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TD: VPI (2) Game Post/Blog

Date: 2/25/2012

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt

Volume XV, Episode 14
February 25, 2012

VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE (15-13, 4-9) @ #5 DUKE (24-4, 11-2) 

Matt's comments in blue. 
Gamon Jordon's comments in white.

YOU'VE BEEN DISCONNECTED DEPARTMENT:  Thanks to everyone who enjoyed my Florida State preview, which included three e-mailers who wish to remain anonymous, all three of whom called it one of my best previews of the season.  Really?  I just don't get you guys, because that preview was written in about an hour, it was late, it had about two total insights, and it just generally sucked air.  Other than the joke about Bernard James formerly serving as a Jedi, there weren't even any laughs.  Intended laughs, I mean.  Well, maybe I should go that route more often.   

YOU CAN HAVE MY SCHEDULE WHEN YOU CAN PRY IT FROM MY FAT, GREASY FINGERS DEPARTMENT:  It's time for the annual Swoffoscrewjob!  Yes, opportunities were hard to come by this season, with Duke not visiting Coral Gables, and heads rolled in Greensboro when Swoffie's Scheduling Minions failed to take advantage of the Blue Devils' trip to Chestnut Hill.  But all is not lost!  Let's have Duke play in TeeHee, the third-most difficult road trip in terms of travel that the Blue Devils face each season (and actually, arguably one far worse than the jaunts to Miami and Boston because the latter cities feature amenities such as real hotels and an airport), in a game finishing at about 9 P.M. Eastern . . . lessee, so the kids will get back to Durham around 1 A.M. . . . and then force them to play a game against VPI at noon on Saturday!  That'll work!  Good job, Swoffie. 

But wait - - what's this?  I can feel the eye-rolling from our Tool Nation readership contingent (actually numbering in the dozens, no kidding) from here.  I mean, these things are unavoidable, Matt, say they.  Right - - except they're really not!  What stopped this game from being scheduled on Saturday night, or, and just stay with me as I go off the deep end here, on Sunday?  The answer is nothing.  VPI was supposed to be much better this season and Swofford saw the opportunity for a real shafting here - - just the way he likes it. 

Just for fun, I decided to take a look at NCCH's schedule this season.  You'll be shocked - - shocked, I tell ya - - to find that the Tools only play games two days apart once in their ACC slate.  It already happened, in fact - - on January 29, the Twinks hosted titanic GIT in a game beginning at 6 P.M., then had to reach all the way back into their reserve energy tanks for the customarily grueling bus ride to Winston-Salem (approximate duration: 1:25) all of two days later, to face awesome Wake Forest at 9 P.M.  So let's see - - virtually no travel was involved, and the game start times were 51 hours apart, instead of not-inconsiderable travel and game times separated by 41 hours.  Totally comparable! 

Hey, I wonder if the Tools had to face anything like this in their ACC schedule in previous seasons.  Let's find out! 

2010-2011:  Nope.  Two two-day periods between games, only one involving a road trip, but on each occasion, the start times were more than 48 hours apart. 

2009-2010:  Not a single two-day period between games. 

2008-2009:  One two-day period between games.  Start times exactly 48 hours apart. 

2007-2008:  One two-day period between games.  Start times 49.5 hours apart. 

2006-2007:  Not a single two-day period between games. 

So there we have it - - Duke is now doing something that UNC-CH hasn't had to do in the last six seasons, counting this one.  Huh!  Who would have thought this to be the case?

MY UNFUNNY VALENTINE DEPARTMENT:  Sadly, Ted Valentine proved all of his mostly know-nothing critics right on Thursday night; his performance was atrocious.  There's a cohort of loud online Duke fans who claim, without any knowledge or facts, that Valentine is a terrible referee who has it in for Duke, who showboats, misses calls, plays to the home crowd, etc.  The only thing they're right about, however, is the showboating; Valentine is definitely a camera hog, but he also happens to be one of the most talented referees working Division I today.  Equating him with hacks like Karl Hess or Jamie Luckie or some of the other cretins who do ACC games far more often is simply dead wrong.  Unfortunately and all too frequently, however, loud people with lame opinions are seemingly proven right by results drawn from small sample sizes.  You didn't really hear much about Valentine and Duke until the 2010 natty title game, when Ted blew at least three calls and did, admittedly, act like an oaf a bit too often for my taste.  Internet lore, however, has him calling Krzyzewski for a T in that game - - he didn't.  And he didn't "have it in for Duke" in any way; he and his fellow zebras that night (Cahill and Tom Eades) issued a few bad whistles in Duke's favor as well.  It was balanced, and they didn't even call that many fouls - - only 32 in the game on both teams.    

