TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIV, Episode 22
February 20, 2011
THE *REALLY* SECRET LIFE OF BEES EDITION
DID YOU CALL THE EXTERMINATOR? EDITION
Matt’s comments in blue.
Scennis Dott’s comments in white.
GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (11-14, 3-8) @ #5 DUKE (24-2, 11-1)
Well, sorry I’ve been a little out of touch, but listen, in the deathless words of Hamlet, as related by the Bard, if you didn’t pay too much attention to that Virginia game on Wednesday (as I apologetically didn’t), “thy state is the more gracious.” I mean, sure, Duke won, and it was another double-digit road win, and I don’t want to minimize that in any way. Awesome job, guys. Tough road environment, of course Swoffie’s Scheduling Minions backloaded our slate with tons of away games down the stretch, and we still effectively blew the Hos out of Led Zeppelin’s Bass Player Arena, once you adjust for what constitutes a blowout in a game with eight total field goals by both teams. But besides that, and Nolan’s continuing campaign to overcome the national media’s possible desire to give the NPOY awards to Fredette instead of a Duke kid, even a Duke kid who’s done more than any Duke kid since Shane Battier to erode the static, knee-jerk “Duke hatred” among people who aren’t independent thinkers (like Doug Gottlieb), this was a game you could skip. Just like Kyle Singler. He enjoyed this one back in Durham with a nice bowl of popcorn, and hopefully, so did you.
So that was the season sweep of Virginia - - did it resonate with you about as much as it resonated with me? Honestly, is the ACC just the worst conference this season, well, relative to previous ACC seasons?
Bonus Historical Perspective on Why the ACC Is So Bad:
Let’s do this like one of those "The Top ___ Reasons Why" lists that Yahoo or Entertainment Weekly puts together and churns out twelve to fifteen times a week, because they’re sure smarter and better than I am in the area of generating web content quickly (who isn’t):
1) Swofford Ruined the Conference
Yes, in his zest to make the ACC the equal of the SEC in football (dies laughing), Swoffie has seriously harmed the ACC’s true raison d’ętre, namely, basketball, by subordinating it to his utterly failed goal of elevating ACC football. We all know this already, but it’s worth repeating. Heckuva job, Johnnie!
2) Terrible Coaches
Len Hamilton, Sid Lowe, and Paul Hewitt have no business being coaches at your local rec league, let alone in what used to be a premier basketball conference. And then, as I’ve mentioned before, we just got rid of Dave Lameao, The Nutcracker, and Dino Goonio in the last couple of seasons. It’s unbelievable, really, how terrible the ACC coaches are and have been as a group, top to bottom. Seth Greenberg? Call for you on Line 4. Outside of our own coach, Roy Williams (who can recruit but can’t run a game) and Sweaty (who can run a game but can’t recruit at a high level), the only good coach in the ACC, by a long shot, is Frank Haith. I think Frank could be really good if Shalala and Hocutt give him time. And sure, Bennett and Donahue (about each of whom it's too early to tell) need the same thing - - time. (Buzzkillick is, of course, already toast at Wake.)
3) A Bunch of Studs Left, And It Wasn’t Anyone’s Fault
Sean Singletary, Tyrese Rice, Toney Douglas, and Jack McClinton all left the conference at about the same time, and while their departures weren’t anyone’s fault, it wasn’t as though there was anyone available to replace them immediately, because they were all really, really good and, to a large extent, were recruiting or transfer flukes. All of their teams are still recovering from their exits.
4) A Bunch of Purported Studs Left, And It *Was* Someone’s Fault
There’s a very valid scapegoat for the ridiculous exodus of all that talent at Wake Forest, and I’m sure you know who that is. And then there’s - - lookee here - - Georgia Tech. What sort of circus is Hewitt “running” down there? Yeesh. Let’s find out.
