Sunday, March 15, 2009

How Duke Won Another ACC Tournament Championship

Duke won the 2009 ACC Tournament Championship, their eighth in the last 11 seasons, because they out shot and out hustled Florida State. Lets take a look at how the Blue Devils did it.

In my game preview
, I thought a big key to a Duke victory was hitting their three pointers. Did Duke deliver on that one or what! The Blue Devils hit 12 three pointers making 46 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. We have seen this before from Duke when left open, but the difficulty of their made shots was incredible. It seemed Gerald Henderson never had a clean look from the outside all day.

But where Duke really sealed this game was on the glass. The Blue Devils out rebounded the much taller Seminoles 35 to 34. Duke grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to Florida State's five. Center Brian Zoubek finally played like his seven foot frame grabbing six boards in only nine minutes. Duke did a fantastic job of keeping the ball alive on the offensive hand by just getting a hand on the ball. That effort allowed another Duke player to come and grab the ball. Again, hustle was a big reason Duke had this game wrapped up with five minutes to go.


I thought FSU had to get to the free throw line, which they did pretty well at, but it was not enough to make up the deficit built early. Toney Douglas had a good game, but got zero help from his big guys. FSU's Solomon Alabi and Uche Echefu played just 33 minutes combined and had 10 points - all by Alabi. Duke forced Florida State to play like the Blue Devils wanted and that made FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton play a smaller lineup to help guard the perimeter.

What does this win mean for Duke? The Blue Devils will likely grab a #2 seed, possibly in Louisville or Pittsburgh's bracket. This Duke team is more athletic and experienced than the previous two that fell flat on their face come NCAA Tournament time. I think we will see Coach K and the Blue Devils in the second weekend this year.

Season: 40-29 SU through 3/15

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