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TD: Bodhisweattva

Date: 3/3/2010

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (preramble, comments, Speed Stick), duhomme (comments, mop)

Volume XIII, Episode 38
March 3, 2010

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


First, apologies to everyone for not posting this on Tuesday - - it simply wasnít possible.  I do want to thank duhomme for his contributions, which were timely (quite early, in fact), and apologize to him for the lateness as well.  I picked the same way he did and posted my score guesses before checking the actual results for this pair of Tuesday games - - just in case I get a score exactly right for the first time in, I believe, ten seasons.  ON EDIT:  Nooooo.       

Clemson 70, Georgia Institute of Technology 64. 

Wait, these two teams have met already this season? Are they in the same conference or something? Neither scores a lot, but they both play good defense. Yes, Iím breaking the limit rule here, but there is a huuuuge difference the these two teamsí success rates when making charitable donations, meaning, if the refs uses their whistles, advantage Clemson.

Clemson 68, Georgia Institute of Technology 67.

MIAMI (FLORIDA) (18-10, 4-10) @ NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (15-14, 4-10)

Of course NCCH will win this game.  Let me use the rest of this space to make a plea about this site.  Iím burying it here for now because I dislike posting this kind of thing, but I may, if I have to, repeat it later in a front-page post. 

Folks, this is one of those rare seasons when, despite the lateness of the hour, Duke does not seem to be wearing down, at all.  However, I am wearing down.  In all honesty, if I made the decision today - - and I wonít - - I would be leaning towards not continuing this website next season.  That could mean a one-year hiatus, or it could mean the effective end of Dukies.com for good.  Now, for those of you who know me well, you also know that Iíve basically been on a series of one-year mutual option contracts with myself - - sort of like Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox - - for years.  However, there are several reasons why this season is bothering me and making me look ahead to a future with at least a one-year break - - and please bear in mind that all of this is occurring in the midst of Dukeís best season since 2005.  Hopefully that gives you some idea of the negative mindset that Iím in at the moment.  I wonít blather on for much longer, but the root of my disillusionment is the poor correlation between our traffic (which is not bad at all - - the best itís ever been, in fact) and the active participation of the audience.  Of course Iím biased, but if thereís a better site (excluding message boards such as TDDís, which are necessarily high-volume and high-quality because of their nature and because, in TDDís case, the posters as a whole are fantastic) to find detailed, original-content Duke basketball analysis and information on the Internet, or another place that covers the entire conference in the kind of detail that duhomme and I do, twice a week, Iím not aware of it.  And yet . . . we just donít get enough comments for my taste. 

So please - - tell your friends about the site.  If theyíre Duke fans who are active online and arenít reading, please encourage them to come visit, or let me know why they wonít.  I also welcome fans of other ACC schools - - Clemson, Wake Forest, and NCSU fans in particular, but (as the material should make clear) I also have no real problem with FSU, Virginia, and Boston College fans.  Miami?  Well, show me a Miami basketball fan first and then weíll talk.  And if Tool, Twerp, Chokie, and BugThug fans want to join in, thatís cool by me, as long as theyíre civil and donít mind the abuse that their programs (in VPIís case, itís really just their despicable coach) take around here. 

In short: we want more traffic.  We need more participation.  Although duhomme (a born blogger and one of the funniest writers Iíve ever encountered) works much faster, an average edition takes me four hours to complete, maybe five.  Thatís a lot of time to spend if the end result is feeling like all you did was shout into a vacuum.  (Not the Orick/Hoover variety - - the other kind.) 

I know everyoneís busy.  Believe me, I do.  I *never* stack my schedule up against anyone elseís, and I canít stand people who have ďbusy battlesĒ to show whoís got the CRA-A-A-A-ZIEST existence.  So I donít expect you to care about my sitch, and Iím not asking you to.  Iím just letting everyone know, with fair warning, that if the comments, the participation (which includes the poll on the front page), and the traffic donít pick up over the rest of the season, this site may not be updated more than occasionally next season, if at all.  Think of this as someone tapping the microphone to find out if it's on.   


North Carolina-Chapel Hill 80, Miami (Florida) 68.     

Congratulations, Coach Cleetus, thanks to your bizarre win over Wake Forest and a couple of losses by other teams, you are now in a three-way tie for last place in the ACC, rather than in sole possession of said honor. And, looky here, goshdarnit, one of your fellow cellar occupants is coming to your building tonight (and, as part of our recent theme, for the FIRST TIME ALL SEASON AND ITíS FREAKING MARCH!!!!!!).  It may be that the victory over the goofy Deeks, as much as they participated by heaving curling stones at the rims and forgetting to charge their coachís (already low) game management batteries, may have been the mild confidence booster your team needed, even if the rest of us could have done without it.

North Carolina-Chapel Hill 79, Miami (Florida) 71.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE (16-13, 4-10) @ VIRGINIA TECH (21-7, 8-6)

I see no reason to suspect that the Pack can win outside of Raleigh this season.  Moreover, Surly Seth and his Three Amigos of Attack (Allen, Thompson, and Bell) are ready to pull out all of the stops in the Official Goon Textbook in order to ensure that the Hokoids climb that elusive mountain (huh?) and make the NCAA Tournament.  Where they will be promptly bounced by some team from the Big 12 or the Atlantic 14.

Virginia Tech 74, North Carolina State 70. 

(Note: if you donít get the joke, click here. And this doesnít count as one of my three sentences.)

The Old Testament, Genesis 6: ďAnd God said to Seth, ĎI have determined to make an end of all Terrapins, as the ACC is full of ugly, obnoxious guards because of them.  However, I am making a covenant with you: no member of your team shall be harmed.  Make a new gym out of cypress wood and gather two players of each position.  For my part, I am going to flood your campus with waters, and my wrath will come in the form of a beer truck.íĒ

Virginia Tech 77, North Carolina State 75.

WAKE FOREST (18-8, 8-6) @ FLORIDA STATE (20-8, 8-6)

Weakís utter failure to compete with Chapel Hill over the weekend was simply embarrassing.  As many Deac fans are probably now realizing - - although it will take another season like this for any to admit it, I expect - - hiring Goonio was clearly a huge mistake.  The man was excused from his head coaching duties at West Point and Loyola Maryland for a reason, folks!  Fourth sentence to note that although Mike Krzyzewski should win ACC COY, and Sweaty probably will, you have to give some consideration to Len Hamilton, who overcame the loss of Douglas and has done more with less than any other ACC coach. 

Florida State 75, Wake Forest 70.

Hey, Dino, even though that was the worst Hoots team in a generation, itís still kinda hard to beat them when you shoot 29.7 and you have nearly as many successful two-point shots (13) as you did three-pointers (nine).  Or when Itsy Smith takes nearly a third of your teamís attempts while going 5-21.  Plus, your only road conference wins were at UVA and some building in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Florida State 74, Wake Forest 70.

#4 DUKE (25-4, 12-2) @ #22 MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK (21-7, 11-3)

Well, as soon as you saw that Landesberg wasnít going to play, you hopefully unhooked that blood pressure monitor, sat back, and just enjoyed yourself watching Duke play.  Personally,  I was no more stressed as to the outcome than I was watching the Gardner-Webb game for the first time - - on DVR, this past weekend.  Predictably, Singler dominated, Scheyer was very good, and the score would have been higher except that the Duke reserves (!!!!!!!) werenít trying to run up the score, and Nolan had an off night - - and quite a well-timed one too.  As a bonus, that had to be one of the weirdest boxscores ever.  Virginia had three starters with no points (including Mike Scott, who was not invited to enter the game in the second half).  Zoubek started and did not scratch for Duke.  Duke played 11 guys, Virginia 12.  The Plumlees with 40 minutes combined and Dawkins with 19??  3/7ths of UVa's points from one dude?     