The only Duke game that Teddy V has officiated since we beat Butler for all the 2010 marbles was this season's abortive stop in Columbus.  Valentine had nothing to do with the outcome of that one, that's for sure, as only Rivers and Middle Plumlee showed up wearing road unis.  So, this business about Valentine is mostly a myth, and it's too bad that he had to feed the monster with a really bad performance on Thursday night, including some admittedly mindblowing first-half calls.  In fact, that's one of the worst-officiated Blue Devil games I've seen in recent memory - - but that doesn't make Valentine a terrible ref who has it in for Duke, and I hate it that we all have to hear to the contrary for the next eight seasons.          

FREE MASON DEPARTMENT:  If I told you that Mason Plumlee had one point, one field goal (which would be a bricked dunk, his third such achievement in the last three games) and four fouls in 17 minutes, would you have guessed that Duke had defeated Florida State by eight?  I also loved Mason's two open-court "now, let me demonstrate the traveling violation" exhibitions - - awesome.  Would this goofball get his head on straight already?  I mega-, megadig that his older bro (arguably a more complete player) is playing so well, but . . . enough already.  Score some points inside!  It's astonishing that Duke was able to hit 13 threes with Mason clowning around to this great of an extent.  I do want to give him props for being on the Academic All-America First Team, though.  Just raise the basketball IQ a little too, my man! 

SKIPPING CLASS DEPARTMENT:  The TLCCCCCCCCCCC audience actually booed Rivers when he got up from his injury.  What is this, Industrial Park?  Bravo, folks - - way to do your school proud.  However, I do want to report that the NoleCast, to which I was forced to turn because I was trapped in preposterous Los Angeles traffic for the entire second half, was evenhanded, complimentary of the Duke players and staff, and generally a pleasure to listen to.  Props to Gene Deckerhoff (also the Tampa Bay Sucs' radio voice -  maybe that explains why nothing fazes him) and Keith Jones for this. 

GREAT WIN, DUKE! DEPARTMENT:  I'm just not quite ready to leave this one behind.  Duke held FSU to 39.7% shooting from the floor, and although Snaer Drum got his 18 points, he had to take 18 shots to get there.  Loucks was so worthless that he was only on the floor for 16 minutes, mostly because he couldn't stay in front of Rivers, and Doolkeys was limited to one made three in 26 ticks.  Gibson, White, Peterson (ugh - - of course) and Miller had just two buckets apiece, and Duke even managed to limit James' abilities inside through ball denial, despite Coach Bullethead screaming at the Noids from the Espen table to go inside to the 54-year-old warrior, as if Hamilton hadn't thought of that and there might be something else at work.  Duke also put the right guys on the line - - James had one FTA, while the starting backcourt of Loucks/Dulkys/Snaer had zippo.  Combine that with six threes from Dawkins and, yeah, Duke deserved to win this one.  Nicely done!! 

TRAP GAME DEPARTMENT:  I'm glad VPI lost to Virginia on Thursday, not just because I hate VPI's program, but because if they hadn't, then they'd be 5-8 and mathematically still in the hunt to go 8-8 and have Fester take to the airwaves doubting the sanity of anyone who dared deny the Chokies an NCAA bid.  Sorry!  4-9, so how about you just lay down for this one like you did in Blacksburg? 


Dorian Finney-Smith, 6-8 FR - - Went 0-4 in 17 minutes against us at Cassell, and really seems to struggle against any kind of bulk defender.  He's only been in double figures twice in ACC contests this year, and is now shooting .335/.655/.357 on the season.  Good defensive rebounder, though not much of an on-ball defender.   

Robert Brown, 6-5 FR - - Vic the Brick Davila is out of this one with groin issues (ouch - - feel better, dude), so Brown moves into the starting lineup.   He'll have issues guarding whatever Plumlee decides to show up - - Mason, at least, promises to be pretty fresh and rested.  Brown is not really ready for prime-time ACC play and struggles with defense and rebounding.   

Jarell Eddie, 6-7 SO - - I figured the alleged doobage hound from last season would go off against us the first time around, but he was 3-10, never made it to the line, and clanged five three attempts, so, yeah, that didn't happen.  The law of averages probably means that he'll bounce back here and hit a couple of threes at least; he's at 44.7% from distance on the season.  I guess Rivers and Dawkins will guard him.  Speaking of which, I wonder if Krzyzewski will try a Rivers/Dawkins/Curry starting backcourt in this one.  I generally think that Dawkins plays better in the Quincy Lewis Instant Offense Role off the bench.  Right?

