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TD: Certain Kind of Tool

Date: 2/9/2011

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (overrated)


Volume XIV, Episode 20
February 9, 2011

Mattís comments in blue.
Okeemola Adulajaís comments in white. 

#20 NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (17-5, 7-1) @ #5 DUKE (21-2, 8-1)

Ever get tired of people who say that UNC is much better than they actually are?  Ever notice how often that happens?  Kick up your feet!  You have come to the right place. 

Some Historical Perspective and Mattís Usual Anti-Pro-Tool-Mediots (Got That?) Rant:
It just gets awesome after a while.  At any other school, if a player abruptly left campus for good in early February, continuing a pattern of kids who make unscheduled departures, there might be a few probing questions.  Nah - - instead itís all the kidís fault, and he wasnít very good anyway.  Then, the echo chamber gets a gift courtesy of blithering imbecile Len Hamilton and a reaaaaaaaaally clever gameplan.  Ooooof.

Iíve got a confession - - I never felt very good about making fun of Larry Drew.  There was that one play last season in the 82-50 Legend Game where Nolan went one way, and Larry just fell down while Nolan dunked with ridiculous authority, but even then I sort of secretly didnít dislike and even admired the kid for putting up with a LOT of garbage.  In a similar vein (but without the inwardly aimed hatred coming from Tool Nation), I might add that I think Zeller and Strickland are decent dudes who are not odious.  Really, the true haters of Drew were the Tar Heelsí own fans - - in fact, you can draw a lot of comparisons between Greg Paulus and Drew, except that I think that Duke fans gave Greg better treatment, and he also battled injuries.  (Plus, the Syracuse QB thing was extremely cool.)           

Anyway, itís good to see the drooling, spittle-flecking UNC-CH fan base and its organs in the sports media rally around the idea that Drew should have just toughed it out in Chapel Hill, like they have any idea what it was like for him.  If any of them have the misfortune to find themselves in an intolerable job or relationship situation, Iím sure Larry Drew II wonít be on message boards and Facebook, counseling them sagely to sack up and tough it out.  Jerks.  In any event, with the departure of Roidís latest California signee gone wrong, itís the Ken Doll show now at the point for UNC.  He sure hasnít played many minutes . . . perhaps that information has been of interest to Duke's planning team.  

So How Good or Bad Is UNC-CH This Season?
As always with the Baby Blue, depends on whom you ask.  I freely admit that I am usually of the persuasion that the Tools are not as good as they are hyped up to be, and over the last 14 seasons of this website, with the glaring exception of the 2004-2005 season, Iíve usually managed to be the myopic squirrel without his glasses, who still finds a dadgum lot of nuts, on that.  (I openly accepted that the Tools were good in 2008-2009, but disagreed with mediots on the reasons why - - it wasnít Traveler Hansblow, but Lawson that made the difference on that team.  Happily or unhappily enough, Flawson was only too willing to illustrate this for everyoneís benefit late that season.)

This time around, the Holes were very bad at the inception of the season, and that wasnít surprising.  There was still a gaping question mark at the point guard position, and serious deficiencies in many fundamental aspects of their game, which Iíll discuss in a moment.  As always happens, however, the rest of the ACC has now mounted its customary strategy of playing right into the Toolsí strengths and making them look better than they actually are.  It truly is amazing how this happens, without fail, every single season, with perhaps the hilarious 8-20 campaign as the outlier.  Even last year, the Twinks won some games that they shouldnít have because ACC foes agreeably cooperated with them. 

Almost as baffling as the fact that ACC teams routinely play to the Twinksí skills and allow them to mask their oft-substantial weaknesses is how the willing ACC partners accomplish this - - itís almost always the same story.  Over the past several seasons, North Carolina (even during the Handjob/Lawson Era) has not been nearly as strong in the halfcourt as it has been on jailbreak transition plays.  Like clockwork, however, ACC coaches line up like lemmings and prepare and execute vigorous track meets against the Dirty Footmen, almost always culminating with the opponent getting blown out of the building.  The latest examples of this, of course, are the Boston College game in Chestnut Hill and Florida Stateís relaxing visit to the Dump Dome on Sunday (see below). 

