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TD: Nut by Nut

Date: 2/6/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (preramble, comments, walnuts), duhomme (comments, opening tool)


Volume XIII, Episode 27
February 6, 2010

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

#10 DUKE (18-4, 6-2) @ BOSTON COLLEGE (12-10, 3-5)

Duke’s victory over the Georgia Institute of Thugology on Thursday night at Cameron was a bit of a throwback.  Back to the era of Bobby Cremins signing incredible players like Kenny Anderson, Brian Scott, Brian Oliver (the real one) and making deep runs in the ACC?  No, no, no . . . back to the era, last observed about two or three seasons ago, in which Paul Spewitt earned GIT their little Dukies.com BugThugs nickname, by playing football on the hardwood and generally allowing or encouraging his players to act like wanted criminals during game action.  Yes, I thought that Hewitt had ended all of that, but no - - the North Atlanta brand of Thugball was back on full display in Durham less than 36 hours ago.  Ridiculous fouls committed all over the court?  Check.  Institute players (in this case Lawal and the fake Brian Oliver) tackling Duke ball carriers on their way to the hoop, earning technical and intentional fouls?  You bet.  A virtuoso-like threnody of whistles from Joe Lindsay?  Sure!  Hewitt, like Dino Gaudio, is a disgusting addition to the ACC coaching ranks, and it is my fervent hope that this season’s team will be his last gasp before GIT eventually asks him (after one or two more dreadful campaigns) to pick up his check at reception - - and then names the Leakadome after him.  Yes, Saint Paul, it is possible to enter this league as a coach and NOT have your players comport themselves like complete felons.  (See Bennett, Tony.)

Let’s do a full recap, if you'll indulge.  It’s been a while. 

DUKE MVP:   Obviously, Kyle Singler, who landed eight threes - - one short of the single-game Duke mark jointly held by (quite appropriately) Shane Battier and J.J. Redick - - to score 30 for the game, pasting a Bootsy right on Hewitt’s forehead, and also added five boards and contributed to some strong defense against the BugThug frontcourt.  Now, a few of you more discerning readers may have detected a little bit of frustration on my part with Singler’s antics in recent weeks, and you’re not wrong.  So all is well, right?  Uh . . . not really, as I’ll explain in more detail in a moment.  For the moment, suffice it to say that Singler was 8-10 from tripleland and 9-17 from the floor, which, if you’re really quick with the abacus like me, is 1-7 from within the circle of magic bonus points.  However, for purposes of this game only, Singler’s performance, helping to rid Cameron of a noisome swarm of airborne, buzzing, fouling pests, was fantastic.  We did NOT want to get swept by that team, nor to be tied with them in the conference standings.                                   

HONORABLE MENTION:   Jon Scheyer, who provided quiet, steady leadership in the face of the Thugs’ misdemeanors and worse down the stretch, and finished with 21 points on 5-10/9-10/2-4 shooting.  He committed only one personal, racked up seven assists - - several on made Singler threes - - and helped to shackle the Drek backcourt.  Nolan Smith played a very good slashing and midrange game to finish with 14 points on 5-12 shooting (with all baskets coming from two-point field goal land), and Lance Thomas continued to develop by snaring 11 boards and utterly handcuffing Lawal and Favors.  Thanks, Lance.  Fantastic.  Incidentally, Zoubek recovered from his silly performance against Georgetown and garnered seven caroms in 13 minutes, which was a highly productive and efficient effort, to say the least.  No worries - - he still had four personals.  But in this game, not many people above 6-8 weren’t flirting with disqualification.  By the way, I loved Jordan Davidson’s exciting bound in tree traffic and Kelly's nifty seven minutes of action.     

STAT(S) OF THE GAME:   Naturally, Duke’s 12-18 from Treyland was impressive, but we already covered that in Singler’s section.  How about outrebounding the Ambercriminals, 40-32?  Considering the height on the opposing prison team, that’s quite an achievement.  Wing defense (3-12 from distance for the Institutionalized) and, well, just defense in general (Youdoofia shut out, Shumpie with just three, Lawal and Favors held to nine shots combined) should also be seriously mentioned.  And leave us not forget to praise Saint Paul for his eminent contribution to this cause, either.  Gripped with fear over Lawal’s well-earned pair of fouls in the first 33 seconds of action (Jay Bilas still hasn’t recovered), Hewitt deployed an absolutely ridiculous, intended-to-be-clever-but-really-quite-stupid offense-defense substitution pattern with Lawal for the remainder of the game.  Goney still picked up two more personals, and he and Favors combined for 40 minutes total.

I haven’t surfed through the sewage of any Georgia Tech message boards since the game ended (honestly, has anyone on the planet not wearing bee costumes and antennae had time?), but I’m betting heavily that the Official Georgia Institute of Technology Explanation for this game is that Hewitt played it, effectively, under protest, reacting to a manifestly unfair shift against his goons with the early anti-Lawal whistle party by making a mockery of the game and, in the second half, ordering his lesser lights to go after Duke with malicious intent, since the game (from his perspective) was bought and paid for.  If true - - and I’ll bet it's pretty close - - this kind of mean-spirited attitude is what makes Hewitt unsuited for a job in a premiere college basketball conference, or indeed any job in college basketball.  If we had any kind of real commissioner in this league, Rice’s technical foul would be under review and a suspension would be in the offing.  But don’t count on any such actions emanating from the fart-filled offices of well-compensated UNC-CH shill Swofford the Supreme.  You know, the league simply has to get rid of this guy.  (Swofford, not Hewit - - like I said, I give the latter two, maybe three more seasons at maximum.)  He’s ruining it.  By inflicting damage that will take years, maybe decades, to repair.                       

GOOD STAT:   Just one of my favorites - - Bell, Udofia, Shumpert, and Lawal combined for 11 turnovers - - and only one of them, the Imam, played as many as 30 minutes.  Nice ballhandling.  

BAD STAT:   Singler’s 1-7 on two-point shots, as mentioned above.  In the increasingly live and exciting - - and yes, even highbrow, thanks to some fantastic contributions from readers - - Dukies.com comments section following each article (please, come and join the party!), reader Stephen Frazier correctly noted, with laserlike insight, that Duke’s method of winning this game is not sustainable.  He’s dead right.  How many times do we expect Singler to shoot like that again this season?  This is the old and familiar “live by the three, die by the three” concept, and the only good news is that Nolan, in counterpoint to Singler, was not looking to shoot from distance at all, which appeared to be by Duke design, not the result of some scary defensive scheme from the BugThugs.  If Singler is going to be a three-point triggerman in certain circumstances, Smith’s driving game has to be present as well, or we get what we saw against Georgetown. 

