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TD: Clown Lightning

Date: 2/17/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (preramble, comments, gale-force blowhardisms), duhomme (comments, standings lead)

Volume XIII, Episode 32
February 17, 2010

Mattís comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.

#6 DUKE (21-4, 9-2) @ MIAMI (FLORIDA) (17-8, 3-8)

This has the feel of a classic trap game.  Duke last visited ďSouth Florida,Ē as promos for the Pro Bowl annoyingly called it, although the slightly more important game a week later was advertised as being from . . . Miami . . . on February 20, 2008, so itís been almost exactly two years.  (My word - - some sliver of consistency from the ACC schedule?)  You may remember my discussion, a few editions ago while summing up the Georgetown debacle, of the PS BAD (Personal Super Bowl Against Duke) phenomenon, and Wake Forestís absurd contribution to its storied lore on February 17, 2008.  And . . . you guessed it!  The Hurryclowns did much the same thing three days later, mounting a PS BAD game against the Blue Devils and sending the team of record in these parts to its second straight loss, this one a mindblowing 96-95 setback for Miffleís first win over Duke in 45 years.  Krzyewski commented after the game that ďWe are not the same team these last two ballgames. Itís almost like someone has come in and invaded their bodies.Ē  And while that remark may have been a little insensitive to the extraterrestrial parasite community, Duke teams indeed do not give up 96 points very often.  In the two years since, that dismal ďachievementĒ has been reached only once more - - sorry, but I must - - in last seasonís home loss to UNC-CH (who scored 101).  This season, the two blowout road losses that weíve experienced have both involved gifts to the other team of the sub-90 point variety. 

So that wasnít a good game. 

The 2008 team was not particularly tough, and could be easily distracted by things like quick-turnaround, long road trips.  (Pause to wonder in surprise and astonishment that Duke was forced to play two road games in four days with an 830-mile road trip squeezed in between.)  This time, at least, the turnaround is three full days between games rather than two, and weíre coming off of a home game - - still not great, but better. 

Incidentally, Miami made things interesting in the teamsí sole meeting a year ago as well, losing 78-75 in Cameron.  Youíll remember this game as well - - it was sandwiched directly between the preposterous 74-47 embarrassment down at Clemson and that 101-point bequest to currently NIT-bound (if that) North Carolina-Chapel Hill that I mentioned a moment ago.  And it had its own share of fun - - Duke trailed by 16 points in the second half before fighting back to lead by three, and then Jack McClinton hit that amazing shot over both Singler *and* McClure to force overtime at the buzzer.  Duke assumed command in OT and was able to contain McClinton and hit enough free throws to escape Cameron - - escape Cameron! - - with a teeny tiny win.  Yikes.  Is it any wonder some of us feel a little snakebit about this program sometimes, at least in recent seasons? 

I canít really find a common thread between the two games.  In the first, Duke was tired and listless, and yet, a track meet somehow broke out.  In the second, the Mime of Miami deployed a zone, and the Blue Devils authored a school-record 39 three-point attempts, making just 12 (30.8%).  This season, Haith can put up all the zone defense that he wants; I donít think Duke will make the same kind of mistakes.  And if another CSI Center scoring slugfest occurs, I donít think Miami has the horses to compete against a Duke team that is performing - - letís be honest - - at most times far better than last seasonís Blue Devil squad.               

The Clowns have been pretty bad this season, but they are 3-1 at home in the conference, and 11-1 overall at the Library.  Absurdly, that sole setback at home came at the wooden hands of . . . the Nutcracker??  Yeah; I sort of wish I had watched that game, and not just so I could attend special reunions of those who did for years to come, held in conveniently located Fotomats.  It simply must have been fascinating.      

Frank Haith, like Spewitt, is one of these coaches who plays too many guys - - the Anti-Krzyzewskis.  Sure, no one ever gets tired, I guess, but when I watch Saint Paul juggle his three point guards at will and on evidently capricious whim, I have to wonder how theyíre ever going to get into a rhythm.  Haith does the same thing, only with his entire lineup.  No one averages more than 28.5 minutes, but there are ten guys garnering double-digit PT.  We Duke fans do not speak this language, stranger from South Beach.  