Some Historical Perspective and Matt’s Usual I Detest Hewitt Rant:
I’m not sure if I’ve ever linked you folks to Paul Hewitt’s contract. I don’t expect any of you to read this entire thing, but if you’ve never seen it before and have the time and inclination, it’s awesome. Any GIT fan hearing about it - - and in case you weren’t aware, every GIT fan, to the extent that they’re not in witness protection, wants Hewitt fired - - just gets madder and madder. In essence, as you’ll note on Page 29 of the contract, if the Institute terminates Hewitt without cause (and no, they can’t say that he’s an awful coach and call it “cause” for termination under strict interpretation of the contract, although if I knew an employment lawyer, I’d sure suggest giving it a shot, ERRR, I mean, I’m sure that some employment lawyer out there somewhere would so advise them) - - they have to pay him his annual salary (apparently 1.375 MM) for six more years. (You have to read the rollover provisions at the beginning of the contract, Page 3, to know that the original six-year term of the deal keeps rolling over, such that there's always six years left on the deal, at any time). If he gets another job, their obligation is probably cut off, but if not, they keep paying him and paying him AND paying him. This is collectively what’s called an “evergreen clause,” and if you’re wondering why former GIT athletics director Dave Braine (who clearly wasn’t using his) handed this out, I think you’re barking up the right tree with your questions. I can only imagine how hot Braineless’ successor, Dan Radakovich, gets under his awesome hair helmet about this deal.
So basically, Hewitt remains in place. GIT fans hate it. Hewitt laughs all the way to the bank and doesn’t really even try anymore. And the rest of the ACC - - well, they probably don’t complain, lest Hewitt depart and be replaced by a real coach. Unless you’re like me, and believe that good coaches would help the conference as a whole and thus assist Duke in Duke’s goal, which is winning national titles.
I think that Georgia Tech is finally going to have to fire Hewitt after this season. Under the ridiculous terms of that contract, they have to pay him forever whenever they do can him, so I think they’re going to conclude, finally, that it might as well be now. To the extent that the State of Georgia’s funds are implicated in this decision, I doubt that anyone’s going to be too happy about it in the halls of government in Atlanta, but . . . it has to be done.
So How Good or Bad Is the Georgia Institute of Technology This Season?
Oh, are you kidding? They’re awful. Just awful. If you can explain why they have three conference wins, let me know, because I can’t. While you’re at it, send those explanations to Horseface, who’s still trying to dope out how his team, the winner of this year’s Jay Bilas National Championship Trophy (handed out each season in February to the team most closely resembling North Carolina-Chapel Hill), lost to the BugThugs, and Goonberg, whose squad did the same. Although Surly Seth ought to get by this point that he’s just incompetent. Georgia Tech’s third ACC win came over Wake, which requires no further discussion.
Now, in their OTHER eight ACC games, the Jerkets have been outpointed by a margin of 11.0 ppg. You know, as I type that, it’s one of those statistics that probably doesn’t illustrate my elusive point as well as I might have hoped, but that’s an “occupational” hazard, and besides, not too many ACC teams have been blowing one another out, so losing eight ACC games by an average of 11 points each (did I spoil you that they lost all eight of those?) is pretty bad. I hope you’re with me on that.
Their Last Game?
Pretty funny - - Hewitt used that time-honored trick to pump up the record of an anticipated bad team. He played a scrub OOC squad (i.e., a team worse than this one, and I’m sure finding one wasn’t too easy). And Chattanooga (to whom I’m being unfair - - they’re not actually bad) gave the Bees a pretty good test before falling by nine in Atlanta. The ACC’s dirtiest player, Shumpster the Dumpster, and Faux Glen Rice combined to score 46 of GIT’s 62 points, a robust percentage of 74.2%. As we’ll see in a very short moment, this is not surprising.
Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Lance Storrs, 6-5 SR WG - - yep! This guy is starting for an ACC team. GIT’s own game notes admit that he is pouring in 1.2 ppg and gathering 0.9 rpg in ACC games
Daniel Miller, 6-11 FR C - - dude, somebody has to go get a board here and there. I’m sure Hewitt wanted to play five guards, but Hair Helmet or somebody advised him against it. “Not so fast, Evergreen,” intoned Radakovich in my mind, where he is not a boring bureaucrat with a multimillion dollar problem he can't easily solve. Miller is a competent rebounder and shotblocker, but he’s a freshman, and he’s only scoring 4.4 ppg in the post on 48.5% FG and 41.7% FT
Moe Miller, 6-2 SR SG - - can’t shoot from the floor and isn’t a good defender, and has had a rubber-band career in terms of consistency, but he does give Spewitt two point guards on the floor and shoots an even 90.0% from the stripe
Glen Rice, Jr., 6-5 SO WG/SG - - okay, now we get to the real players (two in all). I called him Faux Glen Rice above, but actually, this kid is pretty good in his own right. He Bootsied the Canes with 28 on February 3, and nearly just broke that with 27 in GIT’s most recent game against the Mocs. Don’t let this get around, but he has to be guarded closely
Iman Shumpert, 6-5 JR PG - - ugh. This filthy-balling punk is one of my least favorite players in the conference (can you tell?), but he can certainly put up the points, particularly since no one else but Rice is interfering with his rock-hogging tendencies. He’s having one of those years putting up “hollow numbers” - - 17.4 ppg, which is far above his career averages of 10.6 ppg (freshman year) and 10.0 ppg (sophomore year), but that’s on .409/.807/.270 shooting. The FG% is actually up very slightly from years past, and the FT% is way up, but the 3PFG% has dived, and his career field goal percentages were already pretty awful, as you can guess since 40.9% this season is an improvement. There's just no one else to score other than one other guy, so he does a lot of it. Handles the ball fine and is a despicable, dirty defender who gets media props for being “aggressive” and “scrappy”
Oh, okay. Now, Moe Miller can’t stay on the floor for more than about 20-22 minutes, and Daniel Miller (what is with all the Millers, Paul?) is no stamina hound either, so someone has to come in to “relieve” these guys and the indomitable Storrs. Also, Hewitt is not really a “play a dude 40 minutes” kind of coach, and never has been (remember his bizarre handling of Lawal’s PT?), so even Rice and Dumpert sit down sometimes. Let’s make this fast:
Mfon Udofia, 6-2 SO PG - - can’t shoot, fouls about as much as Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, can’t defend, can’t handle - - but other than that, Moo-fon is a real specimen
Brian Oliver, 6-6 SO SF - - you saw how DeQuan Jones shockingly came back without any announcement against us a week ago. It’s less likely that Oliver will suddenly materialize after missing three games with a broken left thumb, but don’t count it out, as ACC coaches love to pull this kind of stuff
Jason Morris, 6-5 FR WG - - will be one of those guys in three years, as a senior, who gets minutes and shoots and defends well, and the announcers will say “you know, he was actually recruited by Paul Hewitt, before _______ took over”
Kammeon Holsey, 6-8 FR PF - - great name; awful game
Nate Hicks, 6-10 FR C - - Panamacitostiff, as opposed to a Panamastiff; like Holsey, another reed (218 pounds; Holsey is supposedly 226 but was 209 a year ago, so I don’t buy his supposed new poundage) with no post game
Nick Forehead, 6-3 JR SG - - goes by the nom de fume of “Nick Foreman,” and is averaging 0.4 ppg
Most Likely to Bootsy:
Oh, look. Given the fact that most of these guys have career highs lower than Robert John Frasor, it could be anybody. Uhhhhh . . . [dartboard sounds] . . . actually, most of these guys have popped into double digits once or twice, so - - Foreman (10 points required)
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Likely Gameplan:
Who cares? Do you? I really don’t. Duke should paste these clowns. If I had to guess, I’d say defend Nolan Smith and give the ball to Rice and Shumpy for shot after shot after shot. Deep, isn’t it?
So, Are We Playing for #1? Department:
Of course, this is the sort of thing that Coach K hates, namely when fans speculate on meaningless matters, and some tightly-wound posters on message boards don’t like it either, but I think the question is worth asking. So, IF we beat the BugThugs (note: THIS MUST HAPPEN FIRST, DUKE), all four teams in front of us in the poll (remember, I ignore the fake poll and just use the AP survey, although I think they’re pretty much identical right now) lost, and Kansas and Texas lost pretty unimpressively. Pitt can’t possibly stay ahead of Duke. Maybe Ohio State will, just because their loss was against a good team, Purdue, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette. I think, WITH A WIN HERE, that Duke will go to #2 no matter what, and maybe we’ll sneak into the top spot, which would be cool. Of course, being #1 for next Saturday’s Personal Super Bowl Against Duke game, already being drawn up by VPI, would only give those Hokum creeps added incentive, not that they’ll need it. Anyway, one interesting thing is that Duke’s RPI got a nice boost out of this, since it was Kansas State that beat Kansas and St. John’s that beat Pitt. Nice to have otherwise worthless St. John’s do something *for* us for a change.
Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about the Georgia Institute of Technology:
- Only 13 teams in Division I shoot the three worse than these guys, who are at 29.0% from behind l’arc de bonus. Which doesn’t mean that they won’t drain five out of nine from distance in the first half or something
- Meanwhile, only 24 teams in Division I allow their opponents to shoot better from three-point land (GIT foes are burying 38.1% of their threes). Gee, I wonder why these guys are 11-14? Actually, wait a minute, I do so wonder, in the sense that they should be more like 4-21
- There are only three teams in the country that allow their opponents to get fewer steals (Alabama, Oregon State, and Duquesne), so Shumpert, Miller, and Moooofon do indeed shepherd the rock fairly well. I guess if you put three point guards on the floor, that's just the key to everything
Two or Three Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- The BugThugs somehow defeated Duke’s 2004 edition at Cameron (I remember that nauseating game, unfortunately); other than that, their last win in Durham was in 1996. Duke has owned the Jerkets in Cameron since the Ambercoats joined the league, going 25-5 against them in the friendly confines.
- Spewitt is 3-18 against Duke.
- Duke has won five in a row, all in the ACC, and if you throw out the OOC win over Chattanooga, GIT has lost five in a row. Or, say rather that they’ve lost five in a row in the ACC; works either way.
Nolan’s in a zone; Curry’s performance a week ago, taking full control of the team when Nolan had to go the locker room with an eye injury, is still amazing to me; and Dawkins is showing some signs of life. The Trees are playing very well, particularly on defense, and Kelly seems to have found his shooting touch again (hey, he had 19.6% of Duke’s points against Virginia!). The problem is Kyle Singler, who had arguably his worst game in a Duke uniform against Youuuuuuuuveeay on Wednesday. Well, you’ve heard this before, but this time I really mean it - - THIS TEAM HAS NO ONE WHO CAN GUARD KYLE SINGLER. Absolutely no one. I mean, not a soul. So if Kyle would like to break out, this is a good game for it. Last season, Kyle only scored nine points against GIT in Atlanta, but he enjoyed playing them again twice more, laying 30 on them in Durham for the Bootsy, and then coming back with 20 in the ACC title game, despite a terrible day shooting from the floor. And back then, in that bygone epoch eleven months ago, they had guys who could at least theoretically defend him. Come on, Kyle - - we’re pulling for you.
And Speaking of Pulling for Kyle Department:
Reader Nancy was nice enough to write to me and point out that we should be voting for Kyle for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award, and she’s right. That was the link to go cast your vote. Now, I have a lot of problems with that award - - where’s Nolan, for example? And Tyrel Reed out in front over Fredette and Singler like that? Really? But we should all give Kyle our support. Please go there and vote, and do so once a day hereafter, if you wouldn’t mind. I guess Duke could only submit one name, and that’s why Nolan isn’t on there. I’m sure he’s cool with it. By the way, Al White and I saw Cameron Jones of Northern Arizona, one of the other nominees, play very recently, and he’s an impressive clutch player. Thanks, Nancy, for the suggestion!
Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
FSN - - Brandroid, Gminski, and Jenn Hildreth. They were very good as a team last Sunday; Tim had a few bombastic moments but was mostly fine. The G-Man was great as usual, and Hildreth is so head and shoulders above any of ESPN’s sideline reporters (other than Erin Andrews) that it’s shake-your-head amazing. Hildreth is better than Andrews, too, but it’s closer. In any event, Ms. Hildreth actually adds to the broadcast, which is pretty rare for a sideline reporter, particularly in this era we’re in, regrettably dominated by the Worldwide Trailer.
Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
Well, listen, Shumpert is one of those disgusting players who just can’t be dealt with on a reasonable level - - exactly the kind of guy who will decide that he has some undefined personal grudge against Duke and authors a career game in Cameron, just to do it. Add in Rice’s shooting ability, and these guys could certainly keep it close. And they did beat those fantastic Tools in Atlanta - - which, of course, is because those fantastic Tools weren’t then and still aren’t in any sense fantastic. But when you start to think about matchups, the stiffs that surround Shumpy and Rice, and Hewitt’s cluelessness, and the three-point shooting stats, and Duke’s amazing defense against Virginia, you start to realize that Duke is going to have to provide a massive amount of cooperation for GIT to win this game. I don’t think that’s in the cards.
The Missing Link(s):
The Georgia Institute’s roster.
The Georgia Institute’s stats.
The Georgia Institute’s state-issued propaganda.
And now, try this for something more palatable and refreshing.
Duke 84, Georgia Institute of Technology 64.
Other ACC Action: