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TD: Time and a Wildcat

Date: 12/1/2007

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt

Volume XI, Episode 8
December 1, 2007

#7 DUKE (7-0, 0-0) v. DAVIDSON (3-2, 1-0 Southern South)

Fun story of the day: the Official Syracuse Guy in my office came to see me and we talked some sports.  Thereís at least one Syracuse Guy working in every medium-sized to large business in the Northeast, but this cat is really terrific, a genuinely nice person, and he knows a heck of a lot about sports.  Two amusing anecdotes from our discussion.  First, there was apparently a thread the other night on the primary unofficial Syrexcuse message board (Iím not sure what site he was referring to, which sort of leads me into my point) in which the topic was . . . brace yourselves! . . . what a shill for Duke Dick Vitale is.  I gave my buddy some tips on helping the BBS in question extract itself from that nettlesome time warp itís trapped in; it must be hell discussing topics that everyone else beat to death about seven or eight years ago.  Hopefully heíll pass on my warp-dissolution tips and they can move on to more current matters.  I also told him that there was no thread this week on TDD BBS examining why the Orange was losing at the Carrier Dome to UMass in an Association-like 107-100 contest.  I didnít know a 2-3 zone could actually surrender that many points, quite frankly, but anyway. 

Second, and of perhaps more interest, he told me that his UNC-CH friends (of which he has several) have been e-mailing him concerning the weakness of Dukeís schedule relative to that of their own little unit.  Now, there is at least one piece of merit to their complaints, which is that the Twinks are playing four true OOC road games this season and Duke is (of course) playing none.  Point taken, anonymous Tool fan(s)!  Well put.  However - - you didnít pick the venue for the Ohio State game; Gardner-Webb on line two for you to explain how difficult Rupp is to conquer this season; and the other two true road games are at the Palestra and the RAC.  Iíve been to both, and the RAC, in particular, is quite a hostile environment - - but leave us not make much more out of this group of four games than they deserve.  We are, after all, reasonable people.  And now, departing the realm of the slightly plausible point these AnonyTools might have made and moving on to the evident gravamen of their comments: if youíre e-mailing a friend who went to Syracuse about college basketball on November 30, is there some reason why you need to be defending your schedule and attacking Dukeís?  Tee hee.  A little sensitive on this point, are we, Tool Nation?  Well, I guess playing Ohio State probably lifted the Twinksí SOS number above the Mendoza line (or did it - - yes!!!!!!!!  A titanic 137 according to Ken Pomeroyís RPI estimate, and all the way up to 95 in Kenís own rankings, both well below Dukeís standing at 88 and 67, respectively), but, um, your schedule sort of blows, chums.  And if youíre desperately trying to get your Syracuse friends to agree with you, and assault a team that has beaten Illinois, Wisconsin and Marquette, all pretty convincingly, then Iím guessing that you probably know that.  Ah, good times.  I hope you can survive that game against Penn.  Yikes!    

In an unrelated story, canít wait for February 6 in the DumpDome to find out how the Tools and Duke stack up this season?  No problem, as the Davidson Wildcats are only too happy to offer up a ready comparison.  Dave & Son have even done their best to equalize all variables: the games are occurring only seventeen days apart, and theyíre both being held in the glittering new environment of Charlotte Bobcats Arena, which, in an amazing development involving any piece of significant architecture located in the Mecklenburg County seat, is not named for a bank or some derivative shill organization.  Of course, any game in Charlotte is a home game for the Soiled Pedestrians, and for Duke, not so much - - but close enough on the comparison.  Overrated UNC struggled with the Wildcats, winning 72-68 by building a margin in the last two minutes or so with some slightly questionable, starry-eyed officiating.  In the interim, Davidson de-solidified its cred by dropping one at Western Michigan, 83-76.  And now, here comes Duke.  Will Davidson rise up and offer a challenge?

Thereís little doubt that the presence of 6-2 sophomore Stephen Curry alone means that McKillop has more talent than ever at his disposal.  Intent on illustrating this premise, Little Dell tallied 38 of his squadís 71 points (53.5% of the scoring output if you donít have a calculator handy) against App State in an intriguing sort of matchup - - a November league game.  Hmmmm.  Iím visualizing a movie scene here, where some ACC minion stumbles into Swoffordís office, bruised and bloodied from an encounter with a mob of harrowing antagonists and/or Maryland, College Park fans, while Dr. Jellydonut slowly puts down his meal to call for medical assistance.  Haltingly, the hireling gasps, ďI have it, Fat Man - - the secret formula . . . it . . . can be . . . done - - with games . . . in . . . NOVEMBER.Ē  And then the poor guy lapses into unconsciousness, but is later saved and goes to work for the Atlantic 14.  And actually, more games in December to get closer to a round-robin would be fine too. 

