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TD: Doctor Boo-Hoo

Date: 2/10/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (preramble, comments, not giving a &%@), duhomme (comments, little finger)

Volume XIII, Episode 29
February 10, 2010

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

#8 DUKE (19-4, 7-2) @ NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (13-10, 2-6)

Although I didn’t say so explicitly, I thought that Duke had about a 10% chance of winning on Saturday.  You can imagine how excited I was to be proven wrong, or you can call me at some 900 number that connects to the Nigerian military and I’ll be happy to tell you.  Trust me; I was impressed.  Sure, sure, more scoring would have been nice, but it wasn’t a great free throw shooting night, and the Nutcracker was dramatically limiting possessions, which is the only way he can win games, this season and seemingly in recorded history. 

Unfortunately, after that brief flirtation with being an efficient perimeter threat against the BugThugs, Kyle Singler had arguably his worst game of the season on offense, scoring a brazen 12 points on 14 shots and accomplishing precious little else.  Defensively, he was strong, shutting down Trapper Joe, Roche, and the other players he guarded, and sending back three shots.  But the offense was right back to where he was before the Georgia Tech-slaying outburst.  Grrr.  Luckily, Scheyer made a concerted effort to drive the bucket for the first time since - - no kidding - - the Iowa State game a month earlier, and Nolan Smith and the coaching staff quickly sleuthed out that Smith was not about to be deterred from the basket by any of the slow 6-6 guys, Mr. February (who, even against Duke, can’t play defense), or least of all the sloth-toed Biko Paris, who got an excellent look at Nolan’s license plate number on a host of occasions.  Lance Thomas also played excellent defense on Sanders, and the stamina-free Josh Southern couldn’t keep up with any of Duke’s trees, even if they didn’t always make BC pay. 

Then came some simply outstanding coaching from Krzyzewski in approximately the final 1:30.  These are the kinds of moves that you expect from an HOFer, and he didn’t disappoint.  It was clever to rotate out Zoubek in favor of free throw shooters, but downright awesome to give Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly chances to contribute on the floor in the critical waning seconds of an ACC road game.  Yeah, they only made 1-2 each, but I’ve got to believe that their entrustment in that role increased their confidence by leaps and bounds.  Kelly even contributed some strong defense on the final play, staying with Mr. February after Trapani set a screen for him at the top of the key.  It was fantastic to see that Reggie wanted nooooooo part of that shot.  By the way, I saw one writeup that claimed that Kelly blew a screen switch on that play - - he didn’t, and Nolan did the right thing by chasing Jackson in order to doubleteam him.  What was amazing was the way that Zoubek immediately abandoned his defense of the irrelevant Raji on the low block and came out on Trapper Joe, who was clearly bothered by the 7-1 human in his face and didn’t get off anything close to a good shot at the buzzer, or tricycle horn, or bassoon, or whatever Conte Forum was using for timing mechanisms by that point.  Maybe if Mike Patrick explained the situation to me one more time, or Len Elmore, per se, offered some more details . . . .

By the way, how many of you thought BZ was going to foul Trapani on that shot?  Yep, me too.  Excellent defense, Brian.  That wasn’t a good team that the Blue Devils beat - - although they played Wake respectably on Tuesday night - - but the win was enormous.  A tremendous confidence builder, and hopefully a result that will be good for the team, just as their last trip to Chestnut Hill was, even though it resulted in a temporarily dispiriting loss.   

Now.  Is it time already?  I’m checking with the ACC office to ensure that we’re not playing these dolts back-to-back in a two-game set over three days in March, with Duke required, on the intervening off day, to reenact highlights of the Bataan Death March using portions of nearby Antarctica.  Nope.  It sure is time, and boy, if there’s a better moment for Duke to start chiseling away at the fact that the Blue Devils have dropped six out of the last seven against these Alexander Julian-clad doofuses, this is it.  Because six out of seven, as you know, is also the number of games that the Tools of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill branch have dropped on the season as they enter this one, during a stretch that has seen their sobbing coach run out of readily available buses under which to throw his players, paralyzingly stupid defensive gameplanning, an utter inability to hit the three-point shot, and boneheaded turnovers so ridiculously laughable that you’d swear you were watching the Jay Leno Show, except with actual laughs.    

Yes, this is the state of North Carolina-Chapel Hill basketball as of February 10, 2010.  Now, Duke fans online are in full Stockholm Syndrome mode, assuming that this will be a gripping test of steel-forged wills because (a) this rivalry means that you throw out the records; (b) Jeff Capel hit that shot back in 1995; and (c) maybe this will be the game in which the Tar Heels (last one for this edition!) finally gather themselves and right the ship, which is sinking in a roiling ocean of Rrhoid’s tears.  

