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Date: 3/13/2011

Duke Basketball  
Posted By: Matt (very, very, very happy)

Handily Defeats Overrated Media Darlings
March 13, 2011 

Duke defeated North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 75-58, and won its third straight ACC Championship, and tenth ACC-T title of the last 13.  Why did this happen, and why is this interesting and important, other than the obvious?  Here are a few ideas: 

1)   Duke cemented its NCAA Tournament credentials

If Duke does not receive a #1 seed, I'm not sure that I understand the criteria required therefor.  With all due respect to Notre Dame (a very good team led by the more talented Handjob brother) and Pittsburgh (a very well-coached team that drains ever erg of energy and talent from its personnel), I believe that winning the ACC-T over The Greatest Team Ever Assembled (hang on), at least according to what I've been hearing in the media over the past week and even before that, provides a fairly convincing argument for a #1 seed, with clear top seeds Ohio State and Kansas, and one of the Big East teams.  I think that Big East team should be Notre Dame, because losing in your first game in your conference tournament, as Pittsburgh did, should disqualify you from a #1 seed.  Pitt's RPI is also #10, while Duke's is (IIRC) #3 or #4, depending on its adjustment after today's win.  

Duke should *clearly* be a #1 seed, if the RPI has any meaning.  I don't even think it's a matter for debate, and I don't care what the radio color commentator for St. Joseph's men's basketball (with no disrespect to the Hawks or their school) has to say about it.  We'll see what the Selectosubjects think.  

(2)   Duke can win even without its stars playing to their full potential, as long as the supporting cast gets involved.  

Nolan played an amazing game, particularly on defense (more on that in a moment), but he scored his 20 points on 18 shots, 12 of which he missed.  Similarly, Kyle scored 11 points on 14 shots, nine of which he missed, including five of his six three-point attempts.  None of this is to criticize Nolan or Kyle - - the two were probably tired, given that they were each playing their third near-40 minute game in three days and expended so much energy on AMAZING defensive efforts.  In fact, after watching the game and then consulting the box afterwards, I’m surprised by the shooting stats for Nolan, if not for Kyle, whose threes were mostly ill-advised, and who - - before anyone says it - - did not shoot 5-14 because he was being well-guarded by some overrated, overhyped person. 

The point is to praise the supporting cast, who did an outstanding job.  Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly each answered NCCH runs to cut the score margin to nine with beautiful three-pointers; Kelly’s was the dagger shot that broke Chapel Hill and its dejected fans.  Andre Dawkins hit three three-pointers that contributed to Duke’s first-half margin and played excellent defense on whomever he drew as an assignment.  The Plumlees defended well inside, hauled in a total of 15 rebounds, and scored a combined 15 points on 7-9 shooting.  Kelly also had three steals, three blocks, and three boards.  Not bad. 

Part of Nolan’s achievement in this game was handing out 10 assists in addition to his 20 points, meaning that he accounted for at least 40 of Duke’s points, and I believe the total is probably closer to 44; I think that he received assists on four triples (at least one of Dawkins’ and all three of Curry’s).  Not bad. ON EDIT - - I sold Nolan short here.  Everything I said was true, but he also assisted on Singler's lone triple AND the distance dagger shot from Kelly.  So, actually, he accounted for 46 of Duke's points, or all but 29 of them.  Uh, wow?   

If Duke’s non-Nolan/Kyle players can offer this kind of effort, the Blue Devils are very, very hard to stop, especially if the team supplies a strong defensive effort (again, just a sec) and passes the ball so well.  This was an absolute triumph of game management by Mike Krzyzewski and execution by the team.

