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TD: VPI Game Preview/Blog

Date: 2/2/2012

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt

Volume XV, Episode 7
February 2, 2012

#7 DUKE (18-3, 5-1) @ VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE (12-9, 1-5)

Matt's comments in
Eff Jallen's comments in white.

DOES COACH K READ MESSAGE BOARDS? DEPARTMENT:  Probably my favorite part of Krzyzewski's post-St. Joke's outburst, in which he quickly dispensed with the (undeserved) praise for the opponent, moving past it in about two seconds, was how his attitude was completely at odds with the holier-than-thou approach of so many message board posters and one Duke basketball website in particular.  That approach, as we know all too well, states that we must, at all times: (1) unctuously praise the other team following a loss - - or in this case, something that sure feels like a loss; (2) say that, "well, teams always give their best shot against Duke," and shake our heads ruefully; and (3) make sure, in all cases, not to say anything negative about the Duke players.  They're just kids, hang it!

You know, that approach actually works pretty well for a loss like the one that came against Florida State two Saturdays back.  The only real tragedies of that setback were that it snapped our very impressive home winning streak, and that, assuming the usual loss in TeeHee, it probably means that we'll be the #3 seed in the ACC-T.  I just hate to see losses in Cameron, like anyone else.  However, other than the sievelike second-half defense (which actually wasn't THAT bad) and Dawkins being, shall we say, mildly out of position on the final play, there wasn't really a ton of criticism to be doled out.  You felt that the Duke kids played hard, it was a shame, and if you were like me, you were over it in about ten seconds.  It didn't hurt that FSU had finally sacked up against NCCH and beat the femme-blue stuffing out of them, either. 

So after that loss, you didn’t really mind the three-tiered Duke Pollyanna (hereinafter "DBR") approach.  The other team DID merit praise, FSU did give it their best shot and played on fire, and again, there wasn't really too much blasting of the Duke players that was deserved or appropriate. 

But after that St. Johnnie performance?  Yeah, the DBR approach just didn't fit!  St. John's is a terrible team playing without its coach and sporting 22 freshmen who somehow possess only seven collective scholarships.  They can't shoot from outside, beg beg beg to be zoned, and aren't terrific defenders.  All they can do is drive the bucket.  And boy, was Duke intent on proving that truism in the second half, eh?  Drive after drive after drive, and it ends up that when you combine that with somewhat premature (beginning at 17:49) Stallball, the other team can whittle a 22-point lead down to four fairly quickly.  In fact, the quickest way I can think of to illustrate that this wasn't a real team that we were playing was that we weren't suddenly trailing by ten, and that we still managed to hold on for the most hollow victory that I can remember in some time.    

So here comes Coach K to the podium.  And in paraphrase, he might as well have said:

"Hi, sycophants.  St. John's played pretty well.  Harkless was unstoppable.  But they really aren't that great of a team, and Harkless isn't that great of a player, so now let's focus on Duke.  They sucked.  They were terrible.  I hate my team's "defense."  I take that "effort" as a loss, and you all should too.  You want to crown St. John's?  Then CROWN THEIR ASS!"  [knocks microphone down, leaves podium]   

I never log on to the DBR, but there are enough "glass is half full" posters on TDD's message boards that I was able to perceive quite clearly the dilemma that Krzyzewski's diatribe put these folks in.  I mean, you spend half of your waking hours defending everything that Duke does and that K does, and shucks, if we lost, then the opponent just wanted it more, and blah blah blah ad nauseam ad infinitum . . . and then along comes K himself, your hero, and blows that all out of the water in about 30 seconds.  Pretty funny. 

So - - is Coach K "spoiled?"  Is he a "negative nelly?"  Does he fail to appreciate all of the great things that he's done for the Duke program over the years?  Is his glass "half empty?"  Does he fail to realize that "these are just kids?"  What a downer he is, huh?   


