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TD: I Can’t Function

Date: 1/22/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (just absolutely DONE with this same old same old same old), duhomme (more restrained)




TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIII, Episode 21
January 23, 2010
PRETTY MUCH HAD ENOUGH OF COACH K'S ACT EDITION

Matt’s anger in blue.
duhomme's comments in red. 


#7 DUKE (15-3, 3-2) @ #17 CLEMSON (15-4, 3-2)

Coach K really has elevated his game and gotten better with age - - seriously, his skills are really improving.  I mean, normally it takes me until the last couple games of the regular season to resume detesting his methods and simply hating his stubbornness about employing them, and then, after Duke overperforms in the nice, feel-good, but ultimately meaningless ACC Tournament, and authors a second or (if we’re all really lucky) third-round, by-the-numbers NCAA exit, I have all offseason to stew about it.

This year, it only took until January 20.  Nicely done, coach.      

Let me get some preliminaries out of the way.  First, it’s true that Wednesday’s game against North Carolina State was only one game.  That’s an inescapable truism.  One game is only one game.  Point made and taken.  And yes, the team is 15-3.    

Also, the season’s not over.  In fact, it has plenty of time left - - which is sort of the problem.  And you can probably forgive Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler if it feels to them like it’s late March.  Of 2013.    

Now, to the matter at hand:

No team with legitimate postseason aspirations should lose to this year’s edition of North Carolina State.  The Wolfpack are not some scary juggernaut in the making; they’re 13-6 and 2-3.  Tracy Smith is a very good player in any league, but Dennis Horner, Lil’ Javy Gonzalez, and Dickensian protagonist Farnold Degand are borderline ACC-caliber role players.  Scott Wood could very well be an ACC star someday, but he’s not there just yet, and in any case he didn’t rip up the Duke defense like the other four (either by scoring or passing) did - - mostly because Wood was competently defended.  Sweet & Low?  A far, far below-average coach. 

And yet, Duke went into Raleigh and - - there’s no finer point to be put on it - - got blown out.  Simply blown out.  Over the course of the game’s forty-minute duration, the Blue Devils were in it for about 1:30. 

Why? 

Well, for one thing, the team was tired after Goonio’s thugs laid on their latest beating in Sunday’s slugfest.  That disgusting worm has no business being gainfully employed in an “elite” college basketball conference, but here he is, ordering his players to commit illegal, flagrant fouls and then carping to the media about the game’s tenor afterwards. 

But wait, you might be asking - - I thought this was about Coach K? 

It is.  Duke is vulnerable to despicable tactics such as those employed by that tool residing in Winston because Mike Krzyzewski simply refuses to develop or play a bench, year after year after year after year after year after year after year.  With some Duke teams, this was okay.  In 2001, for example, Shane Battier and Jason Williams were practically superhuman and could play 40 minutes every game with relative ease and no diminution in their effectiveness.  Chris Duhon and Nate James were also ironmen, and Mike Dunleavy took plenty of plays off on offense and played virtually no defense, so he was always fresh no matter how many minutes he logged.  Boozer tired occasionally, but he usually picked up a couple of fouls that meant that he had to sit down in favor of Casey Sanders for a while.  Plus, if Boozer hadn’t gotten some much-needed rest through a rather unusual strategy - - breaking a bone in his left foot - - he probably wouldn’t have been fresh enough to dominate in the last four games of the season: the Pac-10 Championship in Philadelphia and the Final Four. 

So that was a very unusual team. 

No matter - - Coach K has tried to duplicate that team’s success every season since.  Gifted with an amazing, once-in-20-years shooter in J.J. Redick - - who is starting to flourish in the Association, by the way - - K played him nearly every minute of every game for four seasons, and although Redick was game, he faltered down the stretch in three of his four postseason campaigns due to crushingly obvious fatigue.  (In the other campaign, in 2004, Redick played a bit better, but was joined by Duhon and the similarly tireless Luol Deng, so he wasn’t relied upon as much, and as a result, the team made the Final Four and would have won the national title, but for its coach's critical errors in the final 2:30 of the national semifinal game against Connecticut.)         

