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TD: Florida Whom

Date: 1/27/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (preramble, comments, failure to go undefeated), duhomme (comments, fine for court-storming)

Volume XIII, Episode 23
January 27, 2010

Matt’s comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.

FLORIDA STATE (15-4, 3-2) @ #8 DUKE (16-3, 4-2)

I don’t understand the Clemson win.  I’m very happy about it, make no mistake, but after watching it carefully I really do not understand how it happened.  In the preview, in which I quite regretfully and regrettably picked Duke to lose by seven, I claimed that Duke would win only if Coach K changed his ways or Ornamental Ollie and Clemson really cooperated in the Blue Devils’ victory architecture.  Mission accomplished on both fronts, as Coach K reduced his seven-man rotation to . . . a six-man rotation, and Sir Purr did everything he could to help Duke to a win, starting with his woeful offensive playcalling.

This recap will be follow the occasionally-deployed anecdotal format rather than my more rigid, standard format, because I’m just That Guy.  And I imagine some of you would like to read this before Duke tips off, and I can’t get to Jordan Demercy’s stats fast enough. 

Before I forget, heaven help me, but Erin Andrews actually looked attractive on the sidelines, instead of her usual Manfaced appearance.  Some softer makeup, perhaps a little less focus on the camera lens, encouraging some people to switch their HD off . . . whatever it takes.  But she looked cute.  Her sideline reporting?  Awful.  She just doesn’t get it, and added nothing except that Purnell was waiting for Duke to get tired, which she stated at least three times.  On the other hand, I was waiting to get tired of Erin.  And that part came true.  Bullethead did his usual goofy play-by-play where he ignored much of what was going on, and Vitale was Vitale.  Actually, truth be told I thought Vitale stepped up his game a bit for this one, probably because someone played him a tape of Bobby Knight giving a clinic on some Big 12 telecast and Dick sensed the gravy train coming to an abrupt end. 

Nolan Smith was the uncontested star of the game for Duke.  For all of that nonsense about the Blue Devils not being athletic and not having the skills or “athleticism” to break down opposing defenses, Smith continues to provide a fairly ready retort with his play.  I really appreciated Nolan and Krzyzewski’s ability to exploit a mismatch on both ends of the floor in our favor.  K could have had Smith guarding Tanner Smith, but no - - he was on Stitt or Young, as he should have been, and since Stitt is a dramatically overrated defender who gets rubbed off on screens with ridiculous ease and also breaks out the red cape when anyone near him threatens to hit the accelerator, Nolan had little trouble penetrating when Duke had the ball.  Possibly my favorite play of the game was when Nolan threw in that effortless eight-foot floater from the left side after blowing by Stitt and hypnotizing the nonexistent helpside defense.  Beautiful.  Incidentally, if you weren’t aware of this already, Nolan leads the ACC in ppg improvement over a year ago; through Saturday’s game he’s at +10.2 ppg from last season (also good enough for 13th nationally in the same metric).  Not bad.  He’s also really improved his defensive aggressiveness, and doesn’t seem to be fouling as often.  Bravo!  He’s been fantastic. 

Scheyer struggled again in some ways, but totally smothered Tanner Smith and authored a competent floor game, including a very good press break drill that worked to perfection.  Last time, in Cameron, Olivoid didn’t bring the press until the second half; this time, he let Duke continue to break it routinely on nearly every trip down court, and didn’t alter it much, if at all.  Well done, sir, and thank you.

Singler will get props from some quarters for his performance in this game, but in truth he was quite bad.  Twelve points on twelve shots - - a PPS of 1.0, if you’re scoring at home - - seven bricks, exactly two boards, and a mind-rending five turnovers in (of course) 40 minutes.  Now, his defense was okay, and in the second half he really seemed to get the idea, or K did, that he should be scoring the bulk of his points on drives.  I don’t get why this is so difficult for everyone in positions of responsibility to understand, but Kyle doesn’t need to be taking small forwards guarding him outside; that was last season (with power forwards).  He needs to be taking the small forwards INSIDE.  Duh??  Hello?  I mean, maybe I’m crazy.  But if KS nails himself to the arc and puts up threes, mixing in weird, contested midrange shots, then every advantage he has is neutralized, and Duke squanders an offensive mismatch.  If you’re being guarded by Harry Potter, take him inside already.  Same thing for several possessions when the 6-5 Tanner Smith checked Singler.  Post him up!  (Neither Potter nor Smith incurred a single personal foul, so you know they were guarding Singler even without checking - - Kyle’s two free throws came on a push early in the first half by 6-9 Milton Jennings.)  Drive to the bucket already, dude!  Take threes when open.  If you go inside, then out, I think this might just work. 

Singler DID do a very good defensive job, and so did everyone else.  Sure, Booker had 10 points in the first half, and then 12 in the second, but I didn’t really blame Lance, because (1) several of those shots came on plays when Lance was not doing the guarding, and (2) Lance’s instructions may well have been to deny the easy pass into Booker, and if he got the ball, face guard him and let him shoot, while everyone else does ball denial and prevents a kickout.  If this was the strategy, then Duke got unlucky that Booker converted 10-14 shots, but everything worked like a charm otherwise, with the Tiggers masoning their way to a 2-13 outing from distance. 