And maybe they’re right.  The “records get thrown out” in these games because it’s, by far, the best rivalry in college basketball, and one of the greatest in American sports.  These are kids playing in the blinding spotlights of a massive national stage, and there is going to be considerable emotion spurring Tool players to redeem what has been a mindblowingly horrible season so far by defeating their archrival, yet again. 

However, the question is whether or not this team is good enough and mature enough to beat Duke.  It bears repeating that this Twink team has suffered from a season-long psychological disorder with roots that run quite deep.  Part of that is due to the continuing emotional deterioration of Williams, who was supposedly encouraged by his wife to quit coaching after each of his two national titles, and if his public behavior is any indication of what he’s like in private, her concern is quite understandable.  The other primary reason for the sadly compromised collective psyche of the Dirty Footmen is the preposterous expectations with which the media saddled them at the start of the season.  I’m not excusing the Soiled Pedestrians or exempting from blame, mind you - - the team and its fans (despite proclamations among card-fumbling members of Tool Nation that you routinely hear now, claiming that they knew all along that this team would struggle) eagerly welcomed the sloppy mediot embrace.  But it really was part of the theater of the absurd, wasn’t it?  It wasn’t a question of whether the Tools would win the ACC - - that was assumed as a mere signpost on the way to a repeat run at the national title.  And somehow, no one was able to ask, without being shouted down by Bilas, Phelps, Pubert Davis, Gottlieb, Steve Lavin (??), and other well-credentialed UNC apologists, how the team was going to replace the ACC’s all-time leading scorer (however suspect that achievement, given the phalanx of stripe-shirted enablers that his career entailed), the nation’s fastest point guard and best slashing scorer, a guy who could not miss from long range in the postseason, and another dude who actually played defense (!), scored 13.1 ppg and played a lot of Tickle-Me-Twine with the basket.  Oh, and Robert John Frasor too.  The freshman class was assumed to carry the necessary gravitas to make up for all that - - but in fact, it’s been a spectacular, risible bust.  Ginyaaaaaaaaaard can’t hit the broad side of Verne Lundquist, Drew Roman Numerals is awful, and for some reason now Thompson and Davis can’t get shots, usually because the team is behind, and Horseface has few ideas as to how to actually coach a basketball team, let alone captain a viable comeback.  Without Flawson, Elmo, and Ellington out there bombing away - - and often hitting - - trading baskets just isn’t going to get it done.           

Anyone who’s been watching (and quite possibly getting a real kick out of) the Holes’ recent games knows the lineup: in general, the starting backcourt consists of 6-5 senior Marcus Ginyard (8.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.5 tpg, team-leading 1.3 spg, .428/.622/.357), the defensive stalwart who has looked like quite the toreador lately, 6-1 sophomore Larry Drew XVIII (that’s the number of boneheaded plays he averages per game, in Latin) (8.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.2 apg, 3.2 tpg, team-high 2.3 pfpg, .444/.714/.431), and former afterthought and 6-6 junior Will Graves (9.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, .372/.769/.380, 1.13 PPS), the team’s only consistent deep threat.  Drew, like Lawson before him, has a high assist total because he has good options in the low post to pass to, but unlike Lawson, Drew is not fast, has no blow-by gear, and can’t create his own shot.  He resembles Lawson in another respect as well, a serious lack of defensive credentials; but Lawson, at least, just waved cheerily to passing ballholders and waited to get the rock back in his hands.  Drew usually fouls the guy torching him.  Graves has no passing abilities whatsoever and is nothing more than a spot-up shooter; neither he nor Drew make any attempt to relieve opposing players of the Spalding.  These worthies are backed up by 6-4 freshman Leslie McDonald (3.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg in 9.0 mpg, .356/.563/.200), a horrible shooter who usually enters the game only because of Ginyard and Graves’ lack of stamina and/or Drew’s foul trouble, and 6-3 freshman Dexter Strickland (5.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.8 tpg, 1.6 pfpg in 16.7 mpg, .455/.625/.304).  Strickland doesn’t exactly have a scorching shooting touch, but for my money he is the only one of the Twinks’ five vaunted freshmen that has shown any indication of an ability to transform himself into an ACC-caliber player.  He also plays with emotion when needed and a quiet maturity, which Drew notably lacks, and Ginyaaaaaaaard isn’t that great at either.  Finally, let’s not forget 6-4 sophomore Justin Watts (2.3 ppg in 7.1 mpg, .441/.417/.500), exactly the kind of utterly unheralded stiff who shows up for UNC-CH in the Duke series and makes a cluster of key plays to amp up the deficient crowd. 

