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TD: Packtim of Lowe

Date: 1/19/2011

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (late; sorry!)

Volume XIV, Episode 14
January 19, 2011

Matt’s comments in blue.
Swohn Jofford's comments in white.

#4 DUKE (16-1, 3-1) @ NORTH CAROLINA STATE (11-6, 1-2)

Sorry this couldn’t be posted earlier, folks.  Yesterday was El Día de Los Impuestos for some of us, which, translated from Duke University’s native Mandarin, means “Fourth Quarter Estimated Tax Day for Those of You Who Work for Yourselves.”  I mean, someone has to pay the severe tithe on the ridiculously powerful revenue stream (this started sounding like a Flomax ad; sorry) that this website generates. 

Duke travels to Raleigh for its absurdly infrequent road contest against NCSU.  Wait, maybe that rarity is a good thing, since this is yet another game in which the homestanding opponent routinely mounts a preposterous effort, the like of which will never be seen again, that far overwhelms the Blue Devils.  For the benefit of new readers, here at Dukies.com, I like to call this the Personal Super Bowl Against Duke (“PSBAD”) phenomenon.  Please, use this crafty table as an aid:


ACC Opponent                       Likelihood of a PSBAD Game when Duke Visits

Florida State                                         99.4%
North Carolina State                             86.2%
Maryland, College Park                        66.7%
Miami (Florida)                                    50.0%
Georgia Institute of Technology             45.5%
Wake Forest                                        45.0% 
Virginia Polytechnic                              30.0%
Clemson                                               20.0%
Boston College                                     15.0%*
North Carolina-Chapel Hill                   10.0%**
Virginia                                                   5.0%

*if the Beagles’ administration pays Doug Flutie, Tom Brady (who has time on his hands for once, but we don’t go there this season), Kevin Garnett, DP and Youk, Whitey Bolger, the Boston Strangler, and Michael Dukakis to be there, increase this to 65.0%. 

**this ranking is only so low because NCCH does not usually require a PSBAD game to beat Duke at the Smith Center, inasmuch as they've historically been a good (if universally overhyped) team.  However, in this new era that we’ve entered, when Horseface has been totally exposed as a pee-poor bench coach and his vaunted recruiting has also fallen off, this figure could actually be far too modest. 

All figures were weighed with scientific precision, of course.  So, we’ve probably got a battle on our hands tonight. 

Some Historical Perspective and Matt’s Usual Sendek/Lowe Rant:
At some point, someone needs to get a real coach in place at NCSU.  Unlike any other school apart from its mates in the Research Three-Sided Geometric Figure, NCSU actually flies two national title banners in its area, which incidentally is nice enough to host a professional hockey team.  So why can’t the administration hire a good coach? 

Now, many people who ought to know better, augmented by a host of mental midgets, think that Sendek was a good coach for NCSU.  He wasn’t.  The guy was totally out of his depth in the ACC, and proved it over no fewer than ten years.  He couldn’t beat NCCH or Duke consistently, he was routinely outrecruited by us and the Tools, and his only real successes came due to two key factors: (a) both Duke and NCCH experienced relative down periods of varying lengths during Consultant Herb’s tenure; and (b) whoever was doing the recruiting for Herb managed to land a total fluke recruit in Julius Hodge, who was not only a fantastic college basketball player but could also coach the team on the side, enabling Herb to sit around and do differential equations in his head or whatever his many defenders think he was doing. 

Sendek is a perfect coach for, say, Arizona State - - a school with no significant basketball tradition other than a few good players here and there over the years, a fan base with low expectations, and a member of a traditionally overrated conference where 20-win seasons earn you plaudits as a genius in local papers.  Remember how Ben Howland was going to take over the sport after renting Kevin Love for a Final Four run?  Yeah. 

And then, NCSU replaces Sendek with a guy who had no previous coaching experience.  Total disaster, naturally, and really, the questionable decisionmaking of former AD Lee Fowler is to blame.  Luckily, NCSU, in a bizarre offseason coup that really makes MDCP look quite silly, found itself a real athletic director by luring away then-current Twerp AD Debbie Yow, who clearly couldn’t get away from Sweaty and the serene, haze-filled confines of Industrial Park fast enough.  Nice move, and one that likely presages the firing of Redjac in short order. 

NCSU is a school with a proud tradition and a wonderful, rich basketball background.  Please, get a real coach in there - - high-profile (but not sleazy), up-and-coming stud, doesn’t matter - - who will do this school justice, and accomplish more than beating Duke in Raleigh.