(3)   Duke’s defense can be, and was in this instance, amazing

I’m sorry to sound like I’m singing the same song, but this edition of UNC-CH cannot win, repeat, cannot win against a team with comparable skill, or even less skill by a degree or two, unless they are able to score easy buckets from teeny tiny distances and draw fouls inside.  How else does anyone think that Miami (Florida) and Clemson were able to build huge leads on these fools?  From the very beginning of this game, Duke pushed Zeller and Phone Pole away from the basket, and The Messiah, who tallied a preposterous 40 points against a defense-free geographic region going under the catchy sobriquet of the Clemson Tigers, found himself actually guarded, and by an excellent defensive player, at that.  Wow!  Wonder what happened with that.  Lessee . . . 16 points, four of them on irreproducible circus shots, and three of them at the line, while missing nine of his 15 shots from the floor.  This left NCCH gaping around looking for three-point shooters that just aren’t there, and completely neutered Kendall Marshall, who is utterly unable to create off the dribble and depends 100% on the positioning of Greedo and Stick Figure down low in order to rack up the assists and the corresponding private-area-fondling from mediots.  Strickland?  Defended!  (And zeroed!)  McDonald?  Guarded!  Watts?  Watts?  Do we have a Watts?  We do not.  In fact, it was the Roid-neglected Knox who scored in the paint the most effectively on an efficiency basis, but luckily, the Encyclopedia Salesman can’t figure these things out on the fly.


Watch this game.  Duplicate.  It actually isn’t even that hard.  K.  Thx.  

Thanks, Coach K.  My faith is restored.

4)   But wait - - everyone, including many Duke message board posters who type as though they’re being held prisoner with a threat of deadly force by Toolfans if they don’t supply the demanded keystrokes, told me that NCCH was and is a great team!!!  I don’t get it! 

Neither do I.  They’re not even close to a great team.  Unlike most teams in college basketball, they certainly do have a 6-11 center with an unguardable hook shot IF HE GETS CLOSE ENOUGH and a 6-10 “power” forward who can jump.  Oh, and a 6-8 wing player who demands defensive effort.  That’s it!  No foul shooting (except Zeller), no three-point shooting, no real dribble drive threats out of the backcourt, and on the other side of the ball, really no defensive skills outside of Telephone Pole’s ability to block shots.  My suggestion to teams facing the Tools for the remainder of this season is to pretend that their jerseys say “Washington Generals” or “Florida Gators” (I wrote this before they laughably earned a #2 seed, which, in my view, makes my comment even more amusing than I intended) or “Maryland Terrapins” or something similarly nonthreatening.  That might help.  What might also help is the absence of any of the following persons from attendance at NCCH games in an “official” capacity.  See Figure 58. 

Figure 58.  Valuable Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Men for North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Karl Hess
Jamie Luckie
Brian Dorsey
Bryan Kersey
Tim Nestor
Les Jones
Roger Ayers
Mike Eades
Mike Kitts

Keep these guys away, and assign Ted Valentine, Eddie Hightower, or Gene Steratore or some other real referee to an NCCH game, and with a little defense, the Tools will be heading home very quickly.         

5)   I just realized that Duke would have authored a total blowout if the Blue Devils hadn’t shot 8-15 on free throws, and had been given a legitimate number of FTAs. 

An even more total blowout.  Yes; you’re right.

6)    Me again.  THANK YOU, DUKE.   From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.  I teared up at the end.  What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful result.  Last Saturday?  Don’t even remember it other than watching “Salt” (pretty enjoyable) on DVD with my great pal Al White.

7)   More later.  Congratulations, Duke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


View more articles from this category


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/18/2011 4:13:22 PM  
Irving is looking pretty good. And he is fitting right in with the offense/defense.

We've known for several days that he was likely to play, but I still started crying when he checked in for the first time. I did not think we would see him again this season. Quite aside from how much he is going to help Duke in the tournament, I am get-down-on-my-knees thankful that he is able to come back and have the experience of playing in the NCAA's. Not least, the way he has supported the team from the sidelines has been great.

Hampton appears to be a good solid team. I am glad to get a chance to see them play. But I do not think that Duke is in any danger in this one.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/18/2011 3:47:45 PM  
Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/16/2011 6:01:30 PM  
I'm sure many of you folks have had the chance to read this, but here is an excellent piece by Grant Hill in response to Jalen Rose:


Pretty thoughtful response, IMO.

Posted by: dan Date: 3/15/2011 10:58:41 PM  
If Kyrie plays well, Erin will wish she could have changed her FF pick.

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/15/2011 8:43:38 PM  
Decided to post it:

"Now that Coach K is saying Irving may play in Fri's gm, can I change my Final 4 pick? J/k..hope Kyrie plays..that would be awesome!"

