Monday, March 17, 2008

NCAA Chatter

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the way the bracket shook out. Duke actually has a decent chance to reach the Elite 8, where beating UCLA would be quite the feat, although it's possible. I know UCLA has a great big man in Love, but they really struggle to score at times, esp. from the perimeter.

And since our Devils probably won't win the whole thing, I'm glad that UNC has a pretty tough road to the title. Getting through Indiana, ND/Wazzu, then Louisville/TN will be a challenge.

As for how our team actually looks right now, I'd say that we're in much better shape than last year. We're fairly healthy, most of our players have improved considerably from a year ago, and we're pretty deep. Of course, the biggest key will be our 3-point shooting. We can't really afford to have a cold night once we start seeing the better teams.

Personnel-wise, Zoubek has definitely improved, but he still hurts us more than he helps. He has hands of stone and can't move his feet for the life of him. The best thing he does for us is gives us a few minutes and fouls to protect Singler from all the banging down low. And as I've said all year long, we're better off with Mcclure playing as an undersized big. At least he's active and quick and smart.

I'm not too worried about Singler. I think he'll get his legs back under him with a few days off and perform well. I do wish we had worked Nolan Smith into a bigger role, though. We're going to really need him to stop quick point guards like Lavender and Collison. Paulus is tough-minded and a competitor, but he can't stop people.

Well, hope everyone enjoys the tournament. It's probably my favorite 3 weeks of the sports year. And by the way, if anyone wants to join a pool, I'm running one for $5/entry on espn.com under group name brianpaik, password duke, and Eric is running his free one under NC Connection, password bracket.

8 comments:

ahnjoe said...

Brian,
thanks for your weekly duke game summary and insights. The only thing i can say is that if you are doing a pool for money, you have duke losing to UCLA (possibly r'32), if you are doing a freebie- you have duke beating UNC in the championship game!

i hope joyce and Josh are doing well, cheers,

paikdaddy said...

hey, Joe! Whassup, bro? How's Kailar?
As for my brackets, I have to pick Duke as I do every year. I know the odds are against me, but I just can't pick them to lose. Bad karma, loyalty, whatever you want to call it. I'd rather lose the money. :)

Eric Lim said...

Joe,

You read my mind....and my bracket.

I agree with you, Brian, about Zoubek, but he helps us with some rebounding, but for the life of me, why do we keep feeding him inside? Do you think he actually can score down there? I mean, he gets some points, but mostly off of offensive rebounds. Every time he tries to make a play, he either gets blocked or travels. That Clemson game was so frustrating....I hope we stop trying to utilize him on offense and just use him for what he's capable of.

Singler looks like the rigors of a college schedule has caught up with him. Having a week off (or two if you include his weak performance at the ACC's) should help him out. My biggest concern for our team right now is shot selection. Scheyer has to realize he's not Pistol Pete and stop shooting those prayer shots inside, and Gerald has to take it strong inside instead of trying to shoot those 10-foot-one-hand bank shots. Give Nolan some more playing time so Paulus doesn't get too tired because we're going to need a fresh Paulus to take those threes. Tell Lance Thomas that he is allowed to jump so maybe he won't get blocked by smaller players and maybe he'll dunk once in a while. And does Tyler King still play for us?

All in all, it would be a dream to make it to another final four, but UCLA is looking strong, but we can definitely beat anyone when we're on our game. If we can survive the first weekend, let's hope we can string together 4 good games without getting cold from the outside. Then we have a chance.

edsuh said...

good news is... bob huggins is a horrible tourney coach... so you might make a sweet 16 appearance... :)

sandra said...

anyone else tired of suffering through these tourney games?!!!! that was so freaking stressful!!! it was so good to see gerald taking it to the hoop finally though. hopefully, he'll continue with that. he has NOT lived up to his athleticism and should have had a much better season, in my opinion.

i agree about the shot selection, eric, and getting nolan smith in there, too, brian. bottom line, i think, is that we need a GOOD inside post player. good news from what dave hears is that we're getting a polish guy next year - 6'10 with a 41" vertical. let's hope he can keep us from having to be "ON" with our shooting every game.

paikdaddy said...

DeMarcus apparently has the flu or something. Great timing, huh?

And the Polish kid is not that highly rated. He's listed at 6'7" but can really leap. You can Youtube his highlights. He does seem stronger and more athletic than Lance, though. He might help, but we really need a legit center.

Eric Lim said...

John Riek, 7'2", 240 lbs. That's who we need next year. After losing out on Patrick Patterson to Kentucky last year, we need to land this big man. Apparently he's considering us, UCONN, Florida, and Georgetown. I just hope he's not another Zoubek. Having guys 6'8" or 6'9" with toughness and basketball smarts is all we really need. Guys like Brand, Boozer, Shelden Williams or what Carolina has in Hansborough. Lately, the big guys we have been getting are weak: Zoubek, Thomas, Boykin, Boateng. If all we get is that Polish guy, then I don't see any improvement for next year inside.

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