Good news/bad news for Tony Bennett: the good news is that he finally discovered Jerome Meyinsse, a player with some actual talent and quickness in the post whom Dave Lameao totally neglected for three years in favor of stalwarts like Tunji the Grunji Soroye, AddieJoe and hall of famer Laurie Mikalauskas.  Hey, Dave?  Fail!  Now, for Bennett, the bad news?  Meyinsse has, in all probability, three games left in his college career. 

I had the pleasure of watching this one with Al White, and like duhomme, we were quick to call out the normally excellent Jenn Hildreth on her egregious error concerning Dukeís last ACC championship - - which came, well, last season.  Yeah, Scheyer sure was on that team, Jenn.  We were littering the floor of Al White Stadium (right - - he named it after himself) with penalty flags on that one, but overall, we agreed that watching ACC games on Faux is such a more pleasant experience than doing so on ESPN that itís not even funny.  The FSN announcers - - particularly if youíre spared the preposterous Brando - - talk about the game occurring in front of them, and actually break it down and analyze it, in lieu of bloviating about the Trials of Rrhoid, how strong Kansas looks, where they ate for dinner last night, what great human beings every (coach/player/peripheral scumbag/referee/family member of any of the same) is/are, et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseam.  As for the technical aspect, FSN shows replays that are pertinent, and doesnít interrupt game action with an unnecessarily bloated graphic touting the games that will be on tomorrow night.  Sadly, Faux did nicely emulate Bristol by cutting off the first several minutes of clock in this one when Clemson and FSU went a bit long, but whatever.  ESPN has just become horrible.

I would be remiss if I didnít mention that Al also enjoyed Fox Sports' repeated showings of that doofus rolling around the court in a gyrosphere or whatever itís called - - ďCirque De Charlottesville,Ē Al observed.  Oh, and Al was hoping that the ďLexus Playbook of the GameĒ would involve someone accelerating toward the basket uncontrollably.  I was looking for false misleads concerning totally innocent floor mats, or perhaps Sylvenís thigh being recalled. 

Great win.  Being +5 RW-HL in the ACC is pretty damn impressive in any season. 

Care to go for +6?  Well, it isnít going to be easy, thatís for sure.  Naturally, this is senior night for Grievous Azzkiz, Milbourne, and The Ferret, which will amp up the crowd.  The jerseys of Steve Blake and Ikene Ebekwe, as well as the of-choice assault weapon of Lonny Baxter, are being retired.  Duane Simpkins is getting his own - - legal! - - parking space outside the Cable Box.  (Note that neither of the preceding sentences is true, but the events described in each are entirely possible, so just be prepared.)  The universityís elite Perspiration Drainage Unit is on full alert.  Over/under on the number of Azzkiz muggings to the crowd - - five.  So, about the same as the over/under on the number of actual muggings that will take place in the lesser Industrial Park area during game action, or for that matter, during any two-hour period in that mecca of urban serenity.  Sounds right.

As this committee is aware, the Twerpins have not lost since their foray into Cameron Indoor Stadium, which you probably remember quite well, because it took place eighteen days ago.  I wouldnít call their five wins since impressive, exactly - - they comprise a nineteen-point home blowout of then-fading, now-gone Virginia; a road victory over NCSU (insert joke here); a two-point buzzer-beating home win over the waning BugThugs on, of all things, Clff the Stiff Tuckerís 36th three of his three-year career; a nine-point home win over Clemson; and a four-point, double-OT win at Blacksburg.  Enh - - I feel as though a truly good team wouldnít have been in such dire straits as the Sultans of Sweat against either the Jerkets or the Chokies.  Still, itís a five-game win streak, and UMCP is certainly going to the NCAA Tournament now.

Note that unless Duke plans to - - and actually does - - lose to NCCH in Cameron on Saturday, which seems unlikely, Maryland cannot earn the ACC-T #1 seed even with a win here and a season-ending defeat of Virginia (the latter of which you can count on).  If the teams split 1-1, the H2H breaker goes out the window and the classic, long-lamented ďladderĒ system comes into play, comparing the tied teamsí records against every other ACC team, starting from the top and moving downward, until one team has a more favorable result, i.e., a higher winning percentage against one of the comparators.  Since youíre moving from top to bottom, and not vice versa, Dukeís loss against NCSU becomes happily irrelevant.  (Which, in fairness, in arguably the reverse of how this should work.)  Since Maryland lost to Clemson and Duke did not, and since Clemson cannot finish any lower than its current third place in the conference with a 9-7 record, thatís the end of the inquiry.  By the way, donít worry about Garylandís 2-0 versus Florida State vis a vis Dukeís 1-0; since the winning percentage is the same, those results are deemed to be equal for this purpose.  Short version: if Duke wins this game, it wins the mythical ACC regular season title outright for the first time since J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams got their considerable fan mail on West Campus as seniors.  If Duke loses, then the Tortoids have a shot at the MRST and the #1 seed in the ACC-T, but only if they also beat Virginia AND Duke decides to show some mercy and considerable charity toward Rrhoy, and he and his battered, bitterly divided charges are in a position to take advantage of it.  Doubt it, but thatís Saturdayís preview. 

Duke defeated Maryland in Durham in a 77-56 rout for three primary reasons, not presented in order of importance:

(1)        Lance Thomas simply ate up Milbourne, who poured in two points in 27 minutes. 

(2)        The Turtles had no one available who could contend with Zoubek, who claimed 17 boards in 22 minutes of action, or for that matter the Plumlees, who added seven boards in 28 combined minutes.  Milbourne earns praise year after year as a tough rebounder for some reason, but he usually racks up the bulk of his boarding stats early in the season against patsy opponents.  In the month of February, he has 11 offensive boards.  During that same stretch, Zoubek has 31 scoreside caroms in the same number of games and far fewer minutes.  Hell, he had eight o-boards against Maryland in the first meeting.  Jordan Williams is a much better-credentialed rebounder, but heís a rookie, and at a generous 6-9, had no answer for the 7-1 Zoubeard the first time around.  Brian didnít do much against either of the Commonwealth teams, but against the Twerpsí undersized front line, he could dominate again.  Maryland remains an extremely poor defensive rebounding team - - there are only 28 teams in Division I who allow a higher percentage of offensive rebounds to their opponents.                    

(3)        Dukeís wing defense was just peerless, forcing a 2-13 Twerpformance from outside.  Can that continue?  In the five games since, the Shells have shot 4-8 from threeland (Virginia); 5-13 (@ NCSU); 8-22 (GIT); 8-13 (Clemson); and 8-22 (VPI, 2 OT).  Thatís a combined total of 33-78 (42.3%), which is slightly skewed upwards by the Virginia result and dramatically so by the effort against Clemson - - the Tigers are a pretty good team at defending the three-point shot, too, so that part of the combined shooting stats canít be discounted.  However, I just have not been impressed by Marylandís offensive sets this season - - for the most part, everyone does too much standing around waiting for Azzkiz to create an opportunity, and most of the ďmotionĒ is consumed with wasted forays in and out of the paint by the forwards.  Mosley is very efficient with the ball but doesnít touch it enough to be a game-determining factor, and The Ferret just stands outside and waits for a threeball opportunity (56.8% of his FGAs are from distance).  Azzkiz Bootsied VPI with 41 points, but he needed 33 shots from the floor to do it, even though he gets to the line far more often than anyone else on the team.  Williams (who shoots a brutal 48.4% on donations) is the next-most prolific charity . . . assailant? - - with almost 40 fewer attempts than the Clown of Caracas.  My point?  Good call on steering me back to it - - this offense really has to convert well from arcland to win against good offensive teams, because theyíre not going to get a ton of second chance points or extra possessions, and they score the vast bulk of their points from within the circle.  Unless Sweaty is planning on holding Duke to 31% shooting or something, or Duke has similar plans of its own, and Maryland scorches the nets, this is a tall order for the Twerp offense.          