I can’t let Lance’s offense go without mention, either - - nice!  That really adds quite the dimension to the Duke attack, doesn’t it?  Also, if there’s a more inconsistent, four-year player at Duke in the last 25 years, set me straight in the comments section, because I don’t know who it is.  I’m not talking about someone like Tony Lang, now - - he was inconsistent for two seasons, then evolved into the second-best defensive forward in the country, behind only the guy he lined up next to in the frontcourt, and added a pretty nice inside game as well.  I mean a guy who, as a senior, can be great, as he was in this game, then invisible.  With no rhyme or reason to the pattern.  It’s amazing.

Finally, although I joke about K and his flashy new six-man rotation, actually, this game was fairly slow-moving and the minutes distribution didn’t bother me.  A good test, at least for me, is always whether I realize that the players on the court are playing the minutes that the box later shows.  In this case, I thought Ryan Kelly got about seven minutes, not three, and that Mason had more as well.  There were enough silly whistles, enough dumb reviews of three-pointers (becoming all the rage in Zebraland, by the way, and they got Scheyer’s dead wrong - - good thing Duke didn’t lose by a point or go into OT, eh?), and enough Purnell timeouts (during which, hilariously, Erin the Nonvixen would tell us how Purnell kept reminding his team that the other squad, which he was just then giving a nice break to, would wear down) that the minutes didn’t much matter.  And I said it in a previous article’s comments section, but I’ll mention it again here: Andre likely didn’t play because there isn’t anyone in Clemson’s rotation for him to guard.  6-5 Smith?  6-6 Potter?  6-5 Grant?  6-9 Jennings?  K made the right call by going to the big lineup and bringing Kelly in instead.  And remember, Dawkins has a hurt ankle suffered against Wake and aggravated against NCSU.  Please, let’s hold off on any (absurd) transfer rumors.              

Florida State has struggled replacing Toney Douglas just as much as its conferential compatriot (huh?) in America’s Wang has struggled replacing Jack McClinton.  However, Listless Len allllllllllllways comes back, no matter how close you come to putting the final period in his career obituary.  Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech, in which the Noids battled gamely to put away the Ambercoats in the final seconds, could be the start of the annual TeeHee Comeback, a cause to which Duke really should try to avoid a contribution.     

Florida State has a recent history of being competitive at Cameron; their one-point win nearly three years ago, in February of 2007, was the last time Duke lost to an unranked opponent at CIS (the Blue Devils have 38 straight wins against nonrated foes since).  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Len’s Lackeys pretty pumped up for this one, because in this year’s wacky ACC, they could actually start becoming relevant by stealing a road win. 

FSU’s star, of course, is 7-1 sophomore Solomon Alabi (12.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, .593/.829/.000), who is second in the league in blocks (with 2.6 bpg) behind Easy Ed Davis of totally unranked North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  Alabi is a little weaker on the boards than you’d think, but he’s a good defender, doesn’t commit a ton of stupid fouls, and really punishes opponents who send him to the line with that very impressive conversion rate.  Joining Alabi in the frontcourt are twenty-ninth year 6-8 senior and would-be wanted criminal Ryan Reid (7.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 felonies pg, 545/.600/.000), who predictably committed a dirty intentional foul against GIT on Sunday and later fouled out.  Reid never impacts a game in a basketball sense, but he is always on the hunt for some heads, and will no doubt be gunning to deal out some pain in this one.  He is a talent-free thug and, from a humanitarian, good-person, sportsmanship perspective, the most despicable player in the ACC.  Chris Singleton, a 6-9 sophomore (11.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.6 apg, 3.6 tpg, 2.2 spg, 2.8 pfpg, .431/.500/.333), is another one of these guys, like Singler, who can’t get comfortable on the court.  He Bootsied Georgia Tech on Sunday with 12, but is only slightly less capricious than Lance Thomas, so who knows what we’ll get out of him.  I would put Lance on him, the platoon of big men on Alabi in an effort to turn him into Solomon Alibi, and have Reid chase Singler around aimlessly.  As a bonus, this will conserve Singler’s energies on defense, as guarding Reid requires nothing more than a working knowledge of the assault provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes.

In the backcourt, the Nulls have predictably struggled.  6-4 junior Nerdwood Livingroom (8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.2 tpg, .413/.720/.225) has attempted to take over Douglas’ scoring point role, and 6-5 sophomore Deividas Dulkys (sounds like “Dull Keys;” looks like a stiff who only shoots from outside) (10.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 2.5 pfpg, .465/.640/.441), like Hardwood, is doing a credible job of a starting guard impression, but these guys haven’t seen backcourt defense like Duke is capable of, and aren’t tremendous creators of their own shots or opportunities for the big men.  Bathroom should be fine for Smith to handle, while I would expect Scheyer to check Dull Keys.  Again, this is good, because Jon might be able to save some ergs here.  All this guy does is run to a spot, look for a set screen, and fire away; he’s 67-144 from two and 49-111 from three.  In other words, he takes 77.1% of his shots from Tripleland, and makes 73.1% of them from the same area.  He also has a pitiful 25 FTAs on the season - - five more than Mason Plumlee and one fewer than Andre Dawkins. 

