TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XV, Episode 10
STILL SWEATY EDITION
February 11, 2012
MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK (14-9, 4-5) @ #10 DUKE (20-4, 7-2)
Matt's comments in blue.
Guest Dukie CDG's comments in violet.
Rohnny Jhodes' comments in white.
STILL WANT TO RELIVE IT? DEPARTMENT: Matt (why am I referring to myself in the third person?) actually managed to write a Dukiescap of that nifty win on Wednesday night, so please go check it out if you like, especially if it looks like Duke is going to start clowning off in this one for some unspeakable reason.
OBLIGATORY ANTI-SWOFF RANT DEPARTMENT: So, it's critically important that Duke play Scaryland twice each season, at least until the Pitt Panthers enter the league and can take over for us by instantly creating a fervid, mouth-foaming, round-robin-demanding rivalry with the Twerps. After all, Merryland and Pitt have played a staggering *seven* times in 106 seasons of Panther basketball, you understand, so it's time to get THAT scathing series fired back up. But in the meantime, let's make sure that while Duke and Stupidland have to play each other twice, the games are just seventeen days apart, with each participant having played just four times apiece between meetings. Makes good sense! Honestly, if there's anyone more incompetent at designing a schedule, or in fact undertaking any labor, than the individuals/cretins to whom Swoffie delegates this duty between donuts, I can only assume that I don't want that work to be anything important.
Anyway, if it feels like we just played these dongheads - - don't touch that dial! We did.
SWOOPING DOWN FROM THE CLOUDS DEPARTMENT: The major challenge here is for Duke to get its head back in the ACC regular season slog after Wednesday night's heroics in Chapel Hell. ("Which, truth be told, has been a lot more like Chapel Heaven for Duke lately," didn't say John Henson, 1-5 against the Blue Devils.) I thought they might have looked past MIFL on the way to playing the Tools, and maybe that was true given the fact that Duke almost won that game and, well, actually DID win at the Tomb on Wednesday, but whatever the validity of that past theory, now I'm equally concerned that we'll get caught looking back, as it were, and not concentrating on the Turgid Turgeonpins.
HOME SACCHARINE HOME DEPARTMENT: Then there's the concern about Cameron, which includes the well-publicized seat sales nonsense, twinned with the fact that those students who have been attending games seem to have the energy, verve and drive normally associated with Lamar Odom. (Yes, I'm making [weak] Association jokes. Sue me.) Now, even in 2001, we lost two ACC home games - - the crappy loss to the Tools and then the "1" in the "3-1 against MDCP that season," also known as the . . . well, I'm not even going to mention what happened in that game. We bounced back from it, and that's sort of the point that I'm trying to make and hoping to see illustrated - - even elite Duke teams can get caught napping at Cameron a couple of times per season. So, let's see some frigging fire from the crowd (that includes you guys and gals in the upper tier), and let's get that third ACC win at home, while NOT going below .500 in conference play at Cameron this season, not to this jerky team, and not losing three in a row in the ACC at home for the first time since the Gaudet Protectorate. Kthxbai?
SORRY TO HEAR THIS DEPARTMENT: Sophomore point guard and Los Angeles product Pe'Shon Howard, who missed the first nine games of this season with a broken left foot, tore his right ACL in practice on Thursday and wil miss the remainder of the season. I am not known as a booster of the Maryland program, but I don't like to see kids get hurt, and this is a shame. Best to Howard in his recovery. Similar thoughts and best wishes go out to team manager Zach Lederer, who has become an Internet sensation with a very cool "strongman" pose from his hospital bed as he recovered from recent surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor. Lederer has beaten cancer once before, and I hope he does it again. Meanwhile, he accompanied the Terrapins on their victorious road trip to Clemson this past week and has, not surprisingly, served as a source of inspiration for the team.
ROAD HARD AND PUT AWAY WET DEPARTMENT: I was actually very surprised to learn that Maryland's (give me a reference or two after mentioning Howard and Lederer before I go back into regular mode) win at Clemson on Tuesday was its first true road win since . . . yes, January 30. Of 2011. The team did not play a true road game before ACC play began this season, was winless in the conference road wars until Tuesday, and last won a true road game against GIT in Atlanta more than a year ago. So now, the . . . Twerps . . . are being asked (not by us, of course) to do it twice in a row. It's worth noting that last season's post-Grievous Azzkizz 19-14/7-9 edition only lost at Cameron by seven (71-64, Duke), so they definitely get fired up when visiting Durham; the same team lost to Duke by 18 at the Bombast Center about a month later. Hmm. So this is something like the opposite of what Florida State had been doing, until this season, anyway. In any case, MDCP must now reach back and find enough will to win against Duke if it wants to earn its second road win since January 30, 2011, and do it while reshuffling the lineup due to Howard's injury.
