Damn, of all the times for a turned ankle…
With most of Chapel Hill awaiting the game-time decision of whether or not Tywon Lawson will return with a high ankle sprain suffered in last Sunday’s victory over Florida State, I’ve caught a couple of exchanges that have offered who will pick up the slack for Lawson.
Undoubtedly, that role falls upon point guard, Quentin ‘Q’ Thomas. The N&O’s Robbi Pickeral has a good piece for you cats who aren’t up to speed on ‘Q.’ However, should Thomas check up on Duke’s point guard, Greg Paulus? Perhaps, Wayne Ellington should put the pressure on Paulus bringing the ball upcourt.
I agree that one shouldn’t list Ellington as one of our sharper defensive tools on this team, and he probably would be best on Jon Scheyer. Yet, with Thomas’s speed and big-game inexperienence. Perhaps, a stronger check for him would be to be Duke sharpshooter, Jon Scheyer.
As a Carolina alum, my version of a ‘low’ moment story is to see Greg Paulus have an average shooting game, and then have Dick Vitale start gushing about how gutty and ‘passionate’ he is. This season has actually been a treat because each and every Duke game does not have an undeserved country-wide Paulus ‘love-fest.’ From this blogga’s point of view, I think his teammates bail him out almost as much Chris Collins was bailed out as a player.
With that said, even without Ty Lawson and the injury bug that has plagued the Heels this season with Bobby Frasor’s injury and now the bothersome ‘turf-toe’ injury to Marcus Ginyard, I still think the Heels are good on this game.
Here are three match-ups that I think are the big turning points in this game:
Marcus Ginyard-DeMarcus Nelson - EDGE - Nelson - Nelson has had three great games against Maryland, NC State, and Miami. Yet, I think that he’s faced a trio of cream puffs guarding him. I would like to see Ginyard healthy on this one for perhaps one the best defensive players in the ACC versus arguably the most consistent scoring threat in the ACC.
I actually went with giving Ginyard the edge a couple of days ago because of his defensive game. Yet, looking at Nelson’s streak of late, I have to give the edge to Nelson. However, if Ginyard can run hard for 40 minutes, I like his saavy. Other than Hansbrough versus Singler, this is arguably the best match-up on the floor. Yet, I’m looking for a big game from Nelson. He could spell trouble in the long haul for the Heels.
Tyler Hansbrough - Kyle Singler - EDGE - Hansbrough - The hustle, the big-game experience, the strength and great speed…No shame in Singler’s game, but you have to go with Hansbrough.
“The Front Line” - Deon Thompson/Alex Stepheson - Brian Zoubek (OUT) /Lance Thomas - EDGE - UNC - For both teams, the lack of frontcourt depth this year is a killa…I’m going with the Cali two-headed beast in Thompson and Stepheson. With Lance Thomas, I just can’t get my hands around his development. He almost looks lost out there with Duke’s system. Where has this kid disappeared to?
Danny Green - Gerald Henderson Jr. - EDGE - Surprise…UNC - Yes, I would love to follow the national attention on Henderson Jr.’s development, but Green has played very stron of late. Checking Henderson, I would favor Wayne Ellington with this match-up or even Ginyard. Yet, Green is the human ‘jack-knife’, and he has really stepped up his game of late both offensively and defensively.
Don’t get me wrong, this blogga adores Henderson’s game, and he has stepped up with solid offensive games of late. However, with everyone focusing upon Henderson’s reactions in the Smith Center and the scrutiny this guy has with talking about last year’s mugging of Hansbrough…I’m going with Green on this one.
Regarding the booing of Henderson Jr., how he will react in the beginning of the first half to a mass-booing every time he touches the ball should play a interesting role in Duke’s tempo. He plays a major role in that offense. He could get way over-hyped to compensate for the reaction…Watch his reactions, they could play a factor.
Home Court Edge - UNC
Experience - UNC
Bench - Will Graves/Alex Stepheson vs. Nolan Smith/Taylor King/Lance Thomas - EDGE Duke - Injuries are plaguing the Heels at the moment. Although youth is a factor with first-time visits to a UNC/Duke game for Nolan Smith and Taylor King, the Blue Devils have the fresh legs at key positions at point guard and the wing. The fresh guard legs is a nice asset in this game.
The underlying story is to see how Duke’s new-found “innovative” zone defenses and fast-break offense will match-up with the hard-burning Tar Heels. Even without Lawson and fresh backcourt legs, I think the Heels win a very close game in the end. The experience is going to count big in this game.
15-501 It’s On,