Friday, February 17, 2012
3-point shot: Duke, FSU build confidence
By Andy Katz
1. The comebacks from Duke and Florida State weren’t both epic Thursday night. But they were indications that these two teams can’t be put down easily. North Carolina had a golden opportunity to assume the role as clear favorite for the ACC title. Instead, Duke and Florida State will take this down to the final weekend. Duke already proved with the Austin Rivers shot at North Carolina that it had a big shot-maker. But Michael Snaer’s second game-winner (Duke and now Virginia Tech) gives the Seminoles someone to lean on late. These were two games that could have raised red flags about both teams. Instead, they may be the omens needed to buy Duke and Florida State advancing to the second weekend.
2. Draymond Green’s 20-and 10-evening for Michigan State in the win over Wisconsin should wake up any Big Ten player-of-the-year voters. Going with Green over Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger for the conference’s top player isn’t a reach. If the Spartans beat OSU in East Lansing in the March 4 season finale and end up winning the conference, Green should get the honor. That would be quite an upset (and as a result put him on the All-America first team?).
3. Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he’s not sure Assane Sene will come back this season from a fractured ankle. Sene suffered the injury on Jan. 19, the night the Cavs moved to 15-2. They are 4-4 since losing the big man. Bennett said guard Joe Harris' hand injury might take four to six weeks to fully heal, so he has to protect it with padding until then, and should start to feel better as the swelling and soreness subside over the next week. The Cavs host North Carolina and Florida State on Feb. 25 and March 1, respectively, two crucial games for a potential NCAA bid.