Depth, such as it is, comes from 6-7 junior defensive specialist Jordan DeMercy (3.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, .414/.808/.231), 6-11 sophomore Xavier Gibson (5.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, .538/.600/.250), 6-5 sophomore Luke Loucks (3.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, .333/.353/.286), and 6-5 freshman deep threat Michael Snaer (8.2 ppg, .431/.638/.371).  So, as you can see from the size of this group, don’t expect to see a ton of Dawkins in this one either, unless it’s in relief of Smith guarding Ferdwin Basement, or taking a turn on Dull Keys.  Gibson is a load but hasn’t really cracked the starting lineup over Reid because he’s slow and can’t figure out how to defend; Snaer looks somewhat promising, but can’t hit free throws and really coughs the ball up way too often; Loucks is just a stand-in for Dulkys; and DeMercy is That Guy Who Will Hit a Surprising!!!!!!! Three-Pointer, but won’t decide the game for any reason.  In fact, if anyone on Duke really gets humming, DeMercy may have to come in, which is terrific news for Duke, because that really cramps the Noids’ offense, and did so even when an obvious leader on the attack like Douglas was around. 

My former partner Rob used to call the Noids F$U - - the reference was originally meant differently than the more common, UCLA-fueled derogatory designation U$C, which denotes the far more educationally pricey University of Southern California.  However, O.J. Hold the Mayo, the great Tim Floyd, and Reggie Bush, to say nothing of the madly fleeing Pete Carroll, might beg to disagree with any distinction in the underlying dig at this point.  As a team, F$U is absolutely awful at shepherding the ball; Ken Pomeroy has them at #329 (out of 347 Div I-schedule-playing teams) in turnover percentage.  They actually cough the ball up once every four possessions.  Yikes.  Think Duke might press and trap a little?  I sure hope so.  The Semi-noles compound this issue by almost never stealing the ball from the other team, so this is really an area of presumed emphasis for the Blue Devils.  While the Zeroes shoot acceptably from three-point range as a team (34.3%; Duke is at 38.8% despite recent struggles), they are brutal from the line (64.9%, #280 in the nation), mostly because of Singeton, Dull Keys, Snaer, and Reid, and the fact that Alibi always seems to have a ready excuse for not getting there nearly enough.

If this tilt were taking place in TeeHee, which has been the site of some Duke struggles, I’d be very concerned, but this is not a bad matchup for Duke as long as the Blue Devils can limit Alabi and effectively gameplan FSU’s height.  Coach K has been outperformed by Listless Len before; let’s hope that doesn’t happen here, because with two teams with dramatically contrasting styles, the better strategy should win out.  With a boost from the Cameron crowd, let’s hope that better strategy is Duke’s.

Duke 82, Florida State 72.         

How about a little defense to pick up the spirits in the Dukies.com Federal Relations Office? Yes, indeed. I may watch that one again. Normally, low-scoring affairs aren’t my thing, but that’s when they are Temple-inspired sloooooooowwwwww-dooooowwwwwwwnnnnnnn insomnia-cures. Or hack-fests accompanied by trowel and lathe work at the line. But that was not the case, and this contest featured two crews determined on making it as difficult as possible for the other to score. Only one side did it better.

Before we get too far along, let me briefly discuss the latest madness emanating from Our Nation’s Capital. Usually, you’d expect the latest outrage to be a product of Congress or a federal agency, but today, the District of Columbia government has boldly gone where no man should. First off, there were a number of teachers fired last fall in what was, at the time, described as a budget issue. But, now, the D.C. School superintendant (her real title, for some annoying reason, is “chancellor,” but I’m going with the more commons, and understandable, term) Michelle Rhee defended the move, being quoted as saying, “I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school.”

Okay, there are several problems here. First off, I’m pretty sure it is against the law for a teacher, or any other authority figure, to hit child in the District. Second, I am absolutely, 100 percent positive it is illegal for any adult to have sex with an underage person, student or otherwise. But apparently, if you engage in these activities while being in the employment of the school system the worst thing that happens is you lose your job. Just not right away. Um, Ms. Rhee, could you be so kind as to explain why you didn’t terminate these employees the moment you learned of their criminal acts and then contact the police? Also, if I may, since you didn’t name any names, let me point out the obvious: you have now tarnished the personal and professional reputation of EVERY SINGLE teacher who lost their job last year. What a despicable, disgusting and reckless act. Assuming Rhee loses her job over this (I am anticipating wave after wave of lawsuits), I am sure she will be quite welcome at that big domed building in the middle of town where several hundred people with even less control of their mouths make our country’s laws.

Oh, and one more thing. If it is January, then it must have been time for yet another playoff loss by the Vikings, this time served with a generous helping of Brett Favre angst. Will he come back, or not? He doesn’t know, doesn’t want to say, blah, blah, blah. And this will go on for months. I was listening to a local radio show (heck, I really like these guys, they deserve a link) and one the host made an excellent point. Why doesn’t Favre just simply say something like: “You know, I end each season tired and hurt and there’s a part of me, at that moment, that just wants to quit. But, in the off-season I start to feel better and don’t want to leave the game I’ve dedicated my life to. So, I’m going to go loaf around for awhile, and I’ll let you know what my plans are a bit before training camp starts.” Makes sense to me.