The fact remains that Scaryland matches up, from its perspective, horribly with Duke on both ends.  I donít think anyone is talking about Scheyerís supposed defensive limitations (read: heís white) anymore, but in any case, Azzkiz canít shoot over him as he does routinely over shorter defenders.  On edit, I should clarify that Nolan Smith guarded Vazquez for most, but not all, of the set possessions in Durham, although Scheyer ended up with the possession-ending assignment on several occasions due to screens.  I imagine we'll see a mix again; Krzyzewski does seem to like the concept of offering teams different defensive looks this season, not only between possessions, but within them as well.  In any case, Smith or Scheyer can easily lock up Mosley, Bowie, or the perimeter-dwelling Ferret, with Singler alternating with Thomas on the other one, as Sweaty usually has two of the three on the floor at the same time.  Lance and/or Singler against Milbourne/Gregory/Padgett?  Check.  And the Forest Rangers provide a formidable opponent for Jordan Williams in the paint.  The only difficult assignment for Duke, when heís on the court, is Stiff Tucker, because Lance has to guard Milbourne - - and sure enough, Spliff was the only other double-figure scorer besides Azzkiz in the first tilt in Durham who was not wearing a white uniform.  That may not be enough unless UMCP can get off some good looks from arcland.  On the other side of the ball, Williams is not a good defender yet, and he doesnít establish rebounding position well, making him vulnerable to another Zoubekian outburst.  If Singler remains as hot as heís been, no one on Maryland can stay with him; similarly, Mosley came into the season with a reputation for defensive tenacity but has been rather ordinary.  Hudson and Delaney were blowing by him at will, and so will Nolan, if he can shake off the rust from the subpar performance in C-Ville.  Vasquez still canít stop dribble penetration or fight through screens after almost four seasons, so Scheyer could see plenty of open looks at and lanes to the basket.  Milbourne can guard Lance, but thatís just the basic alignment; if Duke puts in the double-stack with Zoubek + Plumlee of Your Choosing, or the dreaded Double Plumlee set, then Sweaty really has no answer.  Wouldnít you like to see Mason or Miles, or both, just break out in this one?  It happened against Wake Forest - - and that team, while horribly coached, has a real front line. 

The Terrapins have not lost at home in the ACC this season, and clearly, the usual audience of assorted felons and unindicted co-conspirators will be screaming their foul-mouthed heads off to see Duke taken down.  However, in counterbalance, there are many, many factors that make Duke a difficult matchup for the Twerpsters this season on any court.  Iíll resolve these competing factors in Dukeís favor, while noting that as long as the score is close and the Blue Devils give it their all, thereís no shame in missing out on a win in this one.  This is an opportunity for Duke to show some serious toughness, but the cost of a loss here, in a Kevlar-demanding, ultrahostile road environment, is not great.  This will be an interesting chance to see what we can do. 

Duke 76, Maryland, College Park 74.       

How often can you say a team that scored 69 points won in a blowout?  Not often, but that was certainly the case Sunday night, as Duke handled the Landlessbergs from the opening whistle and never created any doubt about who would win.  The team even dispensed with the usual early second-half letdown.  Hereís a fun fact: the Who Are Yous didnít crack the 30-point mark until there were nine minutes left in the game.

Frankly, once the Craps let it slip that Silky wasnít going to be participating in this contest, the officials should have called the game for Duke and let everyone go home early.  Although most of the fans who could be bothered to show up did get to catch up on their sleep and/or return emails they hadnít got to yet.  Anyway, when a one-man team is without that one man, itís kind of like a hamburger with no meat patty.  In fact, had anyone wearing a black jersey been remotely interested in guarding Jerome Meyinsse (which, when spoken by Dan Bonner, sounds like ďNancyĒ) with something other than fouls, it would have been a truly dreadful night for Bennett and company.  Jerome accounted for 25 percent of the rebounds and nearly 43 percent of the scoring.

Enough.  Letís serve up some Ö

Seventeen bench points!  Twelve bench rebounds!  No starter played more than 33 minutes!  Dawkins and the Plumlee bookends all played nearly half the game!  That sounds like multiple items but combines for a fantastic using-the-bench-and-they-produced WIN!

Um, Jenn Hildreth, Iím pretty sure Jon Scheyer did NOT tell you his class of players has never won an ACC Championship, as they won it last year.  I probably have the T-shirt.  Bonus FAIL as neither Rich Waltz (possibly the dullest play-by-play man out there) nor Dan Bonner could see fit to correct this glaring error.

As you certainly recall, Duke and Merryland have seen each other this year in what seems like only two weeks ago but was actually two-and-a-half.  Other than the federally mandated second-half slack-off by the Blue Devils, a period in which VasScuzz  ripped of nine straight points in just barely more than 1:30 of game time, Duke was in control pretty much the entire time.  Since then, guess what?  The High Pressure system hasnít lost.  That includes playing the snow-delayed game against UVA two days after leaving Cameron, two helpings of buzzer-beating shots to dispatch of Georgia Tech and an extra 10 minutes of play necessary to put yet another dent that is the jalopy known as Virginia Techís NCAA-T hopes.

Part of the reason has been the improved play of late by Jordan Williams, who wasnít much of a factor in Durham.  However, both doses of Plumlees are quick enough to stay with him.  Not to mention that Treebeard, who for years played defense about as nimbly as the Statue of Liberty, has been quite the agile fellow recently.  On the other hand, donít expect to see Soggyland shoot 2-13 from behind the arc in their own building.

Another X-factor, as SanFranSoxFan noted in the comments section of the weekend edition, is that this is Greevassí senior night.  If youíve ever seen him play (and managed to keep your last meal from roaring up your throat at the sight of his latest haircut and the complexion that makes Dino Gaudio say, ďHeh, could be worseĒ), then you will have noticed that, much like his coach, emotion is a big part of his game.  And, just like his coach, there is a line where that advantage becomes a liability.  On this side of it, success is assured.  Once they cross it, they coach/play almost frantically and bring everyone else on the team down with them.  Another thing to watch is Eric Hayes (yes, he is a thing), also a senior and something that, when playing at home against Duke, transforms from Golem to Frodo Baggins, complete with the One Ring To Rule Them All, rendering him invisible to Duke defenders whenever he has the ball.

I hate to pick against Duke, and wonít today, but will not be shocked or disappointed if they lose, so long as they put some effort in the game.  UMCP has not lost at home in the ACC this entire year, and will probably come up with some goofy way to honor the seniors (which also include Landon Milbourne, by the way), such as retire their jerseys.  You think Iím joking?  Steven Francis played one whole season in College Park, led them allllllllll the way to the Sweet 16, before jumping to the pay-go version of the game and his number is swinging from the rafters.

Duke 71, Maryland, College Park 70.

VIRGINIA (14-13, 5-9) @ BOSTON COLLEGE (14-14, 5-9)

I expect this game to be the end of Virginiaís postseason hopes, because Sylven Landesberg may not play, the team has completely wilted, and then thereís that road trip to consider.  The forces of the Nutcracker are 4-3 in the ACC in Chestnut Hill this season, and only their loss to Scaryland was noncompetitive - - their other two league defeats at home came by a combined seven points, and as we all know, Dukeís win was a one-possession affair.  Side note - - Mr. February is now playing the point for the Iggles; what canít he do??

College 74, Virginia 64.

Tough blow for Virginia when, struggled as they have, they had to do without uber-top player Landesberg against Duke, and there is (at the time this is being written) no word on his status for the trip to Boston.  I like Tony Bennett and think some good days are coming for the program in Charlottesville (the only beef I have with the guy is he has done absolutely nothing to make fun of, which is why this write-up is as boring as it has been all year when previewing his team). However, the Powders have been pretty good at home lately.

College 70, Virginia 60.

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

Matt 65-32
duhomme 63-34
Guests 2-1


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Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/10/2010 4:51:50 PM  
Yeah, duhomme, Matt sent me a check. But it was kind of weird. He paid me $5,000 too much and told me to just deposit it and send him a check for the difference. What a sloppy bookkeeper!