In the frontcourt, 6-8 senior Neon Deon Thompson (14.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 tpg, 2.0 pfpg, .512/.716/.000) and 6-10 sophomore Ed Davis (13.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.0 tpg, conference-leading 2.6 bpg, .580/.674/.000, 1.62 PPS) are the starters.  Davis has spent most of this season grappling with minor injuries, which Roid and UNC-CH media partisans have dutifully tried to equate to battlefield amputations, and wishing he had jumped to the Neeba last season.  Seriously - - the guy is actively avoiding situations where he might get hurt and deplete his draft stock, and it’s painfully obvious.  Thompson features a midrange game that he has broken out to great effect against Duke the past several seasons, particularly in Chapel Hill, but he’s not reliable beyond garbage distance, and he can’t guard most freeway signage.       

Forward depth, such as it is, comes from 6-10, 185-pound telephone pole and freshman John Henson (3.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg in 10.9 mpg, .471/.542/.250, 1.19 PPS), a stick figure who has to be, at the moment, one of the greatest busts relative to guru-driven hype in ACC history.  Henson’s only defensive gambit is the hope that opponents will dissolve into peals of laughter upon seeing his almost two-dimensional figure attempting to establish guarding position.  The Emperor of Flatland has talent, but Horseface appears to have crushed his spirit.  Oh, then there’s 6-10 freshmen Treadwear and Underwear.  Look, I’m simply not going to make the effort to differentiate between these two.  That’s what Tim Brando is for.  Or, if you’re not within the Raycom viewing area, which roughly equates to Brando’s circumference, then that’s what bloodless technocrat Dan Shulman is for.  The symbiotes combine for 20.9 mpg, which is a telling sign of impending catastrophe right there, and tally 3.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1/3.4 A/TO ratio, .429/.714/.250 for one of them, and 2.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, and .466/.545/.500 (7-14 - - could be the Tahj Holden Award contender for Most Ridiculous Three right here!) for the other one.  

Poor Ol’ Roy, as he is known to himself, has made a mighty effort this season to make sure that everyone loves him, and as a result, no one on the team averages more than 30 minutes per game.  Now, we’ve all batted back and forth the merits of Coach K’s polar opposite approach, but for the most part, Rrhoid’s strategy this season has managed to frustrate Davis and Thompson, provide a sense of total disarray in the backcourt, and prevent his team from going on long scoring runs.  Even when Zeller was around, Roy couldn’t figure this out, and no, Ty-Z's not going to make a surprise return for this one.     

Both Al White and duhomme recently mentioned to me that Doh!’s 8-20 unit would blow this team off the court, and I smartly replied that I had had the same thought.  However, the dubiety associated with having two people spell this concept out for you before you actually get around to uttering it yourself, particularly if you own some website that forces you to talk about these Baby Blue circus performers on a regular basis, is considerable.  Maybe I just imagined that I thought that.  (I’m still mad I didn’t write it here first.)  But they are absolutely right.  This team’s defense is scabrously sievelike.  Last year’s team wasn’t much better, but (like Duke’s 1992 team, not that I’m comparing the two in any way - - for one thing, Duke beat real Big Ten teams to earn that title) they were always able to outscore the opposition.  This season, that’s been a bit of a problem; the Tools’ ACC scoring margin is (-5.8), their conference scoring defense is dead last at 75.8 ppg, joining their hospitable 44.5% FG defense (ninth in the league) and even more generous 36.4% 3PFG defense (tenth) in the Kingdom of the Unimpressive Stat.  In ACC play, Cryolina is dead, dead last in turnover margin with a shocking (-3.75) mark, and their intraleague A/TO mark ratio is 0.8/1.  They can rebound, snaring 42.2 caroms a game on the entire season and outrebounding ACC foes by a +3.9 margin (first in the league), but Duke is second at +3.8, and has arguably played a harder schedule, although I will concede that Swoffie finally ran out of options this season and had to give UNC-CH a plausibly difficult slate of games.  Just for this one year.

UNC-CH is not a good free throw shooting team at 66.9% (#233 in Division I. Duke is now #7 at 75.7%), and they score only 20% of their points from the line (#219).  Although the Twinks have actually been to the line 15 more times than Duke, no one has more than 50 FTAs other than Davis (129), Thompson (109) and Drew, with 56, and none of that trio is a lights-out donor - - compare their attempts and percentages (listed above) to Scheyer (129 FTAs at 90.7%), Smith (89 FTAs at 78.7%) and Singler (111 FTAs at 75.7%).  Chappaheeeeeeeeeya is also one of the most inoffensive teams in the country in graciously allowing opposing larcenies, ranking a ludicrous 328 out of 347 Div I squads in opponents’ steal percentage.  The other team actually steals the ball 12.1% of the time, or once every eight or so possessions.  Yikes.  However, the most significant statistic in the Dirty Footmen’s arsenal is their notching of just 19.1% of their points on three-pointers - - only fifteen teams in the country are worse.  If Duke can establish a lead, the Tools will, or may, have trouble catching up.

