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  1. #1
    scottdude8's Avatar
    scottdude8 is offline Contributor, Zoubek disciple, and resident Wolverine
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    What teams would make you most anxious in a potential tourney matchup?

    This topic came to my mind after some conversations I've had in some other threads with people regarding a hypothetical Duke/Michigan matchup in the tourney... based on all the college basketball you've watched so far this year, which teams would you be most concerned about come March in a hypothetical matchup with Duke? What teams when it comes to Selection Sunday are you going to be crossing your fingers don't appear in our bracket? For me, given how special this Duke team is there are really only a handful:
    • Gonzaga: We've seen how good they are early in the season, and now that they're healthy they're only going to be better. Luckily they're all but guaranteed to end up out West, and if we continue at this pace it's unlikely we end up out there too.
    • Tennessee: Every time I watch them play I'm expecting them to come back down to earth, but they keep impressing me. Schofield and Williams are the type of duo that, if they get hot, can will their team to a victory. Plus, I think the recipe to beating Duke involves having a back-to-the-basket post scorer who can slow the game down and potentially make Zion play D in a place he's slightly less comfortable, and Williams is exactly that. Luckily they're playing like a No. 1 seed, so we may not see them until the Final Four.
    • Purdue: They're having a definite down year with all they lost, but Carson Edwards is good enough to pull an upset almost on his own. He's the type of player that could will his team to a Kemba Walker-like run if he gets hot come March, and as good as Tre would be defensively on him you never want to run into that.
    • Virginia: Duh. Wouldn't happen until the Final Four in all likelihood though.
    • Michigan: Yes, as I've discussed with various posters, Duke is ideally suited to break down Michigan's top-5 defense. That said, I think Michigan might also be ideally suited to attacking our top-5 defense, especially with the improvements in three point shooting from the Wolverines' two weakest shooters (7-foot-1 Jon Teske is now shooting 30% from 3 on the year, and PG Zavier Simpson is up to 33% despite having an objectively ugly shot)... right now all of Michigan's starters shoot at least 30% from 3, and they're sixth man shoots 45% from 3 and plays any position 3-through-5. If Michigan shoots 40-50% from deep they're extremely hard to beat considering how good their D is, even in a matchup against us.

    Notable omissions from this list from my POV are Kansas (without Azubuike as a low-post presence I think we'd be able to play our "switch every screen" defense very well against them, particularly to shut down Vick) and Michigan State (yes, they're winning, but every time I watch them I come away unimpressed... I think that against a solid defensive team they're going to struggle to score since they're filled with a bunch of good, not great, players, none of which can really be called upon to carry the team when needed. Nick Ward would be a problem down low, but he's so prone to foul trouble and such a defensive liability when pulled outside that I think that'd be a wash. Plus, when you look deeper at their schedule they don't have a real impressive win thus far, which makes me think they're due to crumble back down to earth).

    What other teams have people seen that might match up particularly well (or particularly poorly) against us?
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  2. #2
    If we are healthy, we can beat anyone. No fear here.

  3. #3
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    Well, my practice is to worry about the region. One never knows who will show up in the Final Four. If Duke is a #1 seed, then one of Tennessee, Gonzaga, Virginia and Michigan will not be. That's who I would worry about, if that team shows up in our. If we are #2 and the named teams are #1, then the toughness order would be Virginia (never happen in regional finals), Michigan, Gonzaga, and Tennessee.

    WRT Purdue, I don't see a threat, although you apparently do, but there is always the prospect of an upset.
    Sage Grouse

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  4. #4
    Ha, nothing against you scottdude8, but I always laugh a little to myself when this topic comes up and people just list the top five teams.

    Although we've already beaten them, I will throw out Auburn as a team outside the top 5 that I think matches up decently well against us. Their strength is offensive rebounding, which we're not great at dealing with, and their weakness is fouling, which we are not great at punishing with our bad free throw shooting.

    But really, I agree with Jeffrey – I'm not scared of anyone with this team.