Oh - - Curry.  Sorry.  Yeah, heís good, but donít you think DeMarcus Nelson is probably going to guard him slightly more intensely than anyone from App State, UNC-CH, or any other North Carolina-based directional school did?  9-16 on three-pointers (his App State numbers) against Duke?  Iím going to have to see that to believe it.  And if Curry does get held to, say, 18 points or so, then the rest of the Wildcats are going to have to step up, which they decidedly did not against the Mountaineers - - 6-2 senior point guard Jason Richards tallied 2 points on 1-9 of shooting, and NYPD Blue and Saved by the Bell star Max Paulhus Gosselin, a 6-6 junior, pitched a 24-minute shutout. The frontcourt, consisting of 6-8 seniors Boris Meno and Thomas Sander, had 23 points combined, and the bench chipped in eight.  The game *was* at the Holmes Center in Boone - - remember UNC-CH traveling there a few seasons ago?  Everyone should immediately e-mail their Syracuse friends about that.  Still, Iím not overwhelmed.  Davidson made it to the line twice against the ĎNeers (Curry 1-2), and neither their defense nor their ballhandling has been particularly fearsome.  The crowd will probably be a mixed bag. 

I donít know.  I like Davidson quite a bit, but . . . well, Duke just absolutely dismantled Wisconsin, and that was a Big Ten team with, at least on paper, a ridiculous size advantage over the Blue Devils.  (I told you Bo Ryan wouldnít exploit that!  Hey, I have to trumpet my blind-squirrel-nut-finding abilities, although it should be noted that no one is better at nut-finding than Rick Majerus.)  Maybe Curry will go off, and some of the lesser lights will leverage some seam in Dukeís defense to seize control of the game, but I am really having trouble seeing how.  As commentators around the country are starting to realize, this is perhaps Dukeís best team, relative to the national competition, since 2001.  Paulus, Scheyer, and King bombing from the outside, the defense and athleticism of Nelson and Henderson, and the all-around brilliance of Kyle Singler, combined with great support from Nolan and Zoubek, and yea verily even Lance Thomas if he gets going (which, against a small Davidson team, he very well could) - - it just seems like far too much for the Wildcats, who need a secondary threat to complement Curry.  Anything can happen, particularly since Duke is unfamiliar with Bobcats Arena, but I think this is win #8.  If Davidson keeps it close, perhaps Iím underrating them, or overrating Duke, but it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of blowing Bucky out of Cameron. 

As a final note, I see that The Sports Guy wrote a "letter to himself" explaining something about the NFLís blackout rules.  I countered by writing a letter to myself telling The Sports Guy that if the Patriots can be made to look silly, old, and slow by A.J. Feeley (sorry, Donovan who?), then they probably arenít going to win the Super Bowl.

Davidson keeps it close early but loses handily as Duke continues a great run and goes to 8-0. 

Duke 82, Davidson 68.

Duke 84, Davidson 65.       

Last Edition:

Matt 1-0
Rob 1-0


Matt 7-0
Rob 7-0
Guests 1-0


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Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/4/2007 12:43:19 AM  
jeopardy theme...

Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/3/2007 9:41:14 AM  

Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/3/2007 9:41:04 AM  
Maybe, but it's not like I was a tarHole fan.

Posted by: Matt Date: 12/3/2007 9:17:14 AM  
John: the situation over at TDD BBS has been resolved. :)

Posted by: Matt Date: 12/3/2007 3:01:43 AM  
John: I will write a recap of the Davidson game.

I'm a moderator on TDD BBS. Looks like you called someone a name. I'm inquiring about the situation. Perhaps the name-calling you used, if not exactly employing the most despicable of epithets, was unnecessary . . . ? :)

Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/2/2007 6:29:47 PM  
"We're sorry to inform you that you have been banned from all activity on TheDevilsDen.com forums. We hope that you will continue to enjoy other content on TheDevilsDen.com and the rest of the Scout.com network.

This is an automated message, please do not reply.

Sincerely, the staff at TheDevilsDen.com"

Your fellow Duke fans are ridiculous homers and complete wooses.

I got banned for nothing. No flame war. Nothing. I have no idea what caused it.


Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/2/2007 6:26:20 PM  
no review of the game?

Posted by: John Burns Date: 12/1/2007 2:35:49 PM  
Well, when not trying to keep the remote away from my one year old, and keep him from turning off the game by repeatedly hitting the shiny red power button on my tv (impossible), I managed to DVR and watch this game on a slight tape delay.

What can I say? Two ACC opponents, two missed opportunities. I am disappointed we didn't win that game, but proud we didn't quit. You couldn't put us away.

I never in my life would have thought we would EVER lose a game because of Jason Richards' foul shooting. EVER. But that was the difference.