I expect Duke to try to press and force an aggressive tempo on defense, and do the opposite on offense.  The Tools recorded both of their ACC wins because the dolts coaching the other teams - - you don’t even have to check to know that it’s Goonberg and Lowe - - allowed track meets full of transition points to break out.  Since Duke doesn’t turn the ball over too too much, and has the capability of playing very much under control, this shouldn’t happen here. 

Davis and particularly Thompson often struggle when guarded by bigger and faster opponents, respectively, and that’s exactly what they’ll get with the Forest Platoon on Easy Ed and Lance Thomas, who has been playing outstanding basketball lately other than working himself into some needless whistles, on Neon Deon.  On the other side of the ball, Davis’ shotblocking abilities will mostly be wasted against Duke’s expected perimeter-oriented AND HOPEFULLY SLASHING-AUGMENTED ATTACK, and Thompson might actually permit Lance to have one of those 10-12-point games that can be so helpful. 

Ginyard has to guard someone, and it might be Singler, since Graves, McDonald, Strickland, Watts and especially the Wear Dorks certainly can’t do it.  In fact, Rrhoid has some serious problems with his defensive matchups in the backcourt here; if he doesn’t put Ginyaaaaaaaaaard (that's the Woody Durham pronunciation) on Smith, then Nolan is going to make his depantsing of Biko Paris look like nothing special compared to the absolute destruction of Drew MCMXCVIII, Graves, and their backups that he will author.  However, this leaves no one to guard Singler, and it should be noted that Scheyer is 6-5 himself.  This is where Duke has a monumental advantage, and must exploit by driving the ball.  Open threes?  Threes against a zone?  Fine.  But if the distance shots are contested, then tuck in the ball and go to the rim.           

At halftime, Traveler Handjob’s jersey will be retired, and will take its place in the busy Dead Dome rafters flanked by the zebraic blouses of feral nightbeast Duke Edsall, Karl Hess and John Clougherty, Swofford’s old leather helmet, a mockup of his current hair helmet, and the remaining crumbs of Rrhoid’s dignity.   

Duke should win this game easily, but it’s wise to hedge bets.  However, I suspect that with a competent coaching plan, a normal UNC-CH performance, and average to better-than-average shooting, the Blue Devils will be coming away smiling.  As will we.

Duke 78, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 70.

TO:                  Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole FROM:            J.J. Abrams
RE:                  Schedule update

Folks, I know we’re supposed to be off until April, but the network has ordered up a special Wednesday edition of “Fringe” for Feb. 9. Below you’ll find the first draft of the script. I need you to start reviewing it, as we begin shooting immediately.

[Scene I: Agent Dunham is walking down a sidewalk when her cell phone rings.]

AGENT DUNHAM: “Dunham here.” [Looks concerned.]

AGENT BROYLES: [Using total badass voice and staring menacingly at nothing.] “AgentDunham … cometomyoffice … immeeeeeeediately. We haaave … asituation.”

[Scene (Larry Drew) II: Agent Dunham walks into Agent Broyles’ office which, despite looking like the kind of place that would house the CEO of a major corporation, is, in fact, in a federal building.]

AGENT DUNHAM: “What happened?”

AGENT BROYLES: “There’s … beenadisturbance  … at  the University … ofNorthCarolina.”

AGENT DUNHAM: “Which one? They have multiple campuses.”

AGENT BROYLES: “VeryperceptiveDunham. The one in ChapelHill. Accoorrrrrrrding to our consultantsatESPN, the basketball teeeeeam there … isnotperformingasexpected. Ourexpertsin Bristol … pre-dic-ted they would goundefeated and repeat … asnationalchampions, winning eeeeeach game … byanaverageof … seventy points. Instead … theyarethirteenandten … with only twoooo winnnnns … intheACC. And … theyaregettingblownoutalot.”

AGENT DUNHAM: “That’s strange. Perhaps there has been another transfer with the alternative universe, allowing a sucky team to pass through?”

AGENT BROYLES: “Couldbe. Gocheckitout. But … be carrrrreful. The … fanbasethere … has a … senseofentitlement.”

[Scene III: An aerial shot of Chapel Hill, N.C. A graphic of the words “The Dean Dome” float over the building, swaying back and forth for some reason. Cut to Agent Dunham, Peter Bishop and Dr. Bishop walking down Franklin Street.]

PETER BISHOP: “Where first Olivia?”

AGENT DUNHAM: “We’re going to see the person responsible for assembling this disaster. He has several national titles to his credit, and is highly regarded by the local media. But, apparently, no one noticed that his real strength is in recruiting, rather than developing players or game plans. Until recently, he could rely on his teams outscoring the opposition, but that hasn’t worked out this year. His name is Roy Williams.”

DR. BISHOP: “Ooohh, my. I KNOW this man. He was fellow PATient while I was in the St. Claire’s mental HOSpital. He’s crazier than I am.”

PETER BISHOP: “Walter, I find that hard to believe.”