And so this season, on January 20, Coach K played Singler, Scheyer and Smith 119 of a possible 120 minutes.  The three wings (Singler is not, and never will be, a power forward - - he’s a very tall shooting guard or wing/small forward who can rebound) took 46 of Duke’s 57 shots, which is 80.7%.  It should be noted that Smith handled this just fine - - of the three Esses, he’s probably the best-equipped to play entire games (and, in keeping with his general cluelessness and out-of-touch state, Krzyzewski usually plays Smith the fewest minutes of the three).  Scheyer and Singler, however, cannot play 40 minutes effectively.  Scheyer can handle about 37, although given his pretty bad performance over the last several games, you have to start wondering about cumulative fatigue with him.  Singler is a 33-minute player. 

Now, in home games, with positive crowd energy fueling adrenaline, Singler and Scheyer can usually overcome their dead legs.  But add in some travel - - even if it’s just a bus trip across the metro area - - plus a hostile crowd eager to exact some revenge on Duke for routinely destroying them for years, and it’s a different story.

By the way, remember that pair of big kids - - brothers, mayhap - -  who dominated a very tall, very goonish Weak Florist team and fueled a 20-point win over the Deekons despite another poor shooting day from the three-S backcourt?  Yeah.  What happened to those two kids roughly 72 hours later, on Wednesday night?  24 combined minutes and four shots from the floor - - are you freaking serious, Coach K?  In what universe does that make any sense whatsoever?   

Duke may win at Boston College this season.  Fueled by a different kind of adrenaline, added to North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s offering of its worst team since the 8-20 season, Duke may also win at Chapel Hill.  But unless something changes, Duke will not win at Georgetown, will not win at Miami, will not win at Virginia, and will not win at Maryland.  And while I used to think that this was a Final Eight team, now I think they’ll probably lose in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to a much less-fatigued, tough, hard-rebounding team - - just as they did in 2008.

But for heaven’s sakes, don’t blame Krzyzewski.  Don’t blame him when Ryan Kelly transfers at the end of the season.  Just salivate at all the great players that we have coming in, even though Singler will probably get tired of the grind and jump, and next season, the rotation will look like this by the start of the ACC season:

Irving
- - 39 mpg
Smith - - 39 mpg
Dawkins - - 37 mpg
Ma. Plumlee - - 33 mpg
Mi. Plumlee - - 32 mpg
Curry - - 10 mpg
Hairston - - 7 mpg
Thornton
- - 3 mpg

Same old song - - although Irving could very well be just as tireless as Battier and Williams, so Duke might actually reach the Final Eight on his back alone.  But we’ll see.  And to anyone who wonders how I could author such a treasonous-sounding piece, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Despite his highly evident confusion on the topic, Duke men’s basketball is bigger than Mike Krzyzewski.  And I am not a fan of Mike Krzyzewski.  I’m a fan of Duke men’s basketball.  To the extent that Mike Krzyzewski wants to advance the cause of Duke men’s basketball by employing strategies and making decisions that make sense for the program, I admire him for it and support him completely.  To the extent that he wants to promote a destructive agenda that holds the program back and causes it, year after year after year after year after year after year after year, to underachieve by performing at a level less than the sum total of its parts, then I don’t support him at all.  Sorry to anyone, including the scions of How To Be A Fan 101 at certain other Duke-centric locations, that this may offend. 

Duke will probably not get blown out by Clemson (although it’s certainly possible).  But I would rate Duke’s chances of completing a sweep by winning a road game at what can arguably be the ACC’s toughest road environment (and is just about inarguably the league’s toughest road environment other than Cameron, meaning it’s the toughest one Duke ever faces) at about 5%.  If the Blue Devils win, it will be because something goes very wrong on the Clemson side, or because Krzyzewski actually changes something that he’s been doing wrong.  Don’t count on the latter. 

This was supposed to be the season (in my mind, anyway) when Rrhoid was exposed as a poor operational coach who’s good on the recruiting trail and has simply had lightning strike twice in five years - - the first time practically by accident.  And indeed, that’s exactly what’s happened - - with the added fun twist that this freshman class of his is not making him look like such a great recruiter, either. 

Too bad Mike Krzyzewski sure looks like he's planning on ruining my enjoyment - - and, I suspect, a lot of yours as well - - of all of that.  In the same damn way.  Again.   

Clemson 75, Duke 68.   

Hey, folks, sorry about the other day. Matt and I were recovering from injuries suffered while putting together the Wake Forest preview. Chas McFarland undercut me while I was making a strong move toward my keyboard. Ishmael Smith threw an elbow into Matt’s web browser. Coach K wouldn’t let our bench writers get any meaningful time. You know the drill. So we took Wednesday off.