BUT HAVE NO FEAR: Len Elmore is being allowed to do the game for some reason, so he'll be coaching the Twerpies all game long from the booth. By the way, I need to reiterate that I very much like Mike Patrick (who has reportedly confirmed privately many times, as is mostly obvious on air, that he likes Duke). Does he miss calls and get players' names wrong? Yeah. But he has so much more energy than most of ESPN's stock PBP robots, he's genuinely funny, and by all accounts a nice guy. He also tells it like it is for the most part, a near-unheard of characteristic these days among lead sports broadcasters. So I enjoy listening to him. But yeah, Chopper Teeth pretty much takes care of any enjoyment you or I or any human might get out of listening to Patrick, and he's either going to be full of muted rage or unbridled delight during this one, so that's a problem. Corn on the cob, Len? Don't let this picket fence stand between us.
SPARE ME DEPARTMENT: I don't know if the Turtles will be wearing road red or dressing up as the Pennzoil NASCAR team for this one (the latter seems to be an "alternate home" jersey, and boy, does this school have uniform issues?), but Duke will, unfortunately, be wearing those sickening gray swoosh-trocities we told you about a few editions back, thanks to eagle-eyed commentator TRT, who caught the story while I was paying attention to something else and totally missed it. So these "unis" are a complete disaster, will look terrible on television, and . . . well, just try to ignore them. The four stars on the back above the player names represent our four titles, which is the only cool thing about the uniform. (By the way, in case you're wondering, the Tools' version, also to be used against MDCP at the Dump Dome for some asinine reason, only has five stars, so apparently Oregon-based shoe companies are not down with the Helms Foundation. Also, Arizona's version of the grayshirt features the lone star you'd expect, but it's underneath the player's name so you can't tell what it is. What the hell?) Anyway, enough of this corporate crap. At least this is a one-shot.
WE NOW PRESENT WHO ARE THESE CLOWNS?
Sweaty's Former Squadron has split its four games since inaugurating Drunken Dewey Beach Court against Duke waaaaaaaay back on January 25, losing at home to the Tools and on the road at Miami (in double OT), but winning at home against VPI and, as mentioned, on the road against Clemson. Of course, Howard's absence significantly alters the dynamic for the remainder of the roster.
Ashton Pankey, 6-9 FR - - battling an ankle injury, but I'm not convinced how serious that actually is; he was able to score six points and secure eight boards against the Tigers. Strictly a sanitation engineer and a butcher at the line.
James Padgett, 6-9 JR - - Here's the real inside threat - - well, to an extent. He's the second-best offensive rebounder in the country (behind only 6-7 senior Roberto Colonette of the Manhattan Jaspers), garnering a scoreside board on 18.2% of the approximate possessions when he is on the floor for the Terrorpins, as calculated by Pomeroy. Only scored eight points against Clemson, eight against us in the first meeting, is averaging nine ppg on the season, and hasn't been in double figures since notching 10 against that gritty, subway-commandeering Temple team on January 21, although Duke has the ability to change these things for opposing players, of course. PankeyPadge's real problem, as frontcourt tandems go, is that they are both defensive liabilities - - Padgett is a fully-licensed matador, while Pankey is a certified whistle magnet. You probably remember Mason just owning in Industrial Park. Let's see that again. Please!
Nick Faust, 6-6 FR - - Turdjohn is starting this doof because (a) it's always better to have a transformative presence like Alex Len come off the bench, and (b) this places MDCP in compliance with federal regulations requiring a three-guard lineup. Moreover, Faust and Stoglin (who split point guard duties when Howard was out at the beginning of the season) are the only Twerpins who can handle the ball. So he sort of needs to be on the court, now more than ever. A terrible shooter with a season line of .331/.587/.189. If Faust scores a couple of buckets, will Smellmore try to make a Christopher Marlowe-J.G. von Goethe-Germanic legend-Faust-versus-(Blue) Devil(s) reference? I tried this trick in the last Murland preview edition and shockingly, it went over like a ton of bricks. Over to you, Lenny!
Terrell Stoglin, 6-1 SO - - well, we’ve accused him of being a volume shooter, but before the Clemson game (in which he shot 9-11 from the floor), things were getting a little ridiculous. After scoring 16 points on 14 shots against us in the first meeting, Stogie notched 28 points on 9-21 shooting (against VPI), 33 on 9-26 shooting (in double OT against MIFL), and 20 on 8-21 marksmanship (against NCCH). He has taken 37.5% of MDCP's shots this season, a greater ball-hogging percentage than all but two other players in Division I (junior swingman Collin Chiverton of Eastern Washington, apparently trying to become the next Rodney Stuckey, and senior guard Faisal Aden of Washington State - - is there something in the water in the eastern portion of the Evergreen State?). So . . . basically you guard this dude. And Duke did so admirably up at Industrial Park, and must do so admirably again. Howard's injury, by the way, raises an interesting question - - since Stoglin must now split time at the point with Faust, does this increase his responsibilities and depress his scoring, as it would with most shooting guards forced to slide over to lead guard? Or does it not matter in this case because TS never passes the ball anyway? Oh, wait, I get it - - Howard might have been tempted to pass to someone else on occasion, but Stoglin won't be swayed by such considerations. So, yeah, this is a problem fir them. Stoglin is also tiny and is utterly free of any defensive effort - - his 1.0% steal-per-possession rate would rank him absolute dead last on the Blue Devils, yes, behind all ten Duke players who see or have seen time this season, except for Josh Hairston, with whom he would be tied.