Thanks for That Information.  So How Good Is NCSU This Season, You Blowhard?
Right.  Like most ACC teams, they’re mediocre.  Blown out by Georgetown and Wisconsin, managed to keep it close at Syracuse (hey, two true OOC road games in there - - neat idea) but still lost, dropped one to Arizona at home, and really don’t have an OOC win of note.  In the ACC, they defeated ridiculous Wake in Raleigh, and lost on the road to Boston College (by nine) and Florida State (by 13). 

Their Last Game?
The FSU defeat - - the Noles’ second straight win at home after beating us.  The Pack don’t seem to have that PRINCETON OFFENSE (yawn) thing down this season; they gave up 56 points to FSU, not the most formidable of offensive juggernauts, in the second half.  So they don't seem to have been limiting possessions.    

Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Tracy Smith, 6-8 SR PF - - now back after missing 10 games due to knee surgery (tough kid!), and averaging 18.2 ppg in the five games since his return.  Baaaaad news for Duke, who can’t guard him.

C.J. Leslie, 6-8 FR SF/WF - - only weighs about 210-220, so he’s not a huge force in the paint, but as long as N.C. State can dictate how it runs its offense, having two 6-8 guys up front, and two very good ones at that, is extremely bad news for Duke.

Scott Wood, 6-7 SO SG/WG - - Jimmy Chitwood.  Bombs from outside, hitting 43.0% from distance this season; doesn’t defend, pass, or board much. 

Ryan Harrow, 5-11 FR PG - - not an outside shooter, has been okay in the playmaking role, but he didn’t have Smith for ten games.  Like Wood, he’s a lights-out FT shooter.

Lorenzo Brown, 6-4 FR SG - - totally inconsistent and only averaging 5.7 ppg in three ACC games.

6-8 SO PF Richard Howell - - great rebounder and more trouble for Duke off the bench; will probably play more than Brown as Lowe goes big and beefy, which is exactly the right thing to do.

6-6 JR SF/PF C.J. Williams - - weak rebounder, not a big scorer, more of a defender, but shouldn’t be a huge factor on either side.

6-0 SR PG Javier Gonzalez - - yep, this punk is still around.  Probably one of the dirtiest players in the ACC along with Shumpert of GIT and various thugs playing for VPI.  Loves to burn Duke.  Lowe did have enough wits about him to bench this jerk for Harrow.

Most Likely to Bootsy:
Gonzalez (20 points required)

NCSU’s Likely Gameplan:
Easy.  Pound, pound, pound the ball inside, with Wood available for wide open kickouts.     

Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about North Carolina State:
- They are #317 of 345 in Div I in opponents’ turnover percentage, part of which is clearly dictated by luck, but part of which also means that they don’t put a ton of pressure on the ball.  GOOD NEWS FOR DUKE ALERT
- They’re #18 in Div I in offensive rebounds per possession.  Sure, they’ve played bunny comp as they always do, but they didn’t have Smith for that long stretch, so this stat is probably net valid. 

Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- NCSU’s opponents sizzle the twine with 73.0% shooting from the stripe.  I know that this means nothing, but it’s weird, as specified.  Only 22 teams in the country have been victimized more seriously at the line. 
- They’ve only lost once at home, to Arizona.

Duke Appraisal
People who watch college basketball with me sometimes lie and tell me that they’re impressed at how I can predict certain things.  For example, last night, at the 3:10-or-so minute mark of the second half of the Clemson/Tool game, I announced that Clemson wouldn’t score again unless it was a meaningless buzzer-beating three.  And look, no one at all should be the least bit impressed by that (hell, I was wrong about the buzzer-beating three), and attempting to impress the eleven of you isn’t why I mention it.  My point?  I think that predicting certain things in sports correctly is all about observing trends and - - most importantly - - knowing when to open your mouth or not.  (Having a website where you have to open your mouth doesn’t help with this.)  Here, I can feel a loss coming.  If Duke wins, I’ll be ecstatic.  But if you think that Mason Plumlee (who, as I suspected he would be, was lauded this week in at least two articles that I saw for his “ferocious” and “tenacious” play on the inside because he collected 16 boards against a teeny tiny Virginia team that barely contested the glass) is going to stop Tracy Smith . . . well, you win.  And I’m rooting for you, and for Mason.  You know, it just occurred to me that Kelly is playing in Raleigh, his hometown, for the first time as a Blue Devil starter.  I wonder if that will motivate him.  