DR. BISHOP: “You’ll see, son. You’ll see. [Nods sagely.] If I recall … [makes mumbling noises] … he has this ODD HABit of referring to himself in the third person.”

[Scene IV: Bishop, Bishop and Dunham walk into Roy Williams’ office. He is dressed in his underwear and a rumpled button-down shirt. The office is in disarray, and Williams is jumping around on the couch and his desk like a chimpanzee, and throwing stacks of paper in the air. He is disheveled and has clearly lost it. In the corner is a statue of Dean Smith with prayer candles in front of it. Dueling banjos is playing in the background.]


[Dub in audio of the Howard Dean scream.]

DR. BISHOP: “It’s WORse than I THOUGHT. AGENT DUNHAM! I MUST have this team sent to my lab iMMEdiately.”

[Scene V: Exterior shot of a gothic building, with a graphic of the words “Harvard University” floating overhead and swaying back and forth. Cut to inside Dr. Bishop’s lab, where the UNC basketball team is on an examining table.]

DR. BISHOP: “I don’t underSTAND this.”

PETER BISHOP: “What is it, Walter?”

DR. BISHOP: “This team has … nO BACKcourt. They CAN’t shoot from outSIDE. And their turnover ratio is the WORST in the LEAGUE.”

PETER BISHOP: “But I thought you said this Roy Williams guy was in the Hall of Fame?”

DR. BISHOP: “He is. Although his first national championship came courtesy of players he inherited from a terrifying entity.”

PETER BISHOP: “But still, that doesn’t explain why he didn’t foresee the need to replace his all-conference point guard. And his best three-point shooter. Why would he think Marcus Ginyard, bricklayer supreme, could fill that role? Plus, Ginyard is supposed to be a lock-down defender, but in this photo he couldn’t look less interested in keeping a mutant creature from scoring.”

DR. BISHOP: “I can’t expLAIN it. With a team alrEAdy populated with centers and forwards, WILLiams brought in a reCRUITing class of unproven STIFFS. Who have contributed little or nothing this year. Oh! Agent FARNSworth! Come QUICKly!”

AGENT FARNSWORTH: [perky voice] “What is it, Walter?”

DR. BISHOP: “Look CLOSely here. Player number twenty-one. He has no FINGers. Only five thumbs … on each hand. And HES supposed to be one of the teams LEADers.”

AGENT FARNSWORTH: [perkier voice] “I just took the defense out of the centrifuge and put it into the mass spectrometer. The results are grim. This team gives up a ACC-leading 75.8 points per game.”

DR. BISHOP: “That is TRUly disturbing. I simply MUST do an experiment! The NIT tournament is coming up and need to determine if they will get IN. Agent DUNham, WHEN is their next game?”

AGENT DUNHAM: “Tonight, against Duke University. But we have a problem. It’s at nine o’clock, and ESPN has scheduled another game at seven. To make matters worse, that’s a Big East game, meaning dozens and dozens of fouls causing it to run well past nine. We’ll be lucky to collect more than seventy-five percent of the data.”

PETER BISHOP: “A former associate of mine said there’s this website that follows the ACC all season, analyzing games and making predictions for the outcomes. Maybe they can help us?”

DR. BISHOP: “Oh, pleeeeezze. Dukies dot COM? I’ve reviewed their material and they couldn’t win a coin toss with twenty tries. They’ve been wrong nearly one third of the TIME this YEar. How am I going to figure out how BAD this team is? DAMMIT! I NEED more TIME!”

[Fade to black. Insert graphic saying “TO BE CONTINUED.”]

DEEP VOICED ANNOUNCER: “Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.”

Duke 78, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 73.

FLORIDA STATE (17-6, 5-4) @ CLEMSON (16-7, 4-5)

The Poohs continue to struggle without a fully effective Demontez Stitt, who returned over the weekend but was a pale reflection of himself, scoring just three points in 27 minutes off the bench.  In a very closely related story, Clemson has now lost four of five and is getting pretty close to Danger Time with respect to its postseason aspirations.  I mean, how many teams does everyone figure the NCAA is going to take from this sad excuse for an ACC campaign? 

Florida State 71, Clemson 69.  

If you are using a new calendar, then it must be time for Clemson to start to suck again, as demonstrated by their 4-5 record since the ball dropped in Times Square.  This will be quite the frontcourt battle, featuring Florida State’s Solomon Alabi – who didn’t start playing basketball until mid-way through last season despite being on scholarship for said sport – and Clemson’s Trevor Booker, who faces numerous destruction of property charges after that 2-10 shooting performance in sunny, warm Blacksburg last weekend.  Hmmm, the Tiggers’ press is pretty good, and Florida State is a bit prone to handling the ball over on a platter when facing pressure, so let’s go with the home team here.

Clemson 72, Florida State 70.