  5. #5
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    I'm not worried about any one team, I'm only concerned about potentially being placed in a murderers row type bracket. It's the only weakness I see right now. Fatigue, getting banged up/bruised up in back to back tough games taking a toll. And even then, we would have to get some really tough matchups for that to have an effect. Just not a lot to worry about with this team. It's a weird feeling.

  6. #6
    scottdude8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    Ha, nothing against you scottdude8, but I always laugh a little to myself when this topic comes up and people just list the top five teams.

    Although we've already beaten them, I will throw out Auburn as a team outside the top 5 that I think matches up decently well against us. Their strength is offensive rebounding, which we're not great at dealing with, and their weakness is fouling, which we are not great at punishing with our bad free throw shooting.

    But really, I agree with Jeffrey Ė I'm not scared of anyone with this team.
    Haha, that's a totally fair point and why I made sure to include Purdue in there as a potential upset minded team... and also why I mentioned why I'm not worried about top teams Kansas and MSU. But point very much taken.
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  7. #7
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    Not afraid, but -- Duke and UNC should never meet in a tournament game. Ever. And frankly, we shouldn't even be in the same pod.
    1991 -- 1992 -- 2001 -- 2010 -- 2015

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Well, my practice is to worry about the region. One never knows who will show up in the Final Four. If Duke is a #1 seed, then one of Tennessee, Gonzaga, Virginia and Michigan will not be. That's who I would worry about, if that team shows up in our. If we are #2 and the named teams are #1, then the toughness order would be Virginia (never happen in regional finals), Michigan, Gonzaga, and Tennessee.

    WRT Purdue, I don't see a threat, although you apparently do, but there is always the prospect of an upset.
    Let me clarify re: Purdue. I'm not sure I'd classify them as a "threat" per se, but they are the type of team that I wouldn't want to see in my bracket (which is the point I was trying to get at with this thread, although I think I did it in a non-elegant fashion!). If Purdue ends up in the 8-9 seed regime, which it's looking like they're tracking towards, there are a lot of other teams in that range I'd prefer to see in our bracket over Purdue given how Edwards can take over a game. So they're a team I'd be "anxious" about if they ended up in our bracket, at least relative to other teams.
    Scott Rich on the front page

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  9. #9
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    I take this Duke team against anyone, unless it's another NCAAT road game. We've had enough of that nonsense in the last few years. A #1 seed should give us some protection against that.

  10. #10
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    Opponents that have skilled players with size and length are the most dangerous for this team. Zion and RJ are beasts scoring in the paint, but they have had trouble finishing against superior length. Both Zion and RJ love to initiate contact. Defenders who are thick enough to shrug off the contact or long enough to still block shots despite the contact are the guys who can stop us from scoring inside and getting to the foul line.

    Clark and Hachimura were very effective denying shots against us in Maui, and Florida St.'s Kabengele and Koumadje did seem to bother Zion at the rim, and once Zion left the game for good, those guys were able to dunk on us almost at will. Thankfully, this is somewhat a rarity, since most of those type of guys don't stick around in college for long. Another thing is, we can beat really good defensive big men if they aren't as mobile by forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. I think Gonzaga happens to be a pretty bad match up for us, since those guys are long, but also get up and down the floor very quickly.
    Last edited by kAzE; 01-14-2019 at 11:01 AM.

  11. #11
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    Let's reset the convo based on some confusion

    Let me clarify what I was intended with this post/thread. I'm not necessarily asking what teams do we think can beat Duke come tourney time (I contributed to that misunderstanding with my initial post for sure!), but what teams, compared to teams of similar caliber and potential seeding, would you like to avoid. So something along the lines of this:
    Round One: Obviously no one should scare us at all.
    Round Two: We're on track to face a team in the 7-10 seed range. Of that caliber of team, from what I've seen thus far this year, Purdue is a team I'd like to avoid seeing in our bracket based on how fantastic Carsen Edwards is.
    Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight: When it comes to teams that are more in the 2-6 seed range, I wouldn't want to see a matchup with Marquette for similar reasons as Purdue given how Markus Howard is playing. Obviously we're a superior team, but teams with a star guard that can light it up from deep are the types of teams that have historically pulled off major upsets. Nevada is another team that would be nice to avoid (and we're likely to since they'll probably end up out West) considering that, while they were definitely overrated after their hot start, they return a ton of talent from a deep tourney run last year.
    Final Four: Of the "top-tier" teams, I think Tennessee would be the worst matchup for us given the way that Grant Williams plays. Ideally I'd like to see them on the other side of the bracket from us.