Although Mason played well, Miles did not, and the two brothers’ combined 0-5 from the stripe was quite disappointing.  Let’s nip that in the bud right now.  Thomas, who deserves even more praise, gets it right here - - he went 4-4 from charity chalk.  Thanks once again, Lance.     

RANDOM COMMENTARY:   I probably have little to add to the growing mystery concerning the status of Andre Dawkins that hasn’t already been said, and better.  But I'll hold forth nonetheless.  As duhomme correctly notes below, three Dukies.com spies in the Cameron stands (yes, we have a sinister network of shadowy informants) reported that Dawkins did not warm up or even really stretch before the game, so I sense that this was a planned DNP-CD.  However, that doesn’t really answer the key question - - why?  Coach K’s Wall of Silence is becoming really counterproductive and tiresome, particularly since he seems unwilling or unable to grasp the fact that (as duhomme also correctly notes - - my sincerest apologies to him for echoing some of his well-expressed points) the firestorm of speculation concerning Andre’s status is not helping anyone.  The Short Fuse asked me, after the Rambling Retch game, if this sort of chicanery on the part of coaches is common, and for some reason the Big Ten (the conference that I follow most closely after this one) leapt to mind in my response to her.  Can you imagine Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, Matt Painter, Tubby Smith, or Tom Crean playing these games?  Crean even has a well-followed Twitter feed that he updates constantly with helpful information about his team, and as much as I generally dislike Twitter in general, I have to admit that Crean's use of it is cool.  The Big Ten coaches - - again, just for illustrative purposes - - are transparent in a way that Krzyzewski, who refuses to speak with sideline reporters during games, dispatching Chris Collins instead in what is probably sensible but generally just comes off as aloof and arrogant, is simply never going to be again.  Look, I don’t speak for many people.  True, this website isn’t as tiny and unimportant as I constantly joke that it is, and neither is it exactly negligible in the Duke online landscape, if I may be so bold (and I almost never make statements like this, so please excuse this one).  But we’re generally just idiots who type a lot.  However, I’m still fairly confident that a large number of Duke men’s basketball fans WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH AND TO ANDRE DAWKINS.  Is he hurt?  Is he not performing well in practice?  Is this some sort of spectacularly inadvisable and ill-timed (without knowing all the facts, which of course is the real problem) expression of “tough love?”

Whatever.  Tell us what’s going on with the young man already.  This is getting old - - superannuated, in fact - - quite rapidly.              

BAD MATT:   Oh, my preview had several bulldozer-sized holes, as usual, most notably the determined doomsaying that K would fail to make any adjustments, when - - if the touted tweaks to the motion offense to get Singler free for open shots are to be assigned credence - - in fact he did.  At least I grasped that Mfon the Magnificent would not hit three trifectoids again.  How’s that goose egg feel?  Looks good from here.  

DENOUNCING THE ANNOUNCING:   Unlike many, I like Mike Patrick, although he was up to his usual tricks with confusing Singler and Scheyer (at one point he had Jon passing to himself on the wing), and more than usual, he launched into some running metacommentary during this one that had little to do with what was happening on the court.  I continue to believe that college basketball telecasts should take a page from televised football and show, at least in splitscreen (ATTENTION, BRISTOL - - TECHNICAL CHALLENGE), the referee’s foul signals to the scorer’s table.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I’d like to know the identity of the violator and even the variety of infraction that was detected.  The NCAA, to its credit, has apparently directed its officials to resume this season what they used to do as a matter of course - - signal the variety of personal foul visible after whistling it, and birddog the miscreant.  Still, it sure would add to my game-watching experience to know for certain, and Mike Patrick isn’t about to be enlisted in that effort.  Meanwhile, Bilas was Bilas.  At least the ESPN generalissimos feel comfortable putting him on Duke games now, which, somewhat ironically, has reduced Jay’s ongoing, weird effort to triangulate himself into sounding like a UNC-CH fan.  Of course, this isn’t the season to test anyone’s bizarrely misplaced allegiance to Cryolina.         

TEN WORDS:  Duke sprays pesky insectoid invaders, heads immediately to face Beagles. 

NEXT UP:   You guessed it.  But first, this. 

A couple of quick notes from around the college basketball world.  First, now that Arizona has joined Southern Cal on probation, is there any reason to suspect that the Pacific-10 will get more than one team into the NCAA Tournament this season?  Two tops - - Washington and Berkeley.  And while it’s a genuine riot to see the Mildkittens of Tucson punished for the blatant misbehavior of Coot, I have to wonder what these two Pacific probationers have in common.  Time’s up!  If you took more than three seconds to utter the dreaded words “Kevin O’Neill,” shame on you.  In any event, rest assured that O’Neill is well on his way to another firing, by canning student managers for earning bench technicals instead of taking responsibility himself, and just generally being a complete all-around dick.  I’ll say this for him - - the guy never disappoints.  GREAT hire.  (In an interesting twist, I’ll be at the Galen Center this afternoon with Al White to see Southern Cal take on Stanford - - we’ll be sure to give O’Neill my fondest regards.)    

Second, for those of you old enough to remember, kindly cast your memory back to the 1992 Final Four at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.  Duke, coming off of a ridiculous battle with Kenlucky in one of the greatest games in NCAA history, is comfortably ahead of Indiana in the national semifinal as the clock winds down and the Hoosiers start fouling deliberately.  It’s an easy Blue Devil win, except . . . wait!  Who’s this corn-fed, Jimmy Chitwood-type stiff that no one’s ever heard of bombing away triple after triple from the corner to keep the Hoosiers close??  Why, it’s . . . Todd Leary.  Todd Leary?  Todd Leary!!!  Can’t blame Collins and Wojciechowski for not scouting deep enough to gameplan THIS guy - - inasmuch as they were still in grade school in Illinois and Maryland.  Anyway, Leary (playing only because four Hoosiers, including team leaders Calbert Cheaney, Greg Graham and Damon Bailey, had fouled out) really made things interesting for all of us watching, as we nervously saw the Blue Devils squander what had been a nine-point lead at the 1:16 mark into a three-point lead with 24.6 seconds left - - and it was Indiana ball after Bobby Hurley (who tie-Bootsied IU in the game) stepped on the line for a turnover.  Leary’s three rainbow treys in 27 seconds - - two from the left baseline, one from the right wing - - had propelled the game, which Duke had apparently socked away fairly easily, into sudden and quite shocking nailbiter territory.  I remember clearly assuring my fellow seniors with whom I was watching the game on the Gothic Wonderland campus that “it was in the bag,” and “we had it,” and for some reason, I do recall being preternaturally calm.  After that miracle shot by Laettner (who was the focus of Indiana’s defense in this one and only scored eight points, which was a mind-rending feat by the Hoosiers) to put away Kentucky (hehehehahahaha), Duke wasn’t going to drop this one.  Sure enough, Marty Clark, Antonio Lang and Cherokee Parks (!!!?!?!?!) capped late free throws, Leary finally stopped hitting, and the game was over.  Whew! 