BUT! We weren’t the only ones, as the Blue Devils put together one of the worst games I’ve seen in years, measured, in part, because they were facing the hands-down worst coach in the conference and his crew of (usually) mediocre recruits. Not on this night, though, and Duke needs to figure out that opposing teams and fans in their own building get sort of interested in beating them more so than they do against other squads.  Due to forces outside of Krzyzewski’s control, there’s going to be a lot more of this Duke-not-in-white-jerseys coming up, so maybe the point will get through.  Maybe.

Where to start? Well, we have yet another exhibit in favor of Matt’s hypothesis that the better Singler plays, the worse the outcome for the team. Twenty-two points, including 10-12 from the part of the floor where you get comped. Only three attempted three-pointers. All missed, but at least he wasn’t auditioning to be a NASA spokesman (“We launched it, but don’t know where it went”) like he has in the last several weeks. Unfortunately, most of his teammates stood around admiring his effort as Wolfpacker after Wolfpacker sailed by them for easy layups or passes to Tracy Smith for fine-looking dunks. This is one of those games with funny looking stats. Duke had 17 offensive rebounds. NC State had only six. Advantage for the team on this website’s masthead, right? No. Duke had 35 misplaced shots, the Packers had 23.  Duke simply had more to go and get.  On the other hand, Duke’s eight assists (as a team) versus 18 for the Wookies? What a debacle. This game just grossed me out, so let’s get to …

WIN OF THE GAME:
Um … um … I’m stumped.  Treebeard’s nine confiscations of contraband shots in 14 minutes of play is as close as I can get.

FAIL OF THE GAME:
All things Duke. Players, coaches, intensity, you name it.  I’m pretty sure I saw the managers spilling Gatorade during timeouts. The bus driver may have mistakenly taken the team to Dunn after the game.

Alrighty, how about some happier stuff, as we owe you, our loyal paying customers, a Forest Gump recap. Remember those days, when Duke was playing as if they wanted to win a game? Although, of course, they were playing in a gym located on their own campus. That was last weekend, when the Devils unwittingly faced off against a cartoon pet and his merry band of pachycephalosauri while thinking they were going to play a basketball game. It took me a few days to watch the game on the DVR, and in the meantime had read a good bit of internet chatter that suggested the officials should have gotten control over the game early. On further review, no, that is wrong; the monitors used their whistles early and often, combining for 47 chirps. Wake just wouldn’t stop. And Duke decided to join in on the MMA event. As a result, two of the Deeks departed early for Blizzards, joining Treebeard, who was dismissed with only nine minutes on his timecard. Three other Blue Devils were one penalty away from enjoying a Dilly Bar while the game was still being played.

In other news, 48 misrouted basketballs were uncovered by Duke, who also committed 17 felonious acts when Wake was using the ball. The outside shooting wasn’t pretty, but [sigh of relief], the team figured that out and only placed 13 toll calls. On the downside, Dawkins’ productivity continues to decrease. Look, I try not to be too harsh on individual players. They are, after all, young men who are already subject to in-game commentary, internet discussions and news coverage. In particular, I try to lay off the freshmen. So, it is with good intentions that I say I don’t understand what is going on with Dawkins. It’s like he’s a different player. Earlier in the season he was moving and working hard to get open, then shooting with abandon. Now, he seems to stand around on the perimeter waiting for someone to pass him the ball. Against N.C. State, he spent nine minutes on the floor and almost had a blank stat sheet. No shots taken, no rebounds, no assists. Just one turnover.

Granted, the level of competition is higher. Yes, Duke did have some decent OOC opponents, but none with the kind of history that gets league foes amped up. Plus, and this might be the key, there’s been a good bit of talk about how the ACC is becoming increasingly physical. That may be something Andre is used to, resulting in his rather tentative demeanor on the court. I hope he can turn it around. He’s talented, and more minutes from him mean (hopefully) fewer for both Singler and Scheyer.

With that behind us, it must be time for …

WIN OF THE GAME:
Barkeep, could I get a Plumlee. Actually, make that a double. Yes, indeed, 30 points and 21 rebounds between them, completely dominating the first half. If they will just start doing that while wearing blue or black jerseys, we won’t have to see the backcourt taking 90 percent of the shots.

FAIL OF THE GAME:
No, not the goon with the Scottish name, but his enabler on the sidelines. Dino, your squad is not nearly physically imposing enough for this kind of embarrassing play to intimidate anyone in the ACC. In fact, you’re just inviting them to fight back. Tell me how well that worked out last Sunday.

