Can we now finally move the Duke Blue Devils out of the top-10? After getting manhandled by Georgetown, isn’t it clear that this is not one of the top 10 teams in the nation? Hell, there is still little proof this is the best team in the ACC.
And let’s be real clear about this, Duke didn’t lose this game. This had nothing to do with a lack of effort, tired legs or an off shooting night. The Hoyas are a better team. The proof? Duke had zero answers. None.
Of course, Duke will still win a lot of games this year. Duke will probably still win the ACC and Duke will again get a high seed, but unless it gets lucky in the tournament (higher seeds getting knocked off before facing Duke), this is not a championship team, this is not a final four team, this isn’t even a Elite Eight team.
Think I’m being too harsh? I’m not, despite the addition of some new pieces, this Duke team is the same as last year’s Duke team.
NO INSIDE GAME: Just look what Greg Monroe did against our big men. He shot 7-11 (two of those misses were three-point shots), was fouled often (7-10 from the line). Just for kicks, he had five assists.
This season the argument has been, sure we can’t score with our inside game, but defensively we’re playing well. Sure, against lesser front lines, our boys have held their own. However, when facing talent, Duke can’t do anything. First, Monroe abused Lance Thomas for most of the game, rocked the Plumlee’s for a bit, before back-dooring Singler at the end. Duke was helpless.
The problem the past couple years has been the fact Duke has been forced to use Lance Thomas, a skinny 6’8 SF/PF to guard centers. The Plumlee brothers were suppose to allow Lance to move to a more natural position. Yet, here we were, over halfway through the season against a top-1o team and there’s Thomas trying to run around a guy who stands three inches taller, weighing a solid 30 pounds more.
Someone, somewhere explain to me how Duke will be able to handle a Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins or Cole Aldrich? Trust me, it would get ugly. (more…)
Over the past few years, I’ve heard a few theories regarding Duke, often involving their recent struggles to reach the final four. In this edition of “Myths” we’re going to attempt to debunk one of them.
DUKE FAILS AT THE END OF THE SEASON DUE TO TIRED LEGS
This one is a very, very, very popular theory. Yet is it just a B.S. myth? First, the record. Duke has struggled late in season. This is a fact. This includes February and the tournament.
While I’ve heard many reasons for the struggles, people (including this blog) have worried about the Devils “legs” at the end of the season. The belief is, Coach K overworks his players by having them play too many minutes. (more…)
How the hell did Maryland get that high?
First, Ken Pom’s RPI gives a lot of love to the ACC. Duke is No 2, while six ACC teams are in the top-27. In the current AP poll, only Duke (#8) and Georgia Tech (#22) crack the top-25.
Second, the fact is, Maryland is winning. After a rough 5-3 start to the season, the Terps have won eight of 10. They’re leading the ACC with a 3-1 record. They’re third in the ACC in scoring (81.5ppg) and second in scoring margin (16.5ppg).
Even the rebounding has gotten better after some early season struggles. They’re +5.6rpg over their last 10 games, holding their own against teams like Wake Forest and Florida State.
Now, why can these rankings be right? (more…)
The Duke Blue Devils beat the Florida State Seminoles Wednesday night. The sun came up the following morning. Neither was surprising. Welcome to Duke basketball.
What’s my point? Who knows, I often don’t have one, so says my wife. What I’m trying to say is, Duke beat Florida State, a team they’ve beaten a lot. They won at home, where they beat everyone not named North Carolina. They won in January, something Duke excels at. So what can you say about a victory that was completely expected?
You would think I’d have a ton of great things to talk about, with tons of excellent points, but let’s face the facts, we’re Duke fans, we’re spoiled and in the regular season, especially in January, it hurts more to lose, than it feels good to win. That doesn’t mean I don’t have nothing to talk about.
SO WHAT DID I SEE?
Duke’s three-headed monster came roaring back tonight. Actually, they’ve been back in full force since the loss to Georgia Tech. Nolan, Jon and Kyle each played 38 minutes tonight. They took 42 of the teams 58 shots. They made 18 of the teams 25 baskets, scoring 53 of the teams 70 points. They hit all but one of Duke’s eight three-point shots. They grabbed over half the team’s rebounds (15 of 29) and dished out 12 of the 16 assists.
Jon Scheyer found his stroke, at least for a night. After struggling the past two weeks (17-52 from the field), Scheyer was 7-12, hitting four of six from three. Yet, he actually struggled tonight when he found himself in the paint (granted, lots of guards find trouble inside the paint against the Noles).
However, the man who once led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, again struggled to not turn the ball over. He had five assists to four turnovers and even those stats are misleading.
Three of Jon’s assists were hand offs during a fast break, while three of his turnovers were the result of a dumb decision (often getting stuck in the air in the lane). While you might want to remind me that he still is No 1 in assist-turnover ratio in the ACC, I’m telling you, it’s becoming an issue. In his first three ACC games, Scheyer had 16 assists to only six turnovers. In his last four, he’s had 16 assists and 12 turnovers.
