TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIV, Episode 27
March 18, 2011
CAPTAIN GIVE ‘EM THE HOOK EDITION
FALS TV EDITION
Matt’s comments in blue.
Mick Rahorn’s comments in white.
HAMPTON (16W) (24-8, 11-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic) v. #3 DUKE (1W) (30-3, 13-3)
Some Historical Perspective and Matt’s Usual Rant About the Brackets:
The great news is that Goonardi is now ushered off of the stage, and we can concentrate on game action. Other than that, I think this is the worst seeding job that the Selectostiffs did in a long, long time. Of course I love the fact that those thugs from VPI were excluded, and I have a strong feeling that the general behavior of their on-court hoodlums, coupled with Uncle Fester’s usual demeanor and attitude toward the Selectospazzes (and everyone else), had as much to do with their exclusion as any component of their resume. Heh. Quite just.
Other than that, Duke’s draw is fine, NCCH did NOT get a gift bracket despite being overseeded, and I just am not as afraid of Texas as perhaps I should be. So it works for me. Now, on to the first game.
So How Good or Bad Is Hampton This Season?
Hampton is a good, but not great team by MEAC standards. The Pirates went 11-5 to finish second in the regular season league standings behind Bethune-Cookman. During the OOC season, Hampton lost to Wake Forest (ouch), Delaware, and San Francisco, but did defeat Boston University, GWU, and Colorado State, all on the road, so they do have some talent and are used to hostile environments. Of course, thanks to the blitheringly stupid regionalized pod system, Hampton could enjoy a de facto home game in this one, as all of the fair-weather Toolfans bellow against Duke. This is probably going to be more of a concern in the second round (yep, still using the old terms - - sorry, NCAA!) if Duke and the Twinks advance, and it's just a consequence of playing in UNC-CH-fan-infested Charlotte. The Duke fans at the open practice on Thursday sounded pretty vocal, so maybe things will work out okay for us in terms of crowd support.
Their Last Game?
The Pirates defeated Todd Bozo’s Morgan State Bears, 60-55, in the MEAC title game, which was, coolly, played at the LJVMC. Senior guard Brandon Tunnell scored 20 on 7-10 shooting to lead Hampton, while junior swing Darion Pellum chipped in 12 despite canning only 2 of his 12 shots from the field. Shockingly - - and I really do want you to sit down for this one - - Bozeman accused the officials of bias after the game and just generally acted like a sore loser and a fool. Leopards and their spots, right? And why is this man in possession of a head coaching job again?
Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Darion Pellum, 6-6 JR WF/WG - - one of those athletic swing players who drives the rim and gets foul shots galore, but isn’t really a great shooter (39.0% FG). He did shoot a respectable 34.0% on 3PFG chances, though. Pellum went to Hampton after failing to qualify academically at VPI, which, in my opinion, was just a ruse so that Pellum could actually play in the NCAA Tournament
Danny Agbelese, 6-8 JR PF - - only 215 pounds, and not much of a scorer, but did seize 6.1 caroms per game
Charles Funches, 6-8 SR PF - - with Agbelese, gives Hampton more size than you would expect from a MEAC team. Assumed more of a leadership role as a junior after the tragic accidental shooting death of team star forward Theo Smalling
Brandon Tunnell, 6-1 SR PG - - 4.4 apg and a quick defender; will have his hands full in this one. He has to score to give Hampton a chance
Kwame Morgan II, 6-3 JR SG - - exploded this season in scoring to 16.5 ppg, mostly on threes and foul shots
Four gentlemen who play 10-15 minutes, including 6-7 WF Wesley Dunning, an alum of Ty Thornton’s high school in Washington.
Most Likely to Bootsy:
Agbelese (13 points required)
Hampton’s Likely Gameplan:
Pound the ball inside and make Duke’s defense collapse, leaving the perimeter open for wing shots. They need to find a way to counteract Duke’s strategy of pushing the offense out further than its comfort zone. The Pirates do not play much zone, like most MEAC teams, so don’t expect to see too many creative defensive looks here. By the way, Hampton’s coach, Ed Joyner, is an extremely impressive individual with lost of roots in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities community, and he's also an admirer of Duke’s program. That’s not always a good thing for Duke in a first-round opponent, but Joyner obviously has good taste and I’m quite serious about his credentials. Good guy; good coach.