Sean Mosley, 6-4 SR - - Sugar Shane just won't go away; he scored 16 points and had six assists against Clemson. You know, I had no idea he had any passing skills, nor did he. He's exceeded that single-game feed mark once in his entire decade-long stint at Maryland, and matched it on two other occasions. On the season, he's at 1.8 apg, so he's not the answer as a distributor. He plays about 6-1 or 6-2 on offense, which is good news for Duke. He is MDCP's best wing defender, but that's like saying that Rick Santorum is the most likeable guy running for the Republican nomination. Let's retire this guy in style, Duke.
BENCH? Sort of.
Alex Len, 7-1 FR - - Markie Mark sort of has to use the Dnipopetrovskostiff for more than the 11 minutes he logged against Clemson, because otherwise PankeyPadge will be eaten alive by any sort of fire-breathing version of Mason Plumlee, assuming that the latter wants to better his rather lame effort against the Tools. Len weighs only 225, is no threat to shoot beyond two feet, hits 58.5% of his fairly few free throws (24-41), and is not well-conditioned or good at defense. He'd average 4.4 fouls per game if he played 40 minutes a night.
Berend Weijs, 6-10 SR - - with a surname pronounced to rhyme with "dork," this Nethostiff scored one field goal in five minutes against us the first time around. Bootsy alert! He's scored seven points three times in his career, once against North Carolina-Greensboro, once against Florida's entire Gulf Coast, and once against Notre Dame, which is probably not a source of pride for Irish fans. Unless something weird happens, he's five fouls to give. Now if he played forty minutes a night, he'd commit 5.2 personals per game, which is intriguing - - what happens to that metric when the hypothetical cipher of a guy created by his aggregate stats averages more than five fouls per 40? When does he get the DQ? And honestly, where else on the Internet can you go to face these sorts of pointed questions, or, for that matter, confront paragraphs about Berend Weijs?
Mychal Parker, 6-5 SO - - hardly ever played as a freshman, but is averaging 4.3 ppg and three bounds a game in 17.3 mpg this season. But then again, he only got five minutes against Clemson. But then again, someone has to get Howard's 32.9 mpg, which was leading the team. And now I think we're done here.
BOTTOM LINE THIS FOR ME ALREADY, PLEASE: Sure; sorry. Look, this team was short on talent before losing Howard, and is even worse off now. They're very easy to guard thanks to Stoglin's velcro-like hands and various other factors, they don't have a lot of size, they shoot an average-to-abysmal .433/.656/.337 as a team, they have two stiffs from parts mostly unknown, their defense is atrocious, they never generate or benefit from turnovers (just 20 teams in Div I are worse in the category), and not surprisingly, they never pilfer the ball (exactly two teams in the nation, Utah State and Colgate, have fewer steals per possession). Here, this might convince you - - only five teams score a higher percentage of their points from the stripe (since you demanded, those are Howard, New Mexico State, LIU-Brooklyn, Evansville and Hofstra), but MDCP's team FT% of 65.6% is #273 out of 345. (By contrast, Duke, no world-renowned team of charity snipers, is at #138 in the country in FT% at 69.9%.) So they score a vast percentage of their points at the line - - but don't connect on too many of their free shots.
I SAID, BOTTOM LINE THIS FOR ME ALREADY, PLEASE: Duke should just blow this team out.
X FACTOR HEDGE? Sure - - it's Duke! At home! And I'm going to predict them to win, which means trouble!
IN ALL SERIOUSNESS DEPARTMENT: This is Duke's chance to sack up, show some renewed confidence in itself, and play like they mean it. And do not play Stallball unless there's about two or three minutes left and a large, and I mean large, Blue Devil lead.
PREDICTION: Duke 84, Maryland, College Park 74.
AND NOW, CDG! Away she goes. This gal should have her own site, by the way. Check this out. Thanks as always for reading, and please add your comments below.