In fact, as a team in the ACC, the Devils have more turnovers (12.9 per game) than assists (11.9 per game).
The problem I have is, when Jon’s playing great, he finds ways to get players involved. When Jon’s stats are down and he struggles to handle the point, everyone not named Kyle or Nolan struggles to get into the flow of the offense. (more…)
It was another crazy week in the ACC, yet I’m still stupid enough to try to put a ACC Power Rankings together. I’d be better off letting my cat does these, he’d do just as good.
Anyhow, this week, The Blue Devils saved themselves in Clemson, while another team I had ranked No 2 falls down the rankings. Wake Forest makes the biggest jump up, thus jinxing them for this week, while Carolina stays the same, despite the fact they haven’t won a game in 15 days. (more…)
Filed under: ACC Basketball, Duke Recap | Tags: Duke vs. Clemson, Nolan Smith
Now that’s more like it. Duke walked into a hostile environment, kept it close for a half and then took over in the final 20 minutes. After opening up a quick 13-point lead with only seven and a half minutes gone by in the second period, Clemson was able to get back within seven, but that was as close it ever got. Duke just never let up and Clemson had no answer, other than Trevor Booker (of course).
SO WHAT DID I SEE?
Coach K decided that losing on the road ends here. How do I know? Because Singler, Scheyer and Smith played a combined 117 minutes. Singler and Scheyer played a full 40, while Nolan sat for three minutes, but that was just because he picked up two early fouls.
The Devils basically became a six-man rotation tonight. That’s how important this win was. Andre Dawkins saw no action tonight, while Mason Plumlee only got eight minutes on the court. Now if you’ve been reading this blog (and I know you have), I don’t agree with the strategy at all, no matter how much it paid off tonight. Let me explain.
What has been Duke’s problems over the years? If you’re a fan, you can easily pinpoint three of them. A) Not enough speed to handle quick guards. B) No inside game. C) Tired legs come March.
While Duke was really unable to address “A”, the Devils now have plenty of size, each capable of doing something positive inside the paint. That size also helps out some with “A” because it allows the Duke guards to get tough on the outside, because the inside guys can handle their own. However, that still leaves “C”.
No matter how good Duke looks NOW, no matter how many games they win NOW, the same storyline is going to reappear. That is, come March Duke will be burned out. This Duke team won’t have any legs left come tournament time. It’s been a stigma for a while now and let’s be honest, if Nolan, Kyle and Jon are going to keep playing 37-40 minutes per game in a brutal ACC, what kind of shape are they really going to be in come March Madness? (more…)
Filed under: NCAA Tournament
Note: This blog post also appears on my other site, Big ACC Balls. For now though, I’ll have one post appear on both sites. Eventually, when Big ACC Ball grows in readership, I’ll do this less and less.
Who wants to dance? It’s the question of the day as it appears no one in the ACC is willing to run away with this thing. Right now, only Virginia is undefeated in league play, while Maryland is the only one-loss team. Those fans can get excited at their own risk. These two are the only two that have only played three conference games, while most of the others have battled it out in five.
So the question is, who’s going dancing? Which teams in the ACC are headed to the NCAA Tournament?
DUKE (LOCK) - Despite the road struggles at Ga Tech and NC State, the Devils are still the favorite to win the ACC, simply because I don’t see them being beaten at home any time this year. Right now Duke is looking at a No 2 or 3 seed. In a perfect world, the Devils would like to stay in the East, where the East finals are being held in Syracuse. Sure it’s not MSG or even Jersey, but upstate New York could be friendly territory for the Devils.
CLEMSON (LOCK) - Obviously if they can win either the ACC regular season or the ACC Tournament, Clemson could potentially sneak up to a No 3 seed, but in reality, they’re looking like a lock for a 4 or 5-seed. Right now, the Midwest (St. Louis) is looking like a popular desination, where they’ll face the winner of the Big 12 in the Sweet 16 (assuming they can finally get there).
GEORGIA TECH (LOCK) – The Yellow Jackets really only need to finish .500 to get in. Six more wins would be 20 for the season, no matter what happens in the ACC tournament. CNNSI has Tech as a sixth seed, but that’s too low. In my mind, the race for the ACC will come down to Duke, Clemson and Georgia Tech. If Tech can finish no worse than second, they are looking at a five seed. If I had to really make a prediction, I’d say Duke wins the conference. This leaves Clemson and Ga Tech fighting for second. The winner will be a No 4 seed in the Midwest, while the loser would be a No 5 out west. Of course, if either could win the ACC Tournament, then they could move up to a No 3 seed, possibly in the east, sending Duke out west. (more…)
Filed under: ACC Basketball, ACC Recap | Tags: Duke vs. North Carolina State, Ishamel Smith, Wake Forest vs. North Carolina
What kind of world are we living in when a Republican can win in Massachusetts and both Duke and North Carolina have their asses handed to them in the same night.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE OVER (6) DUKE, 88-74
The Wolfpack shot a stunning 58% in a 14-point win over Duke, a game that was never competitive in the second half. Tracy Smith, looking like an All-ACC player, hit 10-12, scoring 23. The Devils rolled every big man they had a Smith, but none could stop him. While NC State is only 4-3 in their last seven, in all four wins, they’ve proven they can score with the best of them (scoring 87 or more points in each of the four wins).
For Duke, the road is starting to become a problem. The Devils are now 0-3 in true road games, which might not be a good thing when you consider that they will have to face Clemson, Georgetown and North Carolina on the road over the 20 days.
WAKE FOREST OVER (23) NORTH CAROLINA, 82-69
The Demon Deacons did what everyone else has been doing lately, whip the Tar Heels Wednesday night. Granted, Carolina didn’t have Ed Davis tonight, but let’s be honest, even if Davis was playing, I would have considered Wake the favorite. Right now, the Tar Heels have nothing to offer outside, particularly on the defensive end. Wake guards, Smith and Harris owned the floor tonight. Smith ran past the Carolina D for 20 points while Harris shot over them for his 20.
On top of that, not only can North Carolina not play defense (worst in the ACC), outside of the Wear brothers, any person they bring in off the bench is a huge liability. Tonight, John Henson (a freshman I thought was going to be huge) look bewildered on D and McDonald and Strickland were a combined 2-13 from the floor (although a handful of those were pointless threes at the end when the game was out of hand).
Roy Williams is currently riding his first three-game losing steak at North Carolina. Worse yet, three of their next four are on the road, before Duke heads to town. It’s easy to say this might get ugly, but let’s not forget, this is the same team (minus one big man) that beat both Michigan State and Ohio State. Of course this is the same team that has been down by 17 or more in six games this season.
BTW, comedy quote of the night. Mark Jackson of ESPN was part of the NBA crew calling the Wake Forest/North Carolina game last night. Late in the second half he actually said that Ishmael Smith is a “can’t miss NBA player” or is going to be “a big time NBA player,” I’m not sure the exact words he used, but come on, Mark, are you serious?
Listen, I like Smith. I think he’s the best pure point guard in the ACC. He’s certainly the quickest. He’s a stud once he gets into the lane and he can rebound for a little guy. Let’s not forget a couple things though…
First, he’s 6-0, that’s small for an NBA player.If you’re great, it’s not a problem, but Smith is not great. Why? Keep reading.
Second, he can’t shoot free throws. He makes Shaq look like Mark Price. He’s hitting 44% from the un-charity line. We’d like to call it a fluke but he’s only shot over 50% from the line once in his career (as a Junior).
Third, and most importantly, he’s the worst three-pointing shooting guard in the ACC. He hits an awful 23% from three this year. He’s never even sniffed 40% in his four-year career.
I’m sure he’s what every NBA general manager is looking for, an undersized guard who has the same range as the average NBA center, who opponents will WANT to foul late in games.
Filed under: ACC Basketball, Duke Recap | Tags: Duke vs. North Carolina State
Enough. No more. Nada.
No more talk about being a title contender. No more talk about “earning” a No 1 seed in the tournament. Hell, right now I don’t want to hear another word about an ACC championship. Until this Blue Devils team can actually win a true road game, you and I cannot talk about any of those things. All I see is a team that can win at home and until the NCAA allows Duke to play all their NCAA tournament games in Cameron, I’m not impressed by this team.
Like other defeats Duke has tasted this season, they reverted back to making the same stupid mistakes and again, turning themselves in a three-man team. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to take anything from NC State. They were on tonight. They had a game plan and they performed. The Devils were outplayed, out-hustled and out-coached.
So what did I see?
Duke had ZERO answers for Tracy Smith. The man shot 10-12 from the floor. He scored 23 points and probably should have scored much more if not for a couple of long stretches where the ball never came inside. Coach K obviously made the decision to guard him one-on-one, ignoring the double-team for most of the game. It failed.
Smith made his first six shots, abusing Duke’s big men with NBA-like moves. In the second, Duke did some doubling and played some zone and that slowed him down some, but in reality, Smith showed that if he’s not the best big man in the ACC, he’s damn near close. (more…)
Ignore the headline…that was a joke. Unfortunately, the story below is not.
The All-American Basketball Alliance plans to start a 12-team professional league in June, made up entirely of white players. According to the AABA commissioner, Don “Moose” Lewis, the league will “emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color.”
Oddly, Moose also won’t let foreign-born players into the league. This doesn’t really make much sense. Forgetting the fact that most foreign born players are white, aren’t they also known for “emphasizing fundamental basketball.”
Of course, I’d have a few questions…will players need to submit both their short and long-form birth certificates? Also, what about a white player like Jason Williams (the former Gator, not the former Dukie)? I mean, he’s white, but no really. (more…)