Saturday, March 13, 2010

ACC Tournament Semifinals: Georgia Tech-NC State, Winner Plays for Title

Two teams who were expected to be packing their bags for home by now meet in the ACC Tournaments Semifinal with the winner playing for title on Sunday against the Duke-Miami.

#7 Georgia Tech vs #11 NC State
4PM ET Raycom/ESPN
Greensboro, NC
Live Stats


The Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack have just one meeting on the season, a 73-71 Georgia Tech victory back on February 6 in Atlanta.

The score is a lot closer than the game was for the first 35 minutes, but State's press the last five minutes put Tech into a turnover machine down the stretch. Sidney Lowe's club stole the final inbound pass and had a chance to win with a three at the buzzer that came up short.

That game's ending sounds very familiar to Ga. Tech's Friday quarterfinal victory over Maryland. Paul Hewitt's team nearly blew a 16 point half time lead to the Terps, but some key stops carried them to a win. Georgia Tech managed a victory over the Terps despite having more turnovers (25) than baskets (24).

Saturday's matchup will likely be decided in the post. In February, NC State's Tracy Smith had 22 points while Zach Peacock poured in the same for the Jackets.

Keys to the Game:

1. Press

NC State likes to play a half court game, but they cannot ignore what they did to Georgia Tech in the final five minutes and what Maryland did on Friday night.

The Yellow Jackets have to do a better job of inbounding the ball and not panicking. I think the Jackets need to do a much better job of ripping the ball out on made baskets and not allowing the Wolfpack to set up full court defensively. But Hewitt likes to run more of set out of bounds which hasn't been that successful.

2. Rebounding


NC State's defense played so well on Friday against FSU they held the Seminoles to under 40 percent from the field. The problem is the Noles grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. The Wolfpack don't get a break on Saturday when they face the inside tandem of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal.

Georgia Tech completely dominated the boards in the first half against Maryland like they should have all year. In the second half they seemed to lose some desire and second chances helped the Terps get back into the game.

3. Inside Out

Both of these teams have great inside players, but to be fully effective they need to get touches.

It will be key for the guards to get players like Smith and Favors to get touches inside to force double teams. When they get those double teams, guys like Scott Wood and Iman Shumpert have to knock down open shots.

I think Georgia Tech is the more talented team, but you just don't know if they can play well for all 40 minutes.

NC State is playing to keep their season alive, but can they play well in a third straight game something they have failed to do all season?

When you have so many questions on both sides I think you go with the talent edge.

Georgia Tech 70 NC State 65


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