Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Heels, Canes set for ACC Championship

Posted March 16, 2013
Updated March 17, 2013

1. ACC Commissioner John Swofford knows what butters the bread. The potential of Florida State and Miami winning back-to-back ACC Championships. 

In basketball.

All joking aside, North Carolina saved a potential crowd disaster for Greensboro Coliseum by advancing to Sunday's championship game. With all the talk of the ACC Tournament inevitably moving to Madison Square Garden, it's hard to top the energy in this building when the locals play well. Hoops Headquarters -- black 2014 ACC Tournament interactive bracket

Let's also take this time to remind everyone that the Tar Heels started conference play 0-2, didn't have any talent on the roster and Roy Williams was out of touch with today's basketball. Yet here they are, one game away from a tournament title. Funny how that works out.

2. Hey, remember Dez Wells? Apparently he used up all of his point-making ability after scoring a combined 51 in Maryland's wins over Wake Forest and Duke. ACC Triangle fans fill Greensboro Coliseum for ACC semis

Reggie Bullock had something to do with Wells coming back down to earth. It took 15 minutes for the Raleigh native to make a bucket, and he was limited to 2-of-5 shooting in the first half. Wells was slightly better in the second half, but finished with 15 points. 

3. Dexter Strickland is known for his his #YOLO style of play in social media circles. In non-Twitter speak, the reference to "you only live once" has to do with his tendency to take shots without much care or worry.

It paid off for the Heels in the first half, as Strickland knocked down six jumpers. His production cooled off once Marcus Paige picked up his fourth foul in the second half, and he was forced into running the offense.

4. Speaking of Paige, the freshman kept his poise and was key to keeping North Carolina out in front of the Terrapins as the clock wound down. After subbing back into the game with 4:09 to go, Paige was 2-of-2 from the field and added a free throw.

Maryland inbounded the ball down three with 10.9 seconds left in the game. Their final play and shot selection was…not very good.

5. P.J. Hairston started despite needing eight stitches to close a cut to the webbing of his non-shooting hand in Friday night's win over Florida State. While he wasn't the same player thanks to a heavily wrapped hand, he played 36 minutes and hit a couple 3-pointers. 

6. After consecutive games of active defense and efficient production out of the veterans, NC State ran into a Miami squad that looked every bit the ACC's best team throughout the regular season.

With Lorenzo Brown mired in a shooting slump and uncharacteristically turning the ball over, the Hurricanes' backcourt was far superior to the Wolfpack's. Meanwhile, Richard Howell had to power through a thigh bruise to grab 11 rebounds.

Without any rebounding help for Howell, Miami pulled down nearly 40 percent of its misses in the 2nd half to keep the NC State's transition game in check.

7. You gotta guard Durand Scott too, pal.

Heading into Saturday's semifinal against the Wolfpack, Scott was 19-of-47 in his last five games and just 2-of-6 against Boston College on Friday. He exploded in the first half, going 7-of-11 for 19 points. 

Scott spent the rest of the game killing NC State's momentum.

Scott Wood finally got on the board with a 4-point play with 1:02 left in the first half, and followed it up with another 3-pointer few seconds later. The Pack were still down 12 to the Hurricanes, but the team and crowd seemingly got back into the contest. Scott opened up the second half with a 3-point play and a dunk to stem the tide.

NC State tried to swing things back their way after Rodney Purvis made crucial back-to-back buckets. Wood followed it up with a 3-pointer and cut Miami's lead to 50-44 with 11:45 to go. Scott answered again with a long rebound and another 3-pointer. 

Scott had 32 points, including five buckets from beyond the arc, when the final buzzer sounded.

8. The Wolfpack didn't get their first transition bucket until there was 16:58 left in the game. In an effort to slow NC State down, Miami did some crafty gamesmanship by knocking the ball out of bounds after made baskets before they eventually got a warning from the officials.

9. NC State was 14-of-25 from the free throw line. That's rather self-explanitory.

10. Questions about NC State's lack of depth and it's effect on the Wolfpack's possible post season success have been around all season, but watching Miami rotate guys in and out really made the issue stand out. To their credit, the players don't believe fatigued played a role in the loss.

"It could have been a factor a number of things, but we just couldn’t get it going," said C.J. Leslie. "We got it going late. It was just one of those things where we had one of those games that we normally don’t have."

"I can only speak for myself, but I’m going to say the fatigue wasn’t a factor considering we get pretty catered to, afterwards," said Wood. "So once you get into the game no one is caring if you’re tired or not, everybody is tired at the end of the season."

