Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Battle For Tobacco Road - Chapter 233 - Explained

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Why Duke Won:

1) The Blue Devils refused to quit when they had multiple opportunities to do so.

2) They hit three key three pointers down the stretch and outscored Carolina 42-3 from behind the arc.

3) They were a little lucky – Zeller’s tip, Kelly’s long rebound, Curry’s uncalled travel.

Why North Carolina Lost:

1) Flawed end-game strategy or execution. As we weren’t in the huddle, we don’t know which.

2) Atypical bad plays by good players – Kendall Marshall’s rare turnover, Harrison Barnes’ needless offensive foul, Zeller’s missed free throws.

3) Key defensive error - On the switch prior to the final shot, Zeller (and we aren’t picking on him), should have smothered Rivers and made him drive to the basket where Henson and Co. would be waiting.  A made two-pointer would have been discouraging (to force overtime), but a three-pointer amounted to a devastating North Carolina loss.

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
4) They were a little unlucky.  (See #3 above)

What It All Means:

1) Who cares, it’s early February. North Carolina could have had a two game lead on Duke and a one game lead on Florida State, but, in all likelihood, the roller coaster is just getting started…For now, all three are tied for first in the ACC with 7-2 records.

Both teams will live to fight another day, but they did manage to write another amazing chapter in the history of the storied rivalry.

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