Back to Duke and that convincing win which not only came on the road, but in what has to be the toughest building they have played in this year. Yet another example in the wonderful recent trend where the team realizes its outside shooting is not exactly the weapon of mass destruction it has been in seasons past, and therefore doesn’t take many. Only 13, in fact, and five of those (one successful) were dialed by Scheyer. As for the minutes, I have to admit I’m conflicted this time around. Matt and I write a great deal to vent our frustration at the tightened rotation each season and the resulting fatigue suffered by K’s chosen players.  However, there were a couple of mitigating factors in Littlejohnson. First, against the press, Duke needed experienced players on the floor. Second, even with the press, the game moved kind of slowly, and the Backcourt Subcommittee seemed fine at the end. Also, keep in mind that the only players who didn’t get meaningful time were Plumlee 2.0, Kelly and Dawkins. They are all freshman, playing in John Jr. for the first time and probably overwhelmed. (Yes, you got me, how did Dawkins never get in the game. I’m guessing there is story there to be told. Either he’s hurt or SOMETHING else is going on.) Finally, while Plumlee 1.0 got the fewest minutes of all the starters, he’s not the greatest interior defender. He can block shots and rebound, but in one-on-one situation he gets burned.

On to other matters, Nolan Smith needs a better publicist. Scheyer and Singler get the vast majority of ink (of bandwidth, if you will), but Nolan is just barely (by .1 points) the second-highest scorer on a Top 10 team. He averages 48.7 percent from the floor, 50.8 from triple land and 82.4 when the clock is stopped. With all due respect to Jon, Smith has probably been Duke’s most important player over the last month or so. But to watch a broadcast, you hardly know he’s on the floor.

Oh, goodness, look at me prattling on, and you want to know who I’ve picked in the Thursday night ACC games so you can (wisely) call your bookie and bet the opposite way. So let’s dispense with …

WIN OF THE GAME: Half-time adjustments that were conceived, explained, heard and implemented. That was simply a different team in the second half. Meanwhile, Oli spent every timeout telling his team to simply hang around a wait for Duke to tire out. How’d that work out, used-car-salesman-jacket-wearing-guy?

FAIL OF THE GAME: What was that, 11 first-half turnovers? The reason this gets the FAIL honor is most of them were not caused by the Clemson press, but were the result of bad plays in the half-court. How that game was tied at half-time is a complete mystery to me. (Oh, wait, Purr-nell.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, we’re back. To Cameron that is. After a split decision on the road last week, which ended better than it began when Coach K blindfolded the team on the way to Clemson and then used various hypnotic techniques to convince the players that the noise in Teeny Johnson was actually the Crazies. Now, for those of you really, really interested in the increasingly bizarre ACC “schedule” produced by staff reporting to Swoffail, let’s reset. Duke has already played Clemson twice (and won both). Florida State, tonight’s opponent, has already played Georgia Tech twice (and won both). But Duke and Florida State are meeting for the first time tonight. And the only time. But, hey, that football championship game has been totally worth it.

Ummm, stay with me here. I know this edition (my part, at least) has been a bit light on actual basketball talk. However, since Duke is playing the Seminoles, and I happen to be part Seminole (tribe, not school), I figured this would be a fine opportunity to discuss the use of American Indian names, mascots and/or images by sports teams. For those of you groaning, this is Matt’s fault.  In an email exchange regarding the obviously offensive name of the Washington, D.C.-based NFL concern, he asked me what I thought about the professional baseball operations in Atlanta and Cleveland.  Following is a somewhat re-written version of my response.  Since he has seen this before, he can skip to some basketball comments at the end.  The rest of you should be advised that this will be on the final exam. 

The whole Indian mascot/nickname business is quite complicated.  Yes, there are some purists out there who don’t want anything at all named after Indians in general or specific tribes.  Now, to an extent they have a point.  If I was a member of the Winnebago tribe, I probably wouldn’t appreciate seeing the name of my nation bolted on the back of an RV.  On the other hand, naming towns and mountains and such after the original inhabitants seems to me to be an honor.  By and large, the people who take the extreme position are American Indian Movement types who think the Irish should be offended by Notre Dame’s mascot.

But talk to your average mainstream Indian, and he/she is okay with the Cleveland baseball team being called the Indians.  However, they do not think goofy-looking Chief Wahoo is an appropriate image.  When it comes to the local NFL concern here in the nation’s capital, the opposite is true.  The name is clearly offensive but most Indians like the logo on the helmet.  It’s serious-looking and honorable, kind of like the one that was on the back of the buffalo nickel.

Sidebar: i can’t tell you the number of people I’ve met who claimed their great-great grandfather was the model for the engraver who designed the buffalo nickel. They are wrong. There was no model. The image is a composite of three different Indians.

Back to our regular programming.  Frankly, the argument by Snyder (and Cooke before him) that the Washington NFL franchise would lose money if they change the name is absurd.  They can keep the logo, and the colors, name the team “the Warriors,” and everything would be fine.  As long as the team actually acted like warriors on the field, but that’s another story.

