5. Georgia Tech [19-10] vs. 3. Duke [24-5]
Regular Season Meeting: (at) Duke 82, Ga. Tech 65, Feb. 5; Duke 60, (at) Ga. Tech 56, Feb. 23. Leading Scorer: J.J. Redick, Duke, 26; Redick, 21; Leading Rebounder: Shelden Williams, Duke, 12; Williams, 10. Records in ACC tournament: Georgia Tech, 19-22; Duke, 74-37; vs. each other in ACC tournament: Duke leads, 4-3.
Back court: Duke beat Georgia Tech twice during the regular season. In the first meeting Feb. 5., Tech did not have B.J. Elder because of a hamstring injury. Elder did not play well in the second meeting Feb. 23, making only 1 of 8 shots, but Duke won by only four points. The Yellow Jackets are a significantly better team now and more confident. They held North Carolina to 36 percent shooting in yesterday's semifinals. Guard Will Bynum scored 35 points to offset Jarrett Jack's 2-of-12 shooting effort. Duke's J.J. Redick, right, didn't shoot well in either game against Tech this year, but he scored a combined 47 points in both games. Yesterday he turned in a superb performance, scoring 35 points and making seven three-pointers.
Front court: Georgia Tech Coach Paul Hewitt has been a little amused by some of the criticism directed toward center Luke Schenscher, left, this season. Schenscher had a great NCAA tournament last season but struggled some while Elder missed nine ACC games this season. Yesterday, Schenscher had a terrific game against North Carolina's Sean May, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He made 7 of 13 shots. Duke's Shelden Williams obviously is capable of a big game if he can stay out of foul trouble. After Williams had no rebounds in the first half yesterday against North Carolina State, Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he showed Williams the box score at halftime. Williams responded with nine rebounds in the second half. Duke's DeMarcus Nelson is built like a strong guard, but the freshman can compete with the big men for rebounds, which is his most advanced skill.
Coaching/Intangibles: This is a matchup of two teams that reached last year's Final Four and returned the majority of their players. Surging and confident Tech will be one of the most popular sleeper picks in next week's NCAA tournament. Tech's players would probably take exception to the word "sleeper" because they are confident they can play with anyone. Duke, meantime, is trying to win its sixth ACC title in the past seven years, which would be a remarkable accomplishment for a team that lacks depth.
-- Eric Prisbell