In the backcourt, the Hurryclowns start 6-3 freshman point Durand Scott (8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.2 tpg, 1.2 spg, .417/.620/.263, 1.16 PPS), 6-4 senior and leading scorer James Dews (12.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.4 tpg, 1.1 spg, .471/.794/.411), and, at the moment, 6-6 freshman Garrius Adams (4.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, .333/.655/.301).  Scott, a Big Apple-hailing playmaker, lacks finesse to his game, as the bad shooting totals and average A/TO mark indicate.  He does get to the line, but doesnít do much when heís there.  Expect him to struggle with any defensive assignment that Duke creates for him.  Mountain Dews, whom I could have sworn was a junior at the most, takes just south of 46% of his shots from trifectadom and isnít really interested in getting physical on either side of the ball.  Heís eminently guardable by shorter players and isnít all that quick.  Adams has been starting since the beginning of February and - - ALERT!  ALERT!  He hails from Apex, Wake County, North Carolina, which automatically means heís carrying some grudge against Duke for not calling him.  Letís see if he breaks out as a result.  He plays better than average defense and has the height, but isnít much for shooting or - - not to push things here - - scoring.  He'll probably guard Scheyer, if there's any man defense to be found amongst the white-clad tropical depressions.           

Depth at the guard positions comes from 6-1 sophomore and Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant (10.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.0 tpg, .414/.704/.435) and 6-7 senior Adrian Thomas (7.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.2 pfpg, .437/.714/.426), who does little but bomb from the wing despite his size.  Get this - - all but 20 of Thomasí FGAs and all but 10 of his FGMs are from beyond the distance circle.  It shouldnít shock you that his 71.4% FT mark is generated by a 10-14 figure.  Thatís one charity toss every 38.8 minutes heís on the court, and he averages just 21.2 mpg.  After containing the similarly paint-averse Ferret over the weekend, I think Duke can probably devise a scheme to hold down Thomas when he appears.  As for Grant, he was a real baller at Villanova before finding himself in the Reynolds + Multiple Coreys squeeze; Haith likes him in the instant offense role off the bench, but if Miami needs a high-octane scoring run against the Blue Devils, heíll get big minutes.  Heís the most versatile offensive player on the team, given Thomas and Dewsí aversion to tax-deductible donations and Scottís very poor shooting from the stripe.  Grant is not a ballyhooed defender - - in fact, thatís a piece that Haith is really missing this season.            

Up front, the centerpiece is 6-8 ninth-year quintuple redshirt senior Dwayne Collins (11.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.6 tpg, 2.4 pfpg, .598/.526/.000, 1.58 PPS), who absolutely pulverizes Duke historically, but might have a little bit more difficulty stopping and getting shots over the Forest Rangers, with whom heíll presumably be matched part of the time.  If Lance Thomas continues to feel well (and there are no reports to the contrary), I expect heíll pitch in the rest of the time.  It seems that Collins usually thrives when he sees the same defensive look over and over again (as he did in this matchup two years ago), so switching the defensive rotation coming his way is probably a good idea.  Collins is flanked by 6-9 sophomore Julian Gamble (2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 1.4 pfpg in 11.0 mpg, .444/.739/.000), a widebody whoís just in there to deal out silly fouls and divert attention from Collins.  Waves (heh) of frequent substitutions blow in (donít stop me, Iím on a roll) in the persons of 6-9 freshman Reggie Johnson (6.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 pfpg in 12.5 mpg, 1.68 PPS, .482/.772/.000), a high-impact, efficient banger, 6-7 sophomore DeQuan Jones (5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .551/.636/.111), and 6-9 senior Cyrus McGowan (3.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 2.0 pfpg in 14.7 mpg).  I thought the relatively well-touted Jones was going to be a force to be reckoned with, but it hasnít happened so far - - he was up and down last year, averaging 2.7 ppg, and hasnít shown much ability to conquer that learning curve this season.  My guess is that Reggie Johnson will do his best Reggie Jackson (no, the other one) impression and scorch Duke with hustle when heís in, which hopefully wonít be that often.  McGowan, who formerly balled at Arkansas (which is illegal in most states, but not there), is the team-high leader in blocks, collects fouls like Sean Sutton amasses felony charges, and even fancies himself a little sniping from the arc on occasion, going 5-17 on the season.          