Okay, Atlanta Braves.  Name is fine, but the tomahawk chop, NOT!  See how confusing all this is?  Which the NCAA did not understand a few years ago when it decided to ban all Native American names for its membership, but at least it allowed for an appeals process.  That’s why we still have the Florida State Seminoles.  The university has an agreement with the tribe in which the mascot wears traditional Seminole clothing and colors.  And, I think, (someone did tell me this once) the mascot is always a student who is a member of the tribe.

But the Fighting Illini?  Name okay, after all you can make the argument that it’s an abbreviation of Illinois and “fighting” refers to competing on the court/field.  But the mascot, a fat frat boy running around with whatever face paint he decided to put on and screaming into TV cameras like a savage?  Well, the NCAA, rightfully, give that dude the Heisman.  The action being carried out by the figure on the trophy, not the trophy itself.

I could go on for hours.  For example, the names that name tribes currently go by (as in what the federal government calls them) are often not what they call themselves.  In some cases, they carry the names the original European explorers called them, which is why many California tribes have Spanish names, like Buena Vista Rancheria, and some have French names, like the Coeur d’Alene tribe, which means “heart of an awl.”  Still others are named after geographical locations, like the Gila River Indian Community.

Then there are the situations where European settlers/traders would get to know tribe “a”, and then ask them what the name of tribe “b” was.  If the two didn’t get along, the response would be something nasty, but since it was the language of tribe “a,” the dopey white guy didn’t get the joke, and the name stuck.  For instance, if someone who didn’t know a lot of English asked you the name of one your neighbors whom you didn’t like, and you said, “those guys are A-holes,” that would be their official name forever.  Supposedly “Sioux” means snakes, but this has been debated somewhat.

Had enough?  Yeah, me too.  [Actually, I found it fascinating and very educational, both the first time and now the second time in amplified form.  Thanks, dude!  --Matt]  This Florida State team kind of bores me.  They score in the low 70’s but keep the other teams they face to an impressive 60.2 per game.  Seven blocks in each outing is also concerning.  But, for a team that is supposed to be ginormous (fancy internet blogger term), they only track down runaway basketballs 5.7 times more than the players wearing different jerseys.  They have more turnovers than assists on the season, and just barely, barely out-do the opposition when it comes to grand theft basketball.  Oh, and that 64.9 success rate from the soup kitchen line has scrap metal traders lining up for every game.

They also have one true road win (sorry, the one at Mercer doesn’t count).  Sound familiar?  On the other hand, nine guys get double-digit minutes, and one more is close.  Could Lamelton try Lol Purnell’s strategy of “keep playing like crap because eventually Duke will wear out”?  Maybe.  But probably not in Cameron.  On a personal note, it would be nice to see a certain Mr. Dawkins get back on track.  Could be the right game for it.

Duke 78, Florida State 70.


Weak and the BugThugs kick off their season series, which will conclude 16 days after it begins - - this is something that Swoffie’s Schedulers used to do with one, maybe two of the highly scarce round-robins each season, but now it’s seemingly every other one that gets compressed like this, and it’s annoying, stupid, detrimental, and ultimately needless.  In any case, Wake is on a two-game winning streak after the drubbing at Cameron, which winning streak included ushering the laughable Tools out of the Top 25 for the first time since Doh! was more than a chilling, frisson-generating memory.  The Institutionalized Insects, for their part, dropped their third straight road game, but this one’s at the Leakadome, where Lawal, Favors, and the Imam of the Shumpert Caliphate will dodge pockets of turbulence and other inclement weather to post an unconvincing win.

Georgia Institute of Technology 79, Wake Forest 77.   

Hey, thanks guys, got both your games wrong over the weekend.  And, wow, what great fun, we’ve got yet another matchup between coaches who recruit well, then spend most practices and games sitting on the bench watching re-runs of “Fringe” on their laptops and hoping the players will figure out what to do and everything will turn out alright.  Given the way the ACC play has been going this year, I’ll just go with the home team because that worked out so well in the Hoots’ visit to Raleigh last night.

Georgia Institute of Technology 73, Wake Forest 70.

VIRGINIA TECH (15-3, 2-2) @ VIRGINIA (12-5, 3-1)

As I suspected, pop crooner Tony Bennett left his heart - - and possibly some lower, more descended organs - - in Winston-Salem, but then, who hasn’t?  (It really is nice, if you’ve never been there, and Joel is sparkling - - can’t wait until the Deek administration hires a real coach and rids itself of that thug.)  This game, however, is back at home against a supposed rival, and I think the Hos might be equal to the “challenge” that the law firm of Delaney, Allen & Hudson has in store. 

Virginia 74, Virginia Tech 71.   

Ah, the rivalry that isn’t, as the Turkeys consider the Hose’s their ultimate foes but the Sharlottesville Snobs won’t have any part of it (nice golf course, by the way).  I hate to do this, but the regular at Rao’s has his Whose? playing some pretty impressive D, which should get the job done against Insane Seth’s 1.5 offensive options.  Sorry Reema, and I miss you.

Virginia 68, Virginia Tech 60.

