ACC Notebook: Duke discovers secret? UNC looks good on road

acc basketballHmmm. It seems that Duke has stumbled into the perimeter of wisdom with regard to Zion Williamson.

For all the ESPN hype machine nonsense about Williamson’s dunks, it has been obvious since early in the season that he’s just the more efficient offensive weapon, stacked up against RJ Barrett, who has yet to come across a shot that he didn’t want to take.

Barrett averages 18.9 shot attempts a game, shooting 46.2 percent from the field, and 31.3 percent from three-point range, and leads the Blue Devils in scoring, at 22.8 points per game.

Williamson, on 12.0 shots per game, is shooting 67.9 percent from the field, and a blistering 74.8 percent on two-point shots.

He averages 20.8 points per game, on nearly seven less shots from the field per game.

Which gets you to thinking: what if Duke figures this out, and tries to get the ball to Williamson, a 6’7”, 285-pound matchup nightmare in the post?

Now, it was Wake Forest, with by far the worst defense, efficiency-numbers-wise, in the ACC, providing the resistance, but, Duke may have started figuring it out.

In Duke’s 87-65 win at Wake last night, Williamson got 16 shots from the field, and made 13 of them, including, gasp, going 3-of-4 from three-point range.

He had a team-high 30 in the win.

Barrett still out-used him, hoisting 17 shots, going 8-of-17 in scoring 21.

 

Quick Duke note: Tre Jones gets defensive

The ESPN crew last night talked up how Tre Jones has set as his goal for this season to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Um, sorry, kid.

His defensive rating, per sports-reference.com, is 89.6, which is the worst among the Duke regulars this season.

 

UNC looks good on the road: You shouldn’t be surprised

Roy Williams scheduled three true non-conference road games. OK, one of them was scheduled for him, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, at Michigan, and the other two were at Wofford and at Elon.

Still, they’re in the other guy’s gym, and Ol’ Roy also played Gonzaga, Kentucky and Texas in November and December.

His team is hardened, and it showed in the 90-82 win at NC State last night, in a game in which the Tar Heels never trailed.

The game played at a frenetic pace – 85 possessions! – but Carolina comes away with something big to work on.

How about: 23 turnovers. Yeah, yikes.

But, that said, UNC won at State despite 23 turnovers and only shooting 45.3 percent from the floor when it didn’t turn the ball over.

Column by Chris Graham

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