Erick Green, 6-4 JR - - the point guard, the leading assist man, and the Turkeys' leading scorer by a wide margin, at 15.7 ppg.  After missing VPI's opener this season with a strained Achilles, he's scored in double digits in every contest.  Stay in front of him.  2.8 apg isn't really that scary. 

Dorenzo Hudson, 6-5 SR - - Here's where the matchups get interesting, because if a non-PlumleeKelly is guarding Eddie, then I guess Curry has to check him.  He gets to the line a fair amount - - he and Green are the only Hokoids who do - - but he isn't uncontainably physical and he doesn't cap a ton of threes (he averages one made triple per game on 31.8% shooting from range), so stopping him isn't impossible.  And on the other side of the ball, Dorenzo is deeply allergic to defense and holds the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of Matadors.  So maybe he'll let whomever he guards slip by him a lot for easy points.  Or, hell, any points.     

BENCH?  Okay. 

C.J. Barksdale, 6-8 FR - - total sanitation man and not likely to make a huge impact on this one.  Only played 12 minutes against Virginia. 

Marquis Rankin, 6-1 FR - - the relief guard.  Jack of a few trades, master of zero.  Has hit two threes in each of VPI's last two games, so he deserves some respect outside.  No threat to drive and couldn't contain a chuckle. 

Cadarian Raines, 6-9 JR - - oh, wait, this doosh was actually the replacement starter for Davila against Virginia, not Brown.  That's fine, because he deals out fouls by the bushel and he can't hit free throws (54.3%).  He managed double figures against GIT two games ago, but that program is actually preparing to decertify and play its 2012-2013 games on the Albanian national circuit, so Raines' prowess there is of dubious utility in attempting to predict his performance against a real frontcourt (are you listening, Mason?).  His name reminds me of Star Wars characters and some sort of sinister weather phenomenon.  I can just hear some nasal-voiced Brit intoning that "the Cadarian Raines have swept through the area and cleaned up some garbage on the rim left by the native populace."  Or something.  Now does any other website provide you this much on Cadarian Raines??  Give it up!    

BOTTOM LINE THIS FOR ME, PLEASE:  Definitely a classic trap game, as the Chokies have size and are - - don't let this get around - - known for their thuglike propensities.  Fester has been festering since we beat them in Blacksburg, but since Davila had almost a third of their points that night (16 of 60), that's a problem for them.  And when Surly Seth has problems, he orders the football team on to the floor, so count on a lot of dirty shoves and elbows and other nonsense, none of which will be called or even for the most part detected by the clue-free ACC officiating unit.  Duke will be tired and possibly looking past this game and the next one to playing the Tools again, which is not good.  Krzyzewski will have earned his game check if he keeps the focus on putting away trash teams like these crap-flingers and Weak before getting down to business against anyone else.  I think Duke can do it - - even at (yaaaaaaah) Cameron.  Poor Cameron.  Can't we play well there for a change?

BONUS COVERAGE:  There was all sorts of palaver this week about whether Duke deserves a #1 seed.  The answer is that it's too early to discuss this, but Bristol has to justify the inexplicable compensation they sign over to Joe Lunardi, who incidentally makes the following list, which I'm pleased to announce RIGHT NOW: 


 . . . and the winners are:

Seth Davis
Oliver Purnell
Bruce Weber
Jimmy Dykes
Joe Lunardi (LVP)

Congratulations!  Here's another big paycheck. 

PREDICTION:  Duke 75, Virginia Polytechnic Institute 64.

Last Edition
Matt 0-1

This Season
Matt 8-5 
Guests 2-0

Last Edition's Score Prediction Margin Variance
9 (fine with it!)

Last Season:
Matt 52-18
Guests 3-3 


View more articles from this category


Posted by: KD Date: 2/27/2012 10:15:00 PM  
One comment having luckily made it into Cameron on Saturday (tickets going for $400 a pair??!!). Although the Crazies are lacking that certain creativity that made them famous, they did comport themselves quite well and really got the place going for the stretch run. They got the old folks off their feet several times and the place was really rocking. I am not good with the names of officials, but the guy who blew Ryan's 5th, ignored the dwarf tossing of Tyler into the third row and several other calls definitely helped to get the place fired up. It was awesome, as ugly and as brutal as the game was. I agree with the comments that we should consider ourselves lucky, as maddening as this team has been a times, to be unahppy about a team that has only lost 4 games. I dare to imagine the thought of sweeping the regular season against the Holes. Can it happen?