Love it. It really would be. Thanks, Erin.

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/15/2011 8:40:09 PM  
dan, you're right on about the practicing, and Coach K made statements in his press conference today that make it pretty obvious what's about to happen. Very, very interesting. I'm not going to make a prediction just yet, but I would be VERY surprised now if we don't see Kyrie in a Duke uniform, on the court, very soon.

BTW, if you don't already like Erin Andrews (about whom I've done a complete turnaround over the past 12-18 months), look up her Twitter post reacting to the Kyrie news. No wonder Tool Nation doesn't think they like her anymore. Really cute reaction.

Posted by: dan Date: 3/15/2011 7:46:43 PM  
Heard that Kyrie practiced today and might be able to play this weekend. Tough call for K as the team is playing well right now and he would be a wildcard as far as team chemistry goes.

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/15/2011 1:08:28 PM  
Marshall is actually a nice kid who deserves better than his fan base (which ripped him mercilessly on the Internet, right on cue, after Sunday). He was classy in going out of his way to congratulate Nolan in the postgame handshake line.

Phone Pole is a baby, the irrelevant Bullock is a popoff jerk, and Barnes is a complete douche. Other than that, the team is pretty unobjectionable, for a Tool team. Compare them with VPI and it's not even close.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/15/2011 11:18:17 AM  
"I actually don't hate any of the players on this UNC team, but that may just be because I don't see enough of them!"

I actually feel this way, too, though if Barnes and Marshall stick around they might start to bug me. I was going to post before the last game--but didn't, due to the jinx--that I wouldn't be able to recognize Strickland's face, probably a first for a Carolina starter in more than 20 years.

I am sickened by Roy, however, with his corn-pone, I'm-actually-gonna-use-"shucks"-in-an-interview crap. He and I growed up in the same place, and he reminds me of a lot of two-faced assholes from home.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/14/2011 9:04:17 PM  
So glad to see the site keeps going, and epic recap Matt. You've been calling 'em pretend Tools all season, and you nailed it! I don't seem any slow start/come-from-behind wins against QUALITY opponents in their future.

Could give a stuff about the bracket. Duke's job, as it was last year, is to take on whoever is put in front of them, regardless of seeding, skill, or site neutrality.

Play and advance. They have the best coaches for that, and two of the best players, plus a good supporting cast. Whether that will be enough or not, it will be a helluva ride. Can't wait.

Posted by: London Dukie Date: 3/14/2011 3:49:58 PM  
My posts are like London buses - you wait ages for one and then two come along at once.

Having now watched the game I can say that it was an extremely gratifying experience. Like Nolan said in the post-game - this one means more because it's against Carolina.

(To the UNC fans pretending losing the tournament didn't matter because they won the regular season: bullsh*t. If you're a real fan - and I appreciate many of you aren't - you NEVER want to lose to your archrival. So shut up.)

We looked great. If we get that kind of production out of the Plumlees, Kelly, Curry and Dawkins, (whose body language, incidentally, looked vastly better than at the end of the regular season - I loved his encouraging the crowd to stand when Singler and Smith came out) we can go a long, long way in the tournament.

Finally, at the risk of going off message and saying something nice about Carolina, I thought Ol' Roy's pre- and post-game interactions with Nolan were classy, and Kendall Marshall looked like he said some nice things to Nolan when he hugged him in the post-game handshake line. I actually don't hate any of the players on this UNC team, but that may just be because I don't see enough of them! Their fans, on the other hand...

Posted by: London Dukie Date: 3/14/2011 1:20:24 PM  
Hello all. My first ever post after several years of reading this site in silence, so please, be gentle with me!

First, I am gutted that I have not been able to see the ACC Final match, but I loved Matt's recap. Allegedly the game was broadcast on ESPN3, but it is not in their "On Demand" section at present (I know what everyone thinks of ESPN, but believe me, for someone living in the UK espnplayer.com is a godsend). And as I am home today after a minor medical procedure, watching us bitch-slap the Heels would have really aided my recovery! Guess I'll go have yet another look at our comeback in Cameron.

