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TD: Waking in the Weeds

Date: 1/22/2011

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (NOT conflicted)

Volume XIV, Episode 15
January 22, 2011

Matt’s comments in blue.
The Schmeplicator’s comments in white. 

#4 DUKE (17-1, 4-1) @ WAKE FOREST (7-12, 0-4)

So Duke’s on the road again, but it is clear that Swoffie’s Personal Schedulers got their prime directives mixed up, because the Blue Devils are getting the comfy treatment usually reserved for lighter, retch-inducing shades of blue here, with a less-than-arduous road trip to THE TRIAD on the (ahem) heels of that less-than-arduous trip to Raleigh.  Hey, fine with me.  I’m just happy to see Duke playing some Big Four basketball, not that we’ll see Wake Forest again this season outside of the ACC Tournament.  There’s also the NCAA Tournament, but that’s one event the Subaru Foresters won’t be attending. 

Those of you who e-mailed me offering various threats and financial inducements (often in the same message) to write an NCSU recap can relax - - I’ll run a joint one with both of these games included, especially since Duke gets a nice break and doesn’t play again until Thursday.  Seriously, thanks for the interest, folks - - I appreciate it.  And that’s all the time we have for meta on today’s program.    

Some Historical Perspective and Matt’s Usual Rant About His Law School:
Wake Forest’s LinkedIn group, to which I subscribe, now features an ongoing discussion about how to get rid of AD Ron Wellman.  I’m sure that Wellman, like any educator, is thrilled to witness the continuing evolution of social media, even if it happens to be directing its current energies toward finding him new work.  Anyway, I guess the unrest stems from some sort of down year in football for the Deacs, although I’d be more likely to be aware of recent developments in analytic geometry, so don’t ask me.  Or maybe it’s just the rancid state of the basketball program. 

I still can’t believe that Wake, acting by and through Wellman, hired Dino Gaudio after Skip Prosser’s untimely passing.  Naturally, the school had to act fast given the timing of the sad event, and everyone’s first thought seemed to be keeping all of those tremendous recruits “in school.”  Since Goonio had signed most of these characters, he was the logical choice to ensure that they hung around.  And like a charm, the only part of that scheme that didn’t work out was that they didn’t hang around.  James Johnson and Jeff Teague bolted for the Cam Newton’s Dad’s Pay-for-Play League, basketball version, as soon as humanly possible, followed a season later by Al-Farouq Aminu.  Tony Woods wrapped up his huge career in a Dorc uniform by assaulting his girlfriend in front of their child, which earned him a bus ticket out of town.  Gaudio was asked firmly to hit the highway as well, and not a moment too soon.  The lingering question of why a school with a recently proud basketball tradition, a strong (if a bit fair-weather) fan base, and a nearly superb home arena would hire a clown who had previously been canned both by the USMA and Loyola Maryland was never answered. 

But Wellman wasn’t done.  Following one of those embarrassing “searches” where every hot coach in the sport seemingly used Wake’s not-so-siren song to secure a near-lifetime deal from his existing employer, and where the only things more dreadful than receiving a multi-megabyte text message from Brett Favre were the words “Ron Wellman on Line 2 for you,” WFU settled for getting things half right.  See Figure 1.


Good Move                                                     Stupid Move
Firing the hell out of Goonio                              Replacing him with a fifth-rate retread 
                                                                         who couldn’t cut it at Colorado

Yeah, Jeff Buzzkillick wasn’t the droid you were looking for, Ron.  There was a reason this guy was readily available (record at Colorado the previous three seasons: 36-58), and I’m sure he just hated to leave behind all the drama surrounding the Buffaloes’ ludicrous move from the Big 12 to the “Pacific-12,” where CU will play yearly rivalry games against its longtime deathmatch partner . . . wait, these notes must be wrong.  Utah?  Oh.  I thought Colorado and Nebraska were the big rivals.  Well, good thing Colorado made the massive jump from serving as a Big 12 also-ran to playing the exact same role in the Pac-2,000.  Huge call.      