By the way, this is the game that IU partisans generally cite among the catalog of atrocities committed by Ted Valentine against Bob Knight, as Teddy V. awesomely T-ed up the General at about the 18-minute mark of the first half, spurring Duke (trailing by three at the time) to go on a dominating run, holding Indiana to only occasional buckets over the next ten minutes of clock and leading by as much as twelve points with 7:47 to go.  Then came Leary’s frankly jaw-dropping performance and the late-game Blue Devil heroics to seal it.  Generally, it’s a good thing that we packed Hurley (the eventual Final Four Most Outstanding Player) for that trip to Minneapolis.  

Anyway - - thought some of you might enjoy that.  Oh - - why is it relevant, other than a nice stroll down Memory Lane? 

Well, Leary, now the color analyst for IU games on the radio, found himself in a touch of hot water this week.  How hot?  Scalding.  As in, accused of 17 felonies for real estate title fraud scalding.  Uh . . . yikes?  Anyway, maybe there’s nothing to this - - although former Indiana teammate Brian Evans is apparently the one who dimed him out, and the charges certainly seem to have at least some factual basis, if local newspaper reports are to be believed.  Leary is out on bond, off the radio for the moment, and I for one will be following that story with interest.  Damn.                    

On to Duke’s second meeting with the Nutcracker this season.  Wow, Swoffie is really spoiling us here.  We still haven’t seen Scaryland or the hilarious Tools (don’t worry, we’ll get to them in a moment), but hey - - this is the Blue Devils’ third ACC rematch of the season, and they haven’t even played the Super Bowl yet.  (The real one, administrated by the NFL, not the kind where Duke opponents invest their entire seasons into beating the Blue Devils with history-making performances.)   

I’ve seen some commentators (in the short time available) suggest that this is great preparation for a two-game set in the NCAA Tournament.  And that’s 100%, dead-on accurate, except that the NCAA Tournament doesn’t usually force teams that have played at night in the opening round of the subregional, regional, or obviously the Final Four to take the court at 2 PM for the second tilt.  Oh, and then there’s the whole thing about how teams don’t fly some 700 miles over bad weather and land at one of the nation’s most daunting airports on their “day off” in between games.  Other than those quibbles, the analogy is right on the mark.  

Look, getting to Boston is really hard, especially if Duke is using Logan Airport as opposed to Providence or Manchester.  (I should ask about that.)  And for those of you who haven’t been, Chestnut Hill is really not all that accessible.  I know that seems surprising, but when I visited Conte Forum several seasons ago, I was quite surprised at how “off the beaten path” the Boston College campus was, in terms of being well within such a concentrated metro area.  This is a really difficult roadtrip. 

Given that, it’s inexcusable that any team be forced to play a home game ending at about 9:15 Eastern time on a Thursday, then take the court at 2 PM on Saturday *after* traveling that 700 miles in the interim.  Just impardonable.  There is no way that Swoffie’s schedule slaves would EVER visit such a stretch on UNC-CH - - although if someone wants to mine UNC-CH schedules and find a counterexample, I’m certainly prepared to be educated.  However, it seems like the currently unranked Tools usually get to visit Boston College with a little more wiggle room.  Why, in just 10-14 days, the Twinks will play in Atlanta on a Tuesday night, then travel to Chestnut Hill for a Saturday afternoon affair.  Amazing, isn’t it?  They get two more full days than Duke did to make the arduous trek.  UNC-CH did not play Boston College on the road last season (they laughably lost to them at home, though), but in 2007-2008, they did, and guess what?  They played Wake Forest at home on a Sunday, then had a full six days before their next game up at BeeCee.  Astonishing!  I would never have guessed. 

To sum up, this ridiculous turnaround is outrageously unnecessary and unfair (by the way, why couldn’t this have been a night game - - is Conte Forum hosting a different kind of circus than the usual?), and I am highly concerned about Duke’s ability to adapt to it.  It should come as no surprise to you that - - just as NCSU and Georgetown did before welcoming Duke and subsequently blowing the Blue Devils out - - the Eagles have had several days to rest.  They’ve had a full week off since their last game, in fact, and they have not played a road game since January 23, a span of two weeks.     

All of that means that statistical analysis is likely of little use here, although I’ll offer some anyway.  Duke has amply demonstrated this season that they don’t like road games, and in this case, I can’t say I blame them.  In contrast, the forces of the Nutcracker have been sleeping in their own beds, dreaming of sugarplums and other delightful confections, for a fortnight. 

On paper, there is absolutely no reason why Duke should lose this game.  The Beagles are not a good team this season, and there is perhaps no better argument for the ACC’s general inadequacy this year than the Dew Drop Fairies’ 9-5 record out of conference - - and 3-5 mark within it.  Generally, if an ACC team racks up five losses before intrasectional action begins, you can count on them being pretty bad within the league.  But no!  BeeCee has three Galactic Coast Conference wins already. 

In Cameron, Duke made only one three-pointer in twelve tries to beat the Iggles, but rode an awesome 9-14/6-7 performance from Nolan Smith, who blew past Francophone anti-apartheid activist Biko Paris at will.  Meanwhile, the Duke defense held Trapper Joe, M.D., to eight highly contested points, and allowed only - - you guessed it! - - Mr. February to score in double figures, with a 20-point performance on 8-12 shooting. 

Boston College’s last game, lo those long seven days ago, was a loss to Florida State, mostly because the size-challenged Fairies have no answer for someone like Solomon Alabi, who didn’t pick up or even stumble over a basketball until he was 24, six years before arriving in TeeHee.  The Nutcracker spread the minutes around, playing nine guys, none more than 28 minutes and none fewer than 15.  Interesting, but that sort of strategy doesn’t usually work against Duke; it’s usually more effective for Duke opponents to ride the hot hand and get into a rhythm, especially if there’s a Duke-hostile crowd behind the effort.  I’m relatively certain that this affair will be star-studded - - Scott Brown, anybody?  No takers?  Doug Flutie, then?  Matt Ryan?  Humanitarian envoy Bill Belichick and his manboobs?  Whatever.  We know that the place will be full to its 8,606-seat capacity, that’s for sure, and get this - - Mike Patrick made the road trip too!  So, thankfully, did Len Smellmore, whose formidable choppers will be animatedly flapping with the most vociferous anti-Duke coaching he can muster. 