But if last year’s team could get blown out by 14 against an almost inarguably inferior NCSU team than this year’s edition . . . well, let’s see what happens.  If Duke loses, we all know exactly how it will go down.  There’s (a) the Total Blowout Option, which was elected last year, or (b) the Close Loss With Horrible Shooting Option, which we just saw in Tallahassee. 

I’m hoping for a win. 

Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
ESPN - - Patrick and, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Black Cat Himself, give it up for JAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!   Yep, if I wasn’t already pretty sure that Duke was going to lose this game, that seals it.  To make matters worse, Patrick has very little fun when saddled with the mostly humorless Bilas, so this promises to be a near-deadly announcing duo. 

Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
I already did.

The Missing Link(s):
NCSU’s roster.
NCSU’s stats
NCSU’s state-run propaganda

Score Prediction:
Duke 66, North Carolina State 65.

Other ACC Action
@ Boston College 70, Virginia 52. 
@ Georgia Institute of Technology 4, Wake Forest 1. 
@ Miami (Florida) 60, Florida State 58.
@ Maryland, College Park 84, Virginia Polytechnic 79.

Last Edition
Matt 5-1

This Season:
Matt 17-1
Guests 1-0



View more articles from this category


Posted by: KD Date: 1/22/2011 8:34:33 AM  
CDG - great work on the Roy montage. A Carolina friend suggests that Roy simply can't adapt to the kind of players he has. They don't have the players for run and gun, but he keeps pushing them. Here's to hoping "Turnover Jesus" keeps pushing the break all year.

Posted by: Jake Date: 1/20/2011 10:21:15 PM  
About Roy:

He seems totally mystified about his recent teams' failure to achieve a level of top performance. Do you think he was equally mystified when his two championship teams did?

We always knew he was something of a knucklehead but also assumed he was a great coach given his many victories and winning seasons.

Given his stumblebum record of late, is he being unmasked as an accidental success?

I just think it's weird that he seems to have no clue how to coach his talented players to a level of moderate respectability. The press keep saying that of course UNC will rise to the challenge and be the second best team in the conference. But if they don't, whose fault is it? He keeps suggesting it's the players who are letting him down; maybe it's the other way around.

Dadgum it, doesn't anyone around here know how to play the game? Seems like Roy doesn't. Another year or two of this and they'll be calling for his head, trophies or no.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/20/2011 6:04:56 PM  
Thanks for the link CDG. What a modest, rational guy that Roy is.

Posted by: Boomer Date: 1/20/2011 4:30:57 PM  
Very satisfying game. Love the offensive diversity. Let me count the ways:

1. Plumtastic!! Putbacks, blocks and rebounds and a couple of post moves! Holy Crap!
2. Dre's first 3 buckets coming in the lane including the flush on a great pass by Mason, a nice drive and bank, and then a tear drop. As Duke can't always depend on Nolan to be only creator it's good to see him expanding his game.
3. Ryan Kelly started making some shots!! About time buddy, don't stop.
4. Singler being his usual clutch self answering NC State's late 3 with his own. He has ice in his veins. He's the best I can remember at being able to shake off a subpar shooting night and still hit clutch shots late.
5. Thornton. Solid minutes and canning a 3.
6. Nolan is just a stud.

Good stuff people!

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/20/2011 11:05:13 AM  
Hahahaha... I just saw this. The graphic is the BEST!


Oh Roy, when are you going to learn???

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 1/20/2011 12:53:29 AM  
Welcome back Matt, in any format. I actually forgot to check the site to see if the hiatus had ended, until tonight. While you're in the forgiving mood, don't scream after you hear that I turned it away from Duke with about 3:00 left to watch the end of the Memphis-Southern Miss nailbiter. Hey, my old Clemson roommate was from Memphis and a big fan of the blue Tigers, and this was back when Memphis was a state.

Ah, so your prediction was why my Tigers pretended the hoop was the size of a golf hole for the last 5:00 or so the night before. Get that knee well soon, Tanner. And watch Reggie Bullock have a 1-for-12 shooting effort in the Goats' next game.

If that was the Woofers' attempt at a PSBAD, Duke didn't have much to worry about. Average outside shooting would have meant a blowout.

Has Bob Knight done a Duke game this year?

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/20/2011 12:13:03 AM  
Thanks Matt!! Loving the new format.

Or was it the game? Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled. Guess what? NCSU is pretty good, even with Sweet & Lowe coaching them. The are going to put a hurting on a lot of ACC teams.