Last Edition:
Matt 2-1
duhomme 1-2
Guests 0-0

Matt 30-15
duhomme 27-18
Guests 0-0


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Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/30/2010 3:06:25 AM  
I ask for an intern and instead get a hero. Andrew, great research on exits back to '05! And I agree with Matt on the surprising exit results, and even more impressively, I share with Andrew the same sense of lost opportunity that was Marty (and I trust, NOT for the same reasons as Rick Majerus and his rather disturbing fascination with Pocius' calves).

OK, this is getting pretty weird now. I start following this rather clunky little site (compliment, trust me) a couple years ago because the hosts were funny as hell and the comments kept pace. Self-deprecating, low egos regarding basketball smarts (everyone knows a lot, no one really believes they know more than the next guy, etc.). Lots of respect, even in disagreement. And humor, even in disagreement.

Then the boys start sneaking stats in, a little more each season, and the followers don't revolt, we respond. And, god help us, we even refine each other's work! Nerd? Heck Matt, we're talking geekgasms here. While this might not be a sabermetrics site yet, I am beginning to worry that duhomme will despair (at which point the site loses those style points that complete it's charm).

Whatever the deal is, and provided we keep duhomme (please tell us you're not a closet stat guy too), I am having a ball following this team through this site. Naturally, two wins in a row, one on the road, help this cause.

So thanks guys. Good times. I can even live with an L tomorrow, provided EP's are at least 8+, non-Trip-S EP's score 35% of points, and total points are over 75 (Matt is correct: 35% of 54 is... not much). Oh, and if Trip-S MP's are 110 or lower... heaven.

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/29/2010 9:20:16 PM  
WOW! Comments!! And as a bonus, this is turning into a stats blog - - I love it! [nerd sounds, at which I'm honestly quite good]

Kidding! Seriously, thank you all very, very much for all of the great comments. I hope you folks will keep posting as time permits. The long-promised editing function, by the way, is in the works. My 47-member IT team isn't very good with timetables, however.

Andrew, thanks a lot for those stats, and I figured you meant Marty since we, and Eric Maynor, are all aware that Greg played pretty much that entire 2007 VCU game. Actually, and interestingly, the "exit stats" as a whole don't really show what I'd expect in a couple of instances, at least.

In 2005, the stats seem about right. That game, IMO, wasn't about minutes, and that was the last season that I really thought K did a good job - - he's been at par or below, sometimes well below, ever since in his coaching efforts on a season-long basis. MSU - - thanks, Izzo! - - was a disastrous matchup for us and while things could have gone the other way, the loss was no surprise, nor are the stats.

I'm also not surprised by the 2006 stats. That was a terrible, terrible coaching job in that game and a ridiculous way to end Redick's and Williams' fantastic careers. However, Coach K was not to blame for J.J.'s terrible shooting in the face of Garrett Temple (only a freshman that year!)'s superb defense. The minutes distribution stats don't surprise me, but they are aggravating. Of course, recruiting failures (the blame-location for which can be fairly debated) had us with about 5.5 guys that season.

2007 provides the first big surprise, in terms of the point total percentage. Maybe putting Nelson in instead of Scheyer would be more helpful, although I'm guessing without checking that you took the top three scorers from the game, and if so, Nelson might explain the (relatively) high point share from the bench. Also, I think Marty hit a three in that game (or maybe had an and-one?) and Lance had a couple or three buckets.

2008 provides another shock - - but not the kind that I expected. Eight effective players? Nearly 30% of the points coming from the bench?? Those are both big surprises to me. Looks like the minutes weren't a big deal in that game. The real culprit, of course, was the awful shooting and decisionmaking, to say nothing of what I think may be the weakest rebounding performance by a Duke team in my memory. Hey to stud boardsman Joe Mazzulla!

2009 is also somewhat surprising, but only until you think about it for a minute (or 39-40 minutes, but don't get tired and reach the wrong conclusion). Naturally H/S/S only had 65% of the points, since Scheyer shot 3-18 and Henderson 1-14 in his awesomely moving farewell performance. And 35% of 54 is . . . not much.

The problem in 2009, 2008, and 2006, in my view, was more the cumulative fatigue that we've been talking about. I enjoyed J's comments earlier in the week about why that shouldn't be an issue, but I still think it is. Certainly we can all agree that less, more effective minutes is better than more, less effective minutes. And I think we *really* specialize in the latter.

Thanks again to everyone for the great comments. Let's keep the discussion going - - and for those of you who may be reading and are registered, please jump in! If you forgot your login info, hit "contact us" on the page or e-mail me at matt[at]dukies.com and we'll get it sorted out.

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 1/29/2010 10:36:00 AM  
Whoops! In 2007, I said "Paulus" had 9 minutes, after listing him as one of the three main players. Greg played 38 minutes, and I should have said "Pocius." My apologies to Marty; he got little enough respect while he was at Duke and I can't even get his name right.

I wish we had seen more of him than we did, that night and many other nights.

