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One of the best games we've seen this year was when Duke went down to Georgia
Tech and got into an intense, spirited game with the Yellowjackets. It was
a great game between two wonderful teams.
We should probably take a minute and confess to liking Tech's team quite a
bit, even if they are erratic at times. They're fast, highly athletic,
and, when they hit their stride, a lot of fun to watch.
The exception to the athleticism is Luke Schenscher, but even in his case,
while he's not athletic, he does a lot of really smart big-man type things - not
bringing the ball down, getting good position, and so forth. He's not
particularly gifted physically, but he has a smart approach to the game.
One of our favorite side-stories is Cousin Chris and Cousin Jarrett, two guys
who apparently didn't realize they were related until someone pointed it
out. Quick, someone call Disney! There's a wacky sitcom in there
On a more serious note, Duke has the chance in this game to wrap up first
place, and our guess is that that will give them a bit more motivation.
It's been in many respects and extraordinary year so far. They'll have a
share of first even if they lose to Tech and then UNC on Saturday, but that
seems unlikely. This group is pretty tough-minded.
One of the obvious disadvantages Tech suffers is matching up with Shelden
Williams. Williams, who was rocky offensively last year, has improved
dramatically, and while the lion's share of credit goes to the kid sweating
alone in the gym, a certain amount goes to Steve Woj- Steve Wojeci- a certain
amount of credit goes to Wojo, who is making himself a solid big man's coach.
On the flipside, Tech proved they could lock up JJ Redick pretty
thoroughly. By his own admission, he got into their head in Atlanta, and
our guess is he feels he has something to prove. Having an offensive
stinkfest against Florida State Sunday night also tends to make us think he'll
explode pretty soon.
Still, Tech is a tough nut to crack. We never though Jarrett Jack would
be as good as he's turned out to be. Lee - see, there we did it again -
B.J. Elder - we keep calling him Lee Elder, probably because Lee is the Elder we
think of most in sports - is a major pain in the butt, and Ismai'l Muhammad is
straight of of Vince Carter land, able to leap tall centers in a single bound.
Tech in some ways resembles one of those teams we can't stand, like
Cincinnati, which uglys up the game. Then again, they also remind us of
SEC teams which spring up from time to time with enormous athletic talent, but
not necessarily guys who have been playing basketball for their whole
But they're better than both models. For one, they can hit shots and
don't rely solely on defensive pressure to score. For another, they can
run a play with predictable results, not always a prevalent pattern in the SEC.
Anyway, it should be an absolutely dynamic game. And for everyone
sitting upstairs, the Crazies have a point - get involved. Stand up.
Make some noise.
And you Crazies, don't hesitate to encourage them. It's liable to be a
very tight game.