Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Florida State

I attended the game tonight, and it was one of the best games I have witnessed in a long, long time. I don't think either team was up by more than 5 points at any point in the game, a total see-saw, thrilling affair. Coming in, I thought BC needed to win at least 5 and probably 6 of their final 10 ACC games to get an NCAA tourney bid, so this was a huge "hold serve." Florida State is no shrinking violet either, with wins over current Top 25 squads Florida and Virginia Tech, and near misses against Clemson and Georfia Tech. A few thoughts:

1. Ty Rice might have sealed 2nd or 3rd team All-ACC honors with his performance tonight (26 points, 6 assists, 1 turnover). But it wasn't just the numbers. He hit big shot after big shot, drove to the hoop with authority, and handled the rock almost flawlessly with intense perimeter pressure on him. If he had played anything but a great game tonight, BC loses this one by 15.

2. Sean Marshall obviously drilled the big three at the buzzer for the win, but he also hit the boards hard (10 rebounds) and had some big baskets when BC's offense stalled.

3. Jared Dudley had a routine game for him (23 points, 6 boards), but that means stellar for anyone else.

4. Marquez Haynes chipped in some nice defense and had a few key free throws.

5. Shamari Spears had quiet numbers (4 points, 5 rebounds), but his boards were big and he had one absolutely crucial steal in the final minutes.

6. John Oates and Tyrelle Blair. These guys were invisible, and their enhanced minutes is the most disconcerting byproduct of the Sean Williams and Akida McLean dismissals. Oates was exposed again by a quick team. The guy just can't move his feet on defense, and everybody knows it. Blair is basically a backup center who can deliver the occasional block, but he has no touch around the hoop and has weak hands.

7. Down 5 with less than 5 minutes to play, BC went with a smaller, quicker lineup (i.e., Oates and Blair were on the pine), and it paid huge dividends - BC went on a 13-6 run to close the game and grab the W. While they can't play this lineup every game and especially against size, in spots they should go to it without hesitation. Plenty of scorers on the floor, and no glaring holes on D.

I am fired up. A big emotional win was exactly what the team needed to get its mojo back after the Clemson debacle. Heading down to Duke now is a "no lose" proposition, they are not expected to win, and it won't kill them if they do. So I expect them to play loose, and I expect them to play well. And who knows, maybe they can steal one against the overrated Dukies, who have had some weird struggles against medicore competition at home this year (e.g., Holy Cross, Kent State).

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