Tourney time! Letís go.

1. Health: Here we are again. Mostly healthy at this point, with the only question mark being the availability and effectiveness of Marques Bolden. Early reports suggest he should become available either Friday or (if we win) Sunday. Letís get fully healthy this weekend, and stay that way. No more injuries, please!

2. The ďotherĒ stars: News flash: Zion Williamson has returned. And heís looked like he never missed a step. Zionís play was phenomenal in the ACC tournament. Thereís really not much one can say other than that. He is amazing. Unfortunately, Barrett (.508 TS%, 10 assists to 13 turnovers) and even moreso Reddish (.448 TS%, 1 assist to 9 turnovers) werenít been as efficient or effective as hoped. Now, Barrett provides a ton of value as a second ballhandler and as a defensive rebounder (he had 21 of those in the tournament), and Reddish provides a ton of value as a versatile perimeter defender. But it would be nice to see these two improve their efficiency a bit moving forward. If we can get one of two scoring efficiently on a given night, we become REALLY hard to beat. We shouldnít need it in this weekend, but it would be nice to start building towards that for the coming weeks if weíre lucky enough to get there. For Barrett, I think it's mostly just a matter of controlled aggression: don't settle for 3s quite as much, but show a little more patience/subtlety in his attacks off the dribble to avoid charges. He's at his best when he gets into the lane under control. For Reddish, it's a matter of taking what is given him and not being so wild with the ball in his hands. He played a much more patient game against FSU (0 turnovers), so hopefully that is a good sign moving forward.

3. Maintain the defensive dominance: In each of the three tourney games, our defense was incredibly stout. We held both UNC and Syracuse to about a point per possession (unadjusted) and held FSU to about 0.9 points per possession (unadjusted). Thatís phenomenal defense. And for the season, weíre a top-5ish squad on defense even accounting for Zionís absence. We are absolutely overwhelming at times. One of the very best shotblocking teams in the country, and fantastic at defending both 3s (top-10) and 2s (top-20). That is a big plus for this teamís chances of getting through the opening weekend, as it will be hard for an opponent to score enough to beat us in the first two rounds. We want to give them a little shock and awe. The teams we'll face this weekend won't have seen anything like our combination of size, athleticism, and defensive intensity. Let's make them feel our presence out there.

4. Avoiding complacency: Talent-wise, we should not be threatened this week. We are the MUCH more talented squad on Friday, and still substantially more talented if we get to Sunday. The key will be avoiding complacency. Our guys need to avoid assuming the win, and competing hard in every game. Because the opponent will certainly be competing hard. If we treat each game with respect, we should be okay. These guys havenít seemed to have an issue with complacency, so I donít expect it to happen now. But itís important that they donít start a bad habit.

5. Valuing each possession: Relatedly, another concern is turnovers. If we can keep our opponent to playing half-court offense, we should be fine, because our defense is amazing. But we were somewhat sloppy with the ball at times. As noted above, Reddish and Barrett combined for 22 turnovers in the ACC tournament. And Jones has been a bit more turnover prone of late as well (he had 6 in the three games). As a team, we averaged 14 per game in the ACC tournament and 13 per game on the season. Thatís not awful, but many if not most of those of our turnovers are fairly unforced. One way for a team to pull an unexpected upset is to force turnovers and score in transition. So letís not open that door if possible.

6. Shooters: Another news flash Ė this team stinks at 3pt shooting. There are like 15 teams in all of D-1 who shoot the three worse than us. And weíre getting worse as the season goes on. Now, I am on record as saying that I think we could win the tournament without even hitting another 3 this season. But weíre going to take some 3s every game, so obviously making more of them would be a nice way to give ourselves cushion. We hit just 14 of 57 3s (24.6%) in the ACC tournament. Of course, we won those three games, beating an 8 seed by 12, a 1 seed by 1, and a 4 seed by 10. So, again, itís not like we need to shoot well. But life would be a lot easier if we shot around 33% from 3. Itíd be nice to see our shooters improve. Jones (3-15), Reddish (3-13) and Barrett (4-20) in particular struggled. Interestingly, Zion (3-6) has been hitting them reasonably well. After starting 3-18 in his career, Williamson has hit 14-36 since (38.9%). Now, Iím not saying I want him shooting a ton, but he seems to have found the right volume of 3s to take. I donít expect much from White and OíConnell due to limited minutes and/or confidence, but a 3 here or there from them would be nice too. But really, if those first three guys hit slightly better than they have been of late, that would go a long way towards adding our cushion. If we can get from 3.3-16 to 5 for 16, thatís a ~4-5 point variance in scoring (fudge factor included for offensive rebounds), which would be nice.

7. Survive and advance: This is what it comes down to. Every game can be a season/career ending game. That's some serious game pressure. Let's survive and advance on Friday. Then do the same on Sunday. Let the rest of the tourney play out around us. Focus on the job at hand each game, and hopefully the rest falls into place!

8. Who are they (aka, scouting reports)?: Iíll split the scouting reports up into 3 additional posts, with one each for each of the three potential opponents (Iíll save myself some effort by waiting until after the play-in game tonight) we may face this weekend.