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TD: Witchy Wolvin'

Date: 3/20/2011

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (seeing how high s/he flies)



TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIV, Episode 28
March 20, 2011
RICH ROD (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH LONGWOOD) EDITION
BLAB FIVE EDITION

Matt’s comments in blue.
Bason Jossard’s comments in white.

MICHIGAN (8W) (21-13, 9-9 Big Ten) v. #3 DUKE (1W) (31-3, 13-3)

Some Historical Perspective and Matt’s Usual Rant About the Tournament:
It’s all going pretty much according to plan - - overrated Big East teams losing, the ACC getting a surprise upset victory, which used to happen with regularity, Florida having the waters part for them in that awful bracket, Butler being Butler, and making me wonder if anyone over the age of 50 and a Bulldog fan is still living after all of these nailbiters.  Wow.  And yes, a foul is a foul is a foul.  The “swallow the whistle” garbage does more harm than good, and I’ve never understood why the rules are supposed to be suspended at the close of game action - - precisely when clean play within the parameters of allowable conduct is of the utmost importance.  Now, Jamie Dixon, as a class act all the way, probably won’t make any noise about this, but if that had happened to Sweaty or Horseface, some third-rate media enabler hack would have picked up the ball and run with it, and the NCAA would have issued a clandestine directive to its zebras to avoid all foul calls with less than a minute to go for the next 20 years.  Did I mention that the Tools got 87 laid on them by LIU-Brooklyn?  Tight defense, Roy.     

Thanks for That Information.  So How Good or Bad Is Michigan This Season?
Up and down.  The Wolvies started with three straight wins, followed by two drops to Syracuse and UTEP, which led directly to a seven-game winning streak.  After losing in serious fashion at Purdue and somehow beating Pennsylvania State in Ann Arbor, Michigan authored six straight league dumps, ending on January 22.  The Reens then won eight of their final 11 games, losing only at Ohio State and Illannoy and at home to Bucky Badger & Bait Shop Bo (TM Al White).  In the Big Ten Tournament at New Market Square Arena, the Maize & Blue avenged the loss to the Illwhini with a 60-55 win before losing to Ohio State by a tally of 68-61.  Then came - - the category clicker, please - -  

Their Last Game    
A ridiculous thirty-point drubbing of the Tennessee Vols, who forgot to emerge from the locker room after finishing the first stanza with a 33-29 deficit.  During the break, Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton personally texted every paid player and reminded them that when he told some clown radio show earlier in the week that “the jury was still out” on whether Bruce Pearl would be back next season, he meant to say that he actually wanted UT to lose big so he could look like he hadn’t already made up his mind the can the serial prevaricator.  Message received!  The Vols scored only 16 more points, which Michigan matched in one unanswered run, while also finding time to score 26 more.  Boom - - 30-point final margin, and now Pearl looks like he can’t coach, in addition to being unable to recognize pictures of his assistant coaches’ wives and kitchens brandished by NCAA sleuths.  Ridiculously, the Wolverines attempted exactly one free throw, and missed it, making them (supposedly - - I heard it from Jim Nantz, so take this with a grain or 4,000 of sodium chloride) the only team ever to win an NCAA Tournament game without capping a charity toss.    

Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Zack Novak, 6-4 JR SF/SG - - pretty much mans the “four” spot in this quadriguard starting lineup.  On defense, that means that Novak is the baseline-to-baseline runner at the back of the zone, which gets him a lot of defensive boards (he collects 5.8 rpg to lead the team, 5.0 of which come on defense).  Novak shoots the same percentage from two as from three (38.1) and is not a threat to take over a game, but he has to be checked on the wing 

Jordan Morgan, 6-8 SO PF - - ah yes, a post player.  Never shoots from beyond sanitation range, can’t really shoot free throws (54.9%), and deals out a ton of fouls (3.1 pfpg in just 24.1 mpg).  Michigan’s second-leading rebounder at 5.4 rpg

Tim Hardaway, Jr., 6-5 FR SG/SF - - the son, of course, of former Neeba standout Ricky Peral.  Or was this kid the son of Lil’ Penny - - you know, the puppet?  Well, either way he doesn’t look much like his dad.  For my Euro, this guy is the most dangerous player BY FAR on Michigan’s team just because of his name.  Since January 30, he’s hit four or more threes in six of Michigan’s 13 games.  MUUUST BE GUARDED, likely by the Kyle Singler/Andre Dawkins combo      

