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Presbyterian Game Post/Blog: Hoses of the Holy

Date: 11/12/2011

Duke Basketball  
Posted By: Matt

Duke plays Presbyterian College in Durham, N.C. at 4:30 P.M. EST on Saturday, November 12, 2011.  Feel free to comment here on what you see, hear and smell.   


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Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 11/15/2011 11:41:48 AM  
I don't have the internet at home so you folks will have to soldier on with your fancypants live blog without me. Stiff upper lip and all that. That's not to say I won't be hovering about the next day, waiting for my moment, somewhat in the manner of Twain's solitary esophagus. Fair warning.

Posted by: bluedevilruss Date: 11/14/2011 8:48:50 PM  

I think Mason is playing great! Lots of confidence. Miles made a couple of nice moves, but Mason is just making all the right moves right now. I'm more worried about the PG position and rebounding from the wing position (paging Alex Murphy).


Posted by: Serious G Date: 11/13/2011 10:52:25 PM  
Pretty busy over here..all hands on deck at dukies.com!

I was not able to watch either game, just read the boxscores + ap recaps + yr. comments below. Are brothers Plum really playing that poorly? R Kelly seems to be doing ok.

We need Andre to bust out and contribute on a regular basis...would open things up for us.

Matt, your inclusion of Nolan in that list is apropos.

This could be an 'early exit' year or the gelling of a formidible team...don't know what to expect, but I'll be watching as much as I can.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 11:12:44 PM  
Forgot to rank Nolan in my all-time favorites, with Battier/Laettner/Hurley/JW, a tick behind Collins and Redick.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 11:08:12 PM  
ON GONZAGA AND BUTLER: One more thought about all of the clowns who think that if they know Gonzaga and Butler, then they have an in-depth knowledge of college basketball that goes beyond the "large conference" schools. Gonzaga has been drastically overranked for years now for just this reason - - everyone thinks that they're good because they need to think that in order to cement their professional credentials. Actually evaluating college basketball as it happens, as you know, is something that is generally beyond the skills of the Katzes and Bilases of the world. (Jay's solution to the "mid-major" problem, by the way, is to watch three minutes of film on eabout 100 small-name schools, and/or learn by heart the names of two or three of their players, and then drop those names liberally during ESPN studio moments whenever possible.)

During the Gonzaga lovefest (still going on, even though Mark Few has been doing it with mirrors for about three or four seasons, and the real WCC power is St. Mary's, at least as long as they continue to maintain Sydney and Melbourne bureaus), Butler emerged, and now it's fashionable to rank Butler in the top 25 every season, or at least just outside.

Here's an idea. Why not actually attend some f-ing games of small schools, or at least watch them on TV or use satellite radio, or talk to their SIOs, or whatever? Learn something, then tell it to the rest of us. The only reason that Belmont (correctly) got any run as a legit team this season is because all the Duke-haters were hoping that they would upset Duke in the opener, while NCCH blew Michigan State off the carrier deck into the Pacific with the help of Casey Ryback. Then everyone could point to Belmont and then themselves, and say what gurus they were. However, Duke neither lost to Belmont, nor did the Tools look anything close to an championship team against MSU. In fact, as Russ points out, they looked mostly average, slow, unable to defend, and unable to shoot. They also have no depth, something few people have noticed.

Anyway, people will forget a little about Belmont now, but they're for real, and so are a few other small schools. Ken Pomeroy, though, is about the only person who can figure out which ones. Everyone should read Ken's stuff.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 10:59:23 PM  
By professional obligations, I meant to say that I've been busy doing things that pay. I just realized that my last comment read like I wasn't contacting people at Duke because of some quasi-official thing preventing me from doing so. No, no. And no, my source isn't Chris Collins, as someone asked me over e-mail a couple of weeks ago. Chris is my favorite all-time Duke player (J.J. Redick generally tied with him, Laettner, Hurley, Battier, and JWilliams just behind) and the guy I fervently hope succeeds Krzyzewski, but he doesn't have any idea who I am and I've met him just twice, both handshake blowbys.

Just clarifying. If I knew what Chris Collins knows, this place would be REAL interesting real fast. And it's not.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 10:54:32 PM  
ON ALEX MURPHY: Really? He has a concussion? See, this is what annoys me about Duke basketball. When I'm not obsessively interested in the team, I tend to fall back on official sources for my base of information. And what can you learn from those official sources? At Duke, almost absolutely nothing. I receive something every day, as do probably a few of you, that contains so little information it's astounding. Clearly, I needed to be reading TDD or something, and then maybe I would know about Murphy. Or maybe Russ is just connected. I haven't e-mailed my source at Duke since about late July, for various reasons, mostly dealing with professional obligations. Hope s/he is still speaking to me.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 10:51:33 PM  
Hi, Russ! Welcome. And don't worry, Russ and everyone who says "glad you're back for one more season" - - if I ever find a format that works for me, as TD (mostly) did for more than a decade, then I'll be here. For the moment, think of me as a baseball team with a weird, but generally misunderstood GM and manager who keep plugging different starting lineups and batting orders in during April and May. They frustrate you, you don't know what to expect, you keep waiting for them to be fired, but (a few of) you still enjoy the on-field content, even if you never know quite what to expect.