The BugThugs dodged a little bullet there against NCSU by choking up a huge lead while dancing amidst the clouds and puddles in and around their homecourt.  And this is the sort of road game that simply must be won in order to burnish any sort of credentials for the NCAA Tournament (hint hint Duke February 17 hint), because the Mime of Miami can’t prevent Luke Soucks from posting a Bootsy, and what’s more, can’t catch a clue, a break, or even the bus right now in the town that one man built, Mr. Wolfe.  Even worse, the Yahoo page for the Hurryclowns features detailed "team report" analysis of the RedHawks of Miami (Ohio).

Georgia Institute of Technology 75, Miami (Florida) 58.  

Oh, goody, a meeting of the two coaches competing with Sid Low for the “This Guy Has No Business Coaching In The ACC” award. Except one of them (Hewitt) can recruit, even if his top players bolt to the paying version of the game where they engage in locker-room Wild West re-enactments.  Meanwhile, the one who can’t (Haith) has won a whopping three games in The Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand Ten (channeling Dickenson there) and there’s no reason to see this one as number four.

Georgia Institute of Technology 78, Miami (Florida) 60.

TECH (18-4, 5-3) @ NORTH CAROLINA STATE (14-10, 2-7)

That purportedly resurgent NCSU team did make things close at GIT, rallying almost all the way back from a 14-point deficit with just under four minutes remaining, but Heavy Gonzalez and Orange Julius both clanged errant shots that would have tied during a sous-basket scramble in the final seconds.  The Pack are, uh, not attending the NCAA Tournament this season no matter how many teams Ol’Roy tries to get them to include, but VPI has a chance if everyone believes that the ACC is a good conference right now.  It isn’t, but the Bald Bastard of Blacksburg doesn’t want you to know that, especially after Malc Delaney tied a school record with 20 free throws from the oh-so-munificent Tiggers over the weekend, which had just a little something to do with the Hokums’ win. 

Virginia Tech 65, North Carolina State 64. 

If you have followed the basketball program at Virginia Tech, or simply followed our attempts to figure out in advance what will happen when they play a game, you’ve doped out that Monte Carlo Analysis is the only way to get a reliable prediction.  Well, due to budget cuts, we can’t afford the software in the Washington, D.C. Bureau (the West Coast and Canadian offices are much better funded), but we don’t need it to discover that the Wookiees are second from the bottom in the ACC in defense, both points and percentage allowed.  If you look at this once-proud program over this decade and the last, you would get the idea that the same coach-hiring consultants who advised Duke on its football program until a few years ago have also been representing N.C. State with the bad-coach-followed-by-worse-coach strategy.

Virginia Tech 72, North Carolina State 65.

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

Matt 43-23
duhomme 42-24
Guests 2-1


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Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/12/2010 5:51:26 PM  
Well that was the toughest dukies.com poll ever. It was hard not to choose "Laughing at Traveler mouthbreathing".

In related news, Marcus Ginyard still sucks.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/12/2010 2:05:27 PM  
Easy Ed out for 4-6 (which probably comprises the remainder of the Tools' season) with a broken wrist. Good news: these guys might actually author a losing record on the season, and Roy might actually compare his woes to those of the people of Darfur. Bad news: maybe Davis sticks around next season now, although I doubt it. Hopefully, he'll still jump.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/12/2010 1:04:45 PM  
Yo Miles, you know that 14 foot Timmy Duncan style turnaround bank shot? It's OK to take that out of the bag every now and then.

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 2/12/2010 11:24:12 AM  
Our best offensive lineup is: Mason,Singler,Dre,Nolan,Jon

Like CDG said, we looked good in the last ten minutes with this lineup. Singler setting the high screen at the top of the key and then popping out for a three or passing inside to Mason would work. With Dre and Nolan in the corners, the defense would have to respect the outside shooting of the guards and that would leave Mason one on one inside. Or, if the double team comes, Mason could pass out of it for an open shot.

Singler isn’t a match up problem for other teams when he plays the SF position. He hasn’t shown that he has a low post, back to the basket, offensive game. And that would be the only way he would be a mismatch at the SF position. However, he can dribble penetrate and finish at the rim against most PFs. He can also shoot from the perimeter, which would make whoever is defending Singler come out to the perimeter, which would free up the lane for other guards to drive to the basket. And that would be an advantage for us.

or if we’re playing a bigger team and having trouble with rebounding we could play Miles,Mason,Singler,Nolan,Jon:

we've already seen what this group can do during the Wake game. The Plumlee's were absolutely dominant on the offensive and defensive glass.

No disrespect meant to Lance or Brian, but those guys are only contributors when talking about an elite team.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/12/2010 11:09:18 AM  
And we can start to wrap up the visit to the Dean Dome with this great article - it encapsulates the UNC-CH season and Duke's role in it. Normally S. Davis is hard to stomach (another "I have to try to appear balanced by slamming my alma mater" type - see Bilas), but he really did a fair job here:


Posted by: duhomme Date: 2/12/2010 2:09:30 AM  
CDG, tremendous jealousy on my part. this weather is absolutely absurd. to continue my "fringe" nerdism, agent dunham has been dispatched to investigate this anomaly.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/11/2010 3:59:46 PM  
Somewhat good news about Lance. It's a severe bone bruise, and he's doubtful for Saturday.