The Hurricanes are naturally struggling because of the losses of guards Jack McClinton and Lance Hurdle, and forwards Brian Asbury and Jimmy Graham.  McClinton was, by the close of his career, nationally recognized, and deservedly so, but Hurdle was a solid defender, scored 7.3 ppg, and dished out nearly three assists, and Asbury and Graham would occasionally explode for big games too; they averaged a collective 12.0 ppg and 10.9 rpg.  Haith loves to throw out the zone looks, and lacking a big shotblocker or anyone who can steal the ball - - the Canes are in the bottom quartile of Division I in steals per possession and right at the midpoint in block percentage - - itís not a bad idea.  Did I mention the lack of great on-ball defenders?  I doubt that watching Nolan Smith and Scheyer, who seems to have rediscovered his slashing attack along with his three-point touch, blow by soft MTM defense is in Haithís plans.  Miami is terrible with the ball, coughing it up 22% of the time, and as far as the line, they are not only infrequent visitors (18.5% of their points come from the chalk, good, or bad, for 292nd place in Div I), but quite the rimrattlers and glassblowers when they get there (63.7%, #308 nationally).  Duke stands at tenth in the land in freebie conversions. 

The Clowns are also #59 in the country in terms of the points they score from three-point land - - and unsurprisingly poor, at #244 in the country, with regard to their percentage of points from within the arc.  Good thing Duke is tops in the ACC and third nationally with a 27.8% three-point field goal defense mark.  Not bad, Blue Devils!  Itís pretty obvious that this is the key to the whole game; whereas Duke can score without hitting threes (see the win at BeeCee, see?), Miami really canít.            

In general terms, Duke really has to sack up for this one; in 66 ACC games to date, through Tuesday nightís action, the home team is 48-18 (72.7%).  Wow - - look at the pretty, lofty percentage.  Ahem.  Excuse me.  Yeah, thatís a pretty good record, and if you remove the Tools and the Pack from the picture (ahhhhhhh), the home team is 45-10 (81.18%).  And remember - - Miami has surprised Wake, VPI, and most recently the BugThugs with Conversation Center wins.  This is no gimme by any means, and just as I claimed prior to Dukeís trip up to Chestnut Hill, if the Blue Devils win this one, itís a very, very commendable feat irrespective of the Candy Canesí overall record.  

Let us close.  Miami is a strange place.  If you watch television late on Monday nights, you know it to be a crime-ravaged, drug-addled, sun-soaked fiefdom administered with plenary executive authority by one man who wears the same shirt, pants, and jacket for each and every one of his exciting adventures.  Whatís more, this individual is undead, requires neither sleep nor nourishment, and has at his command a U.S.S. Enterprise-level labyrinth of laboratories and fast-talking (and attractive!) people who work therein.  These worthies can determine not just where you took a leak last night, or where Duane Simpkins racked up his latest unticketed parking violation - - thatís the easy part - - they can also tell how long that leak lasted, the contents and location of your last meal, and whether or not you still think that Jessica Alba is cuter than Jessica Biel. 

But if thereís one thing this group of all-powerful mages canít do, itís enable the local private, nonsectarian institution of higher learning to field a consistent basketball squad. 

CAINE:          Well, Frank [dons Silhouette Titanium sunglasses] . . . you can call me
                       when basketball . . . involves running on grass.  [abrupt exit off screen to
                       the right]   


Duke 74, Miami (Florida) 67.    

