Craig Smith: Coming into the year, I thought this would be Jared Dudley’s team. Dudley is having a good year, but Smith has taken it to another level the past few weeks. The rebounding has been mentioned before, but the foul shooting turns him into the most dangerous player in the conference. (Whoever gave him the pointer needs to get in Dudley’s ear.) In past years, fouling Smith made sense. Now, he will kill teams that do it. He is having a great year. Let’s hope he keeps it up these next six weeks.
Rotations: The first game Al and staff couldn’t settle into a mix that worked until it was too late. Today they did a great job. Nine guys played and all played well (except maybe Oates). Al mentioned that they are learning how to play all these teams. I buy that to a certain extent, but at the same time, you have to be ready to play regardless if you’ve faced a team 100 times or are playing them for the first time. And in this game I think Al adjusted better than he did in the earlier Tech matchup. For example, the combo that was most effective and nearly won the first game was Smith, Dudley, Hinnant, McLain and Rice. I am sure Tech prepared to see that mix a lot tonight. It was barely used. Now when coming up with something new works, Al looks like a genius who is one step ahead. If it doesn’t he’s an idiot for ignoring what worked the first time. Tonight he got to be the genius.
Rebounding: Tech killed us on the boards last time. Not this time. Marshall and Hinnant made a difference combining for nine this game. They accounted for four in the first game.
Three-point shooting: We won a staggering amount of games without hitting threes last year. I don’t think this team can win six NCAA tournament games without better perimeter shooting. Although tonight might have been an off night for a team that never shoots the three very well, I think it would behoove Al to set up a few more 3s for Rice out of the flex. Not making threes is the type of thing that keeps many of our games closer than they should be.
Overall I am glad to get the win (the first with Baby Eagle). I am also glad Tech is behind us for another season. They are just not fun to play...or watch when their offense is off. I wish we had played a different team going into Duke as the Tech style can exhaust and frustrate a team (four of the last five ACC teams that played Tech lost their next conference game…and the fifth -- Maryland -- hasn’t played a conference game since, but followed the Tech game with a loss to Temple). BC needs to recover quickly and get ready for the Blue Devils.