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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Battle of the boards

True, J.J. Redick and Will Bynum were hot, but Duke and Georgia Tech won both games under the boards.

"The Wolfpack hoped Engin Astur could get the defensive job done on Redick. Astur didn't. Freshman Gavin Grant gave it a try. Julius Hodge tried after Grant, then it was back to Astur. But nothing worked."

But so many of Redick's points came as the result of Duke's strong strong rebounding:

"But as much as Redick's high-arcing shots wowed the MCI Center crowd, it was the less glamorous work close to the basket that allowed Duke to eventually pull ahead of the Wolfpack. It was hardly unusual that Shelden Williams led the way with nine second-half rebounds. What was shocking was that his first one didn't come until 27 minutes had gone by."

Sean May was similarly absent during the first half against Georgia Tech.

But:

"With the Tar Heels trailing 42-36 at halftime, May came out of the break and bulied his way over and around opponents and teammates alike, scoring on four offensive rebounds, plus two additional jump layups and a jump shot. He also had a block during a 6-miunute, 27-second flurry that tied the score 55-55."

Unfortunately for UNC, Luke Schenscher was equal to the task, if not better. As Mike Gminski put it, Tech got the "push" under the boards.

So what's up with the Heels? Odds are they're still a number one seed, but how far will they go?

Carolina not only needs to be concerned about its defense and inside play, but, as Caulton Tudor writes,

"You could probably count on two hands the number of times Carolina produced scoring plays out of its halfcourt sets."

Tudor goes on:

"But March didn't end Saturday. Beginning Monday, there will be six games left for two teams. For Carolina to be one of those teams, the defense has to improve. But so does the halfcourt offense and the mental toughness. If there isn't improvement acorss the board, the Tar Heels could be the first No. 1 seed sent packing."