Wasnít that fun the other day? Watching Duke withstand hurricane conditions from a blustery, high precipitation weather system that had moved in from the Washington, D.C. suburbs? With the added bonus of seeing Marylandís pair of gargoyles in the backcourt kept mostly irrelevant most of the time? I sure enjoyed it.

This is a box score worthy of being framed. The Twerps were kept to 37.7 percent shooting, with only two made from the toll area. Despite playing that excellent defense, Duke kept Maryland from making charitable donations Ė only 11 attempts at the line. Our good friends from College Park had 10 assists versus 14 TOs. Plus, 10 minutes (!!!) for Dawkins. Nice. The rather paltry 11 ticks for Plumlee 1.0 is a bit concerning, but he did manage to rescue four stray shots while he was on the floor. How did Zoubek play, you ask? Well, turn your attention to Ö

WIN OF THE GAME:  BRIAN FREAKINí ZOUBEK!!!!!!! What a game! Not just the sixteen points, although those were nice, but 17 rebounds? Seriously? If anyone wants to find out where that puts him in the list of Duke single-game rebounding leaders, post away in the comments section. Oh, and get this, he did all that while spending only 22 minutes of gametime. Dude, I have overnighted your WIN Club Membership Card and a packet explaining all the benefits. Now, had Treebeard not had the game of his career, the WIN would have been Dan Bonnerís pre-game commentary where he joked about Gary Spillamsí strange habit of unloading on the bench players when someone on the floor makes a mistake. Iíve busted his soggy chops about that for years on this site, and itís nice to know someone else thinks itís goofy. Williamsí behavior, that is, not this website. Well, yes, I guess we are, too.

FAIL OF THE GAME: Hard to say. Did Singler, Smith and Scheyer really have to play 38, 35 and 36 minutes, respectively, in a game where Duke had a 20-point lead most of the time? I donít know, I might just have to stop griping about the whole minutes issue. So, letís go with that stretch in the second half when the Venezuelan Voicebox seemed to be able to score at will as Duke apparently forget he was in the game. 

(By the way, for those of you scoring at home, I pulled even with Matt in the season stats recently. In the last edition, we delivered a circuit split on the Wake Forest/Virginia Tech game. Folks, if the Turkeys can win this one, which is being played as I write, it will probably be the first time ever I have been ahead of Matt.  Should that happen, I will return to this portion of the material for karma-destroying smack talk. On the other hand, J.T. Thompson is doing his Jeff Allen impression and just got a T for throwing an elbow during a dead-ball situation. Grrrr.)

(UPDATE: Yes! How about those Hokies! Whoís the man, now, Matt?! WHOíS THE MAN!!!??? Bow down before my unstoppable genius! Quake at my basketball analysis abilities! Get ready to be down by 10 games at the end of the season! Go ahead and have me tested for prediction-enhancing substances! It wonít matter! That was pure duhomme!!!!!! WOO-HOO!!!!!)

In the mood for some political history? Why not. As you may have seen, Evan Bayh, the junior Democrat U.S. Senator from Indiana, has decided not to run for re-election. This is the 11th retirement in this cycle, which is only bested by the 12 who decided they had had enough of the Senate in 1996. But the Bayh seat has an interesting background. From 1963 to 1981 (if the odd-numbered years confuses you, keep in mind elections are held in November of even numbered years, but senators and congressmen are not sworn in until the following January), the Senate seat currently occupied by Evan was held by his father, Birch Bayh. Birch was defeated by Dan Quayle, who won re-election in 1986, then was tapped to be the running mate on president run by George Bush (the one who fought a successful war) in 1988. U.S. Rep. Dan Coats was appointed to that seat until he announced his retirement prior to the 1998 elections.