I think this addresses a fundamental problem with the ACC more than anything else - - beyond Krzyzewski and Sweaty (Horseface is not relevant to this discussion since weíre talking about how coaches deal with playing the Tools), the ACCís current panoply of coaches includes people who are either not very smart and/or skilled, or not very experienced.  Itís true that Virginia, Wake, BC, and Clemson have replaced their sideline leaders over the past two seasons, but letís look at how thatís worked out:

Figure 1. 
ACC Coaching Replacements, 2009-2011

Fired/Weirdly Resigned Guy             Strengths?        Successor/Current Skill Level, 1-10*  
Dino Gaudio                                     Thugball                              Bzdelik, 0.2        
The Nutcracker                                    No                                  Donahue, 3.5
Oliver Purnell                                Late-Season Fades                 Brownell, 4
Dave Lameao                      Calhoun coaching tree LOLOL         Bennett, 6.5

*in ascending order of skill, where 0 = Macrocephapete and 10 = Coach K   

As long as the ACC coaching fraternity is stacked with airhorn-wielding circus clowns like Hewitt, Lowe, and Hamilton, and until people like Bennett, Brownell and Donahue divest themselves of the taint of previous regimes (if they can), UNC is always going to have it very, very easy in the ACC.  (Don't forget their mandatory Swoff-issued comfy conference scheduling plan.)  After all, when everyone saves it all up to beat Duke, whatís left in the tank?  Special thanks, by the way, to Frank Haith for really coming up with an excellent gameplan against the Twinks at the Conversation Center - - the Hurricanes almost pulled that one off.  Of course, I should probably hold those attaboys until we see if the U shoots 82.4% from the field against visiting Duke this weekend.    

So Give Me A Really Solid Reason I Shouldnít Be Impressed By This Latest UNC Run:
I think that number of possessions is all you need to examine, really.  Using Ken Pomeroyís formula, the number of possessions in the Tar Heelsí last five ACC games, in chronological order, is 74, 62, 77, 76, and 73.  Right away, you can see where Iím going with this.  The only one of those games that was competitive was the game at Miami, which was not coincidentally the one with 62 possessions.  Haith got it - - if confronted with a team that likes to run, but doesnít have great shooters, fantastic defenders, or any real high-scoring ability, which garners a staggering 58.8% of its points on two-point shots (more than all but 19 other teams in Division I), then you slooooooow things down and play in the halfcourt.  Maybe you press and trap - - something Iíd like to see Duke employ here against a freshman point guard who is not used to heavy minutes, by the bye - - but you resolve into a soft man-to-man or a zone look, and flex out to cover the one competent three-point shooter that this edition of UNC deploys in any given game at any given time.  Play under control with the ball, limit possessions, and (this is even more true now that Drew is gone) work the ball inside, giving UNC a choice of either allowing cheap change (the more likely choice) or assembling fouls at a rapid clip. 

Hmmmmm.  So What About That Century Mark at Boston College? 
If thereís one thing that is important to Roid, and that he craves above all else, itís national attention.  It was probably starting to annoy him that no one was talking about his resurgent team and brilliant lineup tinkering, so he ran up the score on the Beagles.  Why Steve Donahue couldnít figure out to limit possessions, I donít know.  Was Doug Flutie there, in the audience?  If not, that explains it.           

UNC-CHís Last Game     
Whatís that old saw about how the only things that you can count on are death, taxes, and late-season choke jobs from Len Hamilton?  If youíve been outside of a cave and watching any ACC basketball this season, you are probably aware that Florida State is reputed to have one of the best defenses in the country.  Indeed, this claim has even been backed up by defensive efficiency statistics, although the Semi-Noles have largely been eclipsed in defensive hype over the last couple of weeks by the Texas Longhorns.  Right as rain, though, that peerless containment show was on full display in Tallahassee back on January 12, as the Quasinoids forced Duke into almost historically bad shooting.  (Tellingly, however, Duke still had a chance to win the game with just a couple of minutes left - - a testament to the rancid nature of the F$U offense.) 

So naturally, in roll the Noids to Chappaheya on Super Bowl Sunday.  Two hours later, they were excused from the area after displaying all the defensive tenacity commonly associated with the Detroit Lions.  In keeping with whatís discussed above, Listless Len did no coaching (other than his usual dyspeptic sideline glare) and allowed the Tools to run and take open threes, with little or zero effort to force the game into the halfcourt.  You knew the game was over in the first half when Len refused to bring tenth-year junior Singleton back into the game for the last seven minutes of the stanza, because he had gone benchward after collecting . . . gasp! . . . his *second* personal foul, depriving FSU of its best defender.  Oh, for crying out loud.     

The mediot take on this game, as presaged above, is that Kendall Marshall showed up and turned out to be the next coming of former Orange County (N.C.) resident Ed Cota, 47.  He wasnít.  The Nolesí gameplan was asinine from the opening tap and there was no way they were going to win, even if Phone Pole had been playing the point for UNC.  Oh, and by the way, FSU has no point guard, which allowed Marshall to operate at will.       

Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Tyler Zeller, 7-0 JR C - - Greedo is probably the best all-around player on the Tools, but heís obviously not part of the little clique that includes The Messiah and Ken Doll, as evidenced by his little brother hilariously choosing not to follow him into the Roid Zone.  It will be interesting to see if this impacts how many touches he gets.  He's by far the best on Cryolina at getting to the line  

John Henson, 6-10 SO PF - - Stick Figure certainly alters more than a few shots on defense, but his footwork remains slow and he gives up on tons of eventual baskets that he should contest, all things that donít show up in the boxscore.  He has questionable stamina and, despite recent improvement, is still a carnival act at the line.  In the only game in UNC-CHís last five featuring a real opposing big man (Miami), Henson shot just 4-9 and was dominated on the boards by Reggie Johnson   

Harrison Barnes, 6-7 FR SF - - Heh.  Well, the Preseason NBA Hall of Famer is certainly a lock to draw some of the crowdís attention at this one.  If there arenít four to five highly clever references to Skype, Iím going to be very disappointed.  ďItís okay, Harrison - - you werenít our Skype?Ē  Nah; weak.  "Don't believe the Skype?"  ďAll hype, all Skype?Ē  No, that doesnít convey anything.  ďGet out while you still can, Harry!Ē might work, but thereís no Skype reference.  Hm.  ďA hype, Skype, and a jumpĒ . . . maybe thereís something there.  Anyhoo.  Naturally, everyone in the media who voted this kid Preseason Most Likely to Walk on Mars Within Five Years has a vested interest in seeing him succeed, or they otherwise look quite foolish, which means that his recent performances, against bad teams, have been blown out of proportion.  Still not a reliable shooter of any sort; will have to guard and will be guarded by one of the best offensive and defensive forwards in the country    

Kendall Marshall, 6-3 FR PG - - itís easy to rack the assists when the other team does not contest the point of attack and plays no defense.  Speaking of playing no defense, thatís Marshallís trademark.  Iím not sure if K plans to go with TT at the point to start this game, but trying to switch to get Marshall on Nolan will lead to loooooooooads of easy opportunities for the well-rested Duke senior.  Then again, NCCH has no one that can guard Nolan AS LONG AS DUKE SPREADS THE DEFENSE 

Dexter Strickland, 6-3 SO SG - - that strangest of beings: a shooting guard who canít really shoot from any kind of distance.  (He can certainly drive, though, and heís hella fast.)  Unless heís left wide open, of course, as FSU ensured repeatedly.  Paging Danny Green!  Strickland is also now the backup point guard, which is inapt   

Justin Knox, 6-9 SR PF - - this guy is a pretty talented role player who provides something that NCCH desperately needs - - beef inside.  Apart from Zeller (and Marshall, who doesnít use his size at all), the Tools are very light and slight at every position and on the bench

Leslie McDonald, 6-4 SO SG - - another guy who will sink shots if, and only if, he is left wide open.  NCCHís best three-point shooter, but thatís like being the least attention-seeking Kardashian sister

Reggie Bullock, 6-7 FR SF/WG - - Royís latest recruiting mistake, this one-dimensional player can barely get on the floor heís so fundamentally bad, but at least he fills the mandatory Woody Durham Can Dramatically Mispronounce This Guyís Name and Sound All Cool and Hard role

Justin Watts, 6-4 JR SG - - sat out three games, then returned for seven minutes against Florida Stink and did nothing.  Has scored five points since January 2

Most Likely to Bootsy:
Marshall (11 points required)

North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Likely Gameplan:
The same gameplan they always have, because Olí Roy, in addition to being a bizarre egomaniac with poor impulse control, is a little short on imaginativeness in coaching.  Marshall will try to feed the ball down low to Greedo and Phone Pole, who will draw doubleteams, and then they will either (a) try to draw contact on the shot; (b) look for a backdoor cutter such as Strickland; or (c) redirect out to the wing to various Twink shooters who will hopefully (for them) have five seconds or more to set their feet and hoist.  UNC will also try to run a lot.  (!!)  No, srsly!!  Finally, the Tools will attempt to deploy one of their favorite plays as much as possible, which I call The Haywood.  The NCCH free throw shooter misses badly, but they get the long board, and on the ensuing fire drill, someone pops wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open for a completely unmolested three, which drains.  The Tar Heels convert at least three of these per game, particularly against Duke.

Sorry if none of that was very insightful or orbit-breaking, but UNCís approach under Horseface is the same every season, and is only a mystery to the likes of Sid Lowe, who finds it new and refreshing every time he encounters it.  

Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about North Carolina-Chapel Hill:
- Terrible free throw shooters at 65.2%, #278/345 in the country.
- Only 24 teams in Division I take a lower percentage of their total shots from behind the arc.  This is not uncommon in the ACC this season.  How not uncommon?  Well, Dukeís last two opponents, NCSU and MDCP, happen to be two of those 24 teams.  Since K and the staff easily designed a very nifty blueprint for beating those two clubs . . . well, you take it from there. 
- Only two teams in Division I (Ohio State and Creighton - - if youíre like me, you hate it when someone supplies a statistical data point like this involving just a few teams or players, then fails to mention the identities of the others) allow opposing teams to get to the line less often than North Carolina.  Moreover, the Toolsí outstanding free throw defense is at 64.1%, #18 in the country.  Now, there are a few different ways to spin these factoids, but since I am not convinced that this team is at all for real, my take is that they donít foul very often and successfully draw inept opposing teams and coaches into track meets, cutting down on opportunities for the other team at the line.  Additionally, when the aggregate other team gets to the line, for whatever reason (fatigue from running?), it collectively shoots even worse than the Tools themselves; an FT% of 64.1% would rank 301/345 in Div I.  In other words, this is a verrrrrry, verrrrrrrry lucky combination that plays right into the Heelsí, uh, feet.     

Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- Mike Krzyzewski got under .500 again against NCCH during the late stages of the Traveler Era, but can regain the even mark in his career against these characters with a win here.  
- The consensus line on this game is about ten points, which proves that Las Vegas oddsmakers, as usual, are more knowledgeable (at least IMO) than sports media members. 

Duke Appraisal
The win against NCSU was very impressive, and looking back, I sort of love the way that the team just took the second half off, raining down only six field goals but still staving off any comeback from what has been a decidedly second-half operation from the Red and White all season.  Dukeís game notes list Ryan Kelly as a probable starter here, and thatís probably smart if K intends to go in that direction.  Ryan has not scored in two straight games after showing signs of being a factor in that @NCSU/@Wake/BC stretch, when he averaged 15.0 ppg.  I figure that he probably needs confidence more than anything else, and besides, potential starting alternative Miles Plumlee seems to thrive coming off the bench.  I'm sure that you've heard from enough other sources that the play of Mason Plumlee of lofty importance to Duke's fortunes in this one.  I agree - - it is.     

The backcourt is in very good shape.  Both Curry and Dawkins have sleepwalked through portions of the season, but Dawkins has shown recent signs of life, particularly against Maryland, and Curry has ratcheted up his defense to an extremely high level and is also 14-29 (48.3%) in his last four games - - 13-24 (54.2%) if you do the right thing and remove all traces of St. Johnís.  Hey, howís Nolan Smith doing?  Pretty well, as it turns out.  I like the idea of a number of minutes for TT to reduce Nolanís responsibilities at the point, and one of the really interesting storylines in this game is how the battle of freshman point guards - - but not the freshman point guard that everyone was expecting on our side, anyway - - will work out.  Donít look now, by the way, but Nolanís had a couple of subpar shooting games back-to-back, which is intriguing because it hasnít really hurt Duke at all.  (As commenter SanFranSoxFan pointed out, I may have shot too late in my estimation of Singlerís self-activation date for the stretch run.)  So Nolan could be primed for something special.  Now, supposing that Nolan AND Kyle both shoot well at the same time against a middling defense . . . I wonder.           

Singler, by the way, has scored in double figures in 21 consecutive ACC games, and has failed to score 10 or more in just four of his 57 career conference contests in the regular season.  And hereís another one of those situations where itís fun to have all the data - - so be advised that the four not-like-the-other games in Kyle's career were the tilt at GIT last season (a narrow Duke loss); the asinine ďcontestĒ at Clemson in 2008-2009 that was one of the worst games in recent Duke history; the game immediately preceding that in 2008-2009, against Virginia at home; and at MDCP when he was a freshman (an 11-point Duke win).  The last time that Singler failed to score in double figures was against Baylor in last seasonís Elite Eight, which went okay.  Now, how about Singlerís career averages against North Carolina?  In chronological order, he has scored 14, 10, 22, 23, 19, and 25 against Our Honored Guests, an average of 18.8 ppg in six games.  I imagine that this average will hold up.  Hereís looking at you, Harry.   

Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
ESPN - - Shulman and Vitale; Raycom - - Brando and Gminski.  As you can see, if youíre not in ACC country, you should prepare to medicate yourself as needed.  Vitale in particular promises to be unbearable for this one, and one doubts that Shulman has been issued anything but plaudits from Bristol bureaucrats for his disgusting performance coaching against Duke one week ago.  ESPN is, however, bringing Erin Andrews, which is nice.  I used to dislike Erin for reasons that are retrospectively completely unclear to me, but was very moved by her sad experience at the hand of that pervert who taped her in her hotel room, and her tearful testimony at his sentencing hearing.  It's pretty hard not to appreciate how awful that was and how well she handled it.  So now Iím a fan of hers - - but not in a Ron Franklin sort of way.  

Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
These goofs have achieved very little in the last five games other than run up the score against a fair Boston College team with an awful game plan, and expose Lamilton and Sweet & Lowe (again) as clueless dolts.  Oh, and they also beat Clemson at home, which never happens, and barely got out of Horatio Caineís jurisdiction due to various circus hijinks.  Wow.  Dukeís achievements in the same time frame, with the obvious exception of that one fiasco, are far more impressive, and again, the Blue Devils are facing the third straight opponent with a very similar tactical approach.  Duke, playing at home, should honestly win this one, and handily. 

The Missing Link(s):
UNC-CHís roster.
UNC-CHís stats.
UNC-CHís state-run propaganda, and yeah, I really want to apologize for that.  
Nauseous now?  About ready to ask your doctor if youíre healthy enough for basketball activity? 
Try this for a soothing balm.      

Score Prediction:
Duke 85, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 70.

Other ACC Action
Miami (Florida) 76, @ Wake Forest 70.
@ Maryland, College Park 150, Longwood 4 (hours).
@ Georgia Institute of Technology 70, Florida State 69.   

Last Edition:
Matt 4-2

This Season:
Matt 37-7
Guests 1-0




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Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/11/2011 6:54:55 AM  
Oh yeah. The game is in Cameron.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/11/2011 6:47:14 AM  
Just a heads up. Marshall Plumlee's team is playing Quin Cook's tonight on ESPN2 at 7:30 PM Eastern.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/10/2011 12:19:12 PM  
+1 Jake!

Posted by: Matt Jervey Date: 2/10/2011 9:45:25 AM  
Thanks to whomever got Matt's precap to the team during half-time!

Posted by: Jake Date: 2/10/2011 8:52:31 AM  
WHO is our rival?

About 20 years from now two average Duke fans are gonna be sitting at a sports bar and the first one is going to say "Hey, do you remember those great teams during the Smith-Singler years?"

Fan No. 2 is going to respond: "Hell, yeah I remember. Those two national championships back to back. Sweet! And do you remember the night in their senior year when we played Carolina at home and we were like 25 or 30 points down at the half, but then Curry hit his first 10 shots in a row (set some kind of record for consecutive shots, I think) and Nolan totally Bootsied UNC for 45 or 46 points to come back and win the thing in a blowout?!! Man, that was like the best game ever."

Fan No. 1 will say "Those were indeed great years, my friend. And I think we played those Maryland losers pretty strong back then."

Fan No. 2: "Yep, we pretty much owned them, but I don't recall any game in particular."

And that's the truth.

Posted by: Thomas Rutledge Date: 2/10/2011 8:19:22 AM  
Loved the outcome - had trouble with the first half...

Did anyone note what the best chants were by the Cameron Crazies? Especially about Barnes?

Thanks again for this blog! Great, as always!

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/10/2011 3:16:39 AM  
Pac Std Time on a school night... late recap here, and you have all said most of it already...

Nice premonition, dan, or as I referred to it, the one that sent a St. John's chill:
"As long the guards can stop penetration the game should go Duke's way."

So congrats to Matt - they use your game plan for two halves and this was the comfortable win you predicted (12ish vs. 6). For that reason alone, you have no "'splainin' to do." K and staff on the other hand... wow. What was that, Coach??

CDG - tale of two halves. No kidding!

Chanc Hold ur Thorp... I've done some of my finest thinking in a tent, so screw you. Every broadcast from K-ville features kids with open MacBooks in their laps while answering questions. They're studying, asshat. Seriously, this was your pithy comment? Really?

Tape of Gerald/elbow/nose - you called it Matt, but in that "they wouldn't dare" way. Well they did. Open letter to ESPN time. Your readers will forgive you if you post it tomorrow instead of your recap. At least I will. Two Duke games in a row? This is their new strategy? Bastards.

Anyhow, UNC came to play, could not have played better the first half if we had helped them (oh... never mind). They folded like a bunch of freshmen and sophomores in hostile territory the second half. Shouldn't have been surprising, but I was shocked at how quickly the worm turned. Great play by an experienced crew defending their house. Dean Dome should be very interesting, and can't wait for Matt's precap to that one!

Night all, go Duke! Great win.

Posted by: Date: 2/10/2011 12:06:21 AM  
Drank a vodka tonic out of my GTHC mug at the half. Guess I have a new tradition to uphold.

GO DUKE! The elation right now is the reason why we have one, and only one, rival. Or maybe it's the drink. Did anyone else get jacked up seeing Kyrie going completely bananas on the sideline?

