TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIV, Episode 3
November 19, 2010
TOOTHPASTE TUNEUP EDITION
Matt’s comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.
COLGATE (0-2, 0-0 Patriot) @ #1 DUKE (2-0, 0-0)
Duke squeezes in - - get it? Get it? - - a mostly unnecessary matchup against Colgate before heading off to Kansas City to proceed with the CBE Classic, and the Raiders may not be ready for this one, having dropped both of their contests so far this young season. Colgate returns just two starters from last year’s 10-19, 6-8 sixth-place Patriot League entrant, and thus far, the on-court results have been unpromising: a 62-60 drop to Binghamton at home last Saturday, followed by a 69-66 road setback in Cambria County, Pennsylvania against St. Francis, the patron saint of oral hygiene. Ian Hummer, take note.
The Blue Devils’ game against Miami-Ohhhhhh! Was interesting, mostly because we got to see what some of our newcomers can do. There won’t be many games this season when Singler and Smith score as little as 18 points in 53 minutes - - frankly, there probably won’t be too many games when the two combine for that level of PT, either. Kyle made more shots in any twenty seconds of his awesome “Buckets” video than he did in this entire game, and Kyrie Inrving’s early foul trouble made for some weird on-court lineups. Seth Curry to the rescue! Continuing his mountain-climbing, roadblock-filled transition to playing in an ACC lineup, a figment of Len Smellmore’s fertile anti-Duke imagination, Curry tallied 17 points in 22 minutes on just seven shots, went six-for-six from the charity chalk, buried three of the four triples he attempted, and otherwise played pretty much perfect basketball. Sure, sure, I know - - it’s not ACC competition yet. But color me impressed with this kid. Must be in his genes, or something. Len’s already done four more Duke games since we beat Miami, despite the Blue Devils not having played during that span, so we’ll defer to his corncob-via-chainlink-fence-attacking wisdom. Meanwhile, Irving operated at will late in the first half and early in the second to post 13 points on four shots (a nifty PPS of 3.25), Nolan stuffed the sheet with 10 points, five caroms, seven assists (!) and two steals, Mason Plumlee had a double-double (10 points, 14 bounds) in 24 minutes, Ryan Kelly continued to earn court-time with seven points on two nice inside buckets and a three in 16 minutes, and Andre Dawkins played strong defense and shot well from the arc and the line. Only Singler, who wasn’t really needed here, and Miles Plumlee struggled at all, and Josh Hairston needs to get a little finesse in his midrange game and on defense, but I’m happy to SEE midrange jumpers and defense from the kid. Tyler Thornton, by the way, turned in another excellent defensive effort. The RedHawks never had a chance, and rang up the third-fewest points ever registered by a Duke opponent under Mike Krzyzewski.
Yeah, Duke didn’t score 100 or anything, but that’s because K visibly called off the dogs with about eight minutes to go. No problem; the Blue Devils are completely cruising so far.
Now, Krzyzewski has earned a respite from virtually all criticism with his amazing coaching job last season, not to mention his recent impressive successes on the recruiting trail, but the man and I are just not going to agree on scheduling technique anytime soon - - this season’s slate is already, quite honestly, pretty much of a disaster. (However, it also promises to be mostly irrelevant by season’s end.) While our next opponent after this game, Marquette, looks very tough early, Kansas State has struggled with both James Madison and Presbyterian (but not VPI, interestingly), and Gonzaga lost to San Diego State and suffered an injury to Elias Harris that may cost him a few games. Michigan State, sure - - tough game. But the luster is already fading from that Butler matchup, the Oregon and St. John’s games are bad jokes, and Temple won’t be in the Top 25 when we finally play them in February. Yikes; it’s hard to believe that K thought this would be a strong schedule. Again, though, it probably doesn’t much matter, as 16 games in the ACC plus the ACC Tournament will probably be all the fine-tuning this team, which has the potential to be devastating, needs. Just please don’t try to tell me that this is a tough OOC schedule; it’s not. Slightly above average in difficulty at the very best.