To be fair to Bzoffick, Daddy-o left the cupboard about as well-stocked as you’d expect from such a stiff.  Chas the Spas-Eater finally went back to his home planet, Landover Dalmatian Williams retired, and Chief Conference Punk Ish Smith was forced to hand over his crown to Iman Shumpert while the door connected firmly with his outgoing ass.  Add in the dilution of Amino Acid and Woods’ vexing encounter with local law enforcement, and Fake came into the season with two real returning players.  Freshman point Tony Chennault got hurt, and via all of this adversity, Buzz-Dell-Ick probably bought himself another couple of years, or decades if he hired Paul Hewitt’s agent during contract negotiations. 

Sort of sad when a school has to pine for the halcyon days of Lil’ Davey Odom, but so it goes.  Clemson and Boston College figured out to hire up-and-comers from smaller schools, but Wake . . . went in another direction.     

I Skimmed All That.  So How Good Is Wake Forest This Season, Keyboard-Pounder?
Absolutely awful, and can I just take a minute to give a big shoutout to a few of the commenters who were ready to hand NCSU the Sears Trophy after the other night’s Duke performance?  Yeah, guys, there’s talent on that team, true, but don’t get too excited, as Leslie is headed for the pros and their best player is a senior.  And as long as Sweet & Lowe is the coach, count on perennial underachievement.  Duke won the other night because Duke was good, not because the opposition was some fearsome squad of burgeoning legends.  But please keep disagreeing with me on stuff, because, y’know, it’s healthy.  Remember, I want NCSU to revive itself.  But it won’t happen with Redjac at the controls.     

Did You Get to Wake Yet?
Absolutely awful.  The Deeks have beaten three local schools - - Elon, High Point, and ACC Member #13 North Carolina-Greensboro (by two).  They interdicted Hampton, outfoxed Marist, and crusaded against Holy Cross.  Somehow, they defeated Iowa, which is now 7-11/0-6.  Maybe that’s connected.  And that, folks, is Wake’s series of victories this season.  The Crazed Churchmen were steamrollered by Virginia Commonwealth (and losses to that school ain’t no laughing matter in these parts), defeated handily by Winthrop, and nipped by the Blue Hosers of Presbyterian.  Xavier?  Richmond?  Gonzaga?  Yeah, none of that worked out.  Then there was the opener of the Bzzzzzzzzdelik Era, the defeat to my former law school classmate Derek Waugh and his Stetson Hatters.  A loss to North Carolina-Wilmington?  Check.  And how about that ACC?  Four games, four losses by an average of 26.0 ppg.  In a season replete with dismal ACC teams, these guys take the proverbial cake.               

Their Last Game     
A loss to Georgia Tech - - no titans themselves this season - - by the utterly asinine score of 74-39.  This game was so ugly that Ron Franklin wouldn’t harass it, and John Calipari spoke of the Deacs in hushed, respectful tones out of pity.    

Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Travis McKie, 6-7 FR WF - - a real bright spot, he’s won the ACC’s Rookie of the Week award thrice already, and leads Wake in scoring (13.1 ppg) and boarding (5.4 rpg)

Carson Desrosiers, 6-11 FR C - - one of those inside-out big guys; name sounds exactly like a guy who would play at Southern Cal 

J.T. Terrell, 6-4 FR SG - - 12.7 ppg and pretty good 3PFG shooter at 37.2%

Gary Clark, 6-4 SR SF/WG - - Since Bzzzzt has only three guards, he might as well get them all into the starting lineup

C.J. Harris, 6-2 SO PG - - not really a point guard, might slide off the ball now that Chennault is back from injury

Ari Stewart, 6-7 SO SF - - fourth-leading scorer, second-best rebounder, not a shooter

Nikita Mescheriakov, 6-7 JR SF - - don’t order Russian spare parts for your vehicle

Tony Chennault, 6-1 FR PG - - second game back after breaking his foot; actual playmaker, unlike Harris

Ty Walker, 7-0 JR C - - leads the ACC with 56 blocked shots

Most Likely to Bootsy:
McKie (mick-KY) (23 points needed)

Wake’s Likely Gameplan:
Try to keep it close early to pump up the crowd for a PSBAD game, play zone because they’re hopelessly outgunned on a man-to-man matchup basis, and hope Duke keeps shooting bad threes. 

Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about Wake Forest:
- They are #316 of 345 in Div I in offensive rebounds per possession.  Assuming that you don’t consider the A-10 or Conference USA to be a top-tier conference - - but do assign that label to the ACC this year - - no other “power conference” school is worse.  
- They shoot 74.8% from the line, good enough for 26th in the country.  Duke is at #22 with 75.3%.   

Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- Wake was leading that free throw percentage battle with us until going 9-26 at the line against GIT.  On the bright side, missing 65.4% of your shots from the line impresses the dickens out of that dadgum John Henson.
- Terrell takes 31.1% of the Deacons’ shots.  There are only 60 bigger ballhogs in D-I, including Fredette, Kemba Walker, LaceDarius Dunn, Trey Thompkins of Georgia, and Talor Battle of Pennsylvania State. 

Duke Appraisal
Duke should absolutely take it to the woeful Demon Deacons, evening the Blue Devils’ record at 11-11 at the LJVMC.  The Blue Devils’ last win at Wake was over five years ago now, in January of 2006. 

I’d like to see the continued development of the Tree-o on the glass, and leave us thank goodness that Miles didn’t respond poorly to his benching.  This is a team against which some glitzy rebounding totals can be posted.  I’d also like to see some more judicious three-point shooting; we’ve averaged 24.2 distance shots over five ACC games, and most of them have been bouncing around errantly. The team has missed just under 70% of its triple attempts in conference play.  Yeesh.  Also, guard the ball better, please - - I understand that Nolan is the type of point guard who will commit mistakes, unlike someone like Scheyer, but the ACC A/TO total of 52/71 is frightening. 

Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
ESPN - - Patrick and Len “Lots of Physical Play on Both Sides” Elmore.  Does Elmore request these Duke assignments?  Or does someone in Bristol just hate him and us at the same time?  Anyway, Duke will be simulcasting the game in Klingon. 

Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
After altering its Raleigh performance from one year to the next to the tune of a 28-point swing, Duke should not be expected to do anything but bury the conference’s worst team.  

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

Score Prediction:
Duke 90, Wake Forest 65.

Other ACC Action
@ Virginia 60, Georgia Institute of Technology 58.
@ Maryland 85, Clemson 64.
@ Florida State 66, Boston College 57.
@ Virginia Polytechnic 4 (hours), Longwood 0. 
@ North Carolina State 72, Miami (Florida) 61.

Last Edition:
Matt 3-2

This Season:
Matt 20-3
Guests 1-0


View more articles from this category


Posted by: Jake Date: 1/22/2011 8:36:16 PM  
Good game overall although a bit of struggle for a while.

I just hope we can get beyond throwing up all those 3 point shots. We're not going to get away with taking 3-pointers as half our attempts and hitting 33 or so percent against good teams (as in the NCAA tournament competition). We seem to be in such a rush to shoot the 3 when a few more passes might open up something inside or give us a less hurried long shot.

It's awesome to see Kelly progress the way he has. But do we really need yet another person jacking up threes every time they catch the ball?

I just fear we're going to have more disappointing FSU-type games if we don't figure out how to get some sort of an inside game offensively.

Enough with the negativity. We won and won convincingly, so I'm happy.

Posted by: Al White Date: 1/22/2011 7:44:28 PM  
Great preview, Matt! The new format is even more enjoyable than the old, especially as it preserves your ability to warn us of the presence of Baltostiffs, Lagostiffs, etc. on the other teams and keeps other key 2Dukies hallmarks.

Congrats to Ryan for laying a Dukesie on the Deacs. It won't be a surprise if he extends that personal high game soon. 20 points on 6 FGA is a rather nice PPS ratio. Ryan played a great all-around game. His emergence as a third scorer financed Tyler's playing time as K could afford to have both Curry and Dawkins off the court.

