TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIII, Episode 51
April 1, 2010
HAVE A NICE TRIP? AND APRIL FOOL! EDITION
Matt’s comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.
NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (20-16, 5-11) v. DAYTON (24-12, 8-8 Atlantic 10)
As anyone who saw Tuesday night’s game (I watched it, and I don’t get those, of any allegiance who sneer at the NIT) can confirm, Duke gets all the calls. Will Graves’ trip of URI forward Lamonte Ullmer was of course inadvertent - - but that’s not the point. Any trip must be called a foul, inadvertent or not, and in case you’re wondering if this is some obscure section of the rulebook buried in minutiae and dusted off about as frequently as the Dead Sea Scrolls and/or the Republican National Committee’s Guideline to Ethical Use of its Donors’ Funds - - it’s actually a point of emphasis this season. Oh. Well, that’s interesting. Anyway, it should have been called, Rhody should have had a chance to tie or win the game at the line, and there you have it - - but let it be noted that the Rams (no, the real ones) frittered away a seemingly impregnable lead, and mounted a defensive gameplan so tailored for the Tools’ needs (no three-point field goals or free throws required) that it should have been dipped in bronze and signed by Dean Smith, or at least Grandpa Gut. And if he’s not available, Dante Calabria? Pat Sullivan? You know, I’m not getting any calls returned here; maybe it is difficult to muster NIT enthusiasm among InsideCryolina inmates and other segments of Tool Nation. By the way, the game at times looked like it was being played by five year-olds on both ends, and UNC-CH won when Rrhoid finally figured out to sit Stick Figure and put in Zeller (who, although he has stamina issues like just about everyone else on the team, is Roid’s best player this season - - not that he’ll ever realize it).
The high-energy, defensively intense Dayton Flyers rely on 6-8 junior Chris Wright (13.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 2.4 tpg, 1.0 spg, 1.4 bpg, .503/.674/.200) and 6-10 senior Kurt Huelsman (4.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .496/.607/.000) as their starters on the forecourt. Generally, as goes Wright, so goes Dayton. It will be interesting to see how the Tar Heels cope with his athleticism on both ends.
The frontcourt reserve is 6-10 junior Devin Searcy (3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, .585/.585/.000), sometimes aided by 6-10 senior Matt Kavanaugh (0.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg, .417/.500/.000), although the latter hasn’t played regularly of late, and sat out entirely against Illinois and Mississippi in Dayton’s third and fourth-round games.
The Flyers’ three-headed starting backcourt is made up of 6-6 sophomore Chris Johnson (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.0 spg, .420/.845/.352), 6-3 senior Marcus Johnson (9.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 tpg, .435/.644/.247), and 6-0 senior point London Warren (4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.1 apg, 2.3 tpg, 1.2 spg, .514/.581/.000). Warren is an outstanding defender and excels at handling the ball. Backcourt depth comes from 6-3 senior Rob Lowery (7.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, .384/.776/.390), 6-2 senior Mickey Perry (5.6 ppg, 1.8 apg, .398/.617/.380), and 6-4 sophomore Paul Williams (5.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, .359/.756/.337), and further assistance on the wing is provided by 6-9 sophomore and soulless threegunner Luke Fabrizius (5.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, .376/.333/.419).
The Flyers are fairly poor in shooting the freebie (66.7%, #251 in Division I) and in keeping control of the ball (#235 in turnover percentage), but the Tools are even worse at the line (35.6% for #278 in Div I) and not much better, as you probably already know, at tracking down that wayward rock - - 20.9% of their possessions climax in boners, #192 in Division I. Dayton shoots and rebounds on the scoreside reasonably well, and gets to the line an average amount, but the team’s real strength is in its defense. The Flyers are seventh nationally in defensive efficiency, hold their opponents to a worse effective shooting percentage (giving 1.5 times more credit per 3PFG made) than all but 20 other teams in the country, and limit opposing squads to low shooting percentages in the top 40 across Div I. The Flyers also clean the defensive glass extremely well, and are - - forgive me - - “alarmingly athletic,” with four of their five starters sporting 40-inch-plus vertical leaps.
The Flyers could, at times, be extremely good this season (beating GIT and giving Kansas State and Villanova very good games early; narrowly losing Xavier in Cincinnati and pounding the Musketeers, 90-65, in Dayton in early February), but struggled in the A-10, mostly on the road. They seemed to catch a little fire in the conference tournament (they were eliminated by Xavier in another close one in the quarters), and have played pretty well in the NIT, particularly in pounding Cincinnati at the Shoe and defeating the Illwhini at Not That Assembly Hall.