One compensatory factor has been the interesting timing demands placed on the team thus far. Duke opened with two games in three days, and now plays Friday, leaves on Saturday for KC (a cool city in which to play, featuring a sparkling new arena), then plays on Monday and Tuesday. This, of course, is just a warmup act; I don’t expect the Cavity Creeps to keep it close. Federal, state, and Dukies.com laws and regulations require me to tell you that their most interesting players are 6-5 sanitation-geared junior Yaw Gwayu (you’re excused), leading the team with 19.0 ppg on 51.7% shooting and 5.0 rpg, Virginia transfer and 6-11 sophomore John Brandenburg (6.0 ppg. 3.5 rpg), 6-0 sophomore point Mitch Rolls (2.5 ppg, 2.5 apg), 6-1 junior Mike Venezia (11.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg), and anti-prostitution crusader Joe Hoban, a 6-1 senior (5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg). There’s even a British mystery villain from central casting (6-4 junior Sterling Melville) and a Chad Johnson who has not yet changed his name to the digits of his number in Spanish. (If any announcer doing this game calls him Chad Quatro, I will be duly impressed, but since we’re limited to ESPN3 with analysis from, I kid you not, Dino Gaudio, don’t hold your breath.) This variety is a 6-3 freshman from Westlake High in Atlanta, alma mater of uncontroversial football figures such as automatic weapons dealer Pacman Jones and FBI person of interest Cam Newton.
This one isn’t on the tube, but Duke - - don’t forget to brush.
Duke 90, Colgate 52.
One of the weird conundrums I experience at this time of the year is that the season has just started and I am totally pumped up. Both about Duke and writing for this website. Batteries are fully charged from taking seven months off and I am ready to just fill up this space with all kinds of insightful material and drilled-down analytics. But unfortunately …
Duke is playing teams like Colgate. Who have already lost to Binghamton and St. Francis.
Sigh. So I think I will go with something a bit different. In the first edition, Matt described the editions here as “a meal at a Chinese restaurant: light, insubstantial, goes down quickly, and you’re hungry for more (from a different site) in less than an hour. But that doesn’t mean that what we like to dub the ‘material’ doesn’t take forever to put together (our Chinese food metaphor and I must now part company, as I know nothing about the time required to prepare such delicacies) …”
I happened to be reading that on my phone (we don’t coordinate, really, I see his stuff when you do) in a public place and commenced giggling so hard mothers were drawing their children closer to them. Of course, the “Palin-O’Donnell in 2012” t-shirt didn’t help. Anyway, I thought that was so apt, I would continue his metaphor because, unfortunately for you, I do know how to prepare Chinese food.
It’s all about preparation. Chinese food as we know it is stir-fried. Once the wok is hot and ready and you start to cook, stopping will greatly affect the end result. There are a bunch of different ingredients, easily between eight and 15, that all have to be measured, chopped, julienned, diced, grated, sliced and on and on, then put in containers right next to the stove. In cooking terms, it’s called “mise en place.” If you know French, you can translate that directly, but it really amounts to “having your s**t together.” Like I said, many different items, vegetables, spices, herbs, meats, liquid, oils, which have been worked over to be in just the right shape to be used when it’s time to cook. That’s where the bulk of your time is spent.
Hey, guess what? I just completed Matt’s food metaphor, because that is exactly what it takes to write up an edition. For both team in any particular game, I have analyzed their season record-to-date, season stats, last game box score, roster and coaches. On the off chance I am writing about two teams that have already played once that season (happens from time to time, despite the ACC’s attempt to outlaw it), I have reviewed that box score and play-by-play info. That’s the prep part, the chopping, dicing, etc. Once I start to write, all those tabs are open in my browser in addition to any hand-written notes. That would be the mise en place. Now that we have that out of the way, you all can stop with those 40 to 50 emails a day saying, “How do you guys put this stuff together? Please post a ‘behind the scenes’ item.” Just joking. It’s fun to talk about cooking from time to time.
Do I really have to talk about the Cavity Fighter Club? Their only double-digit scorers are 6-5 and 6-1, which is not a good way to approach Duke’s supermajority of back-court defenders. They do feature the a computer language who took human form in Nick Pascale, but he averages 13 minutes a game and spends most of the time crashing the system he is on. And Sterling Melville, who is either a porn star or named after review of the 19th century author (combine those two references and you get a Moby Dick joke. Wow. Another edition I have to tell my mother not to read). Plus, Pat Moore, which is what you would tell someone if they weren’t patting enough.
Tell you what. I promise the following item took as much time, if not more, as trying to figure out who Toothy’s frontcourt depth will come from this season, but was a lot more fun. It is my version of a recent ESPN broadcast of a Duke game.
Duke 89, Colgate 54.
2009-2010 Duke National Championship!! Season:
Matt 96-47 (.671)
duhomme 94-49 (.657)
Guests 16-4 (.800)