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/6/2010 5:11:46 AM  
The check . . . [dons sunglasses] is in the mail.


Posted by: duhomme Date: 3/5/2010 7:33:00 PM  
wait, t gets a check? i get paid in dried goods.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/5/2010 5:45:21 PM  
Matt, as always, you are welcome for the links. Just let me know when I can cash the check.

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/5/2010 9:57:36 AM  
Serious G beat me to it, but I'll post this anyway: another article about the post-game festivities in College Park, this one from the campus newspaper.

"Police use pepper spray, horses in clash with students on Route 1"

Some of the comments following the article are priceless. Here are a couple:

"everyone needs to chill. we are in college. there will never be a time we can do this again. this is what should be happening. win a game, storm, riot. time to enjoy our youth. i had a great time, and you're silly and missing out if you are a student and didn't celebrate. never get another chance."

"To start, This was not a riot, this was a street celebration, the police treated it as riot because of our uproarious past, they prepared for the worst, and carried out their plans to stop a riot, but what actually happened was they made the situation worst. It has at this point become a tradition to rush route 1 after major victories such as tonight-IN CELEBRATION NOT MALICE, and as many of us know, there were no real fights or incidences that prompted such heinous treatment towards a bunch of college kids enjoying UMD's college experience. . . ."

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/4/2010 7:26:56 PM  
In the opinion of this particular commenter, recent Duke punks have included Josh McRoberts and Greg Newton, as well as the unlamented Taylor King.
J.J. Redick? I remain incredulous that any Duke fan would suggest this. Laettner? I would contend that his classy comportment far outweighed his occasional moments of disreputable behavior on the court. Danny Ferry? No. No way, in fact. I did not see Art Heyman play and would be surprised if many people commenting here on this issue did.

And now, as paradoxical as this may seem after my Wednesday plea for more comments, I suggest that further discussion on this particular issue only be tabled. I would rather have no comments than a discussion raging here, during ths season, about whether or not assorted Duke heroes of the past conformed to various labels, or would have been odious had they played for other teams. However, this might be an appropriate topic for offseason discussion. I've made a note of it and might raise it in a post this summer. Alert longtime readers with elephantine memories will probably recall my occasional commentary on Dahntay Jones during his tenure at Duke. That may all be worthy of further discussion, but for now, let's conclude this with gracious thanks and focus on the team.

Further note: please refrain from attacking the views of other commenters. No one here does this outright or overtly, but there are very subtle ways to accomplish the same thing, and they're equally distasteful to me. Respectful disagreement is the way to go - - I enforce the same standards of discussion on the TDD message boards.


Serious G, great article. Everyone, please go read that if you have time. Truly a classless fan base, to an amazing extent, really. Tool Nation, by comparison, is quite mild and tolerable.

P.S., that's a really funny and insightful point made by Roberto about Azzkiz liking the fans at Cameron more than the Twerp fans infesting Maryland's Unnecessary New Arena. Good call. There's one in favor of the esteemed College Park-based guard.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/4/2010 4:21:44 PM  
OK - absolutely NO intention to start a debate about "punks" after a tough loss. JJ was one of my all-time favs for all the usual reasons. Friends from other ACC schools despised him, and not just for the dagger to the heart shots he imposed on their teams. JJ interacted with their fans, he "preened" as CDG says, running down the court after some of the biggest shots. Ask any one of them (and I have) "but what if he'd been wearing your school's jersey?" and to a man/woman they say "we'd have loved him."

By only that criteria (i.e., I was never comparing "listens well to coach" behavior), I'd have happily had G.V. in a Duke Jersey (I have to assume his behavior would better under K, who imposes his will quite well). Likewise, JJ was a "punk" to many - just not to us! And we all agree, neither of them was a thug.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/4/2010 2:32:01 PM  
Further to my point yesterday about UM fans:


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/4/2010 12:55:20 PM  
I can't comment on Danny Ferry since I wasn't watching Duke at the time but yes, Laettner was in many respects lazy, self-absorbed and pulled some pretty cheap shots in him time. But I didn't say not paying attention in the huddle was what made Azzkizz a punk -- it was hamming it up, acting like he owned the world, at a crucial moment when he should have moved on already and put his efforts into his team. I do not remember one instance where Laettner did that.

But, as they say, that may be splitting hairs so fine - Laettner was a punk.

I don't know where it became standard that criticism of another team or player meant that you were a blind apologizst for your own team and its players. I am not - we have had some true "gems" in our time, including one memorable tool who heralded from my side of the border in fact and who was an absolute blight on the program. Any person who wants to piont fingers at Newt -- be my guest.

Posted by: the naked vine Date: 3/4/2010 12:36:06 PM  
Redick wasn't a punk. But if you're going to use the definition Matt and CDG have -- we have a couple of punks' jersies hanging in the rafters in Cameron.

Christian Laettner was as much of a punk (by your own definition) as anyone who's ever played in the league. His attention to detail in team huddles wasn't exactly perfect. This is a player who readily admits that he became a good three-point shooter because he didn't want to run all the way down the court.

Now, given, he wasn't as demonstrative as Vazquez, but his level of punk-dom was every bit as high (and he was a great cheapshot artist -- he learned well from Ferry).

And of course, there's Art Heyman...

Just goes to show -- when he's your punk, you love him...when he's not...

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/4/2010 12:16:23 PM  
CDG completely beat me to it.

SFSF, Sean Marshall was a thug. Deron Washington and the trio of assailants (Allen, Bell, Thompson) that VPI has now are thugs.

Thugs try to hurt people on the basketball court. You're right - - Azzkiz doesn't do that. But his behavior, nicely summarized by CDG, is utterly classless and shows no respect for the opposition or the game. He's not dirty; he's a punk. It's a perfect term.

J.J. Redick???? No. He was expressive, but classy and nothing like Azzkiz. Come on, now! If you like Azzkiz, that's fine, and we get it. I don't like him. Neither does CDG. It's just a matter of taste and not likely to be settled anytime soon.

Posted by: Roberto Date: 3/4/2010 12:03:38 PM  
I didn't expect a personal reply, now I feel all famous and stuff. Matt, I don't post much anywhere, especially not on DBR or TDD, unless its the Football board, mainly because the discussions always turn into p*ssing matches and people get ridiculously offended, plus if I have to read one more thread about OMFG WE ARE GONNA BE SO GOOD NEXT YEAR WHEN WE LINE UP THESE 5 PLAYERS AND DISTRIBUTE THE MINUTES EXACTLY IN THIS WAY BECAUSE I KNOW MORE ABOUT BASKETBALL THAN ALL OF YOU COMBINED I may go certifiably postal on the boards. Please keep the commenting system here as is to avoid this.

The General is a lot of things, apparently blind is one of those things with that monstrosity that was shaved into his quote un-quote goatee, however he is not a punk. He is cocky as hell, but he has the game to back it up. If he was on Duke's team every Duke fan would love him, alas he is not. The General hates murdaland fans and loves the Crazies, what's not to like about him?

Tough tough game last night, but I was really impressed by our effort. We fought back hard and were it not for some ridiculous shots by mini-Chilindrina (if you don't know who that is, please google image "Chilindrina" and tell me the General doesn't look exactly like her) we win this one. Onto ole huckleberry and his merry men. I wonder if Muppet Henson will take some time out of his arduous eating schedule to respond to my tweets about him again this time around. Although I hear that the Burger Boys can't get online anymore.. they can't string three straight W's together.


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/4/2010 11:34:24 AM  
Since I am the one who put the "punk" word out there, I guess these comments are directed at me.

I probably should have been more specific about why I was calling him a punk.

First, The General does yap at the opposition players. No, he does not throw elbows - that would make him a thug (see Surly Seth and his players) - but he does yap. But that's not what bothers me.