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 11:56:31 PM  
Call me one of the million too amped to sleep!

Matt - what were thinking without the Duke gear??? And no The Short Fuse. Those should be the FAILS in the recap, along with Fats' popcorn since you called everything else. :)

Can't wait for a recap with the stats and insights I have no ability to retain or produce.

What would I do without Dukies.com?

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 11:42:13 PM  
Nay, Fats, it is I who must apologize. My employer (a great guy who REALLY knows his basketball; just kidding) generously permitted me to work from home today. For some reason, I decided to allow the game to start without donning any Duke apparel. At halftime (not that I had much hope, to be honest), I rectified this and donned my lucky, magic Duke shirt, which I wore for the final nine games last season and which has traveled to Cameron, TeeHee, Clemson, the Garden, and many other venues to see Duke.

And there you go. WTF I was thinking, I'm not sure. I should add that gamewatching buddy The Short Fuse arrived at halftime. This also will not be permitted in the future.

CDG, that's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me related to this site. You're waaaaaaaaay, way too kind, of course - - the way to beat these clowns was or should have been apparent to most competent adults, let alone those with Duke websites. But thank you. Maybe I can coach some JV at a high school somewhere and Peter Principle myself out of a job within less than two seasons.

Whew. What a ridiculous game.

Thanks to everyone for some outstanding comments. Keep 'em up! I love it.

Posted by: El Guapito Date: 2/9/2011 11:41:37 PM  
Very nice win.

Matt was spot on again on the preview with the one exception that obviously someone on the team was reading the preview and decided that Duke would be the team with the loooong rebound and the put back 3.

Yes it made a difference to have Seth scoring like his Daddy back when Kendall Gill actually had an "up side." The difference, however, was Kelly, and Plumlee Power (the former and the latter). They rebounded like fiends and contested everything in the 2nd half. THAT is how you win. Makes it much easier for the others to score WHEN YOU HAVE THE BALL.

Still not impressed by the Second Coming of Christ our Lord and Savior from RiverCity.

Posted by: Alex MacArthur Date: 2/9/2011 11:40:26 PM  
Nolan and Seth were great, but defense and rebounding were the key to the comeback. Kyle got fouled a couple times but mostly he was missing open shots. I think the officiating was fine (except the block on Kelly--WTF was that). Now I'm all worked up and can't go to sleep. Go Duke!

Posted by: KD Date: 2/9/2011 11:39:00 PM  
Wow. Thanks to Seth -huge night. And Holy Nolan! My God he is phenomenal. Tough night for Kyle - I see a lot of comments complaining about him getting fouled, but having watched it on tape and rewinding, he just got packed several times down low. Barnes is going to be a player, and he did as good a job on Kyle as Kyle did on him. Kudos to Kyle for playing hard and trying to do the little things that make the difference on a night where the defense on the other side just took him out of his game. One of the all time come backs - awesome. Thanks to Deputy for keeping Bullock in the game so much - clearly not ready for a game like this. And Fats, thanks for getting rid of that popcorn.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/9/2011 11:28:14 PM  
Here's a nice little tweet from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorpe --

"Our students are talking about the future and asking smart questions instead of wasting time sitting in a tent."

I guess he scores about ten nanny nanny boo boo points with that one. Nicely put!


Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 11:24:23 PM  
Nolan Smith and Seth Curry are trending topics on Twitter right now...awesome. Also, Dean Dome is trending as well...the hilarious Tool fans are already woofing about the rematch without realizing that playing there affords them no advantage whatsoever.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 11:24:16 PM  
And Kyle was there; he was defending Barnes. 3-8, 9 points. Well done Kyle.

Posted by: tom Date: 2/9/2011 11:23:58 PM  
Thank you Nolan! Thank you Seth! Told the UNC guys today at work that I was going to be there win or lose tomorrow and feel free to stop by. So, it will be a little easier but winning easily really hasn't been Duke's Modus Operandi this season. And seeing how they played against NC State looks like they carried that second half to this first half. Still got stuff to work on. Second half was just nuts. Once they got the lead, they couldn't pull away and both sides got some lucky bounces. I will say that UNC has improved and I will be curious to see how the rest of the season plays out. Could be another humdinger at Chapel Hill. Thanks Matt. Good night fellas.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 11:22:16 PM  
Oh yeah, Kyle: total ice on those last free throws. Clutch, clutch, clutch. Well called Jake.

Posted by: Karl Beem Date: 2/9/2011 11:21:45 PM  
Where was Kyle - getting fouled, no call.

Posted by: Karl Beem Date: 2/9/2011 11:20:54 PM  
Never a doubt!