    This was more along the lines of what I was curious about... not what teams should we be "scared" of, but what teams that we might not be thinking about should we hope don't end up in our bracket come Selection Sunday. I was thinking this could lead to some interesting insights from people who have watched games others of us haven't (for instance, I watch a ton of B1G basketball because of Michigan and can provide some context on those teams). Hopefully that seems like a more reasonable topic of discussion!

    P.S. Mods, if we could change the title of this thread to something better matching my intention, or even put this explanation in the original post, that might be nice to get this discussion going in the right direction.
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  12. #12
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    What teams would make you most anxious in a potential tourney matchup?

    Ha ha, the next one!

    Looking at others' responses, I guess I'm just a nervous Nellie, but EVERY tourney game makes me anxious regardless of the opponent.
    Rich
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Ha ha, the next one!

    Looking at others' responses, I guess I'm just a nervous Nellie, but EVERY tourney game makes me anxious regardless of the opponent.
    Agreed! I'm the same way.

    But I'll add, while we have some sense of Duke's strengths and weaknesses as a team, those traits are not static. This young team will continue to grow and change over the course of ACC play. And other teams will surprise us and rise and fall as the season progresses. So it's too early for me to say for sure.

    Come Selection Sunday we'll have a better sense of who we'd like to avoid. And then once the field is set, Rich is right: the most dangerous team is whomever we play against next.

  14. #14
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    I came here to mention Marquette for the same reasons that scottdude discusses. Howard is an insanely deadly high-volume three-point shooter; if he goes 10 for 13 like he's done, it's anyone's game. And I think there's a higher than average chance they end up in our bracket, given the potential for drama inherent in the matchup.

    That said, I feel pretty good about Tre's ability to slow down star guards.

  15. #15
    Not anyone that we would be projected to meet in the Final Four (i.e. fellow 1 seeds, hopefully). At that stage, you have to expect a tough game.

    But teams that will be better than their seeds. This list will grow as we get closer to March but Nevada is going to be somebody's terrifying 4/5 seed.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Not anyone that we would be projected to meet in the Final Four (i.e. fellow 1 seeds, hopefully). At that stage, you have to expect a tough game.

    But teams that will be better than their seeds. This list will grow as we get closer to March but Nevada is going to be somebody's terrifying 4/5 seed.
    HEY....I was just going to say this....almost exactly. The anxiousness comes in the earlier rounds...second round is really dicey for a top seed...there are a lot of good 8-9 seeds...while some 6-7 seeds will get lucky and get a 12-13-14 type thing in the second round.
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  17. #17
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    Any of the teams in the top 6 or 7 could beat us, but in terms of matchups I think low post scoring is something that could cause us trouble in the tournament, as the OP said. Fortunately there arenít that many of them in the country and one of the best (Azubuike) is out. But after watching FSU throw over top of us repeatedly and destroy us on the offensive glass, I feel like if Zion gets into any foul trouble then weíre very vulnerable inside.

    The other more generic concern is always a team that can get hot from three. And donít overlook a team like Villanova pulling things together then springing an upset as a lower seed.

  18. #18
    scottdude8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    Any of the teams in the top 6 or 7 could beat us, but in terms of matchups I think low post scoring is something that could cause us trouble in the tournament, as the OP said. Fortunately there arenít that many of them in the country and one of the best (Azubuike) is out. But after watching FSU throw over top of us repeatedly and destroy us on the offensive glass, I feel like if Zion gets into any foul trouble then weíre very vulnerable inside.