Darius Morris, 6-4 SO PG - - a pretty dangerous point guard, with seven double-digit assist games this season, and nine dimes against the Vols.  That’s pretty impressive when you consider the offense that Michigan runs.  Very mediocre outside shooter, does drive the bucket on smaller defenders, and is the Wolverines’ best on-ball containment guy.  Looks like the dude that will guard Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving, who rarely played together on Friday - - but probably will in this one

Stu Douglass, 6-3 JR SG - - does nothing but take jumpers and is probably the guy, if any, off of whom Duke will sag, using the Plumlee who’s not guarding Morgan.  Get this - - I don’t want to say that Douglass never drives the rim, but he’s shooting 25% on FTs this season.  That’s three makes in 12 attempts in 34 games

Bench?
This is pretty much a seven-man team, but John might have to make a Beeline for a couple of larger stiffs to combat Duke’s inside presence, and if he does, that will weaken the effectiveness of the zone by forcing the involvement of these slower doofs.

Matt Vogrich, 6-4 SO PG - - sometimes shows up in a five-guard look, which could happen if Morgan gets in foul trouble; his 11-point effort against Tennessee was his first double digit scoring show of the season

Evan Smotrcyz, 6-9 FR PF - - if the matchups start to go Duke’s way, this guy might have to come in and play with Morgan down low.  However, he’s more of an outside-in player who rebounds weakly and can’t match up with post players (2.4 rpg)

Blake McLimans, 6-10 SO PF - - this is one of the guys I had in mind if Beilein tries to counter Duke’s size; verrrrrrrrry sparingly used kid from upstate New York

Jon Horford, 6-9 FR PF - - the other guy I thought of to match up with Duke’s post players.  Al Horford’s little bro

Most Likely to Bootsy:
McLimans (5 points required)

Michigan’s Likely Gameplan:
Slooooooooooow it down.  After the turn of the calendar, Michigan played exactly one non-overtime game that featured more than 65 total possessions - - a four-point home win over Indiana.  Beilein isn’t interested in blocks, steals, fast breaks, forcing turnovers, or anything of the kind - - he wants to work the ball around on offense until his team can get off an uncontested jumper or triple.  On defense, it’s a 1-3-1 zone designed for traps at either baseline corner and on the wings, and occasional matchup looks with the defender out front staying with penetrating cutters until they hand off the ball.  How this will effectively be deployed by Michigan’s comparatively tiny team against 6-10 and up players like Miles & Mason Plumlee and Kelly is anyone’s guess, and then there’s Duke’s five perimeter jump shooters.  Kyle Singler and his shot still haven’t scheduled their long overdue family reunion, but if this happens to be the day it occurs, this one could get really ugly really quickly.  To stay in it, Michigan needs to rely on their five players who shoot from outside.  This is a classic case of seeing which team will assert its will upon the other.  If Duke can dictate just about anything - - tempo, transition points, turnovers, inside conversions - - then the Blue Devils are going to be in a very strong position.      

Anything More About That Nonfab Three (d/b/a "Five") “Documentary”?:
I still think Grant Hill said it all.  But honestly, I’ll allow that, as a Duke student when the Flab Five emerged, I must admit that I failed to recognize the sweeping cultural renaissance that they generated across the nation.  I just thought they were two really talented guys, one solid college player and two spare parts, who all happened to be freshmen and had a ‘tude.  Webber was from a wealthy suburban Detroit prep school, which, luckily for us, kept churning out forwards for another six or seven seasons.  Jimmy King, whose laughable commentary during that stupid anti-Duke hitpiece would have you believe that he grew up on the streets of Mogadishu, came from money-teeming Dallas suburb Plano.  Whew - - real ghetto.  Anyway, to me, they were some team that Duke beat three times and then gave away the national title game to Chapel Hill in 1993.  Time out, Chris!   Heh.  This whole thing is so stupid.   

