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TD: Temple Game Preview/Blog

Date: 1/4/2012

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt

#5 DUKE (12-1) v. TEMPLE (9-3)
January 4, 2011, 7 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Spectrum Two)


Temple suffered a huge and unfortunate blow when oft-injured 6-11 senior Micheal Eric was lost for several weeks with a right knee injury suffered in practice.  That was about a month ago, but Eric isn't expected to play in this one, and since these aren't the Tar Heels or the New England Patriots, you can trust that information.  (The Tools, of course and as always, still lead Division I in players soldiering through season-ending hangnails and other SportsFoMinion garbage.)   Anyway, Temple was already without another IR denizen, senior Scootie Randall, so the Owls have taken more than their fair share of lumps already.    

Without Eric, the Owls are going F/C/triple G (stunner!), although the three guards are each 6-4.  Fran Dunphy rolls out eight guys. 

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, 6-6 JR - - solid frontcourt rebounder and defender with good ability to get to the line.  Not very mobile, and it will be interesting to see how he covers Kelly. 

Anthony Lee, 6-9 FR - - forced into a starting role due to Eric's injury.  One of the top 100 rebounders on both sides of the ball, statistically speaking, in the country; fouls a ton and will be challenged to contain the Plumlees down low.  Both he and Jefferson are butchers at the line, and neither one gets there very often. 

Khalif Wyatt, 6-4 SO - - playing because of Randall's injury.  Shot 2-11 in Temple's last game against Delaware but he was over 50% from the year from 2-point range before that fiasco.  He's the Owls' best wing defender. 

Juan Fernandez, 6-4 SR - - the modern-Day PeePee Sanchez, Fernandez has been overrated as a point guard for years.  He's got his typical unimpressive A/TO ratio this season, and his defense has been fair.  Will probably check Curry. 

Ramone Moore, 6-4 SR - - the Owls' best player, but he isn't shooting well, almost never leaves the floor (16th in Div I in percentage of team minutes played), and his defense is average at best.  He relies way too much on dribble drives and drawing fouls when he's out of control.  (By the way, I want to commend Rivers for reducing that element of his game substantially.)    



Aaron Brown, 6-5 SO - - Soulless three-point gunner.  Rarely turns the ball over, though, and shoots at 40% from range.

T.J. DiLeo, 6-3 JR - - Active defender and good rebounder for a guard but not a transformative guy off the bench.

Will Cummings, 6-1 FR - - Another three-point exclusivity patron who gets strictly breather minutes. 

UPSHOT:  It's not a deep team without Eric and Randall, and the defense on drives is atrocious.  Owl opponents score 61.3% of their points from inside the bonusphere, a mark "bettered" by only six other teams in the nation.  Now, only four teams in D-I hold opponents to a lower shooting percentage from distance, but that's sort of like noting that the Dallas Cowboys had a solid run defense this season.  Maybe they did, but only because teams were teeing off at will against the Pokes' atrocious secondary.  End othersport rant.

Meanwhile, without a ton of size on the interior and that depth problem, it's hard to see Temple contending with Duke on the boards.  The Owls are strictly a middling rebounding team.  Their best hope is to limit their turnovers, at which they excel, and hit a bunch of timely threes - - their percentage ranks them #38 in the country.  (The Blue Devils are sixth in the land.)    

JIMMY DYKES ALERT:  Is there anyone more unpleasant to listen to?  I just loathe his banal commentary, of which he is a master.   

WANT:  Limiting Temple's three-point looks.  Cheating off post players to accomplish this will work fine, as the Owls do not have a dominating paint presence available.  Quinn Cook to continue his awesomeness - - 17/0 A/TO ratio in the last two games is highly satisfactory.  It's easy to forget that Quinn is coming off of an injury, so he's still rounding into form as a shooter and defender.  Nothing wrong with his distributing, though. 

DO NOT WANT:   Dykes to say anything.  Temple to get easy looks from outside, because there's no reason for it.  Mason to put up airballs from the charity stripe, and in his case, "charity" means that 40% is charitable.  Penetration by the Owl guards, because they aren't really that fast or quick.   

PREDICTION:  Neat how I left off the score prediction from the last little teeny edition, wasn't it?  Oh, I mean the one before the Pennsylvania game, the latter of which I sort of wholly neglected.  (I did enjoy watching it and hope you did as well.)  Well, this Duke team has a few soft spots, and one of them is mental toughness.  Players such as the Plumlees and Dawkins just aren't consistent, and in hostile environments, that can hurt.  Of course K pulled his usual playing-Temple nonsense here and engineered the location of this one in Spectrum Two (now on its fifth shillbank name) rather than Temple's on-campus Liacouras Center, using the same old tired arguments that always get peddled when Duke makes this trip.  Just play at Liacouras already - - it actually seats more than 10,000, and I'm sure there's plenty of room for Duke fatcats, future Zoubeks/Thomases (I'll pass on future Hendersons), and K's massive entourage.