Well Wednesday night didn’t end the way that I thought it would! Don’t get me wrong, beating Cryolina by ANY means is always sweet music to my soul. But I did not see that coming and had in fact written the game off as a 12 point loss early in the second. Even when we started to chip away in the last five minutes, I was doubtful. Hell, with a minute to go I fully expected a collapse. Very, very happy to be proven wrong in this instance. I particularly relish the utter domination that we have now shown against Rrhoid during his tenure and only WISH this would make the mouth-breathing partisans in ToolNation question his job security, as Al White alluded to. 5 of 6. GTHC!
Still, that was not a win I would like to “experience” as a fan again, and I suspect, as Matt alluded to in his own blogging, that the Duke players must be getting tired of this crap as well. One-point wins against the Tools are the stuff of dreams… except when you were handling them mightily for the bulk of the first half and then totally, and inexplicably, collapse. Sheesh!!
I am seriously having difficulty understanding how you go from a solid game plan to Stallball – in the FIRST HALF. Until the last 5 minutes, everything was working brilliantly even with Deputy Dawg slowly peeling off hundreds to line the pockets of the refs in an effort to alter that reality. We were exposing their utter lack of perimeter defense and were making Zeller carry the team until it nearly killed him (do you SEE those bricks???). The fact that players on the Tools had to resort to yapping just proved how we were slowly, and methodically, paralyzing their game plan.
To this very day, I do not comprehend Stallball. What is wrong with playing a full FORTY MINUTES??? That is how long regulation lasts and that should be expected of all players. Yes, when you have a lead you need to make smart choices on offense and you need to protect the ball. This does not, however, amount to squandering 28 seconds of every possession and then running a crappy play that has little to no chance of being successful. Like Matt, I seriously doubt any of the players on this team came to Duke because they really only wanted to play 25 minutes a game while the other 15 is spent dribbling at the top of the key like an idiot.
We will lose players if this keeps up. Incidentally, this is in part why I think Austin will be leaving at the end of this year, despite my own serious misgivings about his level of talent and attitude (and whether there is even any interest on the part of Association honchos, though I admit I have little to no knowledge of what makes a “good” NBA player because I hate the NBA). I personally think Rivers has no interest in the college game, and has even less interest in playing for a team that mandates Stallball while he is working on his Neeba audition tape. But that is a different conversation and one that I think Matt will ban me from the site for initiating too soon.
So, where does that leave us?
Ah! Yes! That leaves us facing Sweaty’s Squad for the second time in as many weeks. (Okay, technically it’s 17 days, but still - didn’t we just beat these bozos????)
You’ll note that I am still using the “Sweaty’s Squad” moniker (TM Matt). Although the great Wet One has moved on (and is currently cruising Dewey Beach for underage co-eds), there will be no denying that Scaryland is the institution that Gary built. And lest you think that it is only the Dukies.com Command Center that enjoyed pointing out his propensity for perspiration, check the opening paragraph from one of the many news items announcing Gary’s retirement:
“After sweating through crisp white shirts and expensive suits for more than three decades, Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams is finally ready to take it easy.”
As annoying as Gary could be, and as much I despised the fact that his desire to be one of the “cool kids” led our players and their families to have to risk their lives on the unnecessary annual trip to the equally Unnecessary Arena, I was pretty floored to learn of his “retirement”, particularly given that his arch-nemesis, Debbie Yow, had already moved on. The ACC does not seem the same without his hot mess prowling the sidelines. Garyland, you are missed.
Speaking of “hot messes”, I will be interested to hear what people think of the “Platinum” uniforms today. The graphics I’ve seen are a bit strange, but not too crazy. What I think is funny is that Duke and the Holes, both recipients of these special unis, are wearing them at home against Merryland, who have not been gifted with such uniforms by Nike because they were wearing a different shill-name when they won their national title. Heh.
Then again, the Twerps could show up wearing the football helmets that they debuted this season and cause a few seizures and we’d REALLY have a hot mess.
Okay, so if you haven’t picked up on the fact that I have been blathering on about nothing for the best part of two pages because I have no clue what to write about, you either aren’t reading this at all or you should perhaps seek medical attention because you have no pulse.
Look, it’s Maryland. Playing at Duke. Within two weeks of their last meeting (thanks Swofford). Repeat of the last game? Fair bet. Matt will break it down for you intelligently but to my mind, you shut down Stoglin, you decrease the Twerps’ offense by about a third. Add some Mase to the mix again, and a significantly less odious crowd (and a better ref crew), and we *should* sweep.
Then again, this is THIS Duke team and they defy understanding. Kelly is a good kid, and I like him a lot (he’s pretty funny on the DukeBluePlanet videos, particularly those from last year), but when I saw him calling plays during the Holes game, it just confirmed how out-of-whack this team is.
Here’s a formula : play defense + make intelligent shots + play the 40 FULL minutes = win.
Anything else... Meh...
Duke 70, Maryland, College Park 62.
Last Edition's Score Prediction Margin Variance:
6 (never happier to be wrong - - and I did somehow stumble into getting NCCH's total right)