Speaking of Stupid, Some Stupid Analysis (and Not from Me!) Department:
My two favorite asinine takes on the Return of Kyrie were as follows: (1) He’s going to disrupt team chemistry and throw off the rotation!!!!  Um . . . how?  Anyone who watched any Duke game since the kid got hurt knows that he (along with Josh Hairston and TT) were, shall we say, fairly enthusiastic bench cheerleaders for the Blue Devils.  Like Nolan Smith, the nicest kid in the universe, is going to get steamed that KI is back?  Dawkins?  Yeah, you can tell how burned up he was about the whole situation based on his best game in months against Hampton.  Seth Curry?  Nothing bothers that dude.  Seriously, who was supposed to be storming off in anger about this?  Oh, and while we’re at it, this isn’t some divisive character of questionable moral or basketball value we’re talking about - - it’s a great kid who also happens to be a guy with the ability to take over a game at will, who can shoot threes, run in transition, pass with pinpoint precision, shoot free throws at a high-percentage clip, and defend at a close-to-elite level.   I might add that Coach K somehow coached an Olympic team with several larger-than-life egos on it and managed to close that loop.  But really, to hear some of these Neeba-analyst mooks tell it, Duke was adding the Unabomber back to the squad.  Then there was (2) the Barkley/Kenny Smith Theorem, namely, that “Duke should rest Irving so that he can get more practice time.”  Nay!  I’ve actually got a better idea - - let’s play him against actual Division I competition in game action, on the slightest chance that this might be more valuable at this stage than running in a pool or doing layup drills.  Wow.  I half expected Bilas to jump through the studio wall like the Kool-Aid Man and join in the aimless, ill-informed rhetoric; no doubt he’s still hot under the collar about that undeserving VCU squad making the Dance, and wants to wax about how all those Big East teams were on their way to domination.  

Add Barkley and Big Least
Department:
Chuck provided a glimpse of why a lot of people love him midway through the CBS/Fals TV/Cartoon Network/Telemundo marathon on Saturday, when he called the Big East the “Big Least” and the “Itty Bitty East” - - all while Pitino, whose embarrassing loss to Morehead State was actually and in fact a large part of what Barkley was denigrating, sat just one Kenny Smith Unit away to his right.  Awesome.  The redoubtable Rick, resplendent in a suit that cost more than Kenny’s aggregate car allowance during his time in Chapel Hill, totally contained himself and just smiled.  He may have been considering dealing from the bottom of the deck and tossing an ad hominem about off-the-court woes Barkley’s way, but for some reason, he didn’t play that card.    

Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about Michigan:
- There were two teams in all of Division I who had a lower FTA/FGA ratio, viz., Iowa State and Hartford.  This means that the Wolverines are absolutely terrible at getting to the line, as we already learned from that brazen stat from the Vol game.   
- Only 23 teams in the country grabbed an offensive rebound less often than Michigan, at 26.2%.  Not a ton of second-chance points here. 
- There are five guys on this team who shoot between 37.1% and 39.3% from three, making for a good, but not great, team arcland percentage of 35.4% - - #113/345 in Div I - - dragged down because Morris isn’t very accurate from range.  This is Michigan’s one and only key to victory that concerns me, and it mostly depends on Hardaway, Novak, and Douglas, as Vogrich and Smotrcyz are right around one triple per game, on average.   

Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- Duke has an 11-4 record against Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament, which includes the 1992 national championship game again some group of dongheads, the game that preceded it against Indiana (the now-miscreant Todd Leary game), that awesome shutdown job against Glenn Robinson and Cuonzo Martin of Purdue by GHill and Lang in 1994, two wins over Iowa in the second round of each of 1991 and 1992, a 1964 win over then-sophomore Cazzie Russell and Michigan in the Final Four, beating Michigan State in the national semis in 1999, and defeating that disgusting Illannoy program in the regional semis in 2004 (El Guapito FTW, bay-bee!).  You can probably come up with the losses, two of which are relatively recent.  Leave us add to the left side of this ledger.     
- If Duke can pull this one off, it would be Coach K’s 900th career win.     
- Duke’s scoring defense of 63.7 ppg this season is the program’s fourth-best mark since 1951.  Makes you wonder what happened in 1951, but still pretty impressive.  

Duke Appraisal
I thought this was Coach K’s best coaching job in a game that was clearly slanted in Duke’s favor in many moons.  The usage of Kyrie Irving was perfect, as was the white team/blue team substitution pattern, the use of Hairston and Thornton, and making sure that Nolan and Kyle played only 24 minutes apiece.  No fatigue concerns heading into today’s game.  Duke seized control early and took whatever Hampton gave them, while pushing the Pirates away from the basket at will on defense.  Awesome.