This seemed like one of K's best bench games ever. He recognized that Seth and Dre showed up expecting to coast in a blowout and gave some of their minutes to the tenacious Tyler, who came through with solid play on defense and didn't hurt the effort on offense. TT is going to be a very good ACC player. He may be rewarded with a start against the Beagles.

Andre played himself onto the pine in this one, but he'll probably get out of the doghouse against BC.

Wake is going to struggle to be competitive until the inevitable canning of Bedzwettik. Wonder if the failure of the ACC schools outside Durham and Chappa Heeya to hire top caliber coaches is just a random occurrence or if the presence of K and Horseface in the conference is making top guys turn down offers from the other schools.

"Brick, chick, Jayhick" must be the wail in Lawrence right now. KU looked like the slight fave over Ohio State when the day began, but that obviously is obsolete after Ricky Longhorn got perhaps his best win ever today. The Buckeyes are strong but hardly invincible. With continued improvement from the young guys, the Devils might still emerge as the favorite in Houston even without Kyrie.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/22/2011 6:47:22 PM  
These guys beat Elon?

Anyways, 2 good games in a row for RK, and I thought Miles was alright as well.

Downside - Dawk in the doghouse?

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/22/2011 6:00:40 PM  
Think the refs got that one right. The push was unnecessary and came during a dead ball.

BTW - "he'll" is my iPhone being polite: HELL was what I meant.

Good game for Kelly. His growing confidence means good things.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/22/2011 5:49:52 PM  
Great recap/precap Matt. I will be happiest with no injuries. The inevitable win takes second place to that.

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/22/2011 5:43:54 PM  
Seriously? C'mon! what the he'll are they doing??? We have to play every possession, not every third possession! Argh!

Posted by: Josh Date: 1/22/2011 4:55:02 PM  
Hmm, well not the most inspiring performance so far (under 4 timeout in the first half). Hopefully Nolan can snap out of it in the second half.

Any Burn Notice fans out there? Silver up Bzdelik's (or however the heck you spell it) hair and he's a dead ringer for Brennan, the evil arms dealer.

And as I write this, a couple of steals have led to some breakways. More, please!

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/22/2011 4:14:25 PM  
What does it say about me that I'm drinking tea??? So sad....

Waiting for this puppy to start. Please end the first game asap.

Matt, awesome point about Sweet & Low - no matter how decent the players he has, he can't coach them worth a damn, and they're not *that* great.

I am hoping for a nice little clinic here: some solid passing over the zone to the firm of Plumlee, Plumlee and Kelly; taking care of the orange; judicious use of the tre; and solid d all around.

Go Duke!

Posted by: tom Date: 1/22/2011 3:50:50 PM  
Great stuff. We'll see what happens. Only on beer number one.

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 1/22/2011 12:43:56 PM  
Gaudy-o was last seen as an analyst for College Basketball Live on ESPNU, the #5 sports channel on the Disney pecking order behind ESPN, the Deuce, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Wronghorns.

Hopefully no one will be left in K's doghouse after today's game, except maybe Bzerbeaten. We'll try and add to the Twerps' misery.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/22/2011 12:36:18 PM  
You have probably seen it, but a good way to waste time:

A good memory trip if you'd forgotten Brian Bersticker or Evtimov or Trelonnie Owens. I know I had!

Strangely, they don't have a number of games (Brand's triumphant return from foot injury, "gone in 54 seconds") you'd think they have available.

Posted by: dan Date: 1/22/2011 11:45:51 AM  
Great preview Matt. Wake's basketball fortunes will improve when Buzz leaves/is fired. Colorado is 14-5/3-1 with their new coach.

This game should be an opportunity for Miles and Mason to build on their play in the NCSU game. Ryan has quietly been improving all season and it seems like he is gaining confidence. His development as an inside outside threat will be a key to a long tournament run. I'd like to see K give Tyler and Seth get some more time as the primary ball handler. If Nolan is not going to sit, then give him a break during the game by letting someone else run the offense. Better yet, make it a blowout and give Singler and Smith a well deserved rest.

Go Duke.

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