As usual, VPI's team is a collection of street hoods masquerading as a basketball team, directed by someone who, in my opinion, should quite possibly be behind bars.  Well, if encouraging thugball was a criminal act, that is.  In an even more familiar vein, the Chokies have dropped five of six in the ACC and are probably one of the most "disappointing" or "underperforming" teams in Division I.  Of course, that assumes that you buy the very shaky premise that the Bald Bastard of Blacksburg is a good coach, which is pretty fallacious of you if you do.  (Sorry!  Geez!  You can take it!)  This guy can bring in one, maybe two good recruits at a time, and while part of that is because convincing kids to spend 2/3/4 years in byootiful Blacksburg probably isn't all that easy, a lot of it is probably due to the fact that Greenbag just comes off like a completely odious person.  I'm sure more than a few others have arrived at that opinion after meeting him in person.  Anyway, Uncle Fester's real problem is that he never surrounds those two maximum guys with any solid spare parts, so he ends up depending on cretins like Anno Domini Vassallo or, worse, unhinged miscreant Deron Washington to provide "complementary" services to his real players, like Delaney.  Shoot, even Allen, an automatic double double, was a complete head case.  Ouch.  Add in that fact that Gasbag has exactly two games of good coaching decisions in him per season (always once against Duke, and on one other random occasion), and . . . yeah.  He's not a good coach.  And he hates the media and hates the NCAA and you get the idea.  And the NCAA hates him right back - - except this season, it doesn't look like they’re going to get their annual opportunity to stick it to him, because it won't be needed.  VPI's most notable win this season, apart from that silly two-point 47-45 win in Charlottesville, was . . . uh . . . beating 12-8 St. Bonaventure? 

The only thing that Surly Seth has going for him is that, apart from losing to the Twinks at home by 14, all of his cute little squad's ACC losses have come by four or fewer points.  But then, the ACC stinks to high heaven this season.        


Victor Davila, 6-8 SR - - We know this tiresome stiff, of course.  Basically, he's Vassallo without the outside game and the rebounding.  Zounds!  Could this be a matchup that Ryan Kelly might be able to exploit for once?? 

Dorian Finney-Smith, 6-7 FR - - Jumping jack who cannot hit the broad side of a frigate with his brickbombs - - he recently missed 21 straight from the field.  Now, there's no one on Duke who can guard him, but there's also no chance that he can guard either of the Plumlees.  Coaching, Mike!  That's what's needed here!  I just realized it!  In fact, anytime that you have a roster with no real contributors between 6-4 and 6-9, coaching comes into play!

Jarell Eddie, 6-7 SO - - Here's the guy that will absolutely kill against Duke.  I must confess that when I saw Mr. In Search of a Surname last season, I didn't really peg him as That Sophomore Breakout Guy, but so far, that's what's happening.  Shoots almost 50% from three and 83.7% from the line, but thankfully, he doesn't go inside that often, so maybe, maybe, we can contain him.  Ugh.  Closing your eyes and just pencilling him in for 24 is probably the better bet.

Erick Green, 6-4 JR - - the point guard and the team's leading scorer, making him the unquestioned focus for the Duke defense.  Not much else to say, really.  Stay in front of him, Seth or TT or whoever is playing point.  I've pretty much given up on ever seeing Gbinije in a Duke uniform, of course, but speaking of point guards, is Quinn Cook going to get better?  What's wrong with him?   

Dorenzo Hudson, 6-5 SR - - Benched recently by Fester but will almost assuredly play in this one.  Doesn't really do anything well, but at 220, he'll be impossible for any Duke wing defender to handle.  Maybe Dawkins can interfere with him.  He's not a great outside shooter - - 31.3% on the season. 

BENCH?  Sure. 

Robert Brown, 6-5 FR - - a younger clone of Hudson who is, for the moment, 30 pounds lighter.  Other than that, they play very similar games.  

C.J. Barksdale, 6-8 FR - - this is my stealth pick for a Bootsy.  Garbageman used a fair amount by Gasberg. 

Marquis Rankin, 6-1 FR - - the backup point.  Cannot and does not shoot and has more TOs than assists.   

Cadarian Raines, 6-9 JR - - another sanitation specialist who was apparently named by George Lucas. 

BOTTOM LINE THIS FOR ME, PLEASE:  Does anyone really understand Duke's true level of talent this season?  I don't.  And Krzyzewski gets that he will need to play Gbinije next season if Rivers jumps, right?  So might want to play Stop That Transfer before it's too late.  Or, maybe it is already too late, and that's why we're not seeing him.  In any event, Duke is almost certainly better than this team, but combine their close ACC losses with the PSBAD factor, and this is a likely Duke loss.