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/26/2012 3:32:12 PM  
CDG finishing strong at the meets! Congratulations.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/25/2012 7:18:14 PM  
Sorry Mark/Fats - I would have been here got the game if
(a) it was actually viewable from my area and
(b) I wasn't at a swim meet (yes - I'm 35 and swim in periodic "swim meets" like a teenager).

I did win all my races in my age group so it was a good day!

Anyway, sorry I missed this one. You guys were great.

So, Weak Florest on Tuesday then the main event Sat. :)

Posted by: London Dukie Date: 2/25/2012 5:26:45 PM  
Unfortunately missed the game but sounds like it was another example of this year's team playing down to the level of the opposition!

I admit I don't really know how to feel about a team like this one. Part of me is incredibly unhappy with the bad losses and also the bad wins at home - Cameron should be a fortress and it isn't. But the other part of me is aware that the team is 25-4 and has beaten some very good teams, plus the UNC result was just lovely, and it makes me wonder if I have just become spoiled over the last 25 years. All but a handful of schools in the country would kill to have a season like this one and yet I'm grumbling.

Ah well, enough rambling. Time to see if UVA can overcome the acting skills of John Henson and pull one out against UNC. I'm expecting disappointment...

Posted by: tom Date: 2/25/2012 4:32:11 PM  
Also want to apologize for typing a book. Will shorten it up in the future.

Posted by: tom Date: 2/25/2012 2:46:40 PM  
Okay, a whole bunch of stuff. First off. Matt, I respectfully disagree with you concerning Valentine. I don't think he personally hates Duke and he's even quoted as saying that he admires Coach K amongst other coaches (including Gary Williams). I agree the officiating was horrible on Thursday. Finally, I agree that Valentine likes to put himself out there like a WWE referee. I don't think he's one of the best. Bobby Knight is probably not a fan of him, and watching him do the MSU Kentucky game the night before was bad. There were some awful calls on that one as well (and they were on both sides but I believe that makes it ok) and it was a very rough game. And I don't know about you but if you know the ref's name for a college basketball game that's bad. I'm sure everyone knows who Bruce Benedict is. And I'm not talking about his baseball career as a catcher with the Atlanta Braves. Just my two cents as a fan but I know your research and knowlege is more than mine on this topic.
On Tuesday, I was asked twice by Duke haters why are they a prospective number 1 seed? On Friday, I was asked by two guys who follow MLB than any college basketball but just happened to watch the second half of the FSU game about why does Duke shoot so many threes?
I knew Andre would follow-up with a no show in this game. It's been so aggravating to see that. I'd like to ask Mason "What's her name?" and "How much time are you spending with her?" At least his studies are going well for him. And thank you for making that one foul shot whent the game was tight in OT. BTW, Tyler owes you a free punch to the gut for not communicating on the set pick. I thought he was concussed like Nolan was (although that play was illegal). Of course, nice punk move to smack and stare when he's down C Raines. Real tough guy you are. Austin played great again but maybe he can learn from Miles on consistent free throw shooting.
I can believe to a certain extent about the tired legs theory. But they must have been mentally tired as well because there were some dum turnovers in this game.
I can also hear it now from the anti-Duke crowd about some of the calls. I know Mason got away with a goal tend as well as that ball bouncing off his head out of bounds after being blocked, howeva, one can argue that fifth foul on Kelly being called as well as the no call foul when Thorton went for the rebound.
For some reason, I think the BB of B will stay another year based on the past couple of weeks of them loosing (with the exception of one) close game and the injuries the team has. It is nice not hear him this year whine.
Well, I'm not sure if there is any good to take out of this game but to say the defense has improved for Duke but this was a luck win. Green had a great look at that basket in regulation and Tech missed a lot of free throws.
Well, it's windy as hell here. My electricity went out for about 30 seconds when there was a minute left in regulation. I just stood there with my mouth agape. Rest up and get ready for Wake. Thanks again for the in depth analysis on the tools schedule Matt. I'm forever remain surprised by your research. Thanks guys.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/25/2012 2:21:31 PM  
To clarify...it was just one possession where Curry unnecessarily gave the ball up to Rivers, but he did it twice. The first time, the ball came back to him and I thought for sure he'd hold it and get fouled, but he sent it right back. Want the ball and the free throws! Oh well.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:15:27 PM  
Lazer, well done. I'm naming you the Dukies.com 'MVP' for today's game. (with Matt's approval, of course.)