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 1/29/2010 10:29:30 AM  
A followup on SanFranSoxFan's excellent statistics:

Recent Duke exits:

2009: Villanova 77, Duke 54.
Henderson/Singler/Scheyer = 100 min, 35 points. Rest of team = 19 points, 35% of total.
Effective Players (10 min. or more) = 9

2008: WVU 78, Duke 63.
Henderson/Paulus/Scheyer = 92 min, 46 points. Rest of team = 17 points, 27% of total.
Eff. Players = 8

2007: VCU 79, Duke 77
McRoberts/Paulus/Scheyer = 113 min, 54 points.
Rest of team = 23 points, 30% of total.
Eff. Players = 6+ (Paulus had 9 min, McClure 8)

2006: LSU 62, Duke 54
Redick/Williams = 78 min. (of 80), 34 points.
If you add McRoberts, = 113 min, 43 points.
Rest of team = 11 points, 20% of total
Eff. players = 6

2005: Mich. State 78, Duke 68
Redick/Williams/Ewing = 109 min., 50 points
Rest of team = 18 points, 26% of total
Eff. players = 7

Posted by: duhomme Date: 1/28/2010 6:35:38 PM  

thanks for your comments. i should have explained the tomahawk chop thing better. the issue, as you mentioned, is the symbolism. or, rather, the stereotype of indians as savages who go around hacking people up. sort of like how a certain nfl team in washington, d.c. still labors under the delusion that their skin is colored red.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 1/28/2010 1:57:43 PM  
No Brando Watch, and the instant I hear the awful penetrating throaty whining screech that is Vitale's voice I lower the volume to 1.5, but I did catch him referring to the "Cameron Indoor Crazies" right there near the end.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/28/2010 12:21:37 PM  
I have watched G-Town 2x this year; once against the Cuse (a fun team to watch, very good passing team) and 1/2 of the UCONN game. So I can't say i know a whole lot about G-Town. Obviously Monroe is damn good, but I believe that we can run a lot of big bodies at him for most of the game. His mobility would be an issue against a guy like Zoo, but I think we can hold our own - perhaps Lance will guard him? Clark & Freeman concern me the most, outside shooting being the reason. I know Freeman is a good break finisher, but is he effective on the drive? If not, I can see Singler doing a good job on him preventing early looks from 3.

I expect Nolan to have a good game Saturday for no other reason than a gut feeling. Maybe Mason will step up as well.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/28/2010 11:00:37 AM  
I'm not seeing G'town as a fatigue game (J is bringing me over to the Effective Player side of the problem). If I've got some typical Big East battlers, I absolutely body up and shut down Smith, and harass Scheyer or Singler (depending on G/town matchup capability - I plead ignorance) to limit their efficiency. Then let Dre (if he plays) and the Plumlees beat me. If Dre plays, and hits a couple threes, or a Plumlee breaks out, the game plan breaks down and he goes to Plan B (i.e., Duke wins). If Thompson Jr/III/IV? doesn't employ this strategy Saturday, it would be the one he'd use in the tournament (provided we are continue to play with 6 or 7 EP's by then!). As would any other tourney coach who can spot the obvious - fewer pieces makes the game checkers, not chess.

Posted by: bluedevilruss Date: 1/28/2010 10:10:39 AM  
Great read gents,

Good win tonight against a potentially really good FSU team. I say potentially because Hamilton is a terrible coach and this team could be really something if say...Gary Williams was at the helm.

Thank you kindly for the Native American tidbit, I really enjoyed it, very very VERY interesting stuff. I'd also like to know why the "tomahawk chop" is offensive though. I love the Braves and have been to tons of games. Just wondering what the reason is for that? My guess is the symbolism behind actually using a tomahawk on someone? I could understand that. Thanks again for writing that!

I have a feeling Gtown will be fired up Saturday. I hope the Plums are ready for Monroe.


Posted by: J Date: 1/28/2010 1:36:18 AM  
SFSF, i definitely like adding the percentage of points scored by the non-Big 3 contingent, as I definitely think the ability of the other guys to score will have a greater impact on a March loss than the sheer number of minutes played by our perimeter, especially since we literally can't bring the ball up the floor if Scheyer and Smith are both out at the same time.

Good to see Andre take some steps in the right direction tonight. I was worried going in that this would be another bad matchup for him since the crimiNoles are a big and lengthy team that would make Dre's current lack of confidence handling in traffic a major concern. I'm glad he got some burn.

As for the points for the Plums and Dre, I'm a little concerned that we haven't yet shown a concentrated effort to make sure they get a few touches per game. We did better with 'Dre tonight (though I'd like to see even more), but as a team, I don't think we've really figured out how to set Mason up. Miles doesn't really have too many post moves. I'm not all that concerned if he's only taking high percentage shots after offensive boards or lobs from our guards. Mason, however, seems like a guy who needs the ball in his hands to create. I hope that he can stop making silly fouls so he can stay on the court longer and find some more opportunities to develop his offense. Adding Mason as a creative force on the offensive end would just be huge for this team.

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/28/2010 1:01:17 AM  
SFSF, interesting stuff. A little misleading tonight since Mason and Dawkins had just below 10 minutes each. I'm more concerned about the sudden (relative) disappearance of the Plumlees' contributions for two straight games after they dominated Weak Florist, but . . . well, no one was feeding the post tonight.