Serious G, you are so right on minutes - everybody played, everybody scored. 11 mins for Tyler - love that kid!

I'm getting sentimental in my old age, and my kids are getting old enough that I can see them in the Duke player's faces. So that look on Mile's face as K bear hugs him after the game, and yacks in his ear for a while ("Way to defend! Way to defend!!" I'm guessing) - well, I get all verklempt every time I think about it.

I think Miles shaved the beard because he didn't think he was deserving of it. I sensed a Maryland-like game tonight, from both Plums. I would like to think Zoubeck will be anointing one or both with permission to grow his beard - soon. And Kelly? What a homecoming in Raleigh. These three are growing so much. Can they replace two? Last week, no effing way. Tonight? It is possible.

Finally (!), was that the quietest 18 points Kyle has ever had? He's done that a lot this year. I really do believe he's the heart of this team (9 boards) and the final "do not think, for even a moment, that you are making a comeback" tre was what this team expects/relies on.

Well done Duke.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/19/2011 11:34:50 PM  
Pretty good game by everyone. One of the best. Nice hug by K to Miles. Looks like he's out of the doghouse for now. Thanks Matt!

Posted by: El Guapito Date: 1/19/2011 10:15:15 PM  
And let's give it up for the "new" format on Dukies.com. Good positive changes, especially for those of us that suffer from ADD/ADHD. And as always, LOVE the pithy comments.

Posted by: KD Date: 1/19/2011 10:11:42 PM  
Wow - wish we could have that kind of contribution from the Young 'uns every night. And how about K actually sitting Kyle for almost 4 minutes in the first half when he clearly looked tired and frustrated? Followed by liberal use of the bench and some well-timed zone? Huh? Keep it comin'! Great game for Miles, just when it looked like he was in the dog house. And great games for Ryan and Mason. Man, this could be another fun year if this is the beginning of a new trend.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/19/2011 10:06:26 PM  
Front line was awesome tonight, everyone made positive contributions. Great to see. SanFran - dig the quality PT from the young kids. This site announced early on how heady Thornton is, and I must agree fully. I love his game.

I really don't think NCSU is all that bad, in spite of their poor record. Harrow is a nice player, Smith is solid, Leslie is an amazing athlete (but one who plays way out of control). This was their superbowl, and Duke handled it well.

C'mon Miles - carry this one forward.

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/19/2011 9:09:28 PM  
Man - Sweet & Lowe really can't coach an end game can he? Don't get me wrong, I was pretty happy with Duke's end game management (and I was hugely impressed when Coack K gave them crap for an ineffective possession at the 7 min mark or so), but Lowe blew it too.

Great to see so many Duke players with double digit games. Matt, you also totally captured Singler in the recap - great to see him come alive down the stretch. And your description of Mason's FTs - I think he learned from Miles. Did you see his last FTAs? Flat, hard, and totally in, despite physics.

This is one happy Duke fan.

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/19/2011 9:04:33 PM  
Whew. Nice, strong, solid win, even if the three-pointers are still not there.

Color me fairly surprised.

I'm glad I propped Kelly; he was huge. Good to see Miles back on the court and contributing again, too. Once Singler finally arrived at the ESA, the game was over.

Again, whew.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/19/2011 9:03:22 PM  
"Shades of crotch-punch anyone???? "

Exactly my thoughts!


(A good scab, Matt. The kind you enjoy picking.)

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/19/2011 7:47:17 PM  
Box out my ass! Shades of crotch-punch anyone????

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/19/2011 7:33:05 PM  
Wow, did you see that stat? Nolan only one of two averaging 20+ ppg and 5+ apg??? FYI Bias, that little stat actually is pretty impressive for POY consideration. Tool (haha).

So far Wood has been very ineffective... still early but I like our effort. Lots of game to go but I have a good feeling.


Posted by: Matt Date: 1/19/2011 7:16:42 PM  
Can't we do better than comparing this site to a scab, Fats? I mean, REALLY.

I like Boner, and that would be two color guys anyway. Worse than Patrick and Bi(l)as, still working (which excludes Packer) . . . hmmmm . . . Bullethead and Bilas would be awful, as would Bullethead and Dykes.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/19/2011 7:02:49 PM  
Matt can't stay away! It's like a scab he keeps picking!

Ugh. Bias and Patrick. I'm trying to come up with a worse duo (Elmore and Boner?) but having trouble...

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