As I am contractually obligated to offer some statistics, the Nutcracker’s newly minted nine-man rotation now features 6-5 junior Rakim Sanders (10.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .379/.613/.283) and 6-6 junior Corey Raji (11.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 pfpg, .539/.600/.000) around 6-10 stiff (and junior) Josh Southern (5.5 ppg in 17.8 mpg - - this guy has no stamina whatsoever - - 2.6 pfpg, .484/.708/.000) up front, with 6-1 junior Paris (6.0 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.9 tpg, 1.1 spg, .419/.714/.300) nominally running the offense, and 6-8 junior Trapper Joe Trapani (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, .434/.806/.340, 1.20 PPS) on the wing.  Also earning minutes, some suddenly, are 6-8 junior Cortney Dunn (1.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, .500/.556/.000), 6-5 sophomore Dallas Elmore (3.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, .429/.750/.000) (if he’s related to Len I can’t find any evidence of it, but please correct me if I’m wrong), 6-7 senior Tyler Roche (6.7 ppg in 18.3 mpg, 2.4 rpg, .495/.700/.436, 1.38 PPS) and, of course, 6-3 sophomore and Mr. February, Reggie Jackson (13.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.1 apg, 2.7 tpg, 2.0 pfpg, .450/.723/.297). 

As a team, BeeCee is pretty bad, but not abysmal like, e.g., UNC-CH.  They score 60% of their points on two-point shots, which means that they are very, very capable of being defended, and also means that they cannot cope with any team that scores roughly 75-80 points against them - - they have won just three games this season in which the opponent posted at least 75.  That’s not entirely because of BC’s defense, which is middling, although it should be noted that they rank 26th in Division I in opponents’ three-point percentage.  No one steals the ball, however; blocked shots are out of the question; they shoot very poorly from behind the circle (32.1%, #245 in the nation); and while their foul shooting is okay at 70.3% (#120 nationally), they hardly ever get to the line.

To win this one, Duke has to remain under control, exploit the highly favorable Singler/Trapper Joe, M.D. matchup in its favor, somehow contain that irrepressible (against the Blue Devils) clown Jackson, and shoot well.  The Blue Devils have fallen allllllll the way to fifth in the country in FT% after Thursday’s 24-36 parade, but BeeCee is only too happy to deal out the fouls, and drawing freebie opportunities will help quiet the crowd, provide some rest, and give Duke an opportunity to build towards that magic 75-80 point figure. 

If Duke wins the game in the face of this outrageous piece of scheduling, it’s a monumental achievement - - nothing less.  Maybe the hot shooting from Thursday night will continue.  Let’s see. 

Last but not least, congratulations to Jon Scheyer for being named one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard.  It’s nice to see Jon get some recognition for his play at the point this season, particularly when many Duke fans online - - and even some people in higher positions who ought to know better - - seem determined to excuse every Duke misstep with a disclaiming announcement that Scheyer is not a point guard.  Yeah, he is.  Congrats to Jon on the really impressive honor.   

Duke 77, Boston College 75.

Man, this ACC schedule just gets crazier by the day. My entire staff in the Dukies.com called in sick today, although I’m positive I heard the sound of a ski lift in the background. Throw in the fact that our head coach insists on making Matt and I write for the entire 40 minutes of each edition despite a 20-point lead (stole that joke from one of your emails big guy!) and we’re starting to wear down. Plus, a look outside at the ongoing blizzard makes it appear I took a red-eye flight to Boston for some early afternoon action.

All of which to say, yes, we promised stand-alone recaps this year. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the red font is going to cover that matter today.

If you were paying attention, Duke officials announced that Cameron Indoor Stadium is now pest-free, along with the regular season schedule, as the basketball team completely wiped out a hive of insects in what was supposed to be a game, but ended up being a three-and-a-half hour free-throw shooting contest. Fifty-two personal fouls, including an intentional and also a technical when Glen Rice threw Scheyer to the floor in one of those “I-Can’t-Believe-That-Didn’t-Rate-An-Ejection” moments.  A combined 64 attempted free-throws.  Ambulances called to a house where a group of guys were playing a drinking game where they had to take a slug of beer every time an official used his whistle.  Hospital officials say there are currently in intensive care from alcohol poisoning.  Keep in mind, this same group plays the game where you watch “Scarface” and drink every time Pacino uses the f-word, and they get through that just fine.

As if that didn’t slow things down enough, Paul Hewitt landed on the goofy strategy of subbing foul-ridden Gani Lawal in and out on nearly every change of possession to keep him from playing defense. Totally disrupting to his own team, and probably a good reason for Duke’s 12-point lead at the half.  In other odd developments, the NBC mascot scored all of Tech’s first 11 points and then … never scored again.  Also, even though the Devils served up a generous helping of zone defense, the Buggies were a dreadful 3-12 from long distance.

Now, don’t be surprised, but the broadcasting team of Mike Patrick and Jay Bilas spend long portions of the game talking about unrelated items, including a time when Bilas explained to Patrick how to make scones.  Meanwhile, fouls were being committed, and we left to simply guess on how own what the call was and who it was on.  When they did focus on the game, they continually expressed amazement at Lawal’s picking up two fouls in the first 30 seconds or so of the game.  No less than 44 times did Bilas begin a sentence with “I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen …”  Enough.  But, of course, you probably can’t remember if you’ve ever seen …

If Lawal and Favors had been able to contain themselves and participate more in this game, I might have gone with Duke rebounding edge of eight.  But, you know what Kyle, being one three-pointer shy tying of Duke’s single-game record in more than enough.  We were going to have an awards ceremony but couldn’t figure out how to keep Kanye West off the guest list.  Hilariously, Singler shot better after briefly leaving the game when he re-injured his wrist.  I had a really funny line prepared along the lines that maybe someone should whack him before every game, but Mike Patrick beat me to it.  Oh, sure, THEN he’s paying attention to the game.

Yet another DNP-Coach’s Decision for Andre Dawkins. I’m not going to get too far into this, as there has already been a good deal of discussion on the message boards, and I’m also not going to claim I can read body language with pinpoint accuracy from 240 miles away.  But, the dude did not seem to be enjoying the game as much as the rest of us. With all due respect to Jordan Davidson, putting him in the lineup during a close first half period sure seemed like a message to me.  Matt said Andre didn’t participate in the warm-ups, so might be hurt or sick. Umm, Coach K, would it destroy the program to release that kind of information?  Maybe to keep an 18-year-old from being the subject of internet rumors.  In fact, that’s the real FAIL.