Paulus's shot with 1 and a half left was just huge. that was an enormous play. The other key play was slightly earlier, we were down by five, and curry launched an ill-advised three from about the sixth row. rimmed out. Paulus hit his fader from the corner, and then Curry came down and answered with a huge three.

Had we played the initial possession of that exchange a little smarter, Paulus's shot would have put you up five , and Curry's shot would have been to cut it to two. Different ballgame there.

Somebody on the Devils Den (where I am about to go take my medicine) asked me how in the world I thought Davidson could possibly beat Duke given the obvious matchup problems Duke posed.

I would say now: "exactly what we did, except our 90% free throw shooter wouldn't have missed 6 free throws."

Posted by: Matt Date: 12/1/2007 11:35:56 AM  
Hi, Johnny. Yes, of course I was expecting you. [ominous music] Actually, I'm glad you commented, and I didn't mean to give the Wildcats short shrift. No one was pulling much harder for them than me in that game against Orange County (N.C.) Vo-Tech, and McKillop and his team are completely likeable people from a great school. But you already know I think all that. :)

Good breakdown of the game; Meno and Sander are tall, as you point out, but I've always thought that they both play small, and Duke did just embarrass a huge Wisconsin team, so I'm having trouble calling for the Blue Devils to get pounded on the glass by the 'Cats. And thanks for mentioning Archambault (a 6-6 sophomore); I should have, but ran short on time.

Finally, as for my "research" [peals of laughter], Lindy's (now my official reference manual) and Blue Ribbon both have Steph Curry at 6-1. TSN's joke of a rag says 6-2, but it also almost completely fails to mention Gerald Henderson in its Duke section, so I went with 6-1. However, I should have checked Davidson's official site, which says . . . 6-2, not the 6-3 on which you've staked your reputation. Did he grow an inch since they measured him at the beginning of the season? If so, can't their web guys change his height listing? I think you'd better get on this right away. :) I gave him the extra inch on edit but decided to stop short of projecting a Davidson victory, as you impliedly requested.

Hey, Duke could lose this game, and if the Blue Devils do, there will be no shame in it, because the Wildcats and Curry in particular are very good. I just don't think it's going to happen, for the reasons stated supra. Definitely tell me what you thought after the game - - win or lose. And then I'll wholeheartedly root for Davidson the rest of the season.

Posted by: John Burns Date: 11/30/2007 10:15:19 PM  
Oh, Matt. Matt, Matt, Matt. You knew I'd have to comment on this one. It's your site, so I'll try not to embarrass you. But usually, you do more research than this. Syracuse guy might be able to tell you that Steph Curry is 6'3, not 6'1. Kid's still growing. So we got that goin' for us, which is nice.

He's not just "good.". The kid's unreal, and I hope we all get the chance to enjoy him for three more years.

So, the App State game: simply put, there was just no need for anyone else to score - not in the first half, anyway. The app state announcer, in a failed bit of taunting, called him "steven.". Seven of eight three pointers later, the game was a blowout. App made it interesting with one run in the second, but a Barr three followed by a Curry three and a meno dunk ended it.

This is a very good Davidson team. Western Michigan was one of those games where the lesser team couldn't miss. Can't explain it. Want to forget it.

Max Paulhus Gosselin isn't a scorer, hasn't been for two years. He's a defender, and a good one. At 6'6 and with athletic ability we don't usually have, he's a darn goodone.

Don't expect richards to put up single digits again. He may actually be the best point guard Paulus will face all year, and he can fill it up as well.

The key players for Davidson, beyond Curry, in this matchup are Thomas Sander, who along with gosselin should be tracking sangler, and 6'7 will archambault. If there is a reason we're underperforming, it's that archambault, last year's sixth man, with 58 threes, has not found his rhythm.

With curry, if sander and richards are hitting, and archambault is coming off the bench with timelt shots, we're good enough to beat any team in the country.

This year, I really mean that. :-)

We're also not that small. Meno and sander are both mobile 6'8 players and are both strong and reasonably quick. Lovedale, also 6'8 is an absolute horse, and Rossiter will give us solid minutes on both ends, and he plays bigger than his 6'8 or 6'9 body.

With Archambault and Gosselin able to play a big wing guard, we present matchup problems for most teams.

You guys are better than I expected you to be, and we haven't hit our stride yet, but this is not your big brother's davidson team. It's more like your father's. The one that beat duke in the old old charlotte coliseum to make a national name for itself in the mid 60s.

Wish I could make it down there, but I'll be straining to see the game through the mess that ESPNU makes of my HD screen and praying for the breaks to go our way this year.

Last time we had a chance against you, Peter Anderer dribbled the ball off his foot at Cameron when we were down by only a few at Cameron.

It's our turn. You've had 22 in a row. How's about sharing the glory?

Go cats!

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