Goodness, so many games, so little time. Thanks to Swoffie’s use of chaos theory in developing the league schedule, Duke is playing Clemson for the second, and last time barring a tournament matchup … in only its sixth ACC game.  I guess we should be grateful they are actually meeting twice this season, but please, just under three weeks apart? Why not just make it weekend double-headers.  Oh, and while I’m complaining, I had to double- and triple-check several schedules to confirm this game is on at 9 P.M. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT!!!!!!  What is that about?  Trying to steal some views from “America’s Most Wanted”?  Was Littlejohn scheduled to host Disney on Ice during the afternoon-normal-weekend-basketball time?  Maybe Oli likes to sleep in on weekends?

Whatever.  As mentioned, these two teams have played each other.  The last time around, Duke held Clemson to a beverage-spewing-out-your-nose 12 points in the first half.  For most of the game, Orange-clad beast Trevor Booker was made irrelevant by Lance Thomas.  Plus, Clem’s Son had more turnovers than made field goals, which is the kind of thing that can happen when the Blue Devils play defense.  Now, the Clemson press, which has given Coach K fits for several seasons now, didn’t make it on the team plane and had to drive to Durham, arriving after halftime.  Once that happened, Duke only outscored the Tiggers by three in Chapter Two of the game.  This kind of thing is a mystery to anyone who doesn’t know that Purr-nell, while adept at convincing fairly talented purveyors of basketball talent to spend three or four years of their lives in the sticks, also manages to make enough game-time questionable decisions to qualify him to manage a Senate campaign in Massachusetts.  I don’t think he will repeat the mistake.

Since then, Olive Oil’s Orange Orb Operators have taken apart worthless Bee See, and somehow didn’t blow it while hosting the Hoots, winning by 19.  (I’ll pause for a moment while someone brings the smelling salts to revive you.)  Of course, THEY beat the Woofpack in Raleigh, so it is possible to do that, before dropping a close one to a bunch of bees in Atlanta.  No shame in that.

Look, we just recently ran the numbers on these guys, and there’s no point in re-doing with only four more games under their belts.  This is a tough one.  Traditionally, playing Duke after they’ve lost has not been fun for the opposition.  However, that’s uuuuuuusallllly when the Devils are playing host.  Then there is the extra dynamic that the Clampetts were thoroughly embarrassed in their last meeting with our favorite team.  Oh, and did I mention this is one of those games that requires boarding passes and checked luggage?  How’s that been going this year?

If Oli was paying attention, he noticed that his press worked pretty well in the final 20 minutes in Cameron, and that Sid’s half-assed one worked even better during a recent evening in Raleigh.  Expect to see a lot of that today, and, with ESPN Gameday in the house, Littlejohn to be roaring even more than usual.  Not to mention, Singler and Scheyer have already hit the wall, I think, as Jon is starting to make some really bad decisions with the ball.  If the team can clamp down on defense, the Plumlees control the inside and the outside shooting picks up, this could be an enjoyable experience.  If, however, Duke pulls this routine as they have all season, this will be one to delete from the DVR just after the teams shake hands.

Clemson 77, Duke 70. 


BOSTON COLLEGE (11-8, 2-3) @ VIRGINIA TECH (14-3, 1-2)

This is a must-win for the Bald Bastard of Blacksburg.  But don’t worry!  Now is usually the point in the season when he realizes that his job is on the line, and does . . . whatever it is he does to make sure that his team performs well enough to save his sorry behind for another annoying, mediocre season.

Virginia Tech 70, Boston College 62.

This month has been rough for Greengoon, as his squad dropped games in Chapel Hill and Lower Alabama.  “The January … unkiiiiiiinnnnd!”  But, never fear, the worthless Pigeons from Boston are coming, plus it’s HokieBird Snow Globe day at Cassell.

Virginia Tech 72, Boston College 60.


VIRGINIA (12-4, 3-0) @ WAKE FOREST (13-4, 3-2)

This is probably the end of the honeymoon for Tony Bennett.  First, he and his players don’t have a style that lends itself to coping with the bloodthirsty tactics employed by Gaudio and hired hitmen McFarland and Woods.  Second, I think Wake will probably find a way to defend Landesberg with Lando Dynamite Williams (you knew that was his real name, right?), and without a big game from Sylven, Virginia won’t be able to win on the road.