It could have been much worse. Lance is key to Duke's success, IMO.


Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/11/2010 1:00:19 PM  
J is correct on MP's. Keep away from CBS Sports recaps! The following is from GoDuke.com's box score:

2/10/10 Effective Players – 8 (!); Trp-S Mins – 119/120 (!); Non Trp S-EP Pts – 17% (11/64); @UNC-CH

10 MP Dre, 1 MP for Ryan.

Mason may be on his way to a 4th option?

Posted by: J Date: 2/11/2010 12:00:27 PM  
Of course, despite our advantages against UNC across the board, Pomeroy predicted an 11 point victory for us. We were pretty much right on and we would've been better if two goal tends were actually called. SanFran, if I'm not mistaken we had three bench players log 10 minutes or more (Mason, Zoubs, and Dre). Dre didn't get any points, but he looked MUCH better this game than he has in a long time . . . even putting the ball on the floor once and drawing a foul.

That being said, it really doesn't look like we're going to be able to add a consistent fourth option on offense this season. It's pretty incredible how hard it is for any of our big guys to finish on the inside. We're going to need a fourth option to make any noise in the tourney and we've definitely got to have our big guys finish when they're within 5 ft.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/11/2010 11:19:50 AM  
I have to agree Stephen on the "ugly" part of the win. My stomach was in knots every time they shot the three. Thankfully they did go down but you're right - they won't always. It was not a good shooting night at all and we did not go hard enough to the basket. That kind of effort will not fly with other teams.

The last 10 minutes were really good though and showed a lot of mettle on the part of Duke. In fact, it is those last 10 minutes that make me think that UNC's performance in the first 30 was about emotions and rivalry. The first 30 they were fighting way above their weight and any team can do that on any given night. The difference is if they can keep it up and clearly they couldn't.

It will be interesting to see how the rematch plays out in Cameron.

My thoughts go out to Lance too right now...

Posted by: John Spiller Date: 2/11/2010 10:12:44 AM  
Are you with me Dr. Roy?
Are you really just a shadow of the man that I once knew?

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 2/11/2010 10:07:48 AM  
"This season, that’s been a bit of a problem; the Tools’ ACC scoring margin is (-5.8), their conference scoring defense is dead last at 75.8 ppg, joining their hospitable 44.5% FG defense (ninth in the league) and even more generous 36.4% 3PFG defense (tenth) in the Kingdom of the Unimpressive Stat."

We only scored 64 pts against the worst D in the ACC. For the game we only shot 32% from the field and 61% from the foul line. Thankfully we were hot from 3pt land.

I am not sure if we should chalk this up to this game being a rivalry and emotions playing a big part or something else. And don't misinterpret what I am saying, I will take/celebrate an ugly win any day over UNC. But, living and dying by the three is not a sustainable winning offensive strategy. Are we only 10pts better than THIS UNC team?? Someone's got to ask...so I'll be that guy;)

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/11/2010 12:39:49 AM  
K on Lance:
"It's not a minor injury; it's a serious injury. I don't think it's his ACL but it's his knee. We will know more in the next 24 hours."

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/11/2010 12:36:05 AM  
Almost keeping these stats out of habit now (I cut the last game, paste it at top and update a couple minor items). Not sure worth continuing, as no change is trending - we have our team:
2/10/10 Effective Players – 7; Trp-S Mins – 112/120; Non Trp S-EP Pts – 17% (11/64); @UNC-CH
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

No Dre, 7 MP for Ryan. For the first half I thought one of Roy's asstistants had been reading the site (god knows K doesn't). You know, shut down Nolan, make the other two S's beat you. Then Nolan perked up (nick of time). Mason was the game-changer (including the soul crushing reverse dunk; Duke takes a lead it never relinquishes).

For a team with a lot of weaknesses (see Georgetown), these guys battle and don't seem to get rattled. I remain mystified and must remind myself when it's all over that if we can't figure out how K gets this team to win, we should not be so confident we can figure out how he manages to lose games. The same cannot be said for his counterpart (dadgummit!).

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/10/2010 11:45:54 PM  
Pretty amazing - Jon may end up with a 2,000 point career.

Posted by: Chris Date: 2/10/2010 11:45:42 PM  
Perhaps the best preview write-up to date, kudos! In the last 5 mins it appeared that Duke decided to go hard to the basket to make bucket or get fouled. Makes all the diff in the world instead of weak shots getting blocked.

Again, great preview, great game, celebrating in San Diego tonight!

