What kind of world are we living in when a Republican can win in Massachusetts and both Duke and North Carolina have their asses handed to them in the same night.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE OVER (6) DUKE, 88-74
The Wolfpack shot a stunning 58% in a 14-point win over Duke, a game that was never competitive in the second half. Tracy Smith, looking like an All-ACC player, hit 10-12, scoring 23. The Devils rolled every big man they had a Smith, but none could stop him. While NC State is only 4-3 in their last seven, in all four wins, they’ve proven they can score with the best of them (scoring 87 or more points in each of the four wins).
For Duke, the road is starting to become a problem. The Devils are now 0-3 in true road games, which might not be a good thing when you consider that they will have to face Clemson, Georgetown and North Carolina on the road over the 20 days.
WAKE FOREST OVER (23) NORTH CAROLINA, 82-69
The Demon Deacons did what everyone else has been doing lately, whip the Tar Heels Wednesday night. Granted, Carolina didn’t have Ed Davis tonight, but let’s be honest, even if Davis was playing, I would have considered Wake the favorite. Right now, the Tar Heels have nothing to offer outside, particularly on the defensive end. Wake guards, Smith and Harris owned the floor tonight. Smith ran past the Carolina D for 20 points while Harris shot over them for his 20.
On top of that, not only can North Carolina not play defense (worst in the ACC), outside of the Wear brothers, any person they bring in off the bench is a huge liability. Tonight, John Henson (a freshman I thought was going to be huge) look bewildered on D and McDonald and Strickland were a combined 2-13 from the floor (although a handful of those were pointless threes at the end when the game was out of hand).
Roy Williams is currently riding his first three-game losing steak at North Carolina. Worse yet, three of their next four are on the road, before Duke heads to town. It’s easy to say this might get ugly, but let’s not forget, this is the same team (minus one big man) that beat both Michigan State and Ohio State. Of course this is the same team that has been down by 17 or more in six games this season.
BTW, comedy quote of the night. Mark Jackson of ESPN was part of the NBA crew calling the Wake Forest/North Carolina game last night. Late in the second half he actually said that Ishmael Smith is a “can’t miss NBA player” or is going to be “a big time NBA player,” I’m not sure the exact words he used, but come on, Mark, are you serious?
Listen, I like Smith. I think he’s the best pure point guard in the ACC. He’s certainly the quickest. He’s a stud once he gets into the lane and he can rebound for a little guy. Let’s not forget a couple things though…
First, he’s 6-0, that’s small for an NBA player.If you’re great, it’s not a problem, but Smith is not great. Why? Keep reading.
Second, he can’t shoot free throws. He makes Shaq look like Mark Price. He’s hitting 44% from the un-charity line. We’d like to call it a fluke but he’s only shot over 50% from the line once in his career (as a Junior).
Third, and most importantly, he’s the worst three-pointing shooting guard in the ACC. He hits an awful 23% from three this year. He’s never even sniffed 40% in his four-year career.
I’m sure he’s what every NBA general manager is looking for, an undersized guard who has the same range as the average NBA center, who opponents will WANT to foul late in games.