For the Tools, guarding Wright will be an adventure, and they’re not ideally suited to take advantage of a team that actually plays defense. If Dayton coach Brian Gregory watched any tape whatsoever of the Twinks’ win against URI, he knows that they can only score on dunks and layups, and should try to keep them out of transition and into their halfcourt sets. I will assume that UNC-CH will win and look for the T-shirt, although Dayton is definitely the better team. April Fool!
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 65, Dayton 64.
What a strange week this has been already. In no particular order, we saw President Obama run to the right of Sarah Palin by going back on a campaign promise and signing off on expanded off-shore drilling. Then Malcolm Delaney declared for the NBA draft. Since he didn’t hire an agent, he may just be testing the waters and finding out what he needs to improve in his game. But still, when you see a player like that (good, not great) even think of leaving, it usually means he is motivated to depart campus. It’s interesting that this decision was made shortly after it became clear his coach was going to be staying at the helm of the Virginia Tech program for at least several more years.
And yes, it was also weird that the school offered Seth Greenberg a contract extension. Are standards there so low that not getting into the NCAAs is reason to reward someone. Or is it so hard to hire a new coach and they were terrified the Goon would take the St. Johns job?
Not to be outdone in terms of questionable staffing decisions, St. Johns set off a national epidemic of head-scratching by choosing to revive their moribund program by bringing in powerhouse coaching master … Steve Lavin. Based on what? He hasn’t been involved in any kind of recruiting, practice scheduling, player development or game management since 2003, when UCLA said “Thank you very little” and sent him on his way. Perhaps the administrators were tired of explaining to the boosters why his NBA-talent-laden teams couldn’t get past the Sweet 16. I mean, I guess with the shellacked ‘do, he certainly fits in well in some parts of town and nearby New Jersey (fuhgeddabowdit!), but other than that, the only reason this makes sense is if Lavin had ties to New York and could recruit there. Nope! Grew up in the San Francisco area, and was an assistant at Purdue before getting the same gig at UCLA. I don’t get it, but since Duke has apparently decided to re-up the home-and-away with St. John’s, get ready for several more complete waste-of-time games. Maybe they can move this thing to the mid-November part of Duke’s schedule, which is where it belongs.
And, no, I’m not going anywhere near UTEP’s move to make Tim Floyd the head of their ethics department. I’ve checked into the Dukies.com HMO, and injuries sustained from being exposed to that high a level of sleaze is not covered.
Why is it that I had to come into the office today? Duke doesn’t play until Saturday and they’re the only … Oh, right. The Hoots are playing in the NIT championship game (which is such a pleasure to type, I deleted it and re-typed it six or seven times) and it couldn’t be clearer that the one thing Roy Williams and I have in common is that I, as well, don’t give a s**t about Carolina. But I sort of flaked out on Matt the other day and he had to go solo on the semi-final.
Of course, Coach Yokel managed to find a way to extend his season as loooonnnnnngggg as possible, but without the invisible, greasy hand of Swoffie involved, it will come to an end and I can promise you this is absolutely the last time that program will soil this webpage. Unless we decide to start writing about ACC lacrosse, which I don’t see happening.
I didn’t think Huckleberry Coach would even accept an invitation to participate in the down-ticket tournament. Then I figured maybe there some contractual reason he couldn’t turn it down, and fully expected he and his team to completely smoke-signal it in to bring a merciful end to the season. As they kept winning, I wisely proclaimed out loud to no one (I was stuck in traffic) that Cleatus might want to keep going, but since several of his players clearly quit on him during the season (with at least two possibly exploring options for next year that do not involve uniforms designed by Alexander Julian), they would throw up meaningless bricks, play no defense and try to get to more pleasant things as soon as possible. For those of you who are curious (or very bored at work today), on those three points I was wrong, wrong … and wrong.
Thanks to the great cooperation of Rhode Island the other night, whose coach had recently read Tom Izzo’s latest book, “How to Be Terrified of UNC-CH,” the Hoots will take on the Dayton Flyers. That nickname, if you absolutely must know, is in honor of the Wright brothers, who were from Dayton. They are a member of Atlantic 14 conference (despite being nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean), as is Rhode Island, the latest victim of Larry Drew.2’s deadly game-captaining. Hilariously, they beat Georgia Tech very early in the season, but they did lose to the same coach-less team the Hoots put away in the semi-finals. You know, since they got this far, it would actually be fun if the Powder-Puff Girls win so we can see if they actually have a ceremony on campus to celebrate.
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 67, Dayton 65.