Now back to the ACC schedule, where, if Duke plays on Thursday night, then has to travel up half the East Coast to visit Boston, it is apparently impossible to schedule that second game any later than 2 o’clock. Even better, the team stowed Mike Patrick safely in the overhead compartment, and he’ll be manning the broadcast booth again, this time teamed up with Duke Fan Club President Len Elmore. If you experience viewing his teeth for more than four hours, seek medical help.

And, it couldn’t possibly be that Duke has already seen the Iggles in 2010, meaning that this early in February they have full-filled their home-and-home obligations with three difference conference foes? Indeed! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy back on Jan. 13. This was close at the half, until Duke got tired of that and clamped down on defense, holding Clara and Fritz to 36.4 shooting in the second half, 1-10 from behind the arc and stole their Christmas presents nine times, all while the pep band played Tchaikovsky. The one bright spot for Bee, See? was a candy bar who scored 20 points in 27 minutes.

Some of the Duke players didn’t read the memo, and allowed both the Plumlees to get near the ball. Miles finished with 12 points, and while Mason did not shoot well, he got permission to try 10 times. The attempts to place toll calls was a dreadful 1-12, but at least there were only 12 dials. And the coupon shots were a robust 81.5 percent.

Since packing up their tutus and departing Durham for a five-night appearance at the Kennedy Center, they have won two and lost three, with the successful outings coming at Miami and at home to Clemson (remember, it’s January).  Alas, since losing at Florida State, the Birds have not been on the hardwood in any event where score is kept.  Unlike Duke, who may have walked straight out of the locker room Thursday night and on to the bus that took them to the airport. Combine that with the Blue Devils’, shall we say, less than awe-inspiring performance when wracking up frequent flier points this year, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility they lose.

However, open your textbooks to page 43, and let’s review the season statistics. As everyone has played either seven or eight games, we can start using ACC-only data.  Duke is second in scoring, at 75 points per outing, whereas the Headache Powders are dead last at 63.2.  They are moderately better on defense, allowing 69, which is good for sixth in the league.  But, guess what?  Duke is number two again, with 63.9.  Scoring margin: Duke on top at +11.1; B.C. 10th at -5.8.  The Pigeons are at or near the bottom of field goal, three-point and free-throw shooting percentage.  And rebounding margin.  And steals per game.  And turnover margin.

Since they only make 3.9 three-pointers per game, it would sure be nice to see some more of that zone K teased us with the other night, especially to keep a certain point guard with a peanut and caramel filling from tearing up what has to be a tired defense.  The Ballet Director has no real usable size to employ, so perhaps making use of Duke’s big men wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.  Point being, this is a really, really bad team.  Worn out or not, if the Blue Devils can’t get it together and win this, it will tell us a great deal about the rest of the season.  No matter how often K bites his knee.

Duke 74, Boston College 70.

WAKE FOREST (15-5, 5-3) @ VIRGINIA (14-6, 5-2)

Great game - - probably the best matchup, on paper, of the weekend, independent of offensive scheduling and travel issues like those facing Duke.  If the Cavs have a weakness, it’s facing off against size in the middle, not that Goonio has much of an idea how to use that size for anything other than hard fouls and other stupidity.  This should be a fascinating battle between a very smart coach and a very dumb one, with very different personnel, gameplanning, and philosophies.

72, Wake Forest 70. 

Unbelievably, Wake and UVA have each only played two games since first facing off on Jan. 23, where the Deeks blasted the Whose down I-40 in a 69-57 decision that was never actually that close.  Could happen again, as Dino’s frontcourt is a bit much for Tony Bennett’s crew, and the stands are likely to be even quieter than usual as the weather keeps people home.  However, as the final score indicates, the Calves can defend the Dorcs, and had to shoot 33.8 to lose the game in Winston-Salem.

71, Wake Forest 68.

CLEMSON (16-6, 4-4) @ VIRGINIA TECH (17-4, 4-3)

Clemson needs to build on its home defeat of Garyland, and has had a few weather-related problems just getting to VPI to play this one, as this very informative article (I’m granting the author a mulligan for the risible use of the little-employed phrase “downtown Blacksburg”) points out.  As I mentioned last time out, Purnell and his kids are nice guys.  The Bald Bastard and many of his charges (Delaney excepted) are not; go Clemson.  

Clemson 68, Virginia Tech 67.

Yes, Seth, it IS possible to defeat that frightening juggernaut from Chapel Hill!  Plus, there could be a seriously good crowd, as the Virginia Tech Athletic Department, in order to replace local fans who can’t make it due to the snow, is letting students in free to fill the arena.  Clemson, you lost to Boston College, so, NO PICK FOR YOU!

Virginia Tech 73, Clemson 70.


An amazing raft of articles has appeared lately claiming that NCSU is “on the rebound” and “headed for bigger and better things,” which is false.  Degand and Horner are seniors, I bet that Tracy Smith jumps, and Scott Wood cannot carry this team himself next season, even if Howell develops and the incoming freshmen contribute.  This is a bad team with a horrible coach, and unfortunately, the wound-licking Bees are about to prove it. 

Georgia Institute of Technology 74, North Carolina State 59.

As mentioned several times, it is snowing here and instead of getting to watch “Law and Order” and “Kitchen Nightmares” tonight, I will be treated to local news coverage of snow until freaking midnight. See, news directors, I know it’s snowing because I can LOOK OUT THE WINDOW. And, as several observant readers have certainly doped out by now, I have no interest in discussing this game.

Institute of Technology 85, North Carolina State 70.

MIAMI (FLORIDA) (16-6, 2-6) @ FLORIDA STATE (16-6, 4-4)

These battles between the ACC’s Sunshine State contingent never fail in failing to compel, which probably has something to do with the fact that there is no basketball history or rivalry between these two programs.  But then, that’s not why “the U” is polluting the conference, is it, Swoffie?  I’d love to see the Hurryclowns go to 2-7 just so we can hear about Haith being on the hot seat, which will lead to all sorts of speculation about his successor, which will in turn ignore the fact that no one wants the job of being the obligatory basketball coach at a school dominated by its filthy football program.

State 69, Miami (Florida) 49.  

Hey, anyone around here done playing Maryland, without notching a win either time?  While we’re at it, is there anyone with a 2-6 conference report card who is even worse on the road than they are at home?  The answers are Florida State and Miami, respectively.

Florida State 80, Miami (Florida) 50.


