit of an awkward spot, as you can imagine what they would be saying if the shoe was on the other dirty foot. Ah, well. Let’s try a split-the-benefit pick.
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 72, Rhode Island 70.
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 68, Rhode Island 64.