Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Duke @ UNC Preview

by Andy

Well, seeing as how I am the only one that really knows anything about college sports, and it is Rivalry Week, I'll write a Duke/UNC preview. These two historic teams will play Wednesday at Chapel Hill (9pm on ESPN) Duke coming in ranked 2nd in the country while UNC is ranked 3rd. In my eyes this game will be better than the Championship game in San Antonio come April.

Duke is 19-1 overall and 7-0 in the ACC this year while UNC is 21-1 overall and 6-1 in the ACC. Is Duke truly better than UNC? I think so, but by a minuscule amount. I think it comes down to the defense that Duke plays. UNC loves to run and they run off every turnover, but I think Duke is one team that can match their fast break ability.

One thing that gives Duke a little more of an advantage is the injured Ty Lawson. Lawson sprained his ankle against FSU Saturday because he would not let go of the ball during a tie up after the whistle blew. Dumb yes, as a referee myself we tell the players that once the whistle is blown, stop play. Ty Lawson apparently has "Little Mans Syndrome" and let his ego get the best of him. "I don't feel real good about him playing," Roy Williams said during the Atlantic Coast Conference's weekly media teleconference. (Music to Duke fans ears) So that means UNC has to replace Lawson and his 14 PPG, 6 APG and 3 RPG with his bench. Usually Roy Williams would go with Bobby Frasor, but he is out for the year with an ACL injury so that means Quentin Thomas will most likely start. Thomas used to be booed when he was in but recent good play has settled down the fans, who now chant Q when he dishes the rock.

Now lets get to the real X, or should I say T Factor of this game.. That's right folks, I'm talking about Tyler Hansbrough. Psycho T is what the fans call him because of his moaning and intense work outs at the UNC gym. This guy is a straight beast. I personally hate him but it's hard to hate these stats ... 22 PPG, 11 RPG, and 1 APG. Duke has no one to match him inside. Lance Thomas is not strong enough and Kyle Singlar will be forced to guard one of many swing men for UNC. The only way to take him out of the game is to get him in foul trouble, which is hard because he is so smart. Teams have tried to run on him, but due to his uncanny athletic ability, running is even tough.

Enough about the Baby Blue. Let's talk about my Dukies. Coach K and Co. have got these boys playing great basketball. Only lose this year to PITT when they were ranked in the top ten at MSG. No big loses to injury. The 7 footer Zubek is out but he wouldn't be that big of a factor. With 5 guys in double figures, the Dukies are playing some good offense, something they haven't been able to do since the departure of Reddick and Williams. As always their defense is suffocating. Recently however they have been coming out slow, sluggish and flat footed, but after a nice chit chat with Coach K at half, they've come out blazing. If they do come out flat tomorrow night they could get into a hole to deep to get out of. DeMarcus Nelson leads the way for Duke with 15 PPG, 6 RPG, and 3 APG. They then go 14 PPG, 13 PPG,, 11 PPG, and 10 PPG. Their bench is solid with real gun slingers. Look for Jon Scheyer and Taylor King to come off the bench and fire from anywhere on the floor, they do have the green light.

Both of these teams can score and both can defend. UNC is scoring 91 while giving up 72. Duke is scoring 86 while giving up only 66, which should make for a game to really enjoy as a fan.

Greg Paulus vs. Quentin Thomas
Advantage Paulus. He has played in this rivalry game before at Chapel Hill. He has better numbers, is smarter, and plays harder than anyone on the floor. He has the ability to shoot from long distance as well as putting the ball on the hardwood and getting to the basket. His defense runs his offense, something more players need to learn.

DeMarcus Nelson vs. Wayne Ellington
Advantage Nelson. Although Ellington is capable of putting up large numbers, I just feel Nelson is a better player. Nelson takes the ball hard to the rim every time he is near it and also can shoot. His defense is also great. Only thing that could cause some trouble is his FT shooting. He is only shooting 63% from the charity stripe.

Gerald Henderson vs. Marcus Ginyard
Advantage Henderson. I haven't seen anything that great from Ginyard this year. He is a solid defender, but more of a role player. Not that much of a threat on offense. Henderson is so athletic it's unreal. He is always above the rim on offense, just needs to learn how to finish a bit more. His defense is decent but occasionally gets lazy and forgets his assignment.

Kyle Singlar vs. Deon Thompson
Advantage Singlar. Thompson is very large and strong, but will not be able to follow Singlar on the offensive end. Singlar will take him outside then inside. He will put the rock on the deck and go to the basket. Thompson will hit the boards hard but that's about it, he does not have an offensive prowlis to him and is just a compliment player to Hansbrough.

Lance Thomas vs. Tyler Hansbrough
Advantage Hansbrough. Thomas will not be able to stop T. Look for Duke to bring over double teams. If they do, Hansbrough will find the open man most of the time. Psycho T will also be Mr. Windex on Wednesday. He has an uncanny ability to get great defensive rebounding positioning. Thomas is going to be happy when this game is over, win or lose.

Advantage UNC. Only reason I say UNC is because King is a freshman and the game is at UNC. The crowd will be ready. The UNC bench will have an easier time adjusting into the game and feeling comfortable.

Coach K vs. Roy Williams
Advantage Coach K. This guy is one of the greatest coaches in American Sports History. He always has a good team without recruiting the studs. He gets the guys that fall back a tad bit and mold them with role players to always create a competitive team. And he also has Johnny Dawkins, WOJO and Chris Collins. Come on!

82-75 Duke


  1. basketball? what a joke

  2. ty lawson vs. entire duke team

    advantage lawson

  3. "im the only one who knows anything about college sports?" what a tool

  4. If ty lawson would have played ... I believe UNC would have won.


  5. paulus makes it rain on dem hoes (hoes = tar heels)

  6. Blogging
    steve coast and everyone but schrum
    advantage: steve-coast
    Schrum is regurgitating tired espn numbers and other analyst’s points of view. Get an opinion! please refrain from posting an eyesore like that in the future.

  7. why does everyone hate on basketball?

  8. i like how a breakdown of a key matchup with facts to back up opinions is considered an eyesore. i guess if u dont write with "bills syndrome" - where you constantly have to blame coaching, management and one or two scapegoats on the team, its a crappy post.

    almost right on that score too schrum. lawson plays and its a 6 or 7 point win for NC