Duke 78, Temple 69. 

Please add your comments below.  Gracias!     


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Posted by: Phil Markell Date: 1/6/2012 8:31:05 AM  
I think this is the only Duke site on the Internet where I'm allowed to say this (thanks Matt!) but K's showing was pitiful. Games like this one really make me mad about the cult of personality crap we have to endure while he's allowed to let games like this one get away. How about zoning or since that's never an option, packing it in down low like we did in 2010 (result: surprise title)? Golly but that was only two seasons ago, so I'm sure the GOAT (is there a stupider acronym) remembers this. Another idea would be to use both Plumlees at once, especially since Miles may be having his Zoubek Moment. You know, where the light goes on four months before you leave campus.

Argh. Just cannot abide K and K-worship at times like this. Sorry for teh ranting.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/5/2012 8:43:36 PM  
As pointed out by OSG, this Temple team (while a likely tourney participant) should have been HANDLED. PS - congrats to OSG on the great start; I will be at the Louisville game @ the beginning of March, looking forward to it.

I would like to see how (if?) the perimeter D can be improved. We will be a very tough out if that happens. Cannot see a switch to a zone, which many people are calling for.

Both bigs & guards are blowing an unusual amount of layups lately. That has to stop.

Keep it going, Miles - best stretch of games you have played in 4 years, by far. That fact that this comes against smaller frontcourts does not mean a damn thing to me. If anything, it highlights how aggressive/confident he is becoming, which bodes very well.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 1/5/2012 3:24:19 PM  
"I call myself The Misfit," he said, "because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."

Or in other words, I don't mind a good butt kickin' every now and then, I'd just like to know why.

Posted by: Official Syracuse Guy Date: 1/5/2012 2:28:23 PM  
It is nice to see another squad takeover the FU err Wack Center during a road game. Credit given to Dukie hoops fan for representing.

No credit given to Dukie hoops player not named Plumlee. How is it, this tired, out of shape old hoopster could so easily see several simple things even a mediocre team could do that would result in a 10+ point victory over the Owls, but the "greatest of all time ..." could not?

Everytime a Plumless touched the ball on offense, Duke scored or took a very good shot. It was simply that easy. Yet, the guards refused to take advantage of this matchup advantage. To get beat on the boards, to simply jog back on defense (Rivers wasn't the only one), to make Temple's guards look like Chris Paul/Allen Iverson as they continually blew by their Dukie counterparts on forays into the lane ... I really thought I was watching Mateen Cleaves attempt to stop anyone without hand-checking.

Needless to say, I didn't see that performance coming when walking into the Wack Center.


Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/5/2012 11:27:53 AM  
From my daughter (seven years old), at the game, first half: "Looks like Miles is the only one who practiced."

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/5/2012 8:55:10 AM  
Jeebus. Take small children out of the room before looking at the box score. What a fire drill. K should be ashamed. That Temple team was missing two starters!!! A joke.

Posted by: Matt Date: 1/5/2012 8:51:24 AM  
True road game? Fake road game? No prob - - we have none of the answers for ya.

Easily one of Krzyzewski's worst coaching jobs in years. Just years. Unlike some of these recent blowouts where the team doesn't show up and nothing can be done, this was a very winnable game with the right coaching decisions.

If Thornton gets no assists in 25 minutes, he isn't the answer at PG. Start Cook.

Our guards can't stop anyone taller than 6-2. Start Gbinije.

Thanks to the Plumlees for showing up. Miles in particular looked great and really gave a solid effort, something I can't say about too many other players.

Curry, like Dawkins, is slowly playing himself into irrelevance. Not that K understands how to use either one. They're spot-up shooters.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 11:46:16 PM  
Okay, still can't get to sleep. Tomorrow will blow. You know, I don't mind if people that actually watch college basketball rag on my about the game. It's the ones that don't even watch it but just know Duke lost that come over and give me a hard time that I can't stand. Cause they never watch a freakin game! Geez! Glad you could come and post ClemsonGuest. I know that game is unbearable to watch for you. Well, ACC season is starting. What team will show up in Atlanta?

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 1/4/2012 11:13:32 PM  
Welcome back Matt, and Miles. Not much else to say, between the Philly stuff and this crap going on one channel down in Joe Robbie Stadium.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/4/2012 10:03:59 PM  
The singular positive I can take away from the game is the offense of Brothers Plum. They scored at will, though I wish on a couple occasions they just took the time to catch the ball and then go up with it - a bit rushed on occasion.