Obviously, talk of the player begins and ends with Kyrie, but Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler played very well in limited minutes, and Nolan’s seven assists were awesome.  Then there’s the sudden, geometric improvement of Miles Plumlee, who snared 13 boards and converted three of his four opportunities in the paint into buckets, while adding two free throws.  Mason had 12 on 5-7 shooting and also capped two freebies in three tries.  I could go on.  I will go on.  What about Dawkins???  Where was this man before Friday?  Seth Curry casually tosses in three threes on five tries - - and that kind of shooting will be welcome again today, by the bye; TT drives the bucket and scores; and Ryan Kelly showed some nice shooting touch from midrange while also interrupting the passing lanes for three steals, something he is getting really good at.  More on my favorite plays of the game below, but this had to be one of the most impressive Duke victories in the first round in some time, and pretty much served notice, which service I’d really like to continue today.  

Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
“CBS” - - I think I remember what that stands for - - Nantz and Kellogg.  They were fine in the first round; I particularly enjoyed Nantz, without missing a beat or sounding in any way disturbed, smoothly shilling for Tru TV’s junk-laden broadcast schedule in live-action promos.  Quite a jump from promoting the next episode of whatever CSI or NCIS or Mindless Criminals franchise installment the truck puts in front of you to suddenly pitching for “Real Repo Men of West Memphis, Arkansas” and other Tru TV offal.  Nantz’s versatility is, clearly, without peer.  Kellogg mostly seemed glad to have Steve Kerr off the set.  The studio guys were clowns, talking about Kyrie’s “rust” or some sh*t, which suddenly became less of an urgent issue for discussion in the second half.  Duh! 

More Kyrie Department:
I simply could not get enough of the three drives - - the one to start things off in terms of field goal makes where he switches hands in midair while avoiding the defender, the coast-to-coast rebound grab followed by five-guy blowby, and the athletic, leaping steal converted into an immediate transition bucket.  You could seriously feel the Cialis wearing off among the attending members of Tool Nation.  I mean, this Duke team just spanked Garyland, VPNIT, and that silly excuse for a Twink team in Greensboro, and then we add THIS GUY?  Talk about a turnaround.      

Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
No one should be looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen just yet, particularly since Beilein is a pretty crafty coach, the Wolverines had some close losses this season, and Duke has had some weird results against Michigan in the past.  Of course, we all remember that the Blue Devils were actually trailing, just barely, at the half of the 1992 title game, thanks in no small part to a ridiculous seven turnovers by Christian Laettner, most of them totally unforced (deep background fact that some of you will have at your recall right away: Hurley, who virtually beat Indiana singlehandedly in the semis, was actually the MOP of the Final Four that season), but then Duke just came out of the locker room with a different level of focus and blew those punks off the court in the second stanza.  Then there was that strange win at Cameron in December of 1994 where Duke had something like a twenty-two point lead and blew it before recovering to win by 10, and that weird loss at Cameron (!) two years later by a single point on a last-second Michigan layup.  And we don’t have to go back that far either - - remember two seasons ago?  Duke beat the Wolverines by 15 (71-56) on November 21 in the title game of whatever the tourney ending up in MSG was calling itself that season, then went into Crisler Arena 15 days later and somehow emerged on the wrong end of an 81-73 loss in the game that pretty much sealed my doom, for now, as far as advocating for non-coerced OOC road games.  Nolan, Kyle, and Miles were on that team, so they should remember that one, and want to exact a little revenge. 

There is absolutely no reason that Duke shouldn’t win this game, and possibly even by a very comfortable margin.  However, those shooters for Michigan are worrisome even though Duke is #32 in the country in three-point percentage defense at 31.6%, and then there’s always the possibility that the zone forces the Blue Devils into one of those hoist-everything-that-isn’t-tied-down type of efforts.  Those usually seem to happen on the road, and this should be at worst a neutral environment; I don’t think too many Toolfans will stick around for our game no matter what happens to their little characters.  Still - - we can’t let our zone offense go in that direction, and there are two reasons why I don’t think it will: (1) Nolan Smith and (2) Kyrie Irving.  As we all know, Nolan really prefers to drive rather than shoot from outside, and Kyrie has “zonebuster” written all over him, whether it’s due to his driving ability or that nifty three-point stroke.  Another thing favoring Duke is the probable free-throw disparity - - although Michigan isn’t a bad free throw shooting team at 69.9%, it’s not as though they ever really get to the line, and if they do start driving, plenty of shots figure to get erased by Duke’s backline defenders.  UM also sends back very few shots and pilfers very few balls - - they’re below the 300-line in the country in both categories.  Duke needs to play its own game and not be taken out of it by the Wolverines, and the rest should follow very nicely.  Come on, Duke!!    