Posted by: bluedevilruss Date: 11/12/2011 10:42:32 PM  

Glad you're back my man. Couple of thoughts on today's game.

Mason looked really good with the hook shot. He's looking very comfortable out there.


Really anxious to see Murphy play. Read that he suffered a mild concussion falling and hitting his head in practice last week. Think he'll be a valuable asset off the bench when he's back to 100%.

Side note on UNC: man were they unimpressive to me the other night. Barnes preseason player of the year? Please. He's the 4th best player on his own team! Henson is a solid player sadly. The rest of the team? We'll see.

By the way, Immortals is a good flick if anyone is looking for 2 hours to kill. Visually stunning, albeit the story line leaves a little bit to be desired.

Thanks for bringing it back for another year at least Matt!


Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 9:43:51 PM  
Okay, back to work. Thanks everyone for posting, and feel free to keep commenting here!

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 9:42:52 PM  
I haven't seen the Presbygame yet and will comment when I do, if it's still timely. The boxscore contains some things to get excited about, like Quinn Cook, Rivers with six assists, Kelly plaing well again, Gbinije sighting, Josh Hairston looking good (are we shirting Murphy too, K?) and some not to, like Mason instantly regressing and Miles schooling tiny opposition. Still, that's more the droids you were looking for, a 40-plus point win.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 9:38:34 PM  
ON BELMONT: I think the correct takeaway from the game on Friday night is that this team, our team, has no idea what it's doing yet, and against a team featuring key pieces that have played together for years in mostly the same roles, that will be a problem. Moreover, Belmont is miles better than any other ACC team except NCCH, Florida State, and Miami. No other ACC team, in fact, is even close. And that's not really a knock on other ACC teams as much as it is a credit to Belmont. Hopefully, the a-holes who do the rankings will give Belmont its due and stop assuming that if you put Gonzaga and Butler in your ratings, then you are a licensed "mid-major" scholar. (Barfing sounds at that term as usual - - these days just about everyone's a mid-major. Just ask the soon-to-be remnants of the Big Least.)

So this was more impressive on Belmont's part than it was unimpressive on Duke's part, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with a four-point win. It wasn't a one-point win; our defense would have been completely different if Kelly had missed one or both FTAs.

That doesn't mean that we should be all fat and happy or anything. I have never seen a player like Mason Plumlee, who can amass stats (mostly against weak comp), but almost entirely negate them with BHP after BHP. Then there's Miles. Fourth year in the program, folks! My favorite Plumlee sequence from Friday night was Mason taking a terrible, contested shot that he never makes, and on which no foul will ever be called because he's not moving toward the basket or indeed moving at all, so all the defender has to do is stand there like a statue, and then Miles flies in and totally bricks the easy dunk. I believe K yanked him after that and he was never seen again, and that's pretty much the story of Miles. Dawkins looked lost. The only players to get excited about were TT, Kelly, and Curry, well, and Rivers driving and drawing fouls. Of course, those sorts of fouls don't come late in the game, particularly if the person trying to draw them is a freshman.

Lastly, the shortened rotation annoyed me. Of course.

Anyway. That's last night. Just be glad that both of our Cameron streaks didn't get broken, then put away the game and root for Belmont and Rick Byrd (nice guy) for the rest of the season.

Posted by: Matt Date: 11/12/2011 9:27:06 PM  
Wow, good to see everyone! Tom, Jake, Al White, TRT, Stephen, Fats. Welcome back everyone.

Sorry couldn't be here today during game action but I am working this weekend and next week on a critical project. I may not be able to liveblog on Tuesday night either, but it's early to make that call. We'll see.

For anyone wondering, I'm tired of the TD format and liveblogs may become the hallmark of the site this season. Also, I find recaps to be almost impossible to write. The ones that you see the AP guys and the like do are easy to write, but (a) they don't much impress me as is, and (b) they aren't needed here because they already exist. The ones that I prefer to write, however, take hours, because I just can't stop myself from analyzing Jerry Heater's calls or explaining why XYZ offense is a mistake or why I like Player A for B reasons, nuanced by C twists. So they take hours upon hours and honestly would tax people who were getting paid solid Euros to write them. Just trust me.

So maybe liveblogging is the way to go this season. I'm especially impressed by the pitiful alternatives to liveblogging that are out there. The ShillBlog is an immediate fail and if the DBR does something, I really don't want to hear about it. TDD has very nice game threads, but I don't know - - I view this as something different.