Just for fun, the House seat that Coats held prior to the appointment? That was the one Quayle had left open while he ran for the Senate against Birch Bayh. But it doesnít stop there! No, sir! One of the reason Coats left the Senate was the potentially uphill battle that year against a very popular Indiana governor named Ö Evan Bayh! And, if by now youíre wondering if Indiana has an adult population of seven people, in the last week or two it was none other than Dan Coats who said he would challenge Evan this time around. Youíll need to take my word for it, but I knew 95 percent of the above information off the top of my head. Yes, I need a life.

Back to basketball! Having had just enough of the weather, Coach K has decided to travel to the southern-most ACC member and is looking for some much-needed peace and quiet while managing his team in an arena that doubles as a storage area for a Miami-based mannequin manufacturer. On paper, this is not a good team of Medical Devices. They are just barely out of the cellar in the league when it comes to points scored and points allowed (depending on how you read that, the second ranking sounds good. Itís not.), and are dead last in rebounding margin. They also have only three ACC wins.

However, those wins came at home (where this game is held) against some of the best teams in the league, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. They also held serve against an increasingly mediocre Georgia Tech squad. In part, because the Sticks have an ACC-best 6.2 three pointers made per game. That could be a problem, but the last time Duke faced an top-shelf three point shooting team (it was on Saturday and mentioned no less the 48 times during the broadcast), numerous players and fans had to be tested for lead poisoning after chucks of the rims were atomized. Ooooh, check this out: the Blue Devils have the best defense on that particular shot in the conference, allowing on 24.3 percent of the long distance calls to be completed.

So that might be the key to the game. Another point to bring up is this has always been a tough game for Duke. It took overtime to beat them in Cameron last year. The season before that, which is the last time the Devils pulled up to the Drive-Through Teller Center, it took an amazing effort not to get beaten by 40. In large part, those struggles were due to the inability, or complete lack of interest, of anyone wearing a Duke jersey to prevent Jack McBillClinton from scoring. Heís gone now, and no one on this team scores more than 10.7 points per game in league play. But, rest assured, regardless of the outcome, one of them will have his career high tonight.

Duke 73, Miami (Florida) 69.

FLORIDA STATE (18-7, 6-5) @ VIRGINIA (14-9, 5-5)

The inability of ACC teams to win on the road this season is frankly amazing.  Now, Duke could still make everything go sideways if it doesnít take that Miami game seriously, but remember when the Blue Devils were ďthat team that couldnít win on the roadĒ?  Well, Duke has something that no other ACC team does - - three conference road wins.  Fourth sentence to note that Florida State is one of several teams that has two such road wins, the Noids dominated the Cravs in TeeHee, and they have beaten Virginia six out of the last seven times theyíve met.

Florida State 68, Virginia 67.

Hey, why not get around to arranging for these two squads to meet for the first time this season, and, while weíre at it, letís make it a matchup between teams that did their part over the weekend to contribute to a mistake-free edition written by two guys who know something about basketball, hacked into the site and changed Mattís and my incorrect (as usual) picks. Florida State does see their balls go through the net very often (sounds painful), while Virginia is second in the league at scoring defense. The difference here will probably be the fact that Tony Bennett, who will inspire his team in the locker room with ďI Left My Heart in San Francisco,Ē is a coach with skills far beyond even the imagination of Lame Lamelton. 

Virginia 68, Florida State 63.


Iím still (gently) shaking my head at anyone who thought - - based, I guess, on Dukeís laydown job in Raleigh - - that NCSU was experiencing some sort of resurgence.  The individuals holding such views are forgiven if their intent was to remediate Dukeís increasingly ridiculous and incomprehensible blowout loss to the Pack, but itís time to give up the ghost now that Sweet & Real Lowe has gotten his group swept - - SWEPT!! - - by this yearís Tool squad.  That achievement alone should get him fired within seconds of the close of the season, and in a little piece of advice to the NCSU administration, I counsel hiring someone who has prior head coaching experience this time.  Fourth sentence to note that Maryland, College Park is now playing its eighth game in seven days, or something, but this one will hardly count. 

Maryland, College Park 78, North Carolina State 68. 