The Missing Link(s):
Michigan’s roster.
Michigan’s stats.
Michigan’s state-issued propaganda.  And yes, I know that the release discusses the Tennessee matchup in the same document, and then uses a little clever nested logic to discuss both Duke AND Hampton.  Yes, you’re correct - - the University of Michigan is too lazy, incompetent, or what have you to issue a separate set of game notes for today’s contest.  I mean, this is awesome.  Does Dukies.com get a medal for outachieving the Maize and Blue Infominions?    
And now, try this for something more refreshing, with the proper shade of blue, UPDATED FOR TODAY’S GAME, of course, and more pertinent for our purposes. 

Score Prediction:
Duke 78, Michigan 65.

Other ACC Action
Washington 90, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 89.
Notre Dame 64, Florida State 60.
Virginia Polytechnic 68, Wichita State 62.

Last Edition:
Matt 3-1

This Season:
Matt 51-14
Guests 3-3


 

 

View more articles from this category

 

Posted by: Dave Date: 3/24/2011 11:53:32 PM  
Well this has just been an abomination.


Posted by: dan Date: 3/22/2011 11:47:33 AM  
A benefit to playing the "great" Michigan team is that Arizona is going to be similar. Their frontline is not tall, 6-7 to 6-8 and their true post players average less than 10 minutes per game. so unless they go big to match Duke, the Plumlees are going to be chasing wing players on the perimeter. From the games I've seen them play, they don't shoot as many threes as Michigan but their percentage of makes is higher. Slow down Williams and keep the others around their averages and come with the intensity of the UNC game and Duke will advance.


Posted by: Jake Date: 3/21/2011 7:30:47 PM  
Interesting morning-after story lines:

It seems, to hear everyone at Duke tell it, the game was oh-so-close at the end because Michigan is such a goshalmighty great team -- talented, disciplined and superbly coached -- a different kind of team, a challenge for anyone. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, okay, they're a decent team, but I remember watching the first half and thinking "this Michigan team really isn't all that good." They aren't fast, they have no bigs, they don't rebound, their defense (other than the 1-3-1, which we hadn't seen yet) is so-so. They reportedly have a bunch of above average shooters but so far they haven't done much. Miami, VPI, Maryland and FSU all would take them to the limit.

On the other side of the ledger, Duke played sloppy offense in the first half, with uncharacteristic turnovers by Singler, missed a bunch of free throws and failed to turn over Michigan at all. In the second half K called an early time out to blast his team for "not playing."

So it wasn't all about how great UM is.

Duke gets up by 15 points -- coulda been 20 easily -- and then goes to sleep and doesn't score for much of the end of the game.

Our boys pulled themselves together and did a nice job of finishing the game, staying calm and not panicking when UM made its final run. So good for us, and congratulations, but I hope we learned something about how to approach the next game. I hope we don't kid ourselves that the close call against Michigan was all about how great Michigan is.

We have to play harder. If we play the way we took on UNC in the ACC final -- which we did NOT do yesterday -- we'll be fine. Arizona's coach has NCAA experience, but his team does not. Most of our guys have been here before and know what to expect and what's expected. That should be worth a lot come Thursday. At least I hope so.

Go Duke.



Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/21/2011 7:06:27 PM  
Fuel to Matt's Carolina conspiracy fire, in case youins ain't seen it:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/talent-is-nice-but-luck-is-vital/



Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/21/2011 5:11:50 PM  
Well that was a lot of fun. I guess we proved that we can beat Michigan playing Michigan ball. How many brownie points do we get?


Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/21/2011 8:05:32 AM  
Pretty troubling the way the last 5 mins played out. After we had a nice lead midway through the half (thanks Nolan), they really dictated play. Nice game by RK, though. Not happy at all with the ending but hopefully we execute better against Zona. Williams is a beast for sure. This will be a great challenge to our front line. Gotta keep moving on.

