Point/CounterPoint Installment #6: Wisconsin, Semi, & UCONN

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Query #1:

What do you think was the most impressive aspect of Duke’s win against Wisconsin ???

Bermuda Bob:

I thought Coach K’s installation of the constant switching on defense confused and flummoxed the Badgers.  That is not a knock on Wisconsin or Coach Bo Ryan.  I think is just illustrates that, in college, even the most polished squad can be defeated by an opponent that executes their Game Plan.

Now, with that said, Duke shot “lights out” with 62% from the Field and 58% from outside the Arc.  Considering that the rest of the Stats were a wash, I think this proves the point the Game Plan forced Wisconsin off their game.

Ro:

The Freshmen playing with composure on the road. Okafor learning to play through Foul Trouble and Tyus Jones emerging just when Duke needed him.

 

Query #2:

Semi Ojeleye became the 3rd Player in as many years to leave Duke, disappointed that he was not getting the playing time he expected. 

Do you see a trend here, and if so, what do you make of it ???

Bermuda Bob:

I am very concerned.  Michael “Silent G” Gbinije and Alex Murphy came to Duke together, then Semi the next year.

–         “Silent “G” saw the handwriting on the wall after just one year, getting just 111 minutes in 19 games.  He left for Syracuse, where has seen consistent minutes, and has become a Starter in his Junior year.

 –         Alex accepted a Red Shirt his Freshman year at Duke.  He played his Sophomore year, and left in the middle of his Junior year, playing just 227 minutes in 36 games for his time at Duke.  As I type this, Alex becomes eligible down at Florida asa Junior.

–         Semi played 143 minutes in 23 games in a year and a half.

Each player was recruited with the expectation of being given the chance to contribute.  I hope each player came to Duke with their eyes wide open.  Apparently, they were each in the wrong place at the wrong time.  They fell victim to Coach K’s penchant for playing only 7-8 deep on his bench.  They each also fell victim to a form of subversion to one or more “one-and-done” players.

I worry that this adversely affects recruiting and casts a pallor on the programme.  My contempt for the whole “one-and-done” fiasco is well known.

I feel incredibly bad for each guy, as they had to squander a year of eligibility, not because they did something wrong, but because the NCAA has a system that penalizes the wrong kids !!!

Ro:

I have always liked the expression “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush” however, major college coaches do not agree with that sentiment, as they show an increasingly lack of commitment to developing talent these days.  They are always looking for that next prized recruit.  Those prized recruits come with a lot of expectations.  One major expectation is playing time to the detriment of current players, who do not have enough leverage to force a Coach’s hand.  This is not exclusive to Duke.

Many people point to the production of Transfers, post Duke, and conclude that they were mostly overrated or not good enough.  That reinforces Coach Krzyzewski’s decision to let them walk.  Only one player has made the NBA after transferring from Duke in the last 10 years, and that was Elliot Williams who went to Memphis to be closer to a sick relative.

With the right situation, Ojeyele might prove to be an exception.

 

Query #3:

Considering the rust they were expected to have due to the long lay-off for exam week, was there anything that has concerned you from the Elon game ???

 Bermuda Bob:

Not really.  Unlike some other programmes, Coach K has always scheduled around Mid-Term Exams.  He understands that all the practice in the world does not equal game experience.  Some players continue to excel while others, like the Tin Man of Oz, need some oiling.  It just reflects Coach K’s recognition that his players are also students !!!

Ro: 

I doubt they were totally rusty, as there were practices here and there judging from a few player’s Instagram accounts, but it was “brick city USA baby!” They made 18% of their Three Point Attempts. At least Okafor showed up and so did Amile Jefferson.

 

Query #4:

While they are not the same caliber of team as their National Champion predecessors, what are you expecting from the                     Duke -UCONN game ???

 Bermuda Bob:

UCONN has a Center from Ghana who has begun his Sophomore year right where he left off last year’s National Championship season … with a bang !!!  He may very well prove to be the toughest challenge Jahlil Okafor has yet to meet.   In the BackCourt, Duke will be have their hands full with Ryan Boatright, UCONN’s Senior playmaker.

Duke will need to play yet another poised game on both sides of the Court.  I’m sure the past UCONN wins against Duke in the Big Dance will be part of the joie de vivre the Blue Devils will want to bring to this game.

Ro:

I want to see if Duke can contain Ryan Boatright. I think the Wisconsin (Traevon Jackson) game showed us that Duke has issues with containing dribble penetration. Neither Cook nor Tyus Jones can stay in front of them. This will be a test on Jefferson and Okafor as well. Can they protect the rim?  

 

Query #5: 

After seeing the UConn game what do you think now ???

Ro:

The way the Huskies hustled, making Duke cough up the ball for a season record 19 turnovers, it is a wonder how they lost by 10. Boatright was able to score 22 points, so containing penetrating Guards is still an issue.

For the second major game, this season, Tyus Jones has shown that he can be depended upon in big moments. It wasn’t pretty, but Duke prevailed.

Strangely enough Okafor only picked up one (1) Foul. Maybe that is due to no one challenging him but that’s a good sign.

I see Coach K went with the Starters more as only Sulaimon recorded double figure minutes off the Bench, so do you think that is sustainable Bermuda Bob?

Bermuda Bob:

I know it’s rarely in vogue to be critical of the Officiating, but this game put the “ug” in ugly and provided plenty of fodder for those who hold specific distain for Karl Hess.  The NCAA needs to impress upon Referees that consistence is tremendously important.  They often got calls wrong, and more often blew the whistle on “ticky-tack” Fouls that many other Officials don’t call !!!

Only the Duke Starters scored and they all did so in double-figures, which bothers me.  Bench players need significant game time each and every game to be ready for when they are indeed needed in earnest. “Plums,” Matt, and Grayson together logged in less minutes than Rasheed.  Yet another example of why Duke loses a significant player each year who was relegated to becoming more proficient at pulling splinters than basketball.

While the Commentators love to gush all over “Oaks” and often for good reason, Amile was my “Prime Time Player” with 13 of the team’s 40 Rebounds.  In a game where the opponent shot a better percentage from the Floor, Rebounding and Put Backs often make the difference.

Tyus earned my latest nickname. Henceforth, I will refer to him as Duke’s “Little Big Man.”  He has earned it with his consistency in providing what is needed each game !!!

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One thought on “Point/CounterPoint Installment #6: Wisconsin, Semi, & UCONN

  1. One thing to note…

    Duke always plays great early. In recent years they have beaten MSU, Kansas, Wisconsin, and others. Yes, this team is very talented, but they will not go undefeated.

    Coach K doesn’t play a lot of people. Once we hit conf, you won’t see Greyson Allen or Matt Jones as they will turn into cheerleaders. K will play 7 players, the obvious starters, Plumlee, and Sulaimon. At the end of the year they will get tired legs and no longer will be able to continue shooting at such a high percentage.

    All being said, that has been the recipe for disaster for the previous few years, but this year they have Okafor. To this point he has been a man among boys each time he has laced them up. If he can continue to carry the team, they can make a run, but it starts and ends with the paint. Expect a hack-a-Shaq defense to start being employed really soon if he can’t hit his free throws.

    Like

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