ACC Tournament Preview and Pick
Duke and North Carolina fans receive a third meeting between ACC rivals this season with a league postseason semifinals event in Charlotte tonight. Tipoff at the Spectrum Center is schedule for 9:00 p.m. ET. ACC Tournament Preview and Pick: Heels +3 vs Devils.
March Madness fanatics have listened to college basketball pundits describe the hottest team, Tar Heels (15-1 last 16 games) and now the best and healthiest, Duke, receive an abundant number of accolades. North Carolina and Duke – the second and third seeds – are playing for a date in the conference finals and for No. 1 Big Dance seeds.
Zion Williamson (knee) is back after missing five games to an injury. The No. 5 league seeded Blue Devils look to avenge two regular season losses to the Tar Heels. First and foremost rookie Williamson won’t be what he was in last night’s victory over the Syracuse Orange. Even the most conditioned athletes feel physically different in their second game off an extended layoff. As ridiculously good as Williamson is he isn’t immune to being somewhat sore tonight. Especially playing a second game in 24 hours.
Williamson scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and was a perfect 13-of-13 from the floor in the win. Fellow freshman RJ Barrett (23.3 scored his season average in the win over the Cuse. In addition frosh point guard Tre Jones netted 15 points and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Everything was easy-peazy for the Dukies on Thursday night. That was then and tonight is a different story.
The Tar Heels cruised to an 83-70 victory over seventh-seeded Louisville on Thursday. Detailing the continued growth of freshman scoring guard Coby White can be summed up in one sentence. White has become more of a facilitator and less of a clumsy ball handler.
Pit White against over-the-top defensive minded backcourts, e.g. Virginia Cavaliers, and he isn’t nearly as proficient. Against Duke’s backcourt he will once again excel.
Head coach Roy Williams said in his postgame presser Thursday night. “he is making much better decisions. It’s attack, attack, attack. That’s what we talk about all the time. We want to attack like crazy and be under control.”
The ultimate “white-men can’t jump” forward Luke Maye (14.8 points, team-high 10.4 rebounds) recorded 19 points and nine rebounds in the win over the Cardinals. And senior guard Cameron Johnson is the matchup issue for the Dukies tonight.
An important edge for Duke. And one that has made them uber-successful this season is their ability to dominate the glass on both ends of the floor. The Tar Heels are the Blue Devils match in this peripheral. Both UNC and Duke are 1-2 nationally in rebounding at 43.5 and 41.9 per game.
The Friday night sports bar feature event finds the Tar Heels defeating the Blue Devils for the third time this season… a trend (beating a same team three times in one season) that overwhelmingly favors the team that won the first two affairs.
ACC Tournament Preview and Pick: Heels +3 vs Devils