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6 | THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010

NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

THE BACKCOURT

Dawkins provides cover for marquee duo by Jordan Siedell THE CHRONICLE

As the nets came down in Greensboro and the Blue Devils wrapped up a record 18th ACC Tournament championship, the spotlight was never very far from Duke’s dynamic guard duo of Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, both of whom have played critical roles in getting their team to this point. Along with Kyle Singler—a combo player with size and range—they have formed the highest-scoring trio in the league, and the main reason for Duke’s 29-5 record as well as a No. 1 seed for March Madness. With combined averages of 35.9 points, 7.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game, it isn’t hard to see the value Scheyer and Smith have for a Duke team that looks to make a deep Tournament run. Scheyer is playing the best basketball of his career, turning in an impressive season in which he was named first

team all-ACC and was among the conference leaders in points, assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio. He has proven an exceptional floor general capable of making an impact on a game even on nights when his own shots aren’t falling. This was the case in the ACC title game Sunday, as Scheyer missed his first six 3-point attempts, only to hit the biggest shot of the Tournament, a three with 18 seconds left that sealed the win for the Blue Devils and capped a tremendous conference showing from the point guard in his final collegiate campaign. “Even though I wasn’t hitting, I still wanted the opportunity in the end to shoot the ball,” Scheyer said after the game. “I got a good look and had confidence in it.” Smith has also made his mark on the team’s success, averaging 17.3 points per game only a year after posting SEE GUARDS ON PAGE 16

IAN SOILEAU/THE CHRONICLE

Senior Jon Scheyer has been widely recognized as one of the best players in the nation, let alone the ACC, for his play this season.

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100318 NCAA preview 6  

Now serving everything A la Carte, or “Ippin Ryori” 4711 Hope Valley Rd., Durham 493-7748 lively atmosphere delicious menu all your favorite...