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/9/2011 11:19:00 PM  
Well, that was exciting.

If Kyrie stays maybe next year K can start 5 guards.

Posted by: Jake Date: 2/9/2011 11:18:00 PM  
Wow. One of the all time great comebacks -- outscored UNC by 20 in the second half.

And the adjustment we needed evidently was putting Curry in and telling him not to miss. Also, telling Nolan to go out and have fun.

I feel bad for Kyle. He had a horrible night shooting, but much of that was because he was just getting beat to death every time he got the ball and never a foul called. He worked really, really hard, and he made some key foul shots -- I think 3 of 4 -- at the end, so good for him.

I'm too exhausted to think anything more than wow, that was a great win.

Love those guys.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 11:17:40 PM  
A tale of two halves.


I plan to forget the first and focus on the second.


Seth - you were more than dagger. Congratulations!

Nolan - your resume for ACC and National POY are just mounting.

Plumlees had some amazing defensive stops in the second. Crazy good. Can I see more???

Kyle was not shooting well but his job on Barnes was incredible.

I am thrilled!!!!

I have this ritual when I watch Duke-UNC: I wear my "Friends Don"t Let Friends go to Carolina" t-shirt, I drink from my Cameron-obtained Duke cup, and I sit on my knees in a prayer position if the score is under 10. It is actually embarrassing. My knees are completely numb from the amount of time I was on them, but I am loving it.

Matt - you should be coaching. Outstanding call on the game plan.


Posted by: blueflame Date: 2/9/2011 11:17:02 PM  
Two words: Seth Curry = the difference...
Nolan sweet, but where was Kyle?

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 11:16:24 PM  
Whooooooo! Now that second half was exhilarating! Don't let them run and they won't score...glad we were able to figure out how to make that happen. And Nolan Smith...he may just be my favorite Duke player of all time before all is said and done. What an epic performance. Bye, Horseface! Bye, Tools! Go Duke!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/9/2011 11:14:29 PM  
Sorry, guys, I had some popcorn in my room in the first half, which was obviously the jinx. I removed it at halftime.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 10:46:27 PM  
Dear Kyle,
You are getting jobbed with the non-calls on the offensive end. But *please* run back and play defense instead of arguing with the refs. Kthxbai.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 10:29:54 PM  
There were about 4 fouls on that last play that were not called. And Duke gets all the calls??? Total crap.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 10:24:56 PM  
What the hell else do you have to do to draw a charge there?

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 10:24:18 PM  
God, Bullethead is a moron. That was Kelly. Fool.


Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 10:18:08 PM  
I want us to desperately get back into this but I am not okay for us to be relying on the three on every possession.

We need Nolan and Kyle to get to the rim more and actually get fouled, which is starting.

We also need to keep this rebounding up. Second chances will kill the Tools because they are impatient and will foul more.

If we do these things, then taking high percentage threes will be okay, like the one that Seth just took.

It is about having a strategy as opposed to what we had in the first half which was....????

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 10:17:35 PM  
Well...this is an encouraging start to the half. Keep it up!

Posted by: blueflame Date: 2/9/2011 10:11:51 PM  
What a sad half. It was obvious that points in the paint would hard to come given the length of Cry-a-lina. The three point consistency from Dawkins, Curry, Smith, and Singler would be the key. It still will be in the second half. It would just be nice one year not to have to depend on the three point line to stay in tough games. Any offensive help from the Plumlee's, or Kelly would be appreciated.

Posted by: Jake Date: 2/9/2011 10:04:27 PM  
It'll be interesting to see if the coaches have some adjustment to make, or will we just keep doing what didn't work in the first 2 minute, the first 5 minutes, the first 8 minutes, the first 12 minutes: throwing up hurried, bad three point shots while UNC shoots layups and free throws.

it's not like we didn't know this was UNC's game plan -- take the ball to the hoop every single time. Did you see Barnes get the rebound from Miles' bricked free throw and race down the court for an easy layup chased and then fouled by BOTH Curry and Dawkins. Sure didn't look like either had ever been on a basketball court before. Surely we can do better and make at least some adjustment in the game.

If not, the game is already over.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 9:56:18 PM  
Way to state the obvious Chris. How about we come up with a strategy to deal with it????


Um Jay, those were CLEARLY charges. Feet planted? Check. Out of control offensive player? Check. What game were you watching?

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 9:54:55 PM  
Zeller almost has a double-double in the first half. FAIL.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/9/2011 9:54:00 PM  
Shit, this is embarrassing. Also, the Plumlees are going to destroy me. The fact that the TV is muted is about all that's keeping me going right now.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 9:53:16 PM  
Fantastic. Just fantastic.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 9:50:45 PM  
Awesome. Add Coach K to figure 1 of the coaches who are Tool Enablers. It's just TOO HARD to slow them down. Getting blown out of Cameron - - choice!