What I took issue with was his continuing to preen and chest pump while his coach was talking to the rest of the team during a time out. THAT kind of behavior makes him a punk because he put his ego ahead of the team. And his lack of focus was exposed on the very next play when he was stripped coming out of the time out.

Yapping at other players is a habit I am not too fond of (including Duke's over use of the floor slap - I am an equal opportunity hater) but is not necessarily "punk" behavior. I am a big girl and know it is part of the game.

Hamming it up to the crowd, again regrettable in many circumstances since it is very much over the top, but is also not usually in the realm of "punk" since again, it is a part of the game and does much to boost momentum.

Not listening to your coach during a fairly crucial time out because you are too busy making a show of yourself and your own prowess (and agreed it was a great three at a clutch moment which deservied the initial preen perhaps) -- that is pure punk-ass. If any one wants to enlighten me on a Duke player who has done the same, I will gladly add them to that list.

The General played clucth from then on, I admit it. He had some amazing shots go in and he played well and (as far as I could see on the 3X4 inch computer feed) clean in the process. Kudos for that.

But acting like a jackass while the rest of your team is paying attention is the kind of behavior that rankles me to no end since it distrespects your teammates and your coach. And it risks the very thing that happened on the next play - a lack of focus that could hurt your team and LOSE the very momentum some feel that kind of behavior is supposed to foster. Luckily, it didn't go beyond that play but it could have.

Anyways, that is why I called him a punk.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/4/2010 10:53:52 AM  
naked vine, thank you for G.V. comments. While Matt tells me I have many fellow thinkers on TDD, I was beginning to feel like the lone ranger here regarding the General's non-punkitude. I remember last night's crew with their "yes he is/no he isn't" comments regarding G.V. coming back in off the bench in the second half, and they almost seemed to be saying that he wasn't playing well and chick&wings didn't want him on the floor. Uh oh, I'm thinking, he was gassed and when it's time, he's coming back in with batteries recharged.

To add to naked vine's list (and thank you for the wine blog explanation... really), if G.V. is a punk, than JJ was a punk. And that's a shirt that deserves to be in any team's rafters.

Posted by: KD Date: 3/4/2010 10:09:50 AM  
Indeed, a tough loss, but can't get too worked up about this one. I haven't had to heart to go back and watch the tape of the last 2-3 minutes, but I am pretty sure that we were treated to a circus shot from Hayes, followed by two extremely contested, if not also circus shots from the General. And 4-4 from the field from Bowie??? Just wasn't our night and credit to the Twerps for stepping it up. You have to love how Nolan and Jon took over the game down the stretch - those are the kind of performances that we are going to need to get to the final 8 and beyond. Keep it up guys. . .

Posted by: the naked vine Date: 3/4/2010 8:57:53 AM  
First off -- I'll just echo what folks have said...I really appreciate Matt and duhomme's work, and I count on at least two or three belly laughs per column. I know firsthand how hard it is to hammer out additional columns -- especially on a focused-topic blog like this one. (I was actually considering dumping my wine blog for awhile right after New Year's -- hard to keep coming up with new and interesting topics the way it's currently structured...)

I think Matt picked Steely Dan this year just to use "Bodhisweattva."

Let's clear something up right now. Greivis Vasquez is a lot of things...but a punk isn't one of them. He yaps and preens -- but it's almost always directed at the crowd, not at the other team. He isn't barking in opposing players' faces. He's not throwing elbows when officials aren't looking. And he's learned to be relatively gracious in victory.

Sean Marshall, punk. Chas McFarland, punk. King Rice (some of the readers here probably can't remember why he really, really sucks), punk by which all other punks are measured. Hell, Dahntay Jones was more of a punk than Vasquez.

Vasquez, prima donna, loudmouth, and (like Dennis Scott back in the day) I have a grudging admiration for how damned good he is. Anyone who doubts that he's going to play in the Association for about a decade doesn't know basketball. (The same can be said of Scheyer.) But a punk?

Also like many of the assembled, I have a hard time getting in a twist over this loss. Like our non-State/G'town losses, we played solid defense for the most part. They played out of their minds (46% from 3pt range? 90% from the line?), and the game was in doubt until the last 45 seconds.

I do wish that K would eat the fine and absolutely rip that officiating crew. Who was out there other than the Feral Nightbeast? One of the officials was particularly atrocious -- I think he was more demonstrative than Vasquez.

Next play, as the man says...

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/4/2010 8:39:45 AM  
Wasting time at work here... What this site is absolutely best for.

Thanks for the individual comments Matt - you are all class.

Just out of curiousity, will you perhaps expand this space to include Dancing with the Stars picks now that your favorite ESPN-gal has been named a competitor? I would *love* to hear your thoughts on that one... I've been laughing ever since I saw the news posted.

Posted by: blueflame Date: 3/4/2010 8:31:18 AM  
That was a bitter pill. Tough, tough loss. I was proud of the way Duke fought back in the first half. It looked like blow-out city for awhile. Sadly, there were some fundamental slips that let the game get away. Free throws: 62% to the Twerps almost 90% - rebounds: dead even and no real offensive "go-to" big down the stretch. Williams scored more than Zoubek, Thomas, Miles, and Mason combined. It's the lack of one real offensive threat inside that may derail our post season hopes. I hope the guys can shake the sting of this loss quickly. The thoughts of losing to Horse-face and the Tools Saturday... geez I can't go there.

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/4/2010 6:44:38 AM  


Now that was an amazing response - - THANK YOU, everyone. As I mentioned, I honestly hated to post what I did, but hopefully, most readers took it in the spirit intended. Those of you who commented certainly did, and thanks most sincerely for that.

duhomme and I don't make a cent off of this site. We do it because we enjoy it - - but every so often, it's nice to get confirmation that people are reading and also enjoying it. If everyone hated what we wrote, we'd (presumably) stop. And sometimes, in admittedly weak moments, the relatively deafening silence (I think there were three posts after the Virginia preview) makes me wonder - - was that a boring edition? Was there something else we could have done to make that more interesting? Is anyone out there? [ . . . ] Now batting . . . for Pedro Borbon . . . Manny MMMota! Mota--mota--mota--mota. (Hopefully some of you will get that.)

I will now respond to each of your posts in turn.

(1) Russ, thank you. I really appreciate you posting almost immediately. Always enjoy your comments, and hope you'll have time for more.

(2) Steve!!, please post again in the near future. You'll find there is no delay. And as I told SFSF a while back . . . please behave. :) Thanks for your comments this season.

(3) Josh, more comments from you would be fantastic. Please do that if you can. As for the liveblog suggestion, it's a great one. I believe there is software that allows this, and which would have comments appearing in real time, and thus be quicker than the comments section (and involve Jack Bauer). I know the capability exists for me to liveblog and put it here for the readers to follow, but I find your idea, involving multiple posters and anyone who wanted to participate, much more interesting. Before I look into this - - does anyone know about such software? I don't care if it costs, as long as it's not crazy-expensive. Anyone with knowledge, please e-mail me (matt[at]dukies.com) rather than do a reply post to ensure that I see it timely. Great idea, Josh. Thanks.

(4) SFSF, that was a really insightful post with very good points - - thanks. Two things: first, anyone who wants to be whitelisted (i.e., granted instant posting access) has to create a record, for obvious reasons, or I need to know them personally, like El Guapito, Al White, The Short Fuse, Official Syracuse Guy, CDG, or naturally duhomme. If anyone wants to be whitelisted, you have to comment for a bit first. That's just a reality that cannot be worked around in this format. So if you want to comment - - anyone - - please do, and I'll approve your posts as quickly as I can, and we'll go from there. Whitelisting doesn't typically take long, and the whitelister is reputedly a nice person.