Anything About That Nonfab Three (a/k/a Five) “Documentary”?:
I think Grant Hill said it all. Jalen Rose - - bitter much? What a dick. Oh, and it was good to hear from Jimmy King; I’ve somehow missed all of the news about him over the past 16-18 years. Could anyone locate Ray Jackson? Was anyone surprised that ESPN would run a Duke hitpiece masquerading as something else? More on this if Duke advances and faces Michigan-Ann Arbor in the second round. And the second part of that equation is now set, as the Wolverines won by thirty points without making a single free throw (in one attempt). That should be the end of Bruce Pearl’s career in Knoxville. Now Duke needs to TCB and advance to take on Michigan.
He’s back. And it’s all manner of awesome.
Impact of This Department:
Well, having a guy like Kyrie Irving available to come off the bench and provide (a) instant offensive firepower; (2) world-class-level passing; and (3) sterling perimeter defense cannot be bad. I heard some people (not Duke fans) trying to read into it and hypothesize that Nolan would be hurt by Kyrie’s return, which is flawed overanalysis to the nth degree. No, I imagine that Nolan will benefit from having another guy out there to whom defenses must pay attention. It’s true that Curry’s and Dawkins’ minutes will see a downtick, but Seth won’t care and I think, as many of you commenters have noticed, that Andre’s attitude has really improved in recent games. The team needs him and I think he will play a role - - particularly given the fact that he amped up his defense in the ACC-T. Just ask The Messiah, who seemed baffled that a 6-4 guy was guarding him with near-total containment on several possessions.
There are some really bad ones out there, but Bobcats Arena may well be saddled with the worst shillname in the United States, and of course, that’s not easy. Well played. After all, who doesn’t have a lovestruck relationship with their provider of non-satellite enhanced television broadcast services? Seriously, this must stop.
Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about Hampton:
- They have some real shooting problems - - #285/345 in two-point field goal percentage (45.0%), #298/345 in FT% (64.7%), and #271/345 in 3PFG (32.1%).
- A very mediocre offensive rebounding team, grabbing a scoreside bound on just 29.3% of their possessions.
- The Pirates held opposing teams to the second-worst (that is, best, from Hampton’s perspective) shooting numbers in Division I from inside the arc; only (you guessed it) Florida State was better in this defensive metric.
Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- Duke and Hampton have never played before, one of those awesome features of Division I college basketball not really shared by any other major team sport.
- Duke has never lost a game to a MEAC team. Just saying.
- This is Coach K’s 100th NCAA tournament game, and this would be his 78th NCAA Tournament win, should it come to pass. Now THAT is and would be pretty impressive.
After looking good against Clemson at home on Senior Night, then playing one of their worst games in years in Chapel Hole, Duke absolutely destroyed the ACC-T field, winning all three games by 14 or more points. For my yuan, that had to be the most satisfying ACC-T ever, or at least up there with 2001 in recent history. Destroying Scaryland for the three-game sweep, avenging the loss to VPI (and in the process, helping to exclude those criminals from the NCAAs YET AGAIN - - BWAHAHAHAH), and then avenging that *other* recent loss in the final, as well as proving to the world that, yes, this season’s edition of the Tools can be had. Imagine! (Duke also supplied handy game film, for the use of other teams, demonstrating how to eliminate the Twinks from further competition.)
And now, here comes Kyrie. It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for all season. I suspect that Coach K has been engaging in some psy-ops behind the scenes about Kryie’s true availability, and I don’t blame him - - it worked. Not only did Duke destroy the ACC-T field without Kyrie (who could quite possibly have played, Dukies.com spies report), but the Blue Devils gained much-needed confidence that they could play without the stud point guard. Now they get him back. If you haven’t yet seen this video of Kyrie at the open practice in Charlotte on Thursday, please, check it out. Thanks to John Watson and The Devils’ Den for providing that to all of us. I am excited.
Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
“Tru TV” - - Nantz and Kellogg. I’m already prepared to say that, with two notable exceptions, this four-network Hydra nonsense has been a complete fiasco. The two exceptions are as follows. (1) Just about everyone with cable, not just those of us with DirecTV or digital cable, can watch every game, and that’s very nice, without a doubt, and taking the CBS Imbecile Department, i.e., the guys who would arbitrarily choose when to move you off the game you’re trying to watch to some other affair, further out of the equation is always welcome. Second and finally, (2) the new format allows for a light-hearted wrapup show on TBS after the day’s events, which is something that can’t happen on CBS due to its commitment to its affiliates, “your late local news” (just once, I want to hear a promise that the broadcast will be followed by “some other dude or dudette’s local news,” so I can catch up on goings-on in East Jepip, Mississippi), and so forth. They even sent Seth Davis down there to, I guess, Atlanta, to volley back and forth (and props to Davis for doing so in a light-hearted way; Bilas would have started a fight) with host Matt Wimer, former Michigan State standout Steve Smith (huh?), and Indiana University coach Tom Crean, who had no other commitments. (Purdue fans, of course, have been all over this - - “Hey, Coach Clapper got IU to the Tournament after all” and such.)
Those are the good features. The bad? Well, we have space limitations here, but in general, importing Neeba analysts who have paid no real attention to the college game since they played it into CBS’ framework is needless and silly. During the “First Four,” it was painful to hear the well-meaning Steve Kerr try to offer insights about a sport that he had obviously only tangentially followed for years, all while golf announcer Jim Nantz and Special K were heroically trying to be boring and funny, respectively. Whether it was the plan all along or someone agreed with me, Kerr has apparently been jettisoned for today’s games in Charlotte, and Nantz and Kellogg will operate unencumbered. By the way, similar problems cropped up with Reggie Miller interfering with Harland and Boner, to the point where Miller lamented that the Utah State/Kansas State game wouldn’t just end already, and there was the unwelcome, “How did these guys get in here” feel of the CBS studio show, as former UNLV thug enabler Greg Anthony tried to figure out what Tool clown Kenny Smith and drunken lout Chuck Barkley were doing off to his left. Oh, and it looks like Kerr is doing the Final Four with Nantz and Kellogg - - ooof. Nothing against Kerr, who’s a nice guy and was a hell of a player, but maybe he can prepare a little for those games and the other games that he’s doing with Marv Albert.
The best part all of this? Jay Bias was summarily booted from the CBS/Bravo/HGTV/Lifetime airwaves when Dick Enberg mercifully retired, which goes a long way to explaining why Jay looked like someone had worked him over like Pervis Ellison during ESPN’s post-bracket show. You know - - when he shouted about VPI’s exclusion (is that really a cause he wants to champion?) and just generally acted like a jerk. Now that behavior of his makes a lot more sense. By the way, wrapping up his huge performance after advocating clumsily for the Greenbergoons and dissing Alabama-Birmingham like they had an RPI of 600, Bias then tweeted relentlessly that UAB would nevertheless defeat Clemson in the First Four. Say what? Is this guy ever right about anything anymore?
More Bias Department:
Further to my point above, as you will recall, during several of his opportunities to dump on the Duke program in the service of the Bristol Overlords this season, Jay angrily stated that “Duke really needs to move on” about Kyrie Irving and that getting Kyrie back was “a pipe dream.” Pass the pipe, Jay! It has not been a good year for you.
Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
Okay, look. Duke would have been heavily favored in this game anyway, but now the Blue Devils are reinserting Kyrie Irving into the mix. This is not good news for the Pirates, or any other Duke opponent. Sure, Hampton has some talented players and Ed Joyner is by all accounts a skilled coach, no doubt. However the level of competition in the MEAC, even allowing for the increase in cross-conference parity in recent seasons, shouldn’t be a problem for Duke here. The Blue Devils should - - should - - win comfortably, and hopefully, all of us can relax a bit and see how KI gets back into the mix. YAY, KYRIE!!!!
The Missing Link(s):
Hampton’s American Missionary Association-issued propaganda.
And now, try this for something more refreshing, or more pertinent to our purposes.
Duke 80, Hampton 58.
Other ACC Action:
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 84, LIU-Brooklyn 59.
Florida State 64, Texas A&M 61.
Boston College 52, Northwestern 50.