PREDICTION:   Virginia Polytechnic Institute 68, Duke 66.   

Last Edition

Matt 1-0

This Season

Matt  5-1 

Last Edition's Score Prediction Margin Variance
16 (Bad!  Felt like a loss!  I'm a negative nelly!  That's not Dukies.com predicting!) 

Last Season:
Matt 52-18
Guests 3-3


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Posted by: CDG Date: 2/4/2012 4:50:36 PM  
Garry-land is doing a very nice job of exposing the Tools' HORRIBLE defense. Thankfully, the refs are doing an excellent job of ensuring that the Tools remain in the game. I doubt they can keep it up but I am rooting for Sweaty's squad (yes - he's gone, but his odor remains...)

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 2/3/2012 5:01:27 AM  
Well, if Greenberg does get the boot, it won't be because of anything Elmore and Patrick said. According to Len, they have to be careful not to "create a groundswell that isn't there." I don't know which is worse, the hubris or the complete unfamiliarity with basic logic.

Posted by: tom Date: 2/2/2012 9:21:16 PM  
Overall pretty complete game. Hairston should get MVP. He was all over the place and really only took one bad shot. Alley Oops, defensive stops, and just great hustling. Threes were better although I hate when Austin takes those no pass type shots from three point land. But at least he made them. And we have the smack talking, technical crap, Mike Patrick not knowing the players or the calls, Len complaining. Still thinking the shot wasn't off before the shot clock ended. Why can't they show Greenberg's daughters? (provided they are over the age of 18). And of course must have an idiot throw something on the court (only against Duke). I'm assuming ESPN didn't come with a tripod since I continously got to enjoy somebody's head going in front of the camera. Where they shooting this from the aisle? And thanks for showing only Duke's losses ESPN. Yeah, we know what you're trying to do. Great overall effort. Always room for improvement. Get ready for Miami. Thanks Matt and fellow Duke fans.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 9:08:48 PM  
So to 8-8 in a very weak ACC and have any NCAA argument whatsoever, the Bald Bastard and Co. have to go 7-2 from here on out. Just to go 8-8. Yeah, that's not happening. Actually, given that there are only four coaches in the conference now with more than two years of ACC experience (K, Rrhoid, Listless Len and this douche), you have to think that VPI is going to start to think about canning this hack and getting some new blood.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 9:06:36 PM  
Whew. We did let up on the gas there a bit, but no matter.

If Green and Davila are the only scorers for them, they can't win. So nice defensive targeting by Duke. And LOL at Rankin scoring 8. That's like TT notching 22.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 9:01:22 PM  

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 9:01:22 PM  
Buh-bye, Seth! Here's hoping your team's defensive effort tonight didn't make you certifiably insane.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 9:01:14 PM  
Better effort this time, guys. Congrats. Let's keep improving on defense.

Batten-down the hatches - the Hurryclowns are coming to town!!!!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 9:01:05 PM  
This one Didn't End That Way, thank goodness. I only need five drinks to make it through...

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:54:53 PM  
Ah, wonderful. Throwing things on the floor. Classy!

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:54:20 PM  
No kidding! That was a hilarious comment but also goes to show how bloody obvious our tactic is. How about we play intensely - still smartly, but with a view to scoring as much as possible - for the whole 40 minutes????

Hoping there is a reply of that tie-up. I am convinced the Poly-annas are trying to get one of the Blue Devils ejected, just because they are THAT odious...

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:49:33 PM  
I like how Mike Patrick assumes Duke was ever efficient at Stall Ball. Other than the Maryland game at Cameron in '02, I can't remember too many times I didn't hate it.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:48:12 PM  
Obligatory shot of Seth's mom...

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:46:56 PM  
Great minds, Josh. Great minds. :)

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:45:51 PM  
Whoops, too slow on the phone tonight. CDG beat me to it.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:44:44 PM  
Uh oh...that sounds like Stall Ball's music...

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:44:40 PM  

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:42:13 PM  
[Enter doom music here]

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 8:40:07 PM  
Holy shit, two break-the-presses that result in layups for D.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:40:05 PM  
19-point lead. Thank goodness it isn't the harrowing 17.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:40:03 PM  
Hairston on the break! Wow!