Second, I can't really reduce the four-hour mark. You're very insightful and you understand me fairly well in one respect - - I can, indeed, write in a stream of consciousness fashion much more quickly than I do otherwise, and the volume of the output is about the same. HOWEVER - - and again, I type this with all possible humility and not meaning to sound boastful, and I'm not looking for attaboys - - I think that what duhomme and I jointly produce is better than any other ACC site's original content, with one exception. John Watson's previews over at TDD are really, really good. Now, of course I'm going to say that about our own stuff, but I actually do read a lot of other Duke sites, ACC sites, and even the "big boys," and . . . well, I wish there was a site like this already around so that we didn't have to write it. Let's leave it there. ;) Here's my rejoinder to your point - - without the analysis and the research that drives it, I think my material (not duhomme's - - he is a more natural writer than I am) would suffer greatly, and the site wouldn't be nearly as good. So while I'd like to reduce my input, I can't. And I don't really want to. I just want to know that people are reading it (which I can intuit from traffic stats) and finding it interesting (which is part of what the comments section is for). On a related note, SFSF, thank you for your strong comments all season long, and for your suggestions.

(5) Christopher Noble - - thanks very much for reading and for what I believe is your first comment. That's awesome that you found us that way. Please tell a friend, and e-mail me anytime with suggestions on things you'd like to see on the site.

(6) CDG, thank you so much. Believe me, I know you're always reading, and it's great. I really appreciate it. Check your e-mail and see you in this space again this weekend, I hope.

(7) Andrew, that's a fantastic compliment. Now I feel bad because it looks like I was fishing for them, which I really wasn't, and everyone will just have to trust me on that. Thanks for that, and for your really valuable comments all season. Please keep them coming.

(8) KD - - thank you!! Unless I miss my guess, that's your first comment - - welcome. Please do let anyone out there who might be interested know about us. Unfortunately, it's hard to get noticed sometimes amid the excellent Scout site (which I support and am a very small, non-excellent part of, as a moderator on its forums) and the other two. Part of this is my fault, as I just don't have the requisite energy sometimes for marketing efforts. Perhaps in the offseason. More pertinently, thanks again for the comment, your time, and your shouts to friends. :)

(9) Official Syracuse Guy - - thanks! I saw that link but it did not make it through my Ignore Forde Filter, which is quite robust. I have bookmarked the article and will - - yes, folks, I really will - - write a reaction to it in a post on Monday, post-NCCH madness and pre-ACC-T. Also, I owe you an e-mail. Thanks for reading, and congrats on the #1 ranking. The words "well-earned" are inadequate. What a damn good team that is, and I was rooting for them like crazy on Saturday night, not that they needed it.

(10) Stephen, thanks. It's a lot of work, yeah, but feedback like this is all that I need to keep doing it. Your comments are pretty high in basketball IQ themselves, BTW. Please post some more.

(11) Boomer, thanks for your comments. Shorter posts, at least for me, are not really possible for the reasons I explained above, and duhomme's are the right length anyway. As SFSF correctly observed, for me it's not really a question of coming up with commentary - - I'm quite the windbag. Obviously. It's making it interesting and analytical that causes the difficulty, and that usually means that the posts get long. Hopefully, they're not so long that anyone's deterred from reading them. I should note that the mostly-followed "three-sentence rule" for non-Duke games has REALLY helped this season, and I think it's been successful in upping the quality of the content as well. But again, I'm biased.

(12) Roberto - - YES!!!!!!!! Now THAT's the kind of post I can't get enough of, and from (I believe) a first-time commenter, no less. Words fail - - thank you. And anyone who calls Azzkiz "General Greivis" fits in here quite well. duhomme doesn't do Star Trek so much, so I hold that down, but we both speak Star Wars. Please comment again. I mean it!!! Thanks.

(13) TRT, your thoughtful and kind post reminded me that I have, egregiously, neglected to mention something important until now. For anyone interested, TRT regularly sends me links which, over the past year and a half, I've converted into roughly 75%, maybe more, of the goofy jokes that you eventually see in the Obligatory Three News Links before the "and . . . read on:" in the front page envelope to each non-micro Two Dukies edition. If TRT didn't do this, my time expenditure would go up another 15 minutes or so. I can't believe what kind of a tool I am never to have thanked him publicly before. Dude - - thanks.

(14) duhomme - - now, you can believe this or not, but about 15 minutes before your comment went up, when I was getting ready to head out to watch the game with what turned out to be a great group of folks in Los Angeles, I realized that error and fixed my mistake. I negelcted to fix yours, although the way I read your material, I thought you knew they had lost to Bill & Mare, and it was just me that forgot. Now that's been fixed too. Good catch. :) Sorry we couldn't join that elite club tonight.

(15) Clemson Guest, great comments, and thanks. Two quibbles - - there is no way that we have covered everything, ever, in any edition. Please jump in and add something whenever you see an opportunity! And why do your contributions have to be about Duke? Clemson's my second-favorite ACC team as long as Goonio holds sway at my secondary alma mater, and the damage he's doing might even survive him in that respect. So post something about Clemson! School me; there's no way in hell that I understand the Tigers as well as you do.

(16) Serious G, you're welcome. Thank you for *your* time, and your consistently good comments.

(17) tom, welcome to the party with your first-ever comment, and it was a good one. I don't think I did predict that Ferret Hayes would go off, but who knows what I wrote at this point. I should have picked UMCP, especially with a two-pick cushion over Team Red. Please comment more - - thank you!

Thanks, all.

I wasn't really very disturbed by the loss - - I talked myself into thinking that Duke could take it, and until the 1:38 mark of the second half, I still thought they would. As soon as Jordo got that tip over Zoubek, however, I knew we were toast. As long as we win Saturday, this loss doesn't bother me. So those clowns got us (at their place), now once in the last seven tries. Congrats. And they are a good, well-coached team, too. That said - - don't be stunned if they somehow manage to lose to Virginia. I won't call it, but I wouldn't drive off the road in amazement either.

More Thursday in the form of a full Mattcap. Yes, really. No, really.

Thank you to everyone who read and responded. That means a lot.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/4/2010 12:20:10 AM  
Argh. Sucks to lose that one. It wasn't without its positives though. I was impressed with the toughness the team showed in coming back in a hostile environment. And although Zoubek couldn't score tonight, he grabbed a ton of rebounds. It was nice to see Dawkins hit a big three as well - I feel like it's been forever since I've seen him make one.

I really didn't like the way the last minute or so unfolded, however. I was disappointed in the 3 that Nolan took with about 1:00 left. Duke - and especially Nolan - had been doing such a nice job of penetrating and making good things happen down the stretch, and I was hoping they would do that again. And if you're going to take a 3 in that situation, I'd much rather have it be off the pass rather than off the dribble. And even after Azzkizz hit the circus shot to make it a 4 point game, I thought we still had a chance, but if you drive to the block and go up tentatively and weakly, you're not going to get a foul call, even if there is one (and I'm not saying there was - I'd have to watch it again). Sigh.

Here's hoping we bounce back and put a hurt on Coach Cletus and Co. It's about time we defend our home turf against those idiots.

Posted by: tom Date: 3/3/2010 11:23:41 PM  
Great, shared ACC title (according to ESPN). UGH. Well, like you guys, I was hoping for a good game and not some blowout where Duke didn't even show up. Didn't start out that way but by halftime I was feeling good. When they got that 4 point lead they had their chances but missed free throws, missed 3 pointers, then the crowd started getting back into it. 4 chances on the offensive boards you got to make one there. I'm surprised K did not get a technical a couple of times (the "traveling" call). Guys that don't do anything on average step up (Williams and Hayes, good prediction Matt). Thought there was a chance when Jon made the last three there but of course, Asskizz gets one on the other end and for awhile there they were trading shots. At the end there, Jon looked like he was trying to take on everything himself. Regardless, let's win on Saturday and head into the ACC tournament full steam and get that number 1 seed. Kind of mixed on my overall feeling of the game. Wish some things were done differently (you always do after a loss). However, if this was a blowout there would be some more negativity going on so it could have always been worse.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/3/2010 11:16:12 PM  
Sorry I missed - I must say, dukies.com is a great site, for many reasons.