Oh no, Lid, donít make any effort to beat Coach Cleatus and his assembled group that normally canít shoot or defend. In fact, if it wouldnít be too much trouble, how about handing him two of his three ACC wins? Now, one more request: drop this one as well and get yourself a firm grip on the last slot in the league.

Maryland, College Park 77, North Carolina State 50.

Last Edition
Matt 2-1
duhomme 3-0 
Guests 0-0

Matt 52-26
duhomme 53-25
Guests 2-1


View more articles from this category


Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/19/2010 5:13:41 AM  
duhomme, as a fellow lotr nerd, I loved the moniker when you guys gave it to him, as did my boys, who thought you were too clever. After all, he was slow of foot, slow of speaking/thinking, and, well, it just fit our man Zoubs to a T. But watching some of the steals, post-ups, and that sick ballspin off the glass and in bucket on Wednesday, I decided that it is getting nearly impossible to think of Zoubs in that original light. I will however bow to the updated "kick ass and pummel" interpretation you reminded me of, and happily continue thinking of Zoubs as the take no prisoners treebeard.

Posted by: duhomme Date: 2/19/2010 12:48:39 AM  
sfsf wrote: "MVP - Zoubs... wow. Carries the team in the first half as well. This is getting a little weird (and a game or two away at this rate from retiring the moniker "Treebeard" methinks)."

i'm sorry if i wasn't clearer about this, but the treebeard nickname has always been intended as a compliment. for those of you who thought otherwise, that would be a FAIL on my part. if you have seen "the lord of the rings," treebeard is a complete badass who led his fellow ents in totally pummeling isengard in the second book (and movie) in the series.

when brian showed up this season with a beard, matt and i had an email exchange on coming up with a fun nickname for him. well, he's big, he's strong and he has a beard. alas! treebeard worked well. rather than retiring the name, i would argue that in the last two games he has more than earned it.

sorry for the lotr nerdism, but i didn't want any of the fans here to get the wrong impression that i was harshing on the guy. quite the opposite. despite the number of times i have screamed "don't bring the ball down to your knees!" he has been one of my favorite players for several years based on his effort and general attitude. keep it up treebeard!

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/18/2010 3:08:04 PM  
blueflame, nah, I don't think Andre looks depressed at all. His default expression is somewhat studied and calm; a good recent comparison might be DeMarcus Nelson. At times, it might have looked like Nelson wasn't having fun (and there were substance-free transfer rumors with DN too, which IMO were related to his expression), but that's because, on the court, he's a serious guy. Dawkins too.

IIRC, I've only raised the question of Dawkins transferring once myself - - whereas others in the Duke blogosphere talk about it constantly - - and that was in a weak moment. I would personally be very, very surprised if he's not around next season. Also, Dukies.com spies report that Seth Curry is really balling in practice, which may be why Andre seems to be getting quite the crash course in Duke defense, complete with pine time. Incidentally, his defense is improving.

Can't believe it took this long to get Zoubek's game against the Clowns a serious mention. In the first half he was worse than invisible; he was quite visible, but in the wrong way. In the second half, he was absolutely involved in every play as Duke made its enormous run to open the stanza. Five steals - - for a center??? And those weren't tie-ups, either (how centers usually get their steals) - - dude was picking off passes and rolling on the floor after loose balls. I was forcibly impressed, and the ESPeNators were dead on target to award him their game MVP nod.

I am ecstatic over this win. I did not really expect it - - there is not always a correlation between my Duke game predictions and what I think is most likely to occur, regrettably - - and it showed fantastic grit to come back like that. Too many threes? Maybe - - but few teams play as much zone as Miami does, and most of the looks (as pointed out below by Serious G) were uncontested, featuring space created by motion sets and screens. Those have to be taken.

As to whether there's a more apathetic crowd in college basketball, yeah, there are many, but this one's pretty bad. You really have to visit the ACC arenas when another team besides Duke visits to get the true flavor. (Disclaimer: like Virginia's new arena, I have never been to the Conversation Center, but I've watched enough Miami games on TV after it opened that the nickname was not difficult to think of.) At most Miami games, you can hear a pin drop.