Wake
Forest 77, Virginia 70.

Who knew that if the Athletic Department in Charlottesville went and hired an honest-to-God head coach with credentials and experience, they could win some games?  Are they due for a loss? Maybe, but the Evil Ministers are probably too happy with their non-pants-wetting experience in Chappah Heeeelll the other day to put together two in a row.

Virginia 82, Wake Forest 75.


NORTH CAROLINA STATE (13-6, 2-3) @ MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK (12-5, 2-1)

This is the part where you hope, as a Duke fan (note - - not a Krzyzewski fan, but a Duke fan; see how that works?) that NCSU will follow up its huge performance against the Blue Devils by clamming up the Sultans of Sweat at the Cable Box.  Next will be the part where, in the event, NCSU reverts to the bunch of stiffs surrounding two good players (Smith and Wood) that they actually are, and Sweaty’s Squadron wins the game by 10-15 points.  Hey, that win over Longwood really got a rise out of the Twerps, who can move to 3-1 with their presumed cinch win here. 

Maryland, College Park 80, North Carolina State 68.

I will flat out say there is no way Lid Slow can take advantage of the momentum his team should have after taking care of business against a team that inspired the creations of this website.  Meanwhile, the Moist Maniacal Manager took a breather last time out with four hours of Longwood.  Eh, in the meantime, enjoy this strange photo on the main Maryland Men’s Basketball webpage (is he going to hurl, or what?).

Maryland, College Park 82, North Carolina State 70.


#19 GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (14-4, 3-2) @ FLORIDA STATE (14-4, 2-2)

Florida State is really giving Boston College a battle for the title of ACC Doormat - - with a serious challenge from Miami thrown in to boot, since Miami is now responsible for fully 100% of BeeCee’s two ACC wins, and stands at 1-4.  And sure, Listless Len is 2-2, but it’s a pretty light 2-2, with a fluke win over the BugThugs back in December and an easy home win over the visiting Greenbergoons to their credit.  So now we’re asking the Noids to complete a sweep of the team that appears at the moment to be the odds-on favorite to win the regular season championship?      

Georgia Institute of Technology 80, Florida State 72.

Hey, these teams have already met, back before the holidays, while the Senate was still debating healthcare reform and staff was in what they call “wrapping the presents in the Hart Building” mode.  The final score, in favor of the Seminoles, was 66-59, despite both teams getting an extra five minutes of action.  However, since then, the Bugs have been playing better ball.

Georgia
Institute of Technology 75, Florida State 71.


Last (Two) Edition(s)
:
Matt 3-2
duhomme 2-3
Guests 0-0

Season:
Matt 25-12
duhomme 24-13
Guests 0-0

 

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Posted by: duhomme Date: 1/26/2010 4:31:58 PM  
sanfran, that's probably a good idea. it would reflect not only minutes played but how much is being produced while on the floor. it's bad enough that the backcourt is playing so much. worse if the other two players (at any given time) aren't part of the offense.


Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/26/2010 11:23:32 AM  
J, compelling analysis. To oversummarize, too few effective players and Duke can be shut down by talented teams that know they have to key on one guy and hassle another? Not sure where VCU fits into that picture, but I do get your point.

blueflame, K's comments regarding in shape are in line with J's though K has yet to address the "effective player" trap J refers to (scary - bloggers I don't know seem to have a better handle on this team than its coach).

I may have to rethink meaningful stats. Perhaps effective players plus % points scored by effective players who are not Three S's? Thoughts from the site owners please?



Posted by: blueflame Date: 1/25/2010 9:21:26 PM  
Coach K responded to the issue of the 3 S's logging so many minutes after the Klempson game. His take? They are in excellent shape. They could easily have played 20 more minutes. I feel much better now about the second half of the season and a-n-y player fatigue.


Posted by: Josh Date: 1/25/2010 12:22:40 PM  
Did anyone else happen to catch the graphic flashed early in the game regarding Duke's performance in true road games this year? Maybe K doesn't read the site, Matt, but perhaps someone at ESPN does!


