GREENSBORO, NC – So that’s the question. Does Tech have the legs to beat Duke today, a team that’s played only two games in this tournament to Tech’s three. No team has won this title after playing four games in four days, since the league expanded to 12 teams in 2005.
Coincidentally, that’s the last time Tech was in the final – 2005 – but the Yellow Jackets received a first round bye that year as a No. 5 seed. As the No. 7 seed, playing the No. 1 seed Duke, they’ve got a tough row to hoe.
I asked Paul Hewitt about that last night, how Tech was doing physically and if the Yellow Jackets were capable of winning for the fourth game against a team playing three. Of course he said yes, and that they were fine. They looked tired for stretches in the second half against N.C. State to me, hard to deny that. And it’ll be a challenge today, especially late in the second half.
But Hewitt made an interesting point last night, that he figured Duke’s top three guys might have played as many minutes in two games coming in that Tech’s top three played in three games. So I did a little math this morning.
It’s not exactly close, but it’s not far either. How bout that?
Jon Scheyer (76), Kyle Singler (71), and Nolan Smith (68) have played a total of 215 minutes in Duke’s first two games. Iman Shumpert (100), Derrick Favors (94) and Gani Lawal (75) have played a total of 269 minutes in three games. So that’s a difference of 54 minutes.
I still say advantage Duke on that. But if you think about it, the Blue Devils rely on jump shots a lot more than Tech does, so if the legs go for them, it’s a bigger deal. Or so I’m theorizing anyway.
Of the “big three” for Tech, Lawal has played the fewest minutes, but he’s also the one who seems to be the most run down. Well, he, Zachery Peacock and D’Andre Bell all look a little beat up to me. So Hewitt has to walk a delicate line with his rotation and I think he’s been doing a good job of that so far. I think that’s why we’ve seen Mfon Udofia a little more lately, just to help keep legs fresh. His are plenty fresh.
But so much for math and aforethought, they’ll just have to figure it out on the court!
NCAA Selection show plans
The team is going to gather at its hotel here in Greensboro to watch the selection show tonight, win or lose today. Then fly back to Atlanta after the game. So I’ll head over there after the game and try to keep you guys abreast of their selection, their seed, their location, their reaction. I am here for you. They’re still projected around a 9, 10 or 11th seed. A win today could bump that up.
So hey, here comes Buffalo? Jacksonville? Hey, somebody just tell me what to pack.
Enjoy the game.