I was late to the party, but I have always enjoyed this page. If possible, keep it coming.

I thank you for your time, Matt & D.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/3/2010 11:11:55 PM  
tough loss, great effort (brickitude aside). If G.V. didn't score the last 8 on that 8-0 run at the end (or was it 10-0?), including a couple circus shots, then it just seemed like it.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/3/2010 11:11:54 PM  
I would have loved to shut up the ignorant terps fans tonight...oh well. I maintain - the worst sports fans I have come across.

We will destroy these clowns in the ACC tourney, should we meet again.

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/3/2010 11:11:16 PM  
Okay, credit where (some) credit due: great D from the Twerps in the last 2 minutes.

Azzkizz is a punk, period. I particularly liked Nolan taking the ball away from him after he preened during the entire TV timeout like he was in control. Hey buddy - enjoy a mediocre career in Europe!

As for Duke, perhaps I will feel better about the last 3 minutes tomorrow but the 3's they were shooting were just wrong, wrong, wrong.

It wasn't a bad loss, but it wasn't a good one either since we were still so in it, despite Azzkizz's preening, the hostile crowd, etc. For me, it was stupid 3's to try and take the lead instead of putting it onto the floor, drawing the foul, and tying it and working the D.

Time to sleep it off...

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/3/2010 9:47:53 PM  

No ESPN at any of the bars near me. DAMN YOU CRTC!

I do not like the box score right now....

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 3/3/2010 9:11:15 PM  
I haven't chipped in many comments because I've only been able to see four Duke games in their entirety this year (two were vs. Clemson, and actually one had the first 10-12 minutes not shown because the preceding game went 2 OT). Besides, before games there is absolutely nothing I can add about Duke because you two fellows have everything covered.

My bosses, husband and wife, don't give a Ferret's behind about college basketball (except to find out when I'm going to be in the office or working from home during hoop season). A few weeks ago I read them this line from Dukies.com last year: "... the ACC scheduling department (actually just Swofford in a dark closet with a dry erase board and a vending machine) ..." and that had both of my bosses bending over laughing. The same reaction came from a female friend who sorta likes hoops but generally hates blogs. Then there's duhomme with "Hans I Am" atop his long list of greatest hits.

Here's a vote by proxy from upstate SC to keep things going, if at all possible.

Posted by: duhomme Date: 3/3/2010 8:11:49 PM  
Thanks for everyone jumping in today. As a bonus, the game hasn't been played yet, and I already have the FAIL of the game. That would be Matt and I confidently, if not smugly, declaring that Maryland is undefeated at home this year.

They lost to William & Mary in College Park on Dec. 30.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/3/2010 5:10:48 PM  
I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is by far the best Duke Basketball site out there.

My life will be diminished by it's passing, but I completely understand if the effort does not seem worth the reward, having authored a couple of Guest Dukie episodes myself. (Although I was tremendously honored to do so, I can't imagine having to do it regularly. It's a lot of work.)

In my mind, tonight is a Big Game. As big as an Elite Eight matchup. I would love to see the guys continue their excellent defense and generally overall good play and lock up the #1 seed in the ACC, and perhaps the NCAA.

Posted by: Roberto Date: 3/3/2010 4:01:34 PM  
SeŮor Mateo and SeŮor Duhomme.

As a compatriot, and similar ex-pat, of General Greivis, I must say that this game worries me a lot. As has been discussed non-stop our play depends on the General's abilities. I think that he gets over-hyped, starts jacking up shots from near half court and loses it early on in the second half. This after a brief spurt in the late minutes of the first that puts Schweaty and co. up by double digits. However, I think we squeak buy as Zoubeard was recently seen at IHOP's free pancake day stocking up on his silver dollar non-jewish latkes.

On a separate note, as a "new-ish" poster, I have read your site for the past three years now and you two provide the most enjoyable and entertaining analysis of Duke and the ACC. Your jabs and wit remind me of my days in Cameron. Your blog has become my nostalgic destination when I long for some good ole fashioned heckling. I have in the past referred my friends to this site, and they all read it regularly. Please, PLEASE, do not shut this down. You two are invaluable to my time-wasting unproductiveness (I know it's not a word) at work during basketball season. It'd be a shame for that to end.

And on a last note, great winning streak unx. At least you have a berth in the NIT now.

Posted by: Boomer Date: 3/3/2010 3:59:35 PM  
If anyone is not granted instant posting it's probably because of some drunken frustrated buffoon posting after a bad loss...note that since I am trying increase my surface area to volume ratio the drinking is cut significantly and thus my urge towards profanity and poor taste, while still significant, is controllable.

Anywho, you guys do great work. If your posts were shorter I'd understand. Or maybe you take turns and split up the season? Do what you gotta do.

Unless Duke completely wets the bed, I just don't see how Muriland can hang. Even if we're missing we should still be able to push them around down low and get offensive boards. I guess if the refs decide to call a bunch of touch fouls on Zoubek (no longer bloubleh by the way) and the Plumlees, something that is entirely possible, that could equalize things.

I just think Duke is a far superior team. Hopefully we're over bad effort road losses and panic jobs of past years.

Posted by: Stephen Frazier Date: 3/3/2010 3:01:31 PM  
Matt, just want to say, like everyone else has said, this is an awesome site. I have enjoyed posting and reading everyone's comments. You guys have definitely increased my college bball IQ. I'm sure it's a lot of work and I hope you continue.

Also, I am definitely worried about tonight's game. IMO, Maryland is a legit NCAA second round caliber team. Go Duke!

Posted by: Official Syracuse Guy Date: 3/3/2010 2:51:45 PM  
Matt, Couldn't help but think of you when reading this article (Pat Forde's column). I'm curious as to how many of these areans you have seen a game. I'm betting quite a bit.


Needless to say, Saturday's game in Syracuse was a blast. Tons of fun. Still amazed at how far back they were sitting.

Good luck tonight against the Twerps.

Posted by: KD Date: 3/3/2010 2:31:37 PM  
OK - I am piling on but it is pretty clear that you have a very loyal following. Please don't force me to look down the dial at that Duke/Coach K apologist website. I tell every Duke fan that I contact to check out your site and will re-double efforts. Stay with it.

As for tonight's game, while I have typically developed low expectations for tough road games this year, I wholeheartedly agree that the Droplets simply do not match up against this year's edition. Expect a close game, but key offensive rebounds from Z and the Plumlees will offer second chance points to overcome a poor shooting night (which very well could be in the offing). Go Duke!

Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/3/2010 2:04:16 PM  
Wake's collapse down the stretch is pretty ridiculous. I don't give them a chance against either FSU or Clemson, and losses in both will leave them with an end of the season 0-5 "run." Granted, this stretch of their schedule is difficult, but there was no way they should have lost to the Wolfies, and if they cared, they probably could have gotten by the Baby Blues.

Unfortunately, that game complicated UNC-CH's race for Last Place, which I have been following avidly. Now the Heels will need help from the 'Canes (in the form of an unlikely win over FSU), and the Pack (a win over either VT in Blacksburg or BC, both unlikely, but I had NCSU as done-for-the-year last week and they proved me wrong). And even this unlikely scenario would only put them all in a three-way tie at the bottom. I had no idea how the tie-breakers would go until Matt explained it, and for last place I surely don't care enough to work it out.

Rats. Matt made me giggle when he noted that last place would leave the Tar Holes sitting at home twiddling their thumbs (or whatever) for the ACC-Big Ten challenge. That would have been very cool.

Maybe next year.

Lest I forget, the Heels also need some help from a certain team of local interest to have a chance for Last Place. I am confident that we can do our part. (... remembers Senior Days in 2008 and especially March 4, 2006: Senior Day for the Landlord and J.J., with Duke ranked #1 in the country. Redick missed fifteen of his last sixteen shots. Hansblow had 27, and his despicable teammates Green, Frasor, and Ginyard all had big games. UNC-CH 83, Duke 76.)