Wait, wait, I literally just checked and the game's been posted. Oh life is good!!

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes...

In terms of the tournament, I think we have a fair bracket. Obviously there have been some people posting about how "easy" it is, but we could be in a regional with the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics and someone would cry "pro-Duke bias" because we didn't have the Heat too. I actually read one Pitt fan commenting on Duke's easy bracket. Really? Compared to Pitt's? The Southeast doesn't even have a proper two seed in it; Florida is a two by default simply because there are only two really good teams behind the one seeds (memo to UNC-CH - you aren't one of them). BYU is a three with a downward bullet, and Wisconsin? 33 points in 40 minutes against Penn State...aaaannnnddd we're done.

SDSU makes me a bit nervous because I don't know them. UConn is the hottest team in the country right now, and Walker has the capability to put up a ton of points. Texas was toying with a two seed not long ago, and did beat Kansas in Lawrence - that's a tough team to have as a four. And as someone else mentioned, Tennessee has the capability to beat anyone in the country (and could also lose to just about anyone too).

And like Andrew Hicks as soon as I saw Syracuse in with the Heels I thought "I can't wait to see UNC try to handle THAT zone!"

Oh, and a quick shout-out to the thugs at Va Tech: F*ck you. Enjoy the NIT you tossers.

Thanks to March Madness on Demand I can catch all these games over here. And it generally works pretty well, although sometime I'll have to tell the story of losing my internet connection with around 4 minutes left in last year's championship game...

Go Duke!

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/14/2011 10:14:41 AM  
Note to friends of Tim Brando, whomever should they be. Please get him some help. Seriously. He may as well have been spouting gibberish for all the sense he made. He needs to be treated for, in no particular order, clanging, word salad, circumstantiality, derailment, and having been hit with the dumbass stick a bit too hard and a perhaps a mite too frequently. He's just an eightball and a couple of special friends away from a full blown Sheen.

Great game, though.

Posted by: tom Date: 3/13/2011 11:00:55 PM  
Very well put Matt. Agree with the other posts. Good luck.

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/13/2011 10:53:15 PM  
Oops - the stat should be 16 FTAs to our 8. Stupid iPhone....

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/13/2011 10:51:50 PM  
I have been DYING to comment for hours but had a family dinner in Montreal before I board a plane at 6:30 tomorrow morning to Mexico!!!! The place I'm staying actually has a sportsbar so you can bet your ass I'll be watching the first round with a margarita in hand!

Couple of thoughts which sound broken record by now:

- Greengoober: stop basing your entire season on besting Duke and schedule some OOC games that mean something and you may get a date. Actually - here's hoping they can his ass in the off season but I'm not that lucky.

- for the next 3-10 days get ready for people to call us out in round 2 or 3. Every day afterwards, repeat after me: "Duke had the easiest bracket".

- as for the old "Duke gets all the calls" chestnut, I pulled up the stats earlier today to prove how wrong that was to someone in the first half and UNC had FTAs to our 8. Do the math people - your crap doesn't hold up to facts!!!

- Matt, your recap was brilliant. You and those other readers on this site who'll be going to games in the coming weeks: you suck! ;)

Okay - bed for this chickie... Ole Duke!!!!

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/13/2011 9:35:50 PM  
Matt said: "Duke will have plenty of fans in attendance for those games, including, well, me."

That is terrific. I am glad that you will be there and hope that the games are such that you thoroughly enjoy them (i.e, Duke wins). And while I'm at it, thanks for the recap; right on the mark, as always.

ACC champs!!!!!!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/13/2011 9:10:30 PM  
That smell of brine-soaked soiled feet? It smells like ... VICTORY!

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/13/2011 8:59:27 PM  
I am currently bathing in the tears of Tar Hole Nation.

Posted by: Jake Date: 3/13/2011 8:55:25 PM  
Do not have time to say more than it was glorious. Thanks to Nolan, Kyle and all the rest.

