Friday, March 3, 2006
Classic clash at Cameron Indoor
By Jay Bilas Special to ESPN.com
No. 15 North Carolina at No. 1 Duke
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET (Full Circle on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU)
Key matchup:Shelden Williams and Tyler Hansbrough. North Carolina needs to attack Williams down low and force him to make plays defensively. Williams had 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the first meeting between the schools, and he is capable of better. Hansbrough is the most relentless freshman in the nation. He's one of the top five performers in the ACC this year and is capable of putting up big numbers.
Key stats: Turnovers and rebounding. North Carolina and Duke have stunningly similar numbers in ACC play. The differences between the two are in the categories of turnovers and rebounding.
The Tar Heels lead the conference in rebound margin, outrebounding ACC opponents by more than nine per game. Duke is last in the league in rebound margin, getting outrebounded by almost five per game. North Carolina controlled the glass in the first meeting, grabbing 21 offensive rebounds to Duke's four.
North Carolina is last in the ACC in turnover margin, and Duke is in the top five in the league. The Tar Heels turn it over 17 times per game, and coughed it up 21 times against Duke in the first meeting. On Saturday, Carolina cannot afford turnovers, and Duke cannot afford to give up second shots.
X-factors:Reyshawn Terry and DeMarcus Nelson. The Tar Heels' junior really has matured into a fine player, and he has been outstanding in the second half of ACC play. In my judgment, Terry has been playing all-ACC-caliber basketball of late, averaging 15 points and six rebounds in ACC play, and he is athletic and skilled enough to give Duke a hard time. He also is mature enough to play a major role on the road. Terry fouled out in the first game after scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds, and his absence down the stretch was a factor.
Nelson was outstanding against North Carolina last season. He is an athletic swingman who can hit open shots. Watch also for Josh McRoberts, who put up 17 against Carolina in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina strengths: Depth, team defense, transition offense and rebounding. North Carolina weaknesses: Youth and turnovers.
Duke strengths: Ball pressure, quality senior stars, spread-floor offense and perimeter shooting. Duke weaknesses: Rebounding.
Jay Bilas, a college basketball analyst for ESPN, is a regular contributor to Insider.