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:39:56 PM  
I am liking the minutes for Josh! He has had some fantastic plays!!!!

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 8:39:51 PM  
Now THAT was a sequence!

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:38:07 PM  
Last tourney appearance for the Greenbergoons: 2007. Teehee.

--Encyclopedia Brown

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 8:37:39 PM  
Maybe Mike Patrick's always drunk. I would be if I had to share the booth with Elmore and Vitale.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:37:08 PM  
Ye gods, Finney-Smith is indeed awful. Reminds me of Dequan Jones of MIFL without the game and dunk skillz.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:36:23 PM  
This is fun. It takes away from the sadness of knowing that VT won't even be good enough to be a hilarious NCAA snub for the 65th straight year (may not be an accurate figure).

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 8:33:03 PM  
I can bear with Elmore and just about anyone else ... just by thinking that he's nowhere near as bad as the worst hoops analyst of all time. Remember George Raveling? That was an immediate mute every time. Same with Jerry Glanville when he forced himself on NFL telecasts.

Meanwhile, Duke seems to be rolling!

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:32:53 PM  
Astonishingly, it looks like Collins/Wojo/Capel looked at tape and determined that Jarell Eddie was a real threat - - he's been smothered.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:32:30 PM  
Last TO we were up 12. Now 22. Excellent. Now PLEASE KEEP THE INTENSITY UP.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:31:48 PM  

But can we close the game? [shudder]

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:31:03 PM  
And followed by a great defense heads-up play by Plumlee.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:30:06 PM  
Oh my goodness!

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:29:44 PM  
Rivers is lighting it up tonight!

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:27:18 PM  
Thanks, Josh and guys. Glad a lot of you enjoyed; that means a lot.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:23:39 PM  
Also, I wasn't here earlier, but great writeup, Matt. "Does [K] not appreciate everything he's done for the program over the years?" That got a legit LOL from me.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 8:21:10 PM  
I prefer to think of Elmore as drawn by a four-year-old.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:19:57 PM  
Um... why did I say Kellogg earlier? It is clearly picket-fence Elmore.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 8:19:41 PM  
I am going to strangle Patrick and Elmore. YOUR OWN EFFiNG CAMERAS showed Greenberg asking about the shot clock and you sit there and ponder whether the arrow was pointing at Duke or not. I've got to get surround sound so I can unplug the center speaker and get rid of these idiots while still hearing crowd noise.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 8:19:17 PM  
Wow, that's a first. Patrick has mistaken a lot of players for each other, many in this game. But a white player on one team, for a black player on the other, that takes some doing.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:18:42 PM  
Hahaha... Fats, I just said the same thing!!!!

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:18:28 PM  

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 8:17:39 PM  
He does not have a point, Len Elmore. There is a thing called halftime, wherein a team gets the next jump ball.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:17:00 PM  
Excellent work on that tie-up.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 8:16:54 PM  
Patick is just brutal, constantly getting people's names wrong, calling the play wrong...he has no clue

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:16:20 PM  
Hess strikes again...

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 8:14:48 PM  
I haven't noticed much about Duke's defense simply because of VT's total lack of defense. Rivers has a lot to do with that.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:14:32 PM  
Yeah... that is NOT good defense.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:10:18 PM  
Sorry - "Maple Leafs". I hate them (being from Montreal) so it must have been a subconscious spelling error.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 8:06:59 PM  
Hahaha... nice one ClemsonGuest!

Okay. I think that the team has very much responded to the pasting by K after the Red Whimper "win". I personally think that K's approach was absolutely what was needed and, like Matt, am amazed when "fans" can't understand this.

I was watching (Canadian) Sportscenter the other night and some talking head was praising the Maple Leaf's for a last minute-loss to the Penguins because they did "almost everything right". This sycophantic commentary was exactly the same as what Matt was talking about: "well, we lost but at least we came close" crap. BS.

The other bozos around the table took this guy to task and (ask my boyfriend) I started yelling at the TV that the guy was an absolute douchebag because coming close isn't enough, just like winning poorly isn't enough.