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 9:47:44 PM  

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 9:42:09 PM  
NCCH has two FGs (out of 14) that are not dunks or layins.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 9:39:56 PM  
Fourth busted layup by Nolan - - or, in other words, two more than Maryland had all game long on Wednesday night. I can't hear him, but I'm sure Shulman is ALL over this.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 9:38:35 PM  
Bad: pace and few too many threes. Clearly they did not get the Dukies.com memo about the half-court game.

Good: Kelly & Plumlees D so far have been great, exploiting the Tools inexperience (those charges were almost comical how out of control they were), Nolan vexing thier D.

Bottom line: need to settle down and get into control.

BTW - ESPN, of all games you could show in this rivalry, you showed the elbow and Hansblow's nose. Here I am calling you out: FAIL.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/9/2011 9:36:01 PM  
LOL - - glad we all understand that these guys can't score except from point-blank range. And Fats, just mute it. Working wonders here.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/9/2011 9:34:27 PM  
Jesus Effing Christ, this looks like St. John's Deuce. NOT ENOUGH MEDICATION.

Posted by: Al White Date: 2/9/2011 8:44:25 PM  
Great job, Matt!

Feelin' a good effort by the whole team and a win by 10+.

Let's hope Shulman has returned to being just a bloodless technocrat. (Question -- if Vitale wasn't really there and they just played a tape of him doing a previous Carolina game in Cameron, how would we know?)

Posted by: KD Date: 2/9/2011 7:55:11 PM  
Tom - I am with you on the G-man and on the downside of Raycom. I like that they are trying with hi-def, but I think they only bought one camera. The floor cameras look pretty grainy when they switch from the main floor shot. We'll see if they step it up for the big one.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/9/2011 7:36:42 PM  
Awesome job Matt. Hurculean in fact, given yesterday's awesome recap too.

On the point of asking questions when it comes to departures, I seem to remember a period when Duke too experienced several transfers and the mediots spilled quite a large amount of ink on the cause of said transfers. In fact, this site even typed a few lines about them at their height.

This is because it is NORMAL to question whether there is something larger at play. In Duke's case, some of these transfers proved to be about the player more than the program (and in at least one case we were much better off I would venture to guess). But again, the questions should be coming. The fact they aren't is the glaring "Hole" in this issue.

GTHC! Go Duke!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/9/2011 6:13:19 PM  
Medicating (as suggested) as we speak. Er, type.

Posted by: Boomer Date: 2/9/2011 5:56:11 PM  
Matt, I liked "Don't believe the skype".

Fired up.


Posted by: tom Date: 2/9/2011 12:10:23 PM  
Good thing about where I live is I get to listen to Giminski. Bad thing is the awful Raycom production. Thanks for at least going to Hi Def guys. Great write-up. Only one way to stop the ball washing.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 2/9/2011 11:08:30 AM  
Fantastic precap, you are really on a roll Matt. I found your writeup disturbingly comforting - having not seen NCCH in any of its 3 recent victories, I have been the perfect recipient of media-induced bias (I only have them, as my own friggin' eyes weren't available). Thus "Car-o-liina is back!, baby" was my operating understanding prior to your precap.

That said, you better be correct, having moved me from "god, this is going to be one tough game and those bastards might win" to "it won't be 82-50, but we're gonna have us some fun tonight." If it goes the other way, you're gonna have some 'splainin' to do.

Also, basking in the good times that you instilled, I hit "dan's" statement - the one that sent a St. John's chill: "
As long the guards can stop penetration the game should go Duke's way."

Posted by: KD Date: 2/9/2011 10:28:24 AM  
Absolutely agreed, Matt, about the proper approach for Duke on defense. Let's pack it in a little bit and slow it down. If the Tools are cold with the jump shot, we are in good shape. If they find their stroke, it is going to be close. I hope K doesn't try to extend the defense too much - just not our strength this year and we don't need to do it. Let's let McDonald and Strickland try to beat us from the outside. Go Duke!

Posted by: dan Date: 2/9/2011 10:07:16 AM  
Great stuff Matt.

After listening to Brando on Sunday, there is no way Duke can handle Marshall. He is Gail Goodrich and Paul Arizin combined. Seriously?

As long the guards can stop penetration the game should go Duke's way. There have been games where the defensive rotations, especially the help the helper, are slow and penetration leads to buckets inside or the kickout three.

This would be a good time for Kelly to break out of his slump. Having another outside threat will keep the defense spread out and give Nolan more room to attack the basket.


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