Posted by: J Date: 1/24/2010 9:23:20 PM  
Hah! a lot of pressure to provide the calming words, here. I don't think my words are all that calming, though, to be honest. I'm just as concerned with having a larger rotation as you guys are, I just think that cumulative fatigue only applies if you limit the time frame. Playing 38 minutes last night will have as much effect on Scheyer as playing zero minutes would have on him by the time March rolls around. It would make basically no difference in his ability to perform at a high level during a game even five days later as the body has plenty of time to recover from an endurance standpoint. His level of recovery would not likely be much better even if he was limited to, say, 33 minutes for that one game. In fact, if all you do as an 18-22 year old is play 40 minutes of basketball, even at the division one level, twice per week, you'll be out of shape because you're not doing enough cardio than someone who plays basketball and does some sort of weight/cardio training in addition to the games.

This question is what do the guys do during that time between games? Two years ago K said that some of the guys were gassed during the tourney because practices are so tough that it wore guys out in between games. K demands such a large workload both mentally and physically from the boys. I think practices/training between games has more effect on cumulative fatigue than actual game minutes.

Our last final four team had a seven man rotation but certainly didn't lose because players weren't fresh enough for UCONN. A combination of some questionable coaching decisions regarding stall ball, some horrid refing, and some admittedly great play from Okafor put the huskies on top. The difference between 2004 (and you can add 2001 to this list, too) and most of the other seasons is that those final four teams had at least four legit threats to score in multiple ways and from multiple places, easing the mental and physical pressure on any one player. Shelden could get it done inside (with some significant help from Shav, even if his career was disappointing). Deng was the best hybrid forward in the college game. Ewing and Redick could score from outside. Duhon could manage the game and set everyone up. Dockery provided defensive depth off the bench. The team had ways of getting easy buckets so that not every possession was a strain.

The past couple of years have not seen that combination of scoring variety in the rotation. That means that in games where the other team is allowed to be physical on defense and we're cold from outside, we get frustrated and have to work ridiculously hard on every possession to score. Our guys get tired in that game from the work and the mental exhaustion.

I remember in 2006 how happy I was when we demolished George Washington in the second round so that Redick and Shelden would be fresh and ready to go at it against LSU. Some of our guys logged a large number of minutes, but it was an easy, non-physical win and everyone shot well and played great. Turns out, nothing would have had that team ready to beat LSU because they had the type of team that could eliminate JJ on offense and literally make him work harder than he had ever worked for his points, which took its toll as the game wore on. Shelden played well, but we had literally nobody else to take the physical and mental pressure off of JJ to score. In past years, we've had nothing but steals and fast break points to rely on for easy baskets and take the pressure off of our jump shooters. My worry is that we'll face a team in the tourney, they will key in on Jon, match up well with Singler, force those guys into bad shooting nights and wear us out because we have no one else to relieve the pressure. How many minutes Jon and Singler played last night will make no difference, then. How ready Dawkins, Mason, or Miles is to step up and put some points on the board and make things easier for our other guys will make a HUGE difference.

So, to summarize a rather lengthy post, I pretty much agree with you guys that we won't win with a short rotation because we don't have enough diversity on offense to score and some team will wear down two of our big three, leaving us with no way to get the so important easy buckets. We'll need Dre to knock down threes in a game like that or Mason to create a few points on his own. We'll need Miles to consistently get enough put backs and garbage buckets so that no matter how much our big three are struggling, we have enough firepower to stay in the game.



Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/24/2010 8:05:49 PM  
T. Randall (with apologies to all others, yours is the coolest name on this site)... too true on 6 effective players... I am even off the hook as I "personally guaranteed" (let's not get into what payoff would have been) a loss with 7 effective players. I NEVER considered the bold strategy of going with 6 instead! What a concept, K! You refuse to be pigeon-holed by us dumb bloggers.

That said, and in agreement with Matt, we all need (desperately) for J to make us feel better about why we can stop worrying about cumulative fatigue, as it just plain seems to be K's way (Matt's use of "year after year after year after..." encapsulates it perfectly), leading to such predictably disastrous results that a recent conversation with a UNC-CH friend (yes, friendship is possible, usually when they actually have a degree from their school of choice!), the discussion regarding UNC-CH's recent woes included from him "well thank god Duke keeps playing 7 guys, they'll be done soon enough again."

So, where we stand, pending J's "but of course, I should have thought of that" calming words:
1/23/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 40/40/37. Effective number of players - 6 @Clemson
1/20/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 40/39/40. Effective number of players - 7 @NCSU
1/17/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 37/36/38. Effective number of players - 7 Wake Forest
1/13/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 31/36/34. Effective number of players - 8+ Boston College

Ah, remember those halcyon BC days! We were so much younger, and fresher, then!