Yes, these kids are in college - I get it. Just because they aren't paid millions doesn't mean they are made out of glass. They are playing for a team with a storied history of defense and when they fail to perform to that standard, they should rightfully be slammed for the (lack of) effort.

End rant.

Okay - let's manage this half appropriately by pulling even further ahead and putting away these thugs.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 8:06:45 PM  
Fats - great comment about self-censorship. We have a 2 year old...she repeats everything she hears.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 8:04:14 PM  
Yeah. But you had to read about it on outlets other than ESPN, of course, so that may be why you missed it. I should find out whether it was a federal suit and if so, go find the docket.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 8:03:47 PM  
Do not like our habit of giving up a bucket right before halftime.

Otherwise, any thoughts on the 1st half defensive effort?

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 7:59:44 PM  
OK Matt, thanks. I never found out if Franklin went through with that.

Posted by: Josh Date: 2/2/2012 7:57:17 PM  
Keep the sharp objects away from Elmore...he sounded psoitively suicidal during Duke's run. I love it.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 7:56:36 PM  
ClemsonGuest, ESPN settled Franklin's lawsuit against them, so no doubt they had to pay him off. I suspect it was not a minimal amount.

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 7:55:35 PM  
LOL, of course - - the buzzer-beating three by the opponent, for the third ACC half in a row. Let's not make it four!

No surprise that Green is half of their offense, but it is surprising that Davila is the other half.

Duke's fouls are evenly distributed, at least. No one with three, right?

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 7:55:05 PM  
I can deal with El Lenmore, but Jeannine Edwards is my least favorite sideline reporter that I can think of. It's not that she's any more useless than any other sideliner, or any less attractive, or that her area of expertise is actually horse racing. Edwards got the smooth-voiced Ron Franklin fired last year for a comment that didn't come close to making it to air. Franklin may have deserved a reprimand or a fine or a public apology or even a Kelly Tilghman-like two-week suspension, but not a canning.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 7:52:19 PM  
Great plays by Dawk & Kelly so far.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 7:51:43 PM  

Posted by: Serious G Date: 2/2/2012 7:51:11 PM  
Man, have we ever responded well to adversity in this game. Tough on both ends

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 2/2/2012 7:47:40 PM  
Gee, I tuned in at the right time. 21-21 when I turned it on.

The home team is our next opponent. I can't decide if I'd rather see a 4-OT Duke win or a 34-point Duke blowout; I don't know which would demoralize the VT kids more. Of course that's assuming that having Greenbald as your coach isn't demoralizing enough.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 7:45:46 PM  
Kelly is impressing right now. Dawkins has bounced from the T pretty well. And our defense at THIS particular moment is pretty decent... Why am I saying ALL of these things with amazement????

Posted by: Matt Date: 2/2/2012 7:45:14 PM  

And Kelly for threeeeeee. Sweet!

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 7:41:11 PM  
Ryan Kelwitzki, there.

Posted by: CDG Date: 2/2/2012 7:29:46 PM  

I am going apoplectic!!!!

If it was a VT player yapping, Kellogg would be talking about his "toughness". And that comment about both teams being "chippy" is utter BS. Hokies are thugs, plain and simple. But Hess sees Duke standing up for ourselves and starts throwing fouls around.

This is going to be painful!!!!

Great write-up Matt, really. :)

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 7:25:02 PM  
Watching with the 7-year-old. Let's just say I'm using the word "jerks" a lot.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 7:14:58 PM  
I see Hairston (Dunder Patrick, "Duke gets so much more versatile with him!") and I think K doesn't read the PPP-type analysis. Then I notice Thornton starting, too. Maybe he does...

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 2/2/2012 7:07:03 PM  
The editorial voice at DBR is grating.

Posted by: Al White Date: 2/2/2012 7:05:56 PM  
Forgot to say that the image of K doing a Denny Green tantrum was priceless.

Posted by: Al White Date: 2/2/2012 7:03:58 PM  
Great preview and analysis, Matt.

Could our Seth find his stroke again? Could our perimeter guys play some D? Could we try a zone? Could we try playing up to our potential and not playing down to our opponent? C'mon Devils!

Posted by: Official Syracuse Guy Date: 2/2/2012 6:34:35 PM  
Sweet write up. Good luck tonight.

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