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/25/2012 2:15:21 PM  
I'm late to the party here, but why would Curry give the ball up to Rivers not once, but twice. It's not like he was under intense pressure, he was in the middle of the floor and Rivers was in the corner, and VPI had to foul. Nothing like making your team more trappable and sending the guy who makes 1 of 2 every time down the stretch to the line.

At any rate, it's a W, and after a ridiculous scheduling turnaround to boot. I'll take it. Oh, and I'll echo Matt's thoughts from earlier. Practice in Cameron for heaven's sake!

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:10:40 PM  
Good job, Plumlee! Knocked down both!

Good for him.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:09:54 PM  
Plumlee Sr, we need one. Got it!

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:04:57 PM  
What the hell people! Why is it just Lazer and me?

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:04:03 PM  
Wow, those 2 shots by VT are something. Luck or not, hats off.

Can Plumlee make 1/2 FTs? Can he?!

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:02:20 PM  
Stallball...no way we lose!

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 2:01:23 PM  
Win or lose, did anyone here REALLY think we'd win out til the UNC game in Durham? I didn't without even studying the schedule.

Hopeful to be proven wrong.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 1:56:23 PM  
During the Greg-Paulus-gets-blocked replay, my seven-year-old said, of Deron Washington, "Is that a girl playing?!"

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 1:52:07 PM  
I see that Ty Thornton's face is part of the ball.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 1:27:19 PM  

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 1:18:04 PM  
Mason doing the Cherokee-Parks-Shooting-Guard thing, only backwards, on the defensive end.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 12:46:53 PM  
It's during the game so hopefully I'm simply being panicky and narrow-minded.

From the beginning of the season I've guessed Coach K permitted the TOs, mistakes, etc as necessary growing pains. His best players had to mature through the trying times in order to be successful at NCAA tourney time.

I'm hoping we are still in my perceived path, and will blossom over the next month or so.

However, this offense is for the Jason Williams or the 1992 squad, not the current one.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 12:40:22 PM  
I've reached the conclusion that neither Plumlee can be counted upon to deliver a solid and consistent level of play over time. Awkward and a step behind...

Ryan? Hello? Ryan?

Coach k?

Coach K?


Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 12:32:40 PM  
Tap-tap-tap. This thing on?

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 12:31:36 PM  
Show some fire, Mase!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 12:27:57 PM  
High OR% for VT. Too high. (Even if a number have been really hard bricks/airballs.)

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 12:19:27 PM  
Those on-ball screens do seem to be making the offense more limited in variety.

Wonder when Dawk's next stellar game is. ACC semis? NCAA R64?

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 12:08:29 PM  
And back to the high screens.... That may work against VT, can it against the better defensive teams in the tournament?

Maybe I'm just showing my age, and Rivers can handle the load.

Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 2/25/2012 12:03:57 PM  

Nice motion offense to start.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 11:57:52 AM  
Interesting scheduling-screw research. Does K have any input into the ACC games schedule, I wonder? I seem to recall him saying he actually approves of the 2-day scheduling to practice for the NCAAs. Of course those are at the same site.

I did a quick tally of the balance of the schedule for the top four teams. Measuring by dividing the ACC into three tiers (C, NCSU, MD, MIA the middle), from the top four teams, Duke had the easiest schedule. All four top teams played each other five times (UVA and UNC with +1 away, D and FSU +1 home). Duke played the bottom feeders 6 times, FSU and V 5, and UNC 4.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/25/2012 11:47:42 AM  
I heard the Maryland radio broadcast for the first half of the game from Cameron, and although the guys did not have any remarkable voices or patter, they were competent and even-handed.

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/25/2012 11:14:35 AM  
This isn't the first time you've been complimentary of FSU's radio team. I've only had the pleasure of catching a Deckerhoff broadcast once, naturally for a Clemson game, and I only remember him having a Spurrier of a time pronouncing Olu Babalola.

For the record, the NASCAR division racing today is the Buschonwide Series. Uh oh, the race is on opposite the end of the Duke game and the entire Clemson game. Basketball wins out every time.

Posted by: KD Date: 2/25/2012 10:52:01 AM  
Nice work Matt. Very nice win on Thursday, especially given the very uneven officiating. I really started to fear for Austin's safety in that stretch where he was tackled into the crowd. FSU is a football school after all. Heading to the game today and psyched. Let's take it to that bald bastard!

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