Looks like things could get worse for the Tools after all, Ole Roy.  No matter how bad the ACC is this year relative to most seasons, if these putzes go 8-8, no universe of possibilities exists in which the Selectostiffs will exclude them, but 7-9 is probably not enough.  So they can’t afford to lose more than three more games, which means that I will be in the highly unusual and uncomfortable position of rooting ardently for Sweaty and the Droplets in this one.  Fourth sentence to note that the Damp Dictator doesn’t need my help - - he usually gameplans these chuckleheads properly, home or away, in contrast to some of the other clowns currently running ACC teams.

, College Park 80, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 72. 

I think this is the season when the Slack-Jawed Yokel is exposed as a pretty good, if not excellent, recruiter who brings in All-Americans and then sits back and enjoys the show. Except, that didn’t quite happen this year (how the hell did he not foresee the need to replace Lawson?) and his bizarre collection of players, featuring dead-on three-point shooter Marcus Ginyard (as predicted by ESPN in the preseason) has failed to perform. The Moist One, as usual, has taken the opposite tack by signing guys no one has heard of and then developing them into competent players.

Maryland, College Park 73, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 64.

Last Edition:
Matt 2-1
duhomme 2-1 
Guests (CDG) 2-1

Matt 38-21
duhomme 36-23
Guests 2-1


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Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2010 1:04:36 AM  
duhomme, absolutely! Thanks for saying that, and I totally agree. There's no doubt this is the most active the comments section has ever been, and even better, the comments as a whole have been really high-quality and extremely educational. I certainly know more about a whole lotta stuff now than I did before thanks to the commenters. Thank you, everyone! Please continue!

Steve!!, good data. IIRC the sked fully expanded in 2005-2006 (I might be off on that) with BeeCee, and a season before (again, could be off) with the Clowns and VPI, so perhaps the starting point should be 2004-2005. Applying that to your findings, we have Duke with three quick turnarounds (QTs), and NCCH with two. Add in BC, which after all was my original premise, and we start one year later and find Duke with three QTs to NCCH's one. I can't really draw much of a conclusion from periods earlier than that, because the road trips were not all THAT daunting before the Clowns and the Nutcracker intruded, except maybe for going to TeeHee. But it is interesting that NCCH has had the second game of a QT pair occur on the road exactly once during the period that you covered - - and that was a less-than-arduous trek between Orange and Forsyth Counties. Heh - - amazing.

Also, I would have discounted the Butler/FSU combo anyway, as that involved an OOC game that was Duke's choice, and can't be blamed on Swoffie.

As for where to lay the blame, I am a deep admirer of your studied neutrality. I will only say that the power conferences have great leeway to negotiate the details of their events with broadcast entities, and as far as I know, the person in charge of the relevant power conference is . . . not Duke's friend.

Posted by: duhomme Date: 2/8/2010 11:54:59 PM  
hey, i just wanted to step in and thank everyone for the comments this season. matt would know better, but it seems like the most active this section has been since the comments feature was added. and, given the wednesday opponent, this is certainly a good week for lots of chatting.

Posted by: Steve!! Date: 2/8/2010 4:18:12 PM  
Whoops - the Butler/Florida State sequence from the 02/03 season is a two-day break between games. Make the Duke road games 6 of 9.

Posted by: Steve!! Date: 2/8/2010 1:03:29 PM  
In the interest of mining the Tar Heel archives, I've looked and the schedules from the 2001-02 season to the present and noted instances of UNC-CH playing games with one-day off in-between. I've chosen to ignore games before the ACC season began to eliminate tournaments and solely OOC games.

Here are the results for UNC:

2003-04 1/22 @Florida State 1/24 Virginia
2/5 Duke 2/7 @Wake Forest
2004-05 12/19 @ Virginia Tech 12/21 Vermont
2005-06 2/2 @ Maryland 2/4 Clemson

And here are the results for Duke:

2001-02 1/17 Maryland 1/19 Wake Forest
1/31 UNC-CH 2/2 @Clemson
2/7 Florida State 2/9 @Georgia Tech
2002-03 1/30 Butler 2/2 @Florida State
2/13 @Wake Forest 2/15 @Virginia
2003-04 1/15 NC State 1/17 Wake Forest
1/29 Florida State 1/31 @ Georgia Tech
2005-06 1/26 @Virginia Tech 1/28 Virginia
2006-07 1/18 Wake Forest 1/20 @NC State
2009-10 2/2 Georgia Tech 2/4 @Boston College

Obviously, Duke has played way more instances of this (10 vs. 4) and had the second game occur on the road more often (7 vs. 1). As to whether to blame television contracts or the ACC commissioner, I'll leave that up to the reader.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/8/2010 12:59:34 PM  
I disagree steve. As one of the "we'll never make it" guys with the EP's and MP's, I was really impressed that K made a move that suggested he may actually be in touch with his guys' readiness to take on responsibility. This was an old school K move. And if I'm correct, then he sent them both in knowing they were good for at least 1 of 2 (which each hit). For a kid in a big game, to make a FT at the end is a huge confidence booster (the difference between "I can't believe I missed that other one - that doesn't happen again!" and "omg I missed them both" is light years - see Kansas/Louisville champ game). BC hits that trey and K never brings up the 2 misses - too many other things to talk about that made a difference and those guys are not the goats.

Like the ACC, this Duke team is completely wacky this season. Numbers aren't adding up, trends aren't trending, guys are disappearing and reappearing. It's early Feb, mid-way through ACC season, and the only thing I can figure out about this team right now is that they are not done becoming what they are going to be, which is a relief over the gradual wear out (Redick/Williams) or the catastrophe driven re-do (Paulus/Scheyer/Eliott).

Posted by: steve Date: 2/8/2010 11:20:37 AM  
I was happy to see Andre in the game but I thought the timing of it was really bizarre. Kid's been sitting on the bench for two games, and he's expected to go in cold and hit key FTs? I've always felt the best way to build a young player's confidence is to put them in spots where they're likely to succeed. This seems to be the exact opposite - Andre got put in a spot where he was very likely to fail. Almost anyone is going to have trouble knocking down those FTs in that spot without having been in the game; it's a legitimately tough job. I guess the idea was K showing Andre he had confidence in him, but had BC hit their last shot, Andre (and Kelly) would be looking like goats. It just seems like a really bad gamble just to make some sort of psychological point.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/8/2010 1:19:29 AM  
First, Matt, please don't show up on the other side if I ever find myself litigating anything, 'k?

G, I watched second half of today's UNC-CH "pasting" - they are bad on so many levels right now. I can only imagine their message boards. I'm guessing a lot of well-earned doubts about their are coach starting to crop up.

