Seven games into their ACC schedule, the Hokies are still alive. They knocked
off UNC 74-70 late on Thursday night, pushing themselves back into the top half
of the ACC standings heading into tomorrow’s game against Clemson.
I’m loathe to call any game a “must win” for the Hokies, but I’ll
put it this way: a home loss to UNC last night would have seriously damaged
Tech’s chances of making the NCAA tournament. It would not have been easy to get
up mentally for tomorrow’s game with Clemson if the Hokies had lost a close game
last night, and the fans wouldn’t be as excited about it as well.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that. Yet again, through toughness,
defense and character, the Hokies won another close game. They also did
something I never thought I’d say: they out-talented the Tar Heels, the #1
program in all of college basketball, in my opinion.
Is UNC the more talented team overall? Yes. They’ve got talented and skilled
players on the inside, with something like five McDonald’s All-Americans in
their frontcourt. However, in the ACC basketball games are won with good
backcourts, and UNC’s guard play is pretty bad to say the least.
Larry Drew II actually outplayed Will Graves, Marcus Ginyard and Dexter
Strickland last night, which doesn’t say much for the latter three guys. Those
four guys combined for 20 points and 14 turnovers. Malcolm Delaney, Dorenzo
Hudson and Terrell Bell combined for 44 points and just four turnovers.
Youth can’t be used as an excuse either. For freshman guard Dexter
Strickland, yes, it is youth. But Marcus Ginyard is a r-senior, Will Graves is a
r-junior and Larry Drew II is a sophomore. Those guys should be playing better.
However, Ginyard isn’t really a scorer, and all Graves can do is hit
three-pointers. Overall, this backcourt just isn’t as talented as Virginia
Tech’s. Delaney and Hudson would both start for the Tar Heels, and there
wouldn’t even be any competition for them.
It was that dominance in the backcourt that got the Hokies the win. With
their tall, talented frontcourt, the Heels were going to get their points on
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