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/10/2010 11:19:01 PM  
Looks like a nasty injury for Lance, a very tough blow. I sure hope it is not season-ending; rough way to end your 4 years.

Excellent 2nd half D, esp in the last 10 min. The bigs were great. I thought the rebounding was solid offensively and defensively. Jon was a killer and Nolan really came on the 2nd half...I was a little worried for awhile about him picking up the scoring.

Mason - monster game, just great. I wish he would take it to the rim every time he gets in the key, his interior passes are getting picked off too often right now.

Posted by: Al White Date: 2/10/2010 8:36:41 PM  
Great preview, guys. It seems that HickoRoy is on track to end this season as a cross between Strother Martin's prison boss in "Cool Hand Luke" and Billy Bob Thornton's psychopath in "Sling Blade" (hey, Roy even had that cute black sling for a while). "Drew Two, what we have here is a failure by me to get you to frickin' play defense and stop throwing the ball away, you dumba**. UHHHH-UHHHH."

This will be a comfy 15+ point win if the Devils play with intensity and intelligence for 35 minutes on both ends. That is, unless Traveler, once again exempt from the rules that apply to others in a Big Swoff arena, suits up for the Tarfeet. Then we only win by 8 to 10.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/10/2010 6:04:26 PM  
Outstanding preview boys!

Unless the Cable Gods decide to black this puppy out (which they did last year) this is one of the few mid-week games that will be broadcast North of the Border... I am one happy gal.

Hey duhomme, just wanted to point out that THIS nation's captial actually has about 70 inches less snow that your nation's capital right now. In what universe does that happen?

My Magic 8 Ball said "most likely". Not what I would prefer but I'll take it!

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 2/10/2010 4:41:43 PM  
duhomme, thank you for writing that! It was great! Matt, as always thanks for the great stats and matchups.

Official Syracuse Guy, here's a "Go Orange" for you guys. I haven't always liked all of his players, but I like and respect Boeheim and the Syracuse program. May you all dispose of the miscreants from UConn in convincing fashion.

ClemsonGuest, good luck to you all, too. I hope you get a big (and important) win over FSU.

Josh, best of luck with your game this evening. I hope your team plays hard and well. I'm like you; I will be working and will not catch the game live. But I will sure be thinking about it.

*** peers into crystal ball ***
Duke 83 UNC-CH 66

Posted by: duhomme Date: 2/10/2010 4:21:24 PM  
a great big thanks for the compliments. that took a long time to do, but it was fun. let's hope this evening's entertainment is as enjoyable.

Posted by: Official Syracuse Guy Date: 2/10/2010 3:24:58 PM  
Doesn't Duke always win the game at CH in an even year? What's there to worry about ...

Real question is how frustrated will you be as UCAN'T calls timeout after timeout late in the Syracuse game meaning that y'all miss the first 6-10 minutes of your game.


Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/10/2010 1:33:17 PM  
Here's a nice little tidbit from Coach Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men's basketball team.

"Our massage therapist told me, 'You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you're having is a disappointment,' " said Williams. "I told her that depends on what chair you're sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life."



Posted by: Josh Date: 2/10/2010 12:22:47 PM  
I'm with ClemsonGuest...I've never watched Fringe before, but I loved the writeup. Nice work, duhomme.

I'm also part of the Stockholm Syndrome crowd that Matt referenced. Duke *ought* to win this game big, but I have these nagging feelings that the Tools will finally put together a good effort tonight, leading to an avalanche of ridiculous stories about how they "rallied together to save their season by beating Duke." I really want to see more driving by Duke tonight. Obviously it makes Singler and Scheyer more effective when they drive, but gobs of missed threes also lead to gobs of long rebounds, which lead to gobs of fast break opportunities, which is exactly what the Tools want/need to stay in this game. Take it to the rack!

Sadly, I won't be able to watch this one live. My basketball team had a game snowed out last night and it is being made up tonight instead (even though Wednesday is normally a no-play day for our conference). I will have the DVR fired up and will be checking Dukies.com first thing when I get back for comments!

Go Duke!

Posted by: bluedevilruss Date: 2/10/2010 12:13:26 PM  

Loved the Fringe pick, and you nailed all the characters.

I hope we win big...because I think we should.

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/10/2010 11:04:44 AM  
This is how you know duhomme had a great effort here: I have never watched Fringe and I loved reading this.

No worries about the Big East foulfest ending in time for me, since we'll get your game on a Raycom affiliate and be treated to Smiley and the iron-unkind guy, plus a constant scroll of school closings. Of course we have to get that must-win game on the Deuce out of the way first (unable to attend this time). The Tigers just haven't matched up too well against FSU.

This will hopefully be the third time all year that I'll get to see a Duke game in its entirety, and hopefully I'll be in a good mood to watch it. I figured one of you would pull the trigger on a 22-point Duke win pick, but it's understandable why you think the Goats will keep it close.

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