Another ACC Title In the Can

Listen, I’m not going to bore you with a ton of details about Duke’s victory over Florida State like I normally would. I’ll give you a few thoughts, but let’s go ahead and just relax and enjoy Duke’s ninth ACC Tournament Title in the last 12 years. /

There should be no more doubt whether this team is good enough or mature enough to go deep in this season’s NCAA Tournament. This year’s team relies on the experience of upperclassmen (four juniors, two seniors play in the regular rotation) to get them over the humps and bumps that occur during the games. Things can go wrong, but this team won’t fold. They can let a team shoot 18-26 from the floor in the second half, but still win quite easily because they only turn it over a total of four times. Players like Zoubek can come in and defend a big man, or do an excellent job defending the high screens. When the three stops working, a player like Nolan can come in and take it to the hole. Most importantly, this team has stars, three in fact, and two always seem to step it up in any game. Today against FSU, it was Hendeson and Scheyer producing 56 points. In fact, lets go ahead and rant a little about this game.


– The big men came up big. Zoubek, Thomas and McClure all play solid minutes today against the much taller Seminoles and all three played a part in this victory. the three combined for 19 huge rebounds, 10 of which were offensive. Lance Thomas grabbed eight total boards, six offensive, all coming in the first half. Zoubek also came in and shut Alabi down.

– How frustrating did the Seminoles look every time Henderson hit one of his long 18-foot two’s? Think about it. You get him to take the exact shot you want him to take, the longest two possible, yet he kept nailing them.

– Singler played a total of 120 minutes in the ACC tournament. I’m not sure why Coach didn’t find him some time to rest, especially today when Duke was rolling. I know he says he’s fresh and ready, but in the second half, he sure didn’t look it. He missed (I think) eight straight at one point

– Elliot my man, you’ve been great for Duke this year, but you can’t get gun shy. Today he went 0-2, again passing up open shots early. If this continues in the tournament, he’s going to keep losing minutes, especially if Nolan keeps playing well.

– Four turnovers. Four freaking turnovers. I didn’t actually see the last one, but the first three were all of offensive foul calls. That means the league’s #1 defense, didn’t get one steal or force a simple fumbling of the ball. Nothing. Pretty damn good for a team without a true point guard on the floor.

– Tony Douglas scored 28, on 10-19 shooting, but don’t be fooled by the stat line. A lot came late in the game, when Duke was just trying to make free throws and not foul to wrap up the contest. When it mattered, Duke held Douglas to 5-13 shooting. In the final three minutes, he made five of his last six shots.

– One concern heading into the tournament is free throw shooting. As the year has gone on, Duke’s free throw average has slowly crept down. At best, they’re an average team. Henderson seems to be struggling the most (or at least, he’s the most important player who shouldn’t be struggling). He twice missed the front ends of a one-and-one. As team, Duke has been missing too many late in games. It was the one reason Florida State made it interesting at the end. In fact, during the 4-minute t0 the 1:25 mark, Duke made only 6-11 free throws. Luckily, they recovered and hit their last seven.

Anyhow, that’s it for today. Lets just celebrate now. Time for me to start our 2009 Tournament Predictions (that should be completely ignored). Hoping to have our first and second-round predictions Monday night.