I second the disappointment with the Cuse loss. Far too many silly turnovers. I like the Cuse and want them to do well (friends & I go to a game every year); also I agree w/ Andrew's comment that they would have given the holes fits because of the zone and they have the size to deal with UNC's big men.

The UW Huskies should have moved on from that one, really let them off the hook.



Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/20/2011 10:57:37 PM  
Ooooh... Not happy at all about Marquette beating Syracuse. I was very confident the 'Cuse zone would be the end of the Holes. Now, I can imagine them winning easily over Marquette and pulling out a "miracle" win over Ohio State.

Florida State is looking good so far against ND, but I expect them to choke before it is done.

Duke should match up pretty well against Arizona. But they will have to play better than they did today.



Posted by: tom Date: 3/20/2011 10:53:02 PM  
Okay, I didn't proofread well even though I stopped drinking 5 hours ago. What I meant to say was lets hope those that didn't show up in todays game will show up for the next one. In a place where the crowd may be better than what they dealt with today. There.


Posted by: tom Date: 3/20/2011 10:07:59 PM  
Uhh man. I did not need this today. When you have a 15 point lead. Do not squander it. No need to go into it but it was just frustrating to watch the last 6 minutes of that game. Glad Kyrie's 1 bucket came when it did. I agree you survive and move on but is it me or is when Duke has tight games like this they don't show up for the next one? Especially in a sweet 16. I sooooo hope I'm wrong. Not trying to be pessimistic but realistic is all. Regardless, lets hope those that didn't show up do for this one in a place I think they may actually feel at home more than where they played at.


Posted by: KD Date: 3/20/2011 9:38:45 PM  
First things first. Matt - you definitely ate your Wheaties this morning. Thanks for the great preview. Just a sad end-game strategy today - you can point to some great things but the re-emergence of the stall ball/jack ill-advised 3's/give other side easy shots strategy was just disgusting to see. Where was the coaching staff in the last 6 minutes? Just terrible. My family was confused at why I was repeatedly shouting "NOOOOO!!" at the screen. They just havent' seen this horror movie as many time as I have.

Enough negativity - survive and move on. And awfully nice to see Kyrie hit the big shot at the end (and help steady the team when Kyle was on the bench with 4 fouls). Although K probably didn't have a choice, it may give him comfort to sit Kyle a bit next weekend to keep him fresher. Although he still seems to be off a bit, I have a feeling he is going to come up big when we need him next weekend, and we are definitely going to need him. Go Duke.



Posted by: Jake Date: 3/20/2011 6:44:55 PM  
Well, this is survive and move on time, so I'll take the victory and not lose any sleep.

But some strange stuff happened in this game, keeping Michigan in it. Usually sure-handed Kyle threw the ball away three times in the opening minutes. Usually ice-man-at-free-throw-line Kyle misses the front end of two one-and-ones in the first half. Usually defensive geniuses Duke turned UM over only times, leading to almost no fast-break points. I could say more, but for sure we coulda/shoulda been up by 20 or more in half number two.

Biggest head scratcher was our coaches' decision to dribble away time in front of the 1-3-1 defense the last three or four minutes, waiting until there was no more than 5 seconds on the shot clock to throw up a terrible, off-balance shot. That would have been okay if UM was NOT grabbing the rebound and racing down the floor every time and making a quick two- or three-point shot. After that happened like four times, you think our guys would have figured out our plan wasn't working. Like maybe we should have Kyrie or Nolan attack the basket and get a shot and/or get fouled. I'm guessing it was Kyrie himself who made that call and attacked the basket in the last minute, preserving the victory. Even so it was too damn close.

Just not a brilliant coaching job on Duke's part. But as I said, we won, so no great complaints.

Matt: terrific funny and insightful preview. You're the best.

Onward.



Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/20/2011 5:21:44 PM  
On the plus side: a big edge in rebounding, especially offensive boards; Kyrie's foul shooting, especially in the first half when it seemed like everyone else was brick-laying from the line, and his solid play down the stretch (this is what, his tenth collegiate game?) complete with the huge basket in the final minute; Nolan – that one-man show in the middle of the second half was amazing; good play from Kelly.

On the minus side: long stretches where we were tentative against the zone; being victimized by cutters to the basket; letting Michigan dictate pretty much every aspect of the game.

