More ACC Tournament Musings

Just a few notes from what I saw in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals…

 

In another three weeks or so, I may be forced to write my formal apology to Quentin Thomas, who has troubled me like no other North Carolina player has in several years. 

But since Ty Lawson went down with an ankle injury and Thomas was pressed into duty, I have been happily surprised that the team has barely missed a beat, and enters the ACC Tournament No. 1 in the country in large part because of his contribution in Lawson’s absence.

Thomas didn’t start for the first time in 10 games on Friday, but he played an 18 minutes in which I didn’t have to watch through my hands covering my face. He still has his moments, but they are much fewer and far between. If North Carolina wins a national title, Q will be a big reason why. 

Did anybody ever think that was possible? Ever? …

 

There were a few alarming stats from UNC’s 82-70 win over Florida State. While the Heels’ offense was brilliant — UNC shot 59 percent from the field in the second half — the defense was suspect and nothing like the one that showed up in the last 5:51 of the Duke game. The Seminoles made 10 3-pointers and matched UNC shot-for-shot for much of the first half. Also, FSU tied UNC in rebounding, a rarity indeed. …

 

Virginia Tech pulled away from Miami in the second half with a nice 63-49 victory to advance to play UNC in the semifinals. Virginia Tech is absolutely in the NCAA Tournament now, and will be a lot tougher test for the Heels on Saturday than when North Carolina blasted the Hokies by 39 in their only meeting this season. …

 

Duke was awesome — AWESOME — in the first half against Georgia Tech, which was playing some of the best ACC ball of late. But the Blue Devils took a 15-point lead into the break by shooting 63 percent from the field and hitting six 3-pointers. This is why Duke is so dangerous. …

 

But it’s also why Duke is slightly flawed. The shots stopped falling to start the second half, and in less than 5:30, Tech climbed within two with a 21-8 run to start the half. …

 

Still, Duke has the horses and the firepower. The Devils settled down, got 3s from DeMarcus Nelson and Greg Paulus and three foul shots from Jon Scheyer and regain control, going up by 10 by the 9-minute mark. Good test for Duke, and it responded well. On to the semifinals. …

 

Um, I couldn’t care less about keeping Lil Mama No. 1, Jason. …

 

I wrote on Thursday that Georgia Tech may be a team that nobody would want to face right now.

Time to amend that. Make that Clemson.

There’s not much left to say about the Tigers’ 82-48 destruction of Boston College in nightcap on Friday night. You’re not always sure exactly what you’re going to get from Clemson, but the Tigers are a matchup nightmare for anybody as long as they don’t have to rely on foul shooting. But this one was over by the 12-minute mark — of the first half. 

Clemson needed to prove that it could advance in the ACC Tournament. But one can be excited about what the Tigers might be able to accomplish now. 

I can tell you one thing for sure: North Carolina fans don’t want to see Clemson ever again. Not Sunday, not ever again this year.

And that’s the truth.

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Filed under ACC, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels

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