Posted by: Matt Date: 1/24/2010 6:05:14 PM  
An issue I would just as soon stop thinking about, that is. :)


Posted by: Matt Date: 1/24/2010 6:03:59 PM  
Hmmm. I'm naturally thrilled with - - and frankly stunned by - - the win. But I am totally puzzled as to how it happened, beyond simply acknowledging that the defense was amazing. Clemson was to some extent exposed as a one-man team.

As TRT and Serious G note, the depth issue was nooooooooooooooot exactly addressed. Heh. I will say that the game was surprisingly quite slow-moving and didn't have that frantic feel that usually leads to tired Blue Devil legs late in games.

J - - just curious why you're not worried about cumulative fatigue? I'm honestly hoping you can provide a strong answer, because it's something that I would just as soon stop thinking about the issue myself. :)

Finally, as to Andre, I'll offer the same explanation that I did when he didn't show up much against Clemson the first time, lo, those halcyon 21 days ago. Almost all of Clemson's in-rotation players, outside of the point guard duo of Stitt/Young, are in the 6-5, 6-6 range. Add in the dinged-up ankle, and I think this just wasn't his turn. I SURE WAS GLAD to see Kelly utilized in key situations, though - - his three minutes felt like more.



Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 1/24/2010 11:40:45 AM  
Hey Matt, I guess K must have read your article and taken your words to heart. No more seven man rotation!

It's now a six man rotation. Jesus Effing Christ.



Posted by: J Date: 1/24/2010 1:32:12 AM  
Great win tonight. We needed it and the team delivered. The return to defensive principles reminded me of our victory against the UConvicts earlier this year. Our half court offense worked really well and would work way better if Scheyer could just get some more of his shots to stay down. A little worried about Dre, though. Granted, his lack of ball handling ability is a concern while attempting to break a press. This was a defensive battle and defense is not Dre's cup of tea. That being said, we gotta get that guy going again . . . preferably before a mid February slump forces a serious shakeup in the lineup ala EWill last year. I'm honestly not as worried about cumulative fatigue based on cumulative minutes as many who post here. I AM worried about in game fatigue, however. Some days any given player may just not have quite as much energy, no matter how well conditioned they are. Some days they'll be particularly tired mentally or physically from having to play extra defense against a really tough opponent. Some days they'll get frustrated because their shots aren't going down when they know they should. This has already happened to all of our big three multiple times this year. It will happen again in a game in March and we'll need one of Miles, Mason, and Dre to step up.


Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/23/2010 11:19:39 PM  
Well, they certainly did not address the depth issue tonight. Howver, a true blue quality road win against a hostile crowd. Lance & Nolan were brilliant tonight.

Where do we go from this?



Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/23/2010 4:16:37 PM  
All good points gents. I would suggest that the reason the Plumlees did not get a lot of time against NCST was largely because neither could guard a fire hydrant that particular night. It was ridiculous for state's front line to be so productive against us. Just to play devils advocate, perhaps K was sending them a message (ie. bring it every night or sit your butts down, regardless or whether the team wins or loses).


Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/23/2010 2:04:20 PM  
Well, what can I say that Matt hasn't already ranted about?

1/20/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 40/39/40. Effective number of players - 7 @NCSU
1/17/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 37/36/38. Effective number of players - 7 Wake Forest
1/13/10 Sng/Schey/Smth- 31/36/34. Effective number of players - 8+ Boston College
1/09/10 Sng/Schey/Smth - 38/39/33. Effective number of players - 7 Georgia Tech

Such fond memories of the BC game on the "recent(ish)" list as a reminder that there was a game where things were once moving in the right direction.

My twelve year old (K, for god's sake he's a 12-yr old!) called me over the other day to show me Duke's rankings by week over the last 10 years (he used either the CBS or ESPN poll summaries) and Duke appears to be a bit ahead of schedule in the anticipated fade category, while not having peaked quite as high as usual this time of year. And this for a team that had "really, really good" written all over it at the beginning of the season.

"...hit the wall" I believe duhomme said regarding Shey/Sng? Check. NCSU driving around Duke's non-moving objects, primarily due to fatigue? Check. I fear this is game/set/match for what should have been a deep (pun not intended) run this year.

I would happily take a loss today with an 8+ or 9 effective players, as at this point I believe we are in "keep Ryan Kelley" mode and it is so difficult to consider yet another transfer. Given that if we go 7 effective players I will personally guarantee a loss anyways... what on earth does this coach have to lose? Definition of insanity, anyone?




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