As for the big dance, I think our chances look pretty good. Not to be petty, but why does UNC deserve such an high
seed? And normally I like to see lots of ACC teams in, but I am glad to see VPI did not make the cut after seeing Allen drill Dre in the face on that out of bounds play yesterday. Idiots. And then to have Dre called for that foul later! Good riddance, VT. What a mistake to have them in our conference.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/13/2011 8:33:18 PM  
A quiet sunday night, so I've been reading UNC forums on scout.com. Some pretty good comedy,with the predicted "dook gets all the calls" bs. Some of these people think that the Strickland dunk/charge was the deciding factor with which duke stole the game. How funny is that?

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/13/2011 8:13:44 PM  
The VPI thing is absolutely hilarious. Even better, Jay Bias practically blew his stack about those thugs being left out on EAssPN. Is he EVER on the right side of any issue these days?

SDSU is a gift as a two seed, but they won't get to the Pond in Anaheim, and even if they do, there aren't really that many passionate SDSU fans. Duke will have plenty of fans in attendance for those games, including, well, me.

Posted by: Josh Date: 3/13/2011 7:59:03 PM  
I literally LOLed when the last box popped up and VT's name was not on it. Certifiably insane, I tell ya!

I love that Duke's 2 seed is San Diego State. I thought a 4 seed was a little low for Texas. They're a dangerous team. I'd be more afraid of them if Rick Barnes wasn't their coach, but still. UConn as the 3 seed could be worrisome, given our history of handing them games and the whole Kemba Walker thing. And Tennesee is so streaky, but when they get hot, they are tough. Bruce Pearl's teams, going back to UW-Milwaukee, always seem to get hot in the tourney.

Hmm, I just read all that again and it sounds pretty negative. I really don't feel negatively about this at all. Sure, there are teams that can knock Duke off, but I don't think anyone in our region is looking forward to playing us either, especially after today. I don't mind being out west-as Matt and others have pointed out, "neutral" games for Duke are never really neutral-there's always a sizeable amount of haters. The one region that might not happen in as much is the West. Obviously if we play SDSU in a regional final, they'll have a big crowd advantage, but I really don't think there's quite as much Duke hatred out west as opposed to what they'd get in the East or South. I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong.

All in all, I'm pretty happy. Here's to a great tournament run and Kyrie pulling a Carlos Boozer!

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/13/2011 7:49:07 PM  
As a first impression, I am pleased with Duke's bracket, and am much happier that they are in the West than the East, which could be pretty tough. If UNC-CH and Syracuse both make it to the Sweet Sixteen, there is no way that the Holes are getting past Syracuse. None. Not remotely possible. I wouldn't be surprised if Kentucky makes a first-round exit.

The distance from fan-base? The only issue that looms is a possible regional final in Anaheim against San Diego State. But a lot could happen between now and then, and we had much more challenging "road" environments last year in the tourney.

I was (needlessly) worried in this one for much of the second half, expecting a zebra-assisted Tool run. But when it showed signs of happening, the Devils had an answer, every time. A key sequence was with about six minutes left, when M.J.-II (umm... Barnes) hit what I think was his only made three plus a two on their next possession, cutting the lead to nine.

But Nolan found Seth for a dagger three and the assist (And those were Barnes' last points, except for a couple of meaningless foul shots in the final minute).

A great, great game by Duke. I am especially happy for Nolan and Kyle to end their ACC playing days this way.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/13/2011 7:35:20 PM  
And V-tech is not invited to dance, again. Sorry thugs. I always root for as many ACC teams to make it, but with the performance of the league this season, we got what was deserved.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/13/2011 7:12:29 PM  
Well, Matt - your many comments about the true strength of the Tools were vindicated. The D was awesome today. Our offense was not exactly smooth, but everyone chipped in. I especially liked Dre, RK & Miles.

I see Duke is #1 in the West. It was said on CBS that this could be an issue as they are far away from their fan base. I'm not too worried about that issue, just worried about the opponents.

Go Duke.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/13/2011 5:47:42 PM  
congratulations to the duke team on a well deserved championship by dominating maryland and unc on consecutive days. priceless.

i'm curious as to those shouting for a #1 seed be given to notre dame. did they win either their regular season or conference tournament? no disrespect, just asking?

to all those reading, please remember the sighs and rolled eyes last year when duke was given a top seed. remember how that ended?

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