    The other more generic concern is always a team that can get hot from three. And donít overlook a team like Villanova pulling things together then springing an upset as a lower seed.
    Agree with you on both fronts: a team with a solid low-post presence (like Tennessee) is probably the worst "match-up" for us, and you never want to play a team with a potential hot three point shooter in March. Villanova is an interesting team of note... nothing about how they've played so far this year screams concern, but with some National Championship experience (not a ton given all their departures, but their key players played a role on last year's team) and Jay Wright at the helm that's a team that could cause trouble. That said, I think they're equally as likely to bow out very early based on how they've performed this year.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    This topic came to my mind after some conversations I've had in some other threads with people regarding a hypothetical Duke/Michigan matchup in the tourney... based on all the college basketball you've watched so far this year, which teams would you be most concerned about come March in a hypothetical matchup with Duke? What teams when it comes to Selection Sunday are you going to be crossing your fingers don't appear in our bracket? For me, given how special this Duke team is there are really only a handful:
    • Gonzaga: We've seen how good they are early in the season, and now that they're healthy they're only going to be better. Luckily they're all but guaranteed to end up out West, and if we continue at this pace it's unlikely we end up out there too.
    • Tennessee: Every time I watch them play I'm expecting them to come back down to earth, but they keep impressing me. Schofield and Williams are the type of duo that, if they get hot, can will their team to a victory. Plus, I think the recipe to beating Duke involves having a back-to-the-basket post scorer who can slow the game down and potentially make Zion play D in a place he's slightly less comfortable, and Williams is exactly that. Luckily they're playing like a No. 1 seed, so we may not see them until the Final Four.
    • Purdue: They're having a definite down year with all they lost, but Carson Edwards is good enough to pull an upset almost on his own. He's the type of player that could will his team to a Kemba Walker-like run if he gets hot come March, and as good as Tre would be defensively on him you never want to run into that.
    • Virginia: Duh. Wouldn't happen until the Final Four in all likelihood though.
    • Michigan: Yes, as I've discussed with various posters, Duke is ideally suited to break down Michigan's top-5 defense. That said, I think Michigan might also be ideally suited to attacking our top-5 defense, especially with the improvements in three point shooting from the Wolverines' two weakest shooters (7-foot-1 Jon Teske is now shooting 30% from 3 on the year, and PG Zavier Simpson is up to 33% despite having an objectively ugly shot)... right now all of Michigan's starters shoot at least 30% from 3, and they're sixth man shoots 45% from 3 and plays any position 3-through-5. If Michigan shoots 40-50% from deep they're extremely hard to beat considering how good their D is, even in a matchup against us.

    Notable omissions from this list from my POV are Kansas (without Azubuike as a low-post presence I think we'd be able to play our "switch every screen" defense very well against them, particularly to shut down Vick) and Michigan State (yes, they're winning, but every time I watch them I come away unimpressed... I think that against a solid defensive team they're going to struggle to score since they're filled with a bunch of good, not great, players, none of which can really be called upon to carry the team when needed. Nick Ward would be a problem down low, but he's so prone to foul trouble and such a defensive liability when pulled outside that I think that'd be a wash. Plus, when you look deeper at their schedule they don't have a real impressive win thus far, which makes me think they're due to crumble back down to earth).

    What other teams have people seen that might match up particularly well (or particularly poorly) against us?
    I suspect based on what I have seen is that Duke can stack up against any team- they defend very well, have at least 3 guys capable of 20-30pts and have an excellent PG. So no team is scary per se- but Duke is not a FF lock. As usual, stuff happens in a single elimination tourney- you just need to see how it plays out. One bad shooting night - or one hot opponent- and that is all she wrote. But the loss will likely come because Duke is fundamentally flawed in some way.
    dukelifer

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by dukelifer View Post
    But the loss will likely come because Duke is fundamentally flawed in some way.
    Huh?

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