Here's what I thought watching Greivis Vasquez do his thing today... if J J Redick had played for Maryland, Duke fans would have despised him. Cocky, unstoppable, dagger to the heart kind of kid the loser just has to hate. And while I don't believe this site has much use for Vasquez, I couldn't help thinking, watching him today, "damn, I wish that guy had played for Duke." K would have reined in some of the antics, and the creativity? A pleasure to watch if you can get by who he plays for.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/7/2010 8:18:43 PM  
How about that pasting of UNC (I'm talking of today's pasting, not the other ones that have occurred this ACC season).

I'm reluctant to get too excited about a similar blowout for us on Wednesday, but we should take care of business - my reasoning being 1) a rested Duke is a good Duke; 2) our superior guard play, even if we are not deep; and 3) no extra motivation required, especially for the seniors who have had a rough go against UNC.

I think Jon will have a huge game, he seems to play well against UNC. From the other side, the guy who concerns me is (obviously) Davis with his shot blocking and post play. I am also concerned about a guy like Graves having a fluke 20 pt game or something (Bootsy, to borrow the term).

Thompson we can handle, especially if he has to do any ballhandling whatsoever.

I look forward to a series of great Ol Roy jokes from y'all between now & Wednesday - don't let me down.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/7/2010 6:43:53 PM  
Wait, tom - - you saw Dawkins enter the game several times in an offense-defense scheme at game's end, right? Certainly it wasn't much of a role, but it was very important. I can't decide whether or not to focus on the (statistical) one minute of PT, or its value!

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/7/2010 6:42:10 PM  


You and I seem to be having some communication difficulties, for which I do apologize. Let me see if I can clear some of them up.

(1) In the original post, I did not say that O'Neill was involved in either the conduct giving rise to the allegations against Arizona, or the conduct giving rise to the allegations against USC. The latter assertion, as I implied yesterday with what I hoped would be enough clarity, would be logically fallacious given O'Neill's lack of any involvement that I know of with Southern Cal when the conduct alleged was committed.

(2) I reiterated this in my response to you in the comments section.

(3) In your latest comment, you've provided "factual information" - - which appears to amount to a statement of mere opinion without attribution or factual support of any kind that I noticed (please correct me if I missed it) - - that O'Neill was definitely not involved in the Arizona allegations.

That established, I hope you won't mind if I respond further as follows.

(A) Unless you are intimately involved with the Arizona program, or were in 2008, I doubt you know any more than the average fan of college basketball concerning what happened in this instance in Tucson. Again, if I missed the "factual information" that you provided, and for which you feared you would be "banned," please point me to it, or feel free to supply it anew.

(B) When the violations that are the subject of Arizona's probation (attendance by players at what has been reported to be a 2008 AAU event called the Cactus Classic), one person was the head coach in Tucson - - Kevin O'Neill. Perhaps you contend that Olson was responsible even though he was on leave from the program, and that O'Neill did not know what Pennell and Dunlap, the assistants directly alleged to have involved, were doing. Or perhaps the timeline of the reports is inaccurate and Olson was still the head coach, but unless the timeline is *really* off, O'Neill would have been the other assistant (a job he assumed in or about May of 2007). I can appreciate those (prospective) arguments, and have not alleged anything in contravention thereof. I will say that said arguments, if you are in fact making them, may give Kevin O'Neill more credit than his past record of "achievement" might deserve, but again, I am aware of no factual information pointing either way at this time. I simply find it amusing that Mr. O'Neill frequently finds himself in the middle of very interesting situations, no matter where he goes. This season - - to circle back to my original point - - is no exception to that trend, if trend is a gentle enough word to describe the sequence of events in question.

(C) I am at a loss to understand how anyone could read this website on a regular basis and think this website give Lute Olson a "pass" about anything. In fact, despite his departure from the game some time ago, I regularly - - including twice in one very recent edition this season - - make jokes at Mr. Olson's expense. I detest him, and it probably takes reading, on average, one out of every five articles on this site to know that. Give him a pass? No. Hardly.

(D) I don't "ban" people for "providing factual information" - - and even if this was my practice, you don't appear to have provided any (again, I may have missed it and if so, I apologize), so you shouldn't be concerned! :)

(E) I believe this is the second and possibly the third occasion on which you have, in my preliminary and somewhat supposition-derived opinion, misread something that I've typed, or at least assigned it a meaning in a way that I am (again) somewhat at a loss to understand, then attempted to litigate the matter extensively in the comments section. This is your right; however, I will note that such commenters usually do not add much to the discussion here.

(F) This is intended to be a friendly website (for the very few people who read it). As stated on numerous occasions, I welcome discussion of any and all items that I write. However, I am sadly constrained to note that there have been several commenters or e-mailers in the past - - I would estimate that you would be the fourth, although I *really* hope I'm wrong about including you in their number - - who seem to examine the written material here very closely, almost data mining it, then identify something that is a claimed mistake on my part (or on the part of another contributor, although I am usually the target, which is exactly as I would prefer). Next, a comment appears seeking to argue the point in question (usually a collateral one, or one that cannot readily be settled via debate) - - to use an old metaphor - - to death.

(G) Your comments - - which have nearly always involved, to the best of my recollection, fact-checking of some sort - - seem to be in the same vein, which is too bad. I reluctantly reach this preliminary conclusion because (i) you seem to be willfully misreading some of my assertions; (ii) the matters involved have been highly collateral; (iii) you have just announced that you suspected that you would be "banned," which is fairly combative thing to say, and amounts to an allegation that I "ban" people who disagree with me.

(H) I rarely, if ever, "ban" anyone, really. The previous commenters to whom I referred to above eventually (I suppose) grew tired of their endeavors and moved on to other activities elsewhere. In fact, if I say, e.g., that Len Hamilton never coached at another ACC school besides FSU, and someone comments in reply that technically, that's incorrect, given his previous (ahem) leadership stint at Miami (FL), my reaction would be to agree wholeheartedly, admit to being a complete dummy, and then try to move forward with whatever shreds of credibility remained. The same would occur if someone told me that I cited (e.g.) Laettner's Duke statistics incorrectly. However, when the comments and the discussion therein revolve around what appears to be a misreading of (to provide two examples) (i) my understanding of the nomenclature involving schools in the UC or CSU systems, or (ii) my misguided attempt to amuse in very slight fashion by poking fun at Kevin O'Neill, I have to wonder if the motivations of the commenter in question have left the realm of defending factual accuracy (which I am VERY interested, if not always successful, in achieving), and entered the intriguing but ultimately unproductive territory of argument for argument's sake.