However, as the tenor of the preview may have indicated (duhomme and I have been playing 40 minutes a game here for a while now, but I thought this writeup was fairly fatigue-free), I really enjoy it when Duke plays Miami. It's practically an OOC game - - and this was very much like a true road OOC game, with prospective positive effects (I hope) to match.

Posted by: blueflame Date: 2/18/2010 2:40:47 PM  
Kudos to the Men in Blue who knuckled down with "D" in the second half. I don't know what to make of Zoubek's recent 2-game explosion. Has some alien invaded/possessed his body? His left-hand, left turn spin move to the basket made me dizzy. Sadly, the Plumlees continue to excel at under-achieving game by game. Is it my imagination or does Dawkins have that depressed, bench look that other recent transfers have had? This '09-'10 edition of Duke basketball may end up surpassing all my pre-season expectations...

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/18/2010 2:04:17 PM  
PS - Andrew, thanks for the rebounding numbers. Given his company on the chart, and the way he's played this season, I can only wonder what kind of career Zoubs would have had w/o the injuries. As to "efficiency rating" Andrew/Josh... something worth tracking by game and for the season?

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/18/2010 1:30:29 PM  
Josh, Great article - thanks very much for finding and letting us know! Author is a real pro compared to yours truly ("hmmm, what stat can I make up that sounds fun and seems valid?").
To me, the most resounding quote comes at the end: "And, just in case youíre interested, despite Scheyer, Singler and Smithís big workload, this yearís efficiency margin is trending upwards." This gibes with gut feel, that for a change, dare we say it out loud, this year's edition seems to be getting better down the stretch?

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 2/18/2010 1:10:45 PM  
J - Good point and I agreeÖwe are improving offensively. But almost 50% of our FGAs last night were from 3pt land. Thatís way too many...Attack the rim.

I didnít think zone defenses were going to be a problem for this Duke team, but last night, their zone gave us trouble and let them control the game. And if they were a smart team, we would have lost this game. All I am saying is we are not going to be able to shoot our way to victories every game. We need to score in more diverse ways more consistently during games, even more so than last night against Miami, so that when we are off from outside we donít get down by too many points.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/18/2010 12:39:41 PM  
I enjoyed last night's win as much as anyone, so this is not in any way intended to be a turd-in-the-punch-bowl link, but it seemed to capture a lot of what we have been talking about around these parts. It doesn't have to do with the Miami game, but I figured more people would see it if it was posted here.


Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/18/2010 9:45:06 AM  
Conch-gate will be forgotten once Roy Williams says something dumb or insane. Over/under on when that happens: Tomorrow evening, so the CBS people will have something else to talk about Saturday while watching the battle for ninth place in the ACC.

Posted by: J Date: 2/18/2010 12:31:29 AM  
The second half was just great. We really extended our pressure D this game and generated a lot of turnovers because of it. In the first half, we didn't score off of those turnovers. In the second half, we managed to convert on the ensuing possession more often than not and that made this game so much easier. Way to go Zoubs! Man, it is nice to see a few back to the basket buckets in a Duke game. Yeah, he only scored 4 points directly off of a feed into the post followed by a post move, but they came exactly when you need those kind of points . . . when we were down and we needed easy buckets to settle everyone down.

Stephen, I definitely agree that it is not good to have jacking three's as the only option when the offense isn't working. Tonight, however, I thought we saw a lot of different things that balanced out the attempts from long distance. We saw legitimate feeds to Zoubs in the post at critical junctures. I mentioned the two times we scored earlier, but that doesn't count the two assists Zoubs had to Singler cutting down the lane. We also saw Kyle utilized along the baseline in the holes of the zone which led to some nice assists to Mason and Miles. Also, instead of standing around passing the ball across the perimeter of the zone, we ran Singler from baseline to baseline with Zoubs and Lance setting some nice back screens to get Kyle open and to force the defense to collapse to the baseline, opening up the rest of the floor.