That game still rankles. It is right down there with some of our recent NCAA tourney exits, so far as I am concerned.

As for the Turtles, I am glad that Duke has this game, win or lose; it will be as hostile a crowd as any we will encounter from here on out and a good test for the team. We are a terrible matchup for them, as Matt noted. But it could go either way.

Matt and duhomme, I LOVE this site. It is by far the best Duke sports site around, for the reasons everyone has mentioned. I hope that you keep it going, but only so long as it is fun for you to do so.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/3/2010 1:29:49 PM  
bluedevilruss, I forgot about Nolan's experience there last year. Would love to see him "go off" (bootsie, anyone?). This could be the difference-maker (I think Duke will need something to counteract Senior Day/Jersey retirements/G.V.).

Posted by: Steve!! Date: 3/3/2010 1:28:26 PM  
SFSF - I decided to look up the stats on Vasquez's season to test the theory of whether Maryland wins on his off-nights. During the first four games of this season, Greivis had single digit point production in each game (all Terp wins). I'm not sure if he was instructed to let his temamates build their confidence for the season or what was going on.

After the tougher games started, the dividing seems to be 12 points. Maryland is 1-2 when G.V. scores 12 or fewer (beating Longwood, losing to Villanova and Clemson). Of course, he's also scored 30 in a loss to Wake Forest and 26 in the loss to William & Mary, so it's not like a decent output means a Terp win either.

I did want to mention that I read somewhere that Maryland has beaten a Top Ten team in each of the past 12 seasons. They have not done so yet this season and obviously don't have many more chances. I'm not sure how valued that streak is by Terp players - and I'm sure Duke would get their best shot even if they weren't highly ranked - but that's something else in play tonight.

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/3/2010 1:08:49 PM  
Having attempted in this and previous seasons to do a sad facsimile of a "preview", I do know exactly how much work goes into each week (twice!) and so it makes it all the more important that you know how much you are appreciated.

I love the site and feel priveleged that you guys allow me to add my small voice to yours. I certainly would be very, very sad to see you go, even just for a year. I could beg but it wouldn't be pretty.

Ultimately, you have my support no matter what you guys choose to do and I thank you both for all of your work, humour and (I'd like to think) friendship.

As for tonight, let's bring it. I will be trying to hunt down a location that shows ESPN up here since hockey has now resumed its position on all sports channels post-Olympics. Am I a bad Canadian that I wish the NHL was on permanent hiatus????


Posted by: Christopher Noble Date: 3/3/2010 1:05:30 PM  
I have been reading your site since 2001, when I stumble upon while in working the New Brunswick Public Library. Don't go yet, your site provides insightful and funny knowledge about Duke and the rest of the ACC.

Please fire Paul Hewitt and Frank Haith ASAP. They are brothers join at the hip; but can do no in-game coaching at all.

Thanks for giving us this website for real true blue fans

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/3/2010 12:56:52 PM  
Take heart, Matt, you've created a "keeper" here with Dukies that deserves to live on if you can get back to "net positive" on effort/return. Let's examine both sides of the equation, not just return:

1. Effort. 4 hrs is too much. I am willing to wager considerable amounts of single malt that the pithy, self-deprecating, ironic and intentionally moronic stuff just "rolls off your little fingers!" (please roll the "r" in "rolls" and assume an older female British accent for effect), practically writing itself as you happily read the output while your fingers are typing away on their own. So that part takes an hour to two at most - pretty reasonable. What kills you then is the analysis ("Oh the stats, the stats!" - see Conrad, J., "Heart of Darkness"). Solution - Delegate! My god man, you've got Andrew Hicks coming up with stuff that belongs in a textbook. Even I'm producing wry, smile inducing (one hopes) crap (and isn't that the stuff this site is made of?). So, while I appreciate the analysis, I love the wit. Find a way to get this thing down to 1-2 hours of effort per write-up, and if you have to jettison stuff, protect the wit (well, at least the half-wit?). Drop hints about stats you'd like to see, and then see what your dear readers can come up with.

2. Return. You want feedback? Trust your regulars. Suggest you give "Steve!!!!!!" instant posting immediately (I'm betting you already have, and maybe sent him an email?). Give any other regulars who haven't asked permission yet instant posting, and send them an email. Give a new commenter who posts something interesting instant access with an email. When I asked for it earlier this year (I saw something in your "about Dukies" that mentioned you do grant instant posting at some point), you granted it immediately and then warned me via email to "behave!" Matt, you have no idea how powerful that warning was! Readers of this site like and respect it and the community, and want to "behave." But we love the feeling, just as we push the "post" button, that our drivel is about to go "out there" instantly, and not go to your in-box for posting. My comment frequency is up this season because when I have a thought (god help us), I post it. Empowering stuff with minimal downside. As to downside - if someone doesn't respect the site and themselves enough to behave, shut 'em down. Delete their post. Dictatorially. This is your site. We are your guests.

One more point. I still haven't gone to TDD, but my visit to InsideCryolina taught me something about forums. Posters' numbers of posts are published below their names with each post. They post a lot, like thousands!! And the content per post is mostly zero to negative (how many times can a UNC-CH fan say "I've 'bout given up on this here team" - and frankly, who cares?). Dukies is different. Content to post value is very, very high, partially because frequency is low. It's a different kind of site, and definitely not a Forum. So in my opinion you need more commentators saying quality stuff, not just more comments. Your traffic is really good (I'm almost certain 12 have become 24), the site is really likable. Make it more accessible and your personal "Return" will go up.

Now the obligatory UM-CP comment. Duke can only be beaten by G.V. tonight. As he goes, so goes the team. I don't think they can win (or have ever won) a game if he is off. If he and they win, and he is a man about it, he'll have earned my respect. He pulls his AzzKizz stuff, and I take back anything positive I've said about him this year. Same for how he handles himself if Duke wins. I thought he was a man at Cameron in defeat this season. We'll see.

Posted by: Josh Date: 3/3/2010 12:55:09 PM  
I'll throw my voice out there too...this is pretty much the only Duke site I go to anymore. I don't have time to wade through tons of message board posts, and I enjoy the honest, non-pollyanna look at Duke and college basketball in general that is presented here. I'll try my best to step up my commenting.

Matt, have you ever thought about doing a live blog/open thread type thing for one of the games? That might be something that would draw a few more commenters. I don't know too many Duke fans personally up in my neck of the woods, and it might be fun to have the chance to "talk" to some more without having to sift through the crap you get on message boards sometimes.

Now that I think of it, Matt and duhomme wouldn't really have to change anything for that to happen...maybe one of these games I'll start throwing out my "insights" in the comments section while the game is going on and see if anyone responds.

Posted by: Steve!! Date: 3/3/2010 10:09:23 AM  
Let me add my voice to the chorus saying how great this site is. My reasons for not posting much are 1.)usually the write-ups are so thorough that there's nothing else to add and 2.) generally there's a several hour lag time between my submission of a comment and its posting.

Since the Virginia game was pre-empted (except for the final three minutes) in these parts due to the Bucks/Hawks NBA game, I didn't see the comment about Jon Scheyer never winning an ACC title. Perhaps they meant the mythical regular season title.

As for tonight's game, while the end result probably won't make a difference in ACC terms, a loss probably eliminates the possibility of Duke being a #1 in the NCAA tournament. Because of that and because I don't want to give Maryland fans any more reason to think that they actually are Duke's "rival", here's hoping for a Blue Devil victory!

Posted by: bluedevilruss Date: 3/3/2010 9:56:00 AM  

Apologies for not posting as much as I have before. Rest assured your mic is loud and clear. Appreciate and enjoy everything you and duhomme do.

Big time game tonight. Probably going to be close. We need to hit some shots as historically we don't shoot well there and they do.

I think Nolan might have some motivation tonight after what happened to him last time he graced the court there. We shall see.

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