Can We Win In Atlanta? Is Dook Our Equal?

January 16, 2008 at 7:20 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel, Lates Links | 3 Comments

I’ll get to the Georigia Tech links in a few, but let me start with Ken Pomeroy’s comparison of good and evil. Pomeroy ranks Kansas, Memphis, and UCLA above us based on our weak schedule and a few poor performances. He writes:

The case for North Carolina: UNC is the obvious choice. I actually have to frame this as a case against the Tar Heels, because there’s plenty of material floating around to support their case for #1 let alone this spot. I realize I’m probably the only person in America that doesn’t believe the Heels are in the top three at this point. However, from what I gather, the argument for them being the best team in the country goes something like this: “They were really good last season, and it’s basically the same team” and “They haven’t lost yet.”

As all of you should know by now, I find the latter argument unconvincing. I’m much more concerned about who you’ve beaten (and how) than how many you’ve beaten. The popular view is that last week’s results cemented the Tar Heels claim to the top spot, but let’s review what they accomplished. A week ago Sunday, they beat Clemson on an overtime buzzer-beater by Wayne Ellington. This result has been interpreted as a gritty win in a hostile environment. However, they basically proved themselves equal to Clemson. You might think it was a clutch shot by Wayne Ellington that gave the Heels the win, but what do you think Ellington’s chance of making that shot were? While you’re chewing on that, consider how often that Clemson’s David Potter jumps a pass and fails to get a deflection out of it. OK, so maybe Ellington’s chances are 100% and Potter’s are zero, because Ty Lawson (who delivered the pass on the final shot) and Ellington are just clutch. Well, they must have been studying up on the Clutch Handbook in the offseason, because last season this team was 0-4 last season in games that went to OT or were decided by four points or less.

You can read the rest and find out that he doesn’t think there is too much separating the two teams at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see. Pomeroy is an excellent basketball analyst and the stats do show that the defense is slipping a bit. The offense is almost exactly where it was last season statistically, but I think the rotation and roles are better defined . Last Year there were 12 players getting 10% of the minutes or more and nobody had an offensive rating over 120. This season four Tar Heels have an offensive rating of 120 or better and the rotation has 8 players getting a majority of the minutes with Graves and Copeland offering a few minutes a game. I’m not saying Pomeroy is wrong. If we play defense like we did prior to January 12, we’ll have a hard time winning six straight. Green, Lawson, and Ellington are much better this season and so it may be that this team is even better on the offensive end than last year’s team. My eyes don’t tell me Carolina has been clutch, but they do tell me that we are capable of playing decent defense.

Tonight, we’ll need to see some of that D. It is hard to believe Roy has not won in Atlanta since returning home. Georgia Tech is struggling on both ends. This Jackets blog seems to have a reasonable take on the season. It was hoped that Lewis Clinch would at least be a replacement level ACC point guard (if not Crittenton) and that is not working out at all. Steve Hummer writes that you need that to beat Carolina and if so the Yellow Jackets are in trouble tonight. The game is at 9 on ESPN and we are 10.5 point favorites. Robbi Pickeral is bored.

Not in first anymore. Good news. Even the English think TO is a tw@t. More blogs laters today….maybe.

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3 Comments »

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  1. Pomeroy’s alright, but isn’t his argument just as tenuous as the ones by which he remains unconvinced? Other than the fact that many people love to crunch numbers and assign rankings, is there really any point to try to attach “best team” labels to anyone in January? To me it all comes down to the same thing every time, and Roy has said this in the past. There are a handful, maybe a dozen teams in the country who have a legitimate shot at winning a national championship, and then another handful or dozen who have outside chances. UNC, Memphis, UCLA, Kansas are all teams who have a legitimate shot.

    Only two teams end their season with a win, and even then, whether or not they are the best teams in their respective tournaments is arguable.

  2. I meant to say debatable, not arguable. Sorry.

  3. Very good point. We could be the best team and lose and be the fifth best team and win.


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