I feel like most of the threes in the second half and in the opening stages of the game were taken within the flow of the offense . . . even if it was as simple as a quick pass to Lance at the elbow and then another pass back to the guard for a three. I mean, anyone is going to get open threes against a zone. We took a lot tonight, but we got a lot of good open looks and made things happen from within the zone as well. It didn't look anything like last year's loss to Michigan.

Also, we rank 140th in terms of the percentage of points that we get from threes. With our offensive rebounding ability, I think we are better equipped to handle a cold night from outside than in the past few seasons. That being said, I'd still like to see us post Kyle a little more and get the ball to Zoubs/Miles/Mason when they have position more consistently. As we saw tonight with some nice interior passing, those guys don't need to score from the post to be effective. They can also pass to cutters, etc.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/17/2010 10:27:15 PM  
Stephen F. - I did not read your comment re: the 3 point shooting before posting. It is possible I might have to take off my rose-coloured glasses on this issue.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/17/2010 9:54:40 PM  

2nd half D was just great. Great shooting of course. I know it has been discussed that shooting so many 3s is not sustainable, but would you all agree that most of the treys (at least in the 2nd half) were not forced but rather taken when the D gave it to Duke?

Zoo was awesome. I liked the way Dawkins played too, just wish he had more burn in the 2nd half. His help D (although he committed a foul) was nice to see.

I did not like the 55% shooting by Miami, did not like the # of early turnovers, but little else to complain about.

Now there surely will be conch-gate, as there is nothing else interesting to talk about related to college hoops.

Horn-blower aside, are there any other candidates to mention for most apathetic home crowd in NCAA hoops?

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 2/17/2010 9:33:02 PM  
We controlled the second half of the game and hit our shots. But I don't come away from this game with good feelings because Miami is such a bad team.

We couldn't score the ball in the first half. We continue to live and die by the three. Against better competition we are going to need a legit fourth scorer.

Congrats! on the MVP to Zoubs. That kid made some moves tonight that I never thought he would be able make. Keeping workin' hard big fella!!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/17/2010 9:15:42 PM  
I seriously haven't been this serene with a three point lead in the second half since 1992. And that's not just the Natural Light talking.

And Hubert Davis makes Mike Patrick sound like a good announcer. Also.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/17/2010 9:13:00 PM  
MVP - Zoubs... wow. Carries the team in the first half as well. This is getting a little weird (and a game or two away at this rate from retiring the moniker "Treebeard" methinks).

Posted by: duhomme Date: 2/17/2010 5:32:57 PM  
thanks, andrew. i agree on brand. ferry's numbers kind of surprise me as well, for the opposite reason.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/17/2010 2:56:37 PM  
Hey Matt, why the heck are they driving to Miami? Why not fly? Or did I misunderstand?

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 2/17/2010 1:51:09 PM  
Where does Zoubek's game the other day rank for single-game rebounds?

A good answer to this defeats my statistical abilities, but here are a few comparisons.

I looked through individual stats for career highs for single-game rebounds among likely players from the last few decades, and Zoubek's game puts him in some fine company. These are the only players I found that had more than sixteen in a game, from 1970 onwards:

Elton Brand - 21 (to my surprise, he only had one other game with 16 or more)

Cherokee Parks - 20 (this surprised me too. I do not remember him as a good rebounder)

Mike Gminski - 19 (he had 14 games with 16 or more boards, and a 10.2 career average. No one else comes close to this, except for the Landlord and Alan Shaw)

Shelden Williams - 19 (eight games with 16 or more boards)

Alan Shaw - 19 (twice, and eight games with 16 or more. This is back when I was a student. He and Gary Melchionni were my heroes in those days, playing hard for some mediocre teams by modern Duke standards.)

Christian Laettner - 19
Danny Ferry - 19 (his next highest was 15)
Carlos Boozer - 18
Josh McRoberts - 17
Luol Deng - 16

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