They hit a lot of tough shots, but when it comes down to it their guards just kicked our ass. Not entirely surprising, but disappointing.

I want to enjoy the rest of the year, so I'll try to forget about this one asap.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/4/2012 10:03:51 PM  
Was actually at the game tonight, guys. Front row, top level which was terrifying. If you saw a little girl with a blue superhero mask, that was my kid. I told her to cry at the end for sure TV time, but she just hugged her stuffed animal instead.

The crowd was probably 2/3-3/4 Temple fans. Lots of Duke fans, but they (we) didn't make a whole lot of noise most of the time. The roar was pretty awesome when Temple got going. Strangely, the loss was less disappointing in person than via a TV/computer screen. Or maybe it was the beers.

Miles was incredible until the air dunk.

Posted by: blueflame Date: 1/4/2012 10:02:02 PM  
I am so pi_ _ed with this team and with our coach who is determined to lose badly to some half-a_ _ed team away from the friendly confines Cameron in January every freaking year. I am convinced that Austin Rivers is going to be about as successful as Josh McRoberts for Duke. Rivers is an easy read for opponents. He decides what he going to do with the rock at half-court. i do not believe that even coach K can teach that out of him. The entire perimeter of the Devils was outplayed, out-shot, and out-hustled tonight. Dawkins has officially crawled back into pine-collecting self. Curry didn't know whether to wind his butt or scratch his watch all night. It is totally depressing to think that we have no quality point guard on the eve of the ACC regular season. And there is no point in bringing up the oh-so-average capabilities of the Plumlees. What a sad group... man I miss Nolan and Kyle. Shaping up to be a frustrating, disappointing season... sigh.

Posted by: Dave Date: 1/4/2012 10:01:00 PM  
On the one hand, Temple benefited from some pretty goofy bounces on rebounds and some lights out shooting. And Duke was clearly dead-legged. So, hey, no big deal about the loss.

On the other hand, this is just such a prime example of all the stuff Duke does that makes me yell and scare the dog. Sticking with the extended D when it is clearly not working, and despite playing an opponent you want shooting from the outside? Check! Refusing to run any off ball action to free up Curry or Dawkins for shots at the elbows or on the baseline? Check! Lots of flat action off screens, and three players all sort standing around in the meantime not really doing anything? Check! A refusal to try and establish Kelly in the post, despite an obvious advantage? Check, check, check. I will never understand why K can be so damn stubborn.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 9:42:50 PM  
Just to let you guys know. I will start again posting after games only. Whether I see it live or not. Thank you for showing up Mason and Miles. Other guys, bad.

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/4/2012 8:44:01 PM  
That was a stupid, stupid foul by Thornton.

Mase is trying to put the team on his shoulders right now, and mighty successfully I might add.

I'm not panicking yet, but I am NOT happy. Great foresight Serious G about the toughness of Temple. Can they stop talking about them taking the subway like they risked their lives or something??? They had a subway car to themselves and had police escorts. Really getting "back to who they are" like that...

Posted by: Dave Date: 1/4/2012 8:11:03 PM  
Not a lot of hustle tonight. Perhaps the schedule shouldn't be based on Bataan.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 7:48:34 PM  
Surprised K didn't put Miles in more in the first half. Not surprised by halftime score. Looks lke they've been trying to push it but can't get a break. I can only count one or two shots Dawkins took. Looks like another sulk.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 7:26:31 PM  
Ryan is not playing well. Miles is.

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 7:11:55 PM  
Is it a requirement Temple can only hire coaches that look like death?

Posted by: Serious G Date: 1/4/2012 6:48:07 PM  
This will good be a great road test, looking forward to this one. Although Duke seemingly has many advantages, this will be tough on account of their postman (rebounding) and their 'souless three point gunners'. Go Duke.

Thanks for the preview, as always.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 1/4/2012 3:56:27 PM  
As usual, due to technological constraints, I will be reserving my comments for apres le match. I hope my tortured fans can hold out. If you can't, wander on over to DBR and see if Featherston can hook you up with a little precognition. I'm serious.

Posted by: CDG Date: 1/4/2012 3:25:22 PM  
Liacoras is awesome! I so wish they would play there. Intimate like a Cameron, but still a "stadium" given its size. Totally with you on this rant...

Posted by: tom Date: 1/4/2012 10:17:28 AM  
Thanks for the pregame Matt. Always like your research. Looking forward to see how QC does in a more hostile environment. I agree about Dykes (That's a travel, that's a travel, that's a travel). Enough already.

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