Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hoops........... On to Day #2

Day one of the ACC tournament........... and Charlotte continues its tradition of historic kindness to Georgia Tech. A see-saw battle with Virginia for 2/3 of the game turned into a runaway as the senior leadership of Jeremis Smith and Anthony Morrow took over. Throw in some strong coaching by Paul Hewitt, knowing when and how to settle down key guys at key times, and you have the makings of a solid 94-76 victory.

If there is one thing that Coach Hewitt has proven is that he has the capability of designing a defensive scheme that shuts down and keys on one opposing player. Remember Chris Paul having his worst games against GT? There's a history of us doing it. We have been generally successful when we decide to do it, and tonight Sean Singletary was the victim. It's never one guy locking down. It's a team trapping, collapsing scheme that clogs up and blocks penetration. Now, inevitably, the scheme leaves the door open for a guy that's not "the guy". If one or two other guys step up they can typically have big games. In the first half M.Diane was that guy - as he couldn't miss. However, the 2nd half wasn't so kind. Now, Singletary did score 20 points, but was only 4-14 from the floor. Funny how holding him to 20 pts / 10 assists is "shutting him down", but the team really did a great job of taking him out in the 2nd half. He wasn't able to do what he does. He labored just to get the ball. He got tired.

Jeremis and A-Mo clearly want to leave more to their legacy. They're just playing lights out. Jeremis ended with 18 pts, 5 boards, 6 assists, 1 block, 2 steals. Wow. A-Mo ended with 18 pts, 7 boards, 1 assist and 1 steal. So our best long-range shooter leads the team in rebounding and our best interior player leads the team in assists. Can you say versatile?

More than anything I was excited to see those guys having fun and smiliing. They've worked so hard this season and nothing has come easy. There have not been many occassions to smile, but tonight was one of them. A-Mo played in front of his Gramd-mama for the first time ever, along with a bunch of his family / friends in his hometown. You have to be happy for that guy. Jeremis continues to expand his game in the span of weeks, showing us this magic jumpshot all-of-the-sudden. And the free-throws???? 8 of 9 from the line. Where has that been JS? Why'd you wait so long to break it out?

Five guys in double figures. Four guys with 5 or more boards. Six guys with 2 or more assists. Mo Miller was stout - and is sending a message to Iman Shumpert - don't think you're going to walk in and take his job at PG. Alade Aminu was strong, blocking 3 shots, running the floor, altering shots - using his athleticism. A nice game from him tonight with 11pts / 5 boards. Bell playing strong D and scoring with that sweet mid-range jumper. Lewis Clinch continues to find his range. He looked shaky early (offensively), but warmed up from long range. Matt Causey only has one speed and was a bit aggressive at times, but still contributed some important plays. Zach Peacock was solid offensively, although he did turn the ball over 4 times.

Just a solid team effort tonight led by the seniors.

We are not only fans of Georgia Tech. We are fans of good basketball, good players and good student-athletes. We tip our cap to Sean Singletary, who busted his hump for 4 years, leaving everything on the court. The ACC is better for having had him.

Time to face the Evil Empire. Duke will be a challenge. They are a 3-pt taking machine. We need Coach Hewitt to design another effective defense. That will be a challenge, because you can't key on one guy. We need to push the tempo and we need to establish some inside game.

This team can do it. They are capable. They are playing their best ball of the year. Can it continue for one more night? Abso-freakin-lutely!!!!