Georgetown, BTW, won't reveal too much IMHO about fatigue. They play only seven guys, going F-C-triple G with the starters (Vaughn, Monroe, Freeman, Wright, and Clark), supported by two reedy freshman forwards (Benimon and Thompson). Syracuse destroyed them the other day by playing no fewer, and no more, than seven guys, adn with Rautins and Johnson logging 39 each. I look at the G'Town game as a freebie - - I don't care if Duke loses it as long as we learn something about the team or advance the team's cause a bit.

Really, really heartened to see some good play from Andre tonight. And more good defense. I totally failed to mention FSU's excellent defense in the pregame writeup, probably because I was so tardy.

I do not think Duke will be eliminated in the NCAAs in anything close to that ridiculous blowout in Raleigh, as a result of which K should have forfeited his paycheck for the week and sent it to Haiti. Last year's team, sure. This year's team, I doubt it. If/when they lose, it will be close.

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/28/2010 12:48:51 AM  
Sorry this was posted so late, folks. It certainly wasn't duhomme's fault.

Clemson Guest, great to see you. I would have thought a Clemson fan would like Potter, a "glue guy," but then he's been pretty frustrating this season with the up-and-down shooting. I'm also impressed you know Heather Cox's background - - nice grab! You should have a website. BTW, one small correction: Andrews was not a Gator cheerleader but a dance team member - - a Dazzler.

G, we don't play at TeeHee this season - - thankfully. Five league road games left - - at BeeCee, at Tools, at Miami, at Virginia, at Twerps.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/28/2010 12:41:04 AM  
"We were monitoring minutes during the game and recognized that Scheyer and Singler had not been out of the game," Purnell said. "With our style and all of that, it was something we were trying to do at the end. And quite honestly, they looked bushed. But I give them all the credit in the world. With tremendous mental toughness, those two, along with Smith and their other guys hung in there when they were tired."

"They're in great shape," Krzyzewski said Monday of Duke's three top players. "They finished the Clemson game, and all three of them, they could have played another 20 minutes."

With those conflicting statements, along with J’s soothing words from his post-Clem&son post, the “triple S Mins and Effective Players” stats are now updated to reflect “Effective players; Trip S Mins (out of 120); % points from Effective Players who are not Trip S”:
1/27/10 Effective Players – 6; Trp-S Mins – 114/120; Non Trp S EP Pts – 20% (14/70); Fl State
1/23/10 Effective Players – 6; Trp-S Mins – 117/120; Non Trp S EP Pts – 25% (15/60); @Clemson
1/20/10 Effective Players – 7; Trp-S Mins – 119/120; Non Trp S EP Pts – 17% (13/74); @NCSU
1/17/10 Effective Players - 7; Trp-S Mins – 111/120; Non Trp S EP Pts – 38% (34/90); Wake Forest
1/13/10 Effective Players – 8+; Trp-S Mins – 101/120; Non Trp S EP Pts – 35% (28/79); Boston College

While not much to go on yet, 17% scoring for the non Trip-S EP guys at NCSU is probably the one that looks most like the projected (scheduled? pre-destined?) game where Duke exits from the tourney (hmmm, must find time, or an intern, to go back the past 3 or 4 exits to see what those numbers looked like, but will need to differentiate the Trip or Doub players for those seasons from this year's Trip-S crew)

As to the FSU game, Dre (nice 3!) and Mason are at 9 & 8 MP's... and Zoub's 5th whistle holds him at 13 (or else Effective Plyrs is 6+) so the numbers are a tad misleading. 20% Points from the non-Trip S EP's are not misleading though. This team has no one to compensate when one and one/half of the big 3 get shut down, which did not happen tonight. Look to hostile environment at George's Town to simulate NCAA 2nd or 3rd round on this point. Should be very enlightening.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/28/2010 12:09:53 AM  
Re: Byrne/Eno, part 2 - this one sounds nothing like 'Bush of Ghosts" or any of the Eno-produced heads stuff. I like it.

Very happy to get a win against a team likely headed to NCAAs. However, I felt in spite of good individual performances (Lance, Jon, Kyle, Zoo at certain points) the team played lousy. We will be in for a battle on the road against FSU for sure. ALMOST 8 with 10+ min...but not quite. I hope they keep playing #20 until he gets his confidence back. Keep shooting, Andre.

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 1/27/2010 10:45:25 PM  
I am NOT going to miss David Potter.

Erin Andrews may be moderately attractive until she opens her mouth. She has an extremely-annoying voice. At the game, the Tiger mascot put on a tux coat and brought flowers and a sign reading "Erin, Will You Be My Valentine?" and I wanted to shout "You Can Do Better!" I like Heather Cox, who's better looking and who was an all-Big West volleyballer at Pacific (Erin was a cheerleader at Florida).

Anyway, a few years ago ESPN showed an August football game (VaTech-USC?) with ESPN2 doing a behind-the-scenes look where you could listen to the producers. That telecast showed how useless sideline reporters usually are, because they repeat almost word-for-word what a producer or spotter etc. says.

Wow, Miles has more stitches than rebounds through 30 minutes. I didn't think Ryan Reid was near that play, but I missed the replay of it.

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