I think one of the keys was in the first half when some of the Duke players, notably Kyrie, Kyle, and Nolan, would drive the middle. Michigan could not really guard them, so they committed a bunch of fouls. Even though Kyle missed his shots (at least two front ends of 1 and 1's), Kyrie made his, and it set up some foul trouble that hampered Michigan in the second half.

Not an impressive game for Duke, except for hanging on for the win. This was much more of a nail-biter than it should have been.

On to Anaheim!!!!!



Posted by: Matt Date: 3/20/2011 5:16:59 PM  
From one of Coach K's best coached games in recent seasons to easily one of his worst. Space aliens casually monitoring the telecast from orbit have reported back to their superiors that the zone defense was clearly invented late last night. How could Duke be expected to prepare for that?

That shot-clock violation was unforgivable.

Jesus.



Posted by: Dave Date: 3/20/2011 5:09:31 PM  
Josh beat me to the punch....nothing like stalling for a bad shot when you're only up 1.

Though on the other hand, and to give K some credit, I very much liked the shift to the 4 guard lineup rather than stubbornly sticking with the Plumlees, who just seemed a step slow today.



Posted by: Josh Date: 3/20/2011 4:55:31 PM  
Stallball...%!@#$!


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/20/2011 4:44:02 PM  
They've had good success against the 1-3-1 finding the Plumlees or Kelly coming in on the baseline; need more of that down the stretch.

This is an interesting test for Irving; second game back, Kyle on the bench, and considerable pressure.

Nolan certainly came to play, as always.



Posted by: Josh Date: 3/20/2011 4:35:52 PM  
Jump shots-especially threes-are NOT necessary right now!


Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/20/2011 3:59:38 PM  
Jeebus Triple Fuck.


Posted by: Matt Date: 3/20/2011 3:47:24 PM  
Thanks, Andrew. I care. :) I just wondered by the Duke SID stopped at 1951. I suppose the ball was deader before that, meaning that lots of Duke teams had good (low) scoring defense marks.

Not one of my favorite halves of the year, to put it mildly. Lucky to have a lead.



Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/20/2011 2:51:13 PM  
Matt' comment about scoring defense, and this year's team having such an excellent mark: Not that anyone cares, but the 1950-51 team that he mentioned was a good one, dominated by Dick Groat. He averaged 25 ppg on 40% shooting; no one else on the team was averaging in double figures. From the stats, it looks like they were very good defensively. They went 13-6 in the conference, split with the Twinks, and lost in the ACC finals to NC State – this was back in the era when the Wolfies fielded some outstanding teams.

Go Duke!!!!!



Posted by: dan Date: 3/20/2011 2:40:16 PM  
Great preview Matt.

Defend the three on defense and good shot selection on offense. Go DUKE!

Swofford should make a pitch to UW to join the ACC. We need another team in the league to give away a game to the tools.



Posted by: tom Date: 3/20/2011 2:22:21 PM  
Nice choke Washington. Umm, why didn't the officals review the time left on the clock when the ball went out in the final seconds? Loved in the Hampton game when Jim Nantz said "Charlotte is also when Chris Collins played his last game in the 1994 Championship." If you're not sure why even say it? Great analysis Matt. Let's see what happens when Duke plays at the Dean Smith Associate Center. Go in there and do what you are suppose to.


Posted by: London Dukie Date: 3/20/2011 2:22:04 PM  
OK, I need to vent briefly here (because their is no other place where I can here in London): why do teams NEVER choke against Duke but ALWAYS do against UNC?? Sure Duke sometimes comes from behind to win, but it's down to the Devils stepping up its game; however, with UNC more times than not it's because the other team has a complete mental meltdown. G'town in '82, Michigan in '93, several games this year, including both wins in this year's ACC tournament, and now Washington today. I mean really - WTF?!?!

OK, rant over. We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.



Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/20/2011 1:42:04 PM  
great write up matt.

my fear in this game comes from my lack of fear in this game. Did that make sense? for whatever reason i do not worry about michigan's shooters with our perimeter defense.

the addition of kyrie only adds to my confidence which brings me back to my unconfidence. my life circumstances have taught me to never trust my gut. it's usually wrong.

therefore..sorry..i have no idea where i was going...



Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/20/2011 1:27:05 PM  
Barkley just said that Henson is "a little light in the cakes." Ya gotta love that guy!



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