So don't be surprised is this is the direction that I take this season. As you can already tell, I'm not particularly invested in this edition of the team. The Plumlees' singular lack of progress annoys me endlessly and so far, as I feared would happen, I'm not much impressed by Rivers at all. The overall #1 recruit? Really? Mkay. (The quality of recruiting eval these days is such a joke that it actually deserves its own website, where people just go out and rate or criticize the "gurus" on all of their countlesss mistakes.)

Anyway, since I'm not much invested in this team and don't expect anything more than the traditional Sweet Sixteen cup of joe, I don't need to be glued to the set during games, and that frees me up to be watching and typing. So, this might work. We'll see; just warning everybody. The site might not get nearly as many hits, but I really don't care. If I did, I'd put up content during the offseason.

More in a moment as this got long; sorry.

Posted by: tom Date: 11/12/2011 7:50:05 PM  
Sorry I was not at home from last night until today Matt. So glad you're back. Well, no need to get into last night. Much better today but different competition. It's gonna be an interesting season. I do not think it will be reminiscent of 2007/08 season. At least I say that now. Lets look at this again aroud January . Thy sky is not falling.

Posted by: Jake Date: 11/12/2011 7:27:06 PM  
First and most importantly: Welcome back guys! Awesome to be doing this one more season.

A few comments on the two games.

I was really concerned about the level of defense against Belmont. Yikes. Also, I was not as impressed with Austin Rivers as I hoped I would be. Shows great promise but he too often would drive the lane only to run into someone, have the ball stripped or just throw it up in the general direction of the basket. He did manage to get fouled a few times, but he seemed out of control too often. Curry showed much more poise, shot just as well from the perimeter and showed better decision-making throughout the game. But Rivers did much better against Presbyterian, although we have to note that he was basically playing against high-school level competition tonight. Everyone on Duke looks good, including guys who aren't going to play much at all during the "regular" season.

Mason and Ryan looked very good both games, but it doesn't appear either one is going to carry the team throughout the year. And I can't figure out who is going to be that "go-to" player. It just strikes me that right now we have a lot of very good role players, and no one like Kyle or Kyrie or Nolan to "make" the team win.

Of course it's still early, but if we don't get better soon, we're going to have what is for us spoiled fans a disappointing year. We'll know more soon of course, and I'm looking forward to it for sure.

Go Duke.

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 7:03:52 PM  
After the first 10 minutes or so, the team started playing much better D and sustained it for almost every possession thereafter. If the Belmont game hadn't happened, we would be very optimistic about this season. Even allowing for the competition, our guys looked today like they could have handled the Tools. Tuesday night will give us a clear comparison against a common opponent. I expect it will be a tough game.

Cook and Gbinje have real promise. I hope (probably in vain) that K will use 10 or 11 guys this year. It could really help at the end of the year to be able to rely on Cook, Gbinje and Murphy for worthwhile minutes in the games.

Thanks to Coach K for making us the most spoiled basketball fans in the country. It looked until 1984 like we would never regain the glory of the Bubas years. That was 27 seasons ago. Thirty-plus win seasons are routine and are considered disappointments if we don't get to the Final Four. And that's all due to K. He is coaching these kids like he is in his thirties. Amazing, just amazing.

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 5:27:41 PM  
Ooops. Make that a 17-foot line.

Really liking the use of the bench in this game.

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 5:22:08 PM  
Did the Plumlees have a 13-foot free throw line in their driveway?

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 5:13:29 PM  
Sooooo glad Jimmy Dorkes could do this game and offer anti-Duke officiating tips, among his other offenses. How did this jerk get this job and how does he keep it?

I agree with TRT that the fist analogy is as banal as it gets, even for sports.

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 5:07:34 PM  
If Miles were a freshman, his miscues would be bad.

Posted by: Al White Date: 11/12/2011 4:34:35 PM  
Mickie's real name is Carol? Don't remember that.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 11/12/2011 1:36:20 PM  
Is anybody else tired of the fist analogy? It doesn't even make sense. There are all kinds of effective open-handed strikes you can use. But even if there weren't, it's tired, and a bit macho-aggressive, and I'm pretty sure K didn't invent it. I wish everyone who ever played for him didn't bring it up every time there's a K love fest on the telly, as if it were some kind of singular life changing philosophy.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 11/12/2011 1:08:53 PM  
Even though he had his brother (if I remember correctly) open for a dish-n-layup, I still appreciated Mason's botched charge-dunk. It suggested a lessened timidity.

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 11/12/2011 12:07:41 PM  
It's going to be interesting to see how this Duke team develops through out the year. Against Belmont, K seemed to want to pull Mason out of the game for stupid plays but when he looked down the bench, he thought to himself "I don't see anyone better so I guess I'll have to keep him in the game".

I'm glad to see that our guys will have a chance to develop this year and not be pulled out of the game every time they make a mistake.

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