What’s actual, what’s pretend, and the UNC vs. Duke debate

Faculty basketball has entered its most important stretch. And meaning it is time for an additional version of What’s Actual? And What’s Faux? in faculty basketball.

What’s pretend: North Carolina would have actually misplaced to Duke with Zion Williamson

You are a idiot if you happen to put an asterisk subsequent to North Carolina’s dominant win over Duke final week.

This is why: The numbers recommend the Blue Devils have been an awesome group with or with out Williamson, who suffered a gentle knee sprain 36 seconds into the 88-72 loss to the Tar Heels on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils have defeated Syracuse, Florida State and Virginia at lower than 100 p.c. They’ve additionally misplaced to Gonzaga at lower than 100 p.c. They’ve additionally misplaced to Gonzaga and Syracuse (within the first assembly between the groups this season) with Williamson out there.

Do not forget that.

As groups jockey for place within the ultimate weeks earlier than convention tournaments, these matchups have essentially the most significance.

This is your up to date supply for all the newest on the NCAA match bubble.

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Coming into Wednesday’s matchup towards North Carolina, Duke had held its opponents to a mean of zero.86 factors per possession when RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish performed with out Williamson, and zero.85 PPP when all three performed collectively, per

The Blue Devils are clearly a greater unit with Williamson, the projected No. 1 decide on this 12 months’s NBA draft, and their Remaining 4 odds would plummet if he determined to finish his season and put together for the draft. But, the concept that North Carolina — a group that had victories over Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Louisville coming into final week’s matchup towards Duke — couldn’t have staged a successful effort towards the Blue Devils at full power was ridiculous then and now. The Tar Heels, who’ve misplaced one recreation since Jan. 12, beat Florida State by 18 factors Saturday.

They’re high 10 in adjusted offensive and defensive effectivity on KenPom. They’ve made 51 p.c of their photographs in transition and 47 p.c of their post-ups, per Synergy information.

Luke Maye and North Carolina would have had an awesome likelihood to beat a wholesome Duke group. Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports activities

The identical of us nonetheless penalizing North Carolina for its lopsided loss to Louisville final month would additionally probably overlook Kentucky’s early 34-point loss to Duke and subsequent Ls to Seton Corridor and Alabama. However Kentucky deserves reward for what it’s doing now.

Identical for North Carolina, which has advanced right into a nationwide title contender.

The Tar Heels did not beat Duke on a buzzer-beater. They received by 16 factors, have been the third group to attain 88 factors or extra towards Duke this season (all losses for the Blue Devils), and did not even play an awesome recreation. That has to depend for one thing.

And Williamson’s presence won’t have modified the ultimate consequence.

Duke ain’t invincible. And North Carolina is rattling good.

What’s actual: Syracuse dealt with Saturday’s circumstances effectively

It is troublesome to explain the temper Saturday on the Service Dome. The feelings have been obvious within the buildup to Saturday’s recreation, which arrived three days after Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed Jorge Jimenez, 51, in an accident on an area freeway as Boeheim drove residence from a postgame dinner.

Conversations about Boeheim’s determination to educate Saturday dominated the media room.

In my pregame conversations with Brian Hernandez, certainly one of Jimenez’s sons, it was clear each he and his household had a mess of feelings about Boeheim’s determination.

This all set the scene for Syracuse’s matchup towards Duke, an occasion witnessed by 35,642 followers — a brand new Division I attendance report for an on-campus area. It was a feverish, energized environment.

The varsity’s pregame acknowledgement, with a press release that was learn by the public-address announcer in each English and Spanish (Jimenez was from Cuba and spoke Spanish) previous to a second of a silence, was an applicable gesture.

Jim Boeheim was on the heart of an emotional environment on Saturday on the Service Dome. AP Picture/Nick Lisi

Boeheim’s personal feelings have been on show earlier than the sport, throughout the contest and within the postgame information convention. His solemn tone was anticipated. After the sport, he appeared like a person who will want time to course of the whole lot that unfolded Wednesday, as you would definitely count on. And the household of the sufferer has a protracted street forward, too. Their ache cannot be misplaced in all of this, both.

With no blueprint, the college addressed this troublesome second with respect and professionalism.

Syracuse might have botched this. Officers on the college might have ignored the incident or addressed it with the improper tone. Followers might have been boorish and disrespectful. However everybody in that packed constructing appeared to grasp the load of the second and tragedy.

Athletic director John Wildhack, senior government affiliate athletic director Sue Cornelius Edson, director of athletic communications Pete Moore and others related to the college handled a difficult sequence of occasions with class.

After the sport, Hernandez posted a hyperlink to the video of the pregame second of silence in honor of his father on his Fb web page.

“Thanks SU and everybody for this,” he wrote, earlier than including a coronary heart and a Cuban flag subsequent to the hashtag #we_all_love_you_dad.

Faux: Williamson is Duke’s MVP

No, RJ Barrett deserves that honor.

Think about Duke with out him this season. Barrett had 33 towards Kentucky within the Champions Basic. He is the explanation the Blue Devils almost stormed again towards Gonzaga within the Maui Invitational. He scored 32 in a win towards Florida State after Williamson missed a lot of the recreation with an eye fixed harm. His early Three-pointers within the victory at Virginia compelled the Cavaliers to stretch their protection. He modified that recreation. He made key performs down the stretch of his group’s monumental comeback towards Louisville.

And he scored 30 factors (14-for-20) in Saturday’s win at Syracuse, the place the Blue Devils not named Alex O’Connell or Barrett completed 6-for-30 from the sector.

Anybody shocked by what Barrett has executed this season should not be.

This is similar dude who performed level guard and completed with 38 factors, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in Canada’s double-digit win over america — Reddish, Josh Okogie, Hamidou Diallo, Carsen Edwards and PJ Washington have been on America’s roster — within the under-19 world championships two years in the past.

He was the unanimous No. 1 recruit coming into the 2018-19 season, too.

Barrett has been a hero for Duke this season. And the one participant in his stratosphere in faculty basketball proper now could be Williamson. Duke’s accidents have allowed Barrett to really showcase his worth.

Williamson may win the Wood Award, however on the group awards ceremony, Barrett ought to seize the MVP.

Actual: Cassius Winston ought to get nationwide participant of the 12 months votes

Pay attention, Williamson will probably win the majority of the nationwide participant of the 12 months accolades awarded to the sport’s high gamers. And that is honest.

He is been essentially the most impactful participant within the nation, and no athlete in America can match his numerous stat line.

However Winston’s effort in Michigan State’s 77-70 win at rival Michigan on Sunday — 27 factors, eight assists, 2 steals — was one other crucial efficiency for a participant who was lacking teammate Nick Ward, who’s injured. The Spartans misplaced Joshua Langford earlier this season.

And but, Michigan State — which misplaced a pair of lottery picks from final season’s group — will enter the week atop the Large Ten, America’s deepest league, with a 14-Three league report.

Winston is certainly one of 4 Spartans who’ve performed all 28 video games this season.

He is made 41 p.c of his Three-point makes an attempt and 82 p.c of his free throws in Large Ten play.

And he is a wild card on this nationwide participant of the 12 months race.

Nicely, he ought to be.

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