(I) I hope that you can continue to contribute positively here, abandon the possible sarcasm and veiled barbs that seem to have been your hallmarks so far, and let us know your opinions about matters. If not, then that's too bad, and I imagine you'll move on as well. In any case, thanks for your contributions, and I'm sorry that I gave you the impression that you would be "banned" for them.

I hope this explains things. And please, make no apologies whatsoever for "forcing" me to post this; at the risk of sounding boastful, which I sincerely don't mean to, I type quickly enough that this response was well worth the investment. :)

And now, back to Duke basketball, and a few other things besides - - with, one hopes, some semblance of factual accuracy. :) --M

Posted by: tom Date: 2/7/2010 5:20:22 PM  
Just watched the game today. Knew it would come down to the wire. Still no Dre. But still a good win after a long trip and very bad weather.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/7/2010 4:35:40 PM  
need edit feature for some of us...

2/6/10 Effective Players – 6+; Trp-S Mins – 119/120(!!); Non Trp-S EP Pts – 15% (10/66); @ Boston College
2/4/10 Effective Players – 7+; Trp-S Mins – 115/120; Non Trp-S EP Pts – 21% (18/86); Ga Tech
1/30/10 Effective Players – 7; Trp-S Mins – 112/120; Non Trp S-EP Pts – 30% (23/77); @Georgetown

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/7/2010 4:34:46 PM  
2/6/10 Effective Players – 6+; Trp-S Mins – 119/120(!!); Non Trp-S EP Pts – 15% (10/66); Ga Tech
2/4/10 Effective Players – 7+; Trp-S Mins – 115/120; Non Trp-S EP Pts – 21% (18/86); Ga Tech
1/30/10 Effective Players – 7; Trp-S Mins – 112/120; Non Trp S-EP Pts – 30% (23/77); @Georgetown

By the numbers, Confidence and Wrong Direction (mine) are trending in opposite directions. Still, agreed this was an important, against the odds win; agree Dre and Kelley inserted at end was a very good and totally ballsy move by K with tons of potential downstream benefit. Every once in a while he does something to make you think he's still ahead of us, as he should be.

Final thought? Two games in a row that EP # did not match what "felt" like a lot of guys playing. May have to rethink the EP minutes cut-off, though I still believe if you don't play 1/4 of the game, you haven't really participated. Thoughts?

Posted by: J Date: 2/6/2010 8:29:57 PM  
Matt, I second your comment that putting Ryan and 'Dre in there for the crunch time freethrows was huge. Mason got serious burn today, as well. Miles has slipped to the dog house a bit, but, quite frankly, Mason has a higher ceiling so it was great to see K let him play through his mistakes today as he gets more and more acclimated. Miles will still be called on.

My only real gripe (besides the horrible free throw shooting from the first part of the game) is our failure to execute stall ball at the end of the game this time. This has been the first season since . . . well . . . ever that I've been genuinely happy to see us run stall ball. We've generally moved the ball really well and gotten open looks while running the spread. When nothing opens up, Nolan has usually been able to penetrate and make something happen. Today, we just stood around, made one or two lazy passes, and then jacked up a shot. I actually think BC did us a favor by fouling with 2 minutes left instead of just playing tough defense.

Overall, nice win considering we had to travel all the way up the eastern seaboard for a game only 36 hours after our last one ended . . .

Posted by: Chris Date: 2/6/2010 6:48:12 PM  
....risking being banned by disagreeing by providing factual information, O'Neill had nothing to do with Lute putting the program on probation. Not sure why so many want to give Lute a pass, even here. Like I said, I am not a fan of O'Neill, but Lute is a joke "Hall of Famer" who puts his program on probation.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/6/2010 5:34:28 PM  
*Enormous* win. In the face of an absolutely preposterous, offensive scheduling insult that I have no doubt would never happen to UNC-CH, as Andrew confirms, Duke sacked up and brought home the win.

G, agree on Kelly; I thought his minutes were very valuable, and his defense on the final play - - switching the screen after Trapper Joe tried to set a pick to free Mr. February from Nolan - - was perfect. So was Zoubek's, in abandoning Raji, who wasn't in position to shoot a three, and coming out to cover Trapani after Jackson reversed the ball to him, and NOT FOULING him. Just an outstanding play to close the game.

I also give massive props to Krzyzewski (make a note of the time and date) for infusing Kelly and Andre with confidence by putting them in there for the late free throws. They only hit 1-2 each, but that had to be a HUGE boost to be inserted like that. Great coaching strategy.

Chris, the point I was trying to make about Kevin O'Neill is that he's a massive dick, and it's always a pleasure to see schools with which he was involved get in hot water. I did not imagine, and am sorry if I created the impression that I imagined, that O'Neill caused problems at a school (Southern Cal) before he became involved with it. However, you are partially incorrect as to the allegations as to Arizona's misconduct, for the tail end of which O'Neill was in fact in Tucson. Whether or not he was actually involved, I don't know, didn't so assert, and don't actually care. The man is simply a blight on college basketball and I delight in any career-related misfortune that befalls him. And now I'm off to see him in person.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/6/2010 4:35:20 PM  
Good win boys, even if it was much closer than it needed to be. The D was great, IMO, even if it was against an offensively-challenged team. Good rebounding, too.

Nice to see the kids knock down some important foul shots in the last minute. Good minutes by Kelly - I could not believe the fouls called on that guy. Terrible calls.

To me, Zoo owned this game, and I'm 100% serious. He helped clear driving lanes on several occasions leading to unchallenged layups; good rebounding; excellent D, blocking shots and forcing TOs. He deserved the game ball, no disrespect to the clutch play of Nolan & Jon.

Good job Duke.

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 2/6/2010 2:31:36 PM  
*** checks Tar Heel archives ***
As Matt noted, the Baby Blues played BC at home last year. UNC has only made the trek north twice since BC joined the league: Feb. 17, 2007 after four days off (and a 9 pm game time, to boot), and (as Matt noted) March 1, 2008 after a full week off. Great work, Swoffie!

After looking like an NBA team against Duke and then more like a high school team against South Florida, Georgetown is about to beat Villinova, who looks to me like a genuinely good team this year. G-town has five players in double figures, 52% from three-land, 35 of 47 (!!!) foul shots. Go figure.

Good start by Duke, though that 0-6 from three is not encouraging. At least Kyle has taken (and made) some two-pointers. Go Duke!!!!

Posted by: Chris Date: 2/6/2010 1:19:47 PM  
Not a fan of Kevin O’Neill, and maybe this was your point and I missed it, but he is not the cause of the probations at Zona and U$C. He just has the unfortunate luck of following the two coaches that had the infractions - Lute, paying for kids to come to camp; Floyd, hey, just paying the kid outright.

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