With days off in the NCAA Tournament, NC State has one final opportunity to prove the critics wrong.

60 Comments

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  • Turheel Mar 17, 1:03 p.m.

    Let's go Heels! Shock the world!

  • dmccall Mar 17, 12:57 p.m.

    I don't appreciate the Roy comment. In mid-January it wasn't just us statheads that knew Roy was headed down the wrong path, but former players I know and media members I know were all scratching their heads at Roy's horrible execution of the lineup. Some knew clearly the solution, play your best player, PJ Hairston, more.

    What happened? By taking PJ from 19 mins to 30 mins a game, the Heels improved their offensive efficiency an UNPRECEDENTED 14%. Their execution is only a couple of made free throws away from being as efficient as the 2009 championship team. The defense improved, too.

    So, don't give me that argument that January critics were fools. In fact, everything that has happened proved just the opposite.

    Too often media members, especially at WRAL, conveniently throw out context and reality to make a point. This time, like many others, that attempt blew up in the author's face.

  • StunGunn Mar 17, 12:46 p.m.

    Lets see

    We`ve got the worse starting 5 in the area
    We have no quality wins
    We are headed for the... View More

    — Posted by RDI762

    The only thing you missed is:

    "Carolina got lucky":)

    Agree about JMM and foul trouble. ... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    Agreed! Good post jgunn! I can tell ya that while UNC got off to a rocky start, Roy will find... View More

    — Posted by rsmith6120

    Thanks, rsmith! Agree about preseason rankings - teams get credit when they live up to or surpass them, and they get criticized when they don't. Yes - Miami is a force and Carolina hasn't been able to beat them...yet.

    It looks like State, Carolina and Duke will all be very good teams next year, between the returning talent and the incoming classes. I'm glad to see that because the ACC has a lot of basketball tradition.

  • StunGunn Mar 17, 12:43 p.m.

    A crazy year in the ACC.

    1. Duke cant beat MD
    2. MD cant beat UNC
    3. UNC cant beat Duke
    4. UNC cant... View More

    — Posted by mike honcho

    Agreed - the ACC: Always Crazy Conference!

  • 903 mens national championships Mar 17, 11:45 a.m.

    Not that it really matters, but Duke is not a lock for a #1-seed. You have to win six games to... View More

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    duke blew their chance at a 1 seed by going 0-1 in the acc tourney. 1-1 would've sealed it and 2-1 would've given them #1 overall.

    and yes, duke needs to win 6 to win the championship. so do the other 67 teams in the tourney. thanks.

  • PanthersFan45 Mar 17, 11:27 a.m.

    Though it wasn't mentioned, I think State and Maryland looked like tired teams yesterday. I'm not making excuses for them but playing the extra game takes something out of you when you must play on consecutive days. Miami won convincingly in both meetings between these two. I think the Hurricanes have the edge at nearly every position and they can play any style whether its up and down the floor or half court.

  • rsmith6120 Mar 17, 11:25 a.m.

    Not that it really matters, but Duke is not a lock for a #1-seed. You have to win six games to... View More

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    This!

  • rsmith6120 Mar 17, 11:24 a.m.

    Lets see

    We`ve got the worse starting 5 in the area
    We have no quality wins
    We are headed for the... View More

    — Posted by RDI762

    The only thing you missed is:

    "Carolina got lucky":)

    Agree about JMM and foul trouble. ... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    Agreed! Good post jgunn! I can tell ya that while UNC got off to a rocky start, Roy will find a way. This year has been a surprising one for sure.

    For State, I didn't believe we would be ranked as high in pre-season but I don't put much worth into that analysis anyway. Gottfried has done great this year and I see TONS of growth for next year making us even more competitive. Something we haven't had in quite a while. This being his first year I am pleased thus far.

    Good luck to the Heels today. Still, with the way Miami is playing, I see them as the force to be reckoned with.

  • CAROLINA43 Mar 17, 10:39 a.m.

    Not that it really matters, but Duke is not a lock for a #1-seed. You have to win six games to be crowned the champ!!

  • mike honcho Mar 17, 10:29 a.m.

    A crazy year in the ACC.

    1. Duke cant beat MD
    2. MD cant beat UNC
    3. UNC cant beat Duke
    4. UNC cant beat Miami.....or can they?

    We'll have the answer to # 4 around 3pm.

More...

 

 

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