Point/CounterPoint #8 – After a Disappointing Performance Against Notre Dame

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In this installment Ro Shiell & Bermuda Bob examine the reasons for last night’s loss to Notre Dame and what it means for their future.   

Here goes … 

Query #1

On a night where Justice Winslow, Tyus Jones, Quinn Cook and Jahlil Okafor were hot, Duke still lost. Where did it go wrong ???

Rowan:     Notre Dame did a better job of adjusting to Duke than Duke did adjusting to them. It didn’t help that Jerian Grant was playing at a premium level either !!!

Bermuda Bob:     I know it sounds blasphemous to say, but the student out-coached the Teacher. Notre Dame was more poised, passed very effectively, and took better shots, shooting 52% to Duke’s 46%. Trifectas were a wash, but Duke lost the battle at the Charity Stripe by 19%. There is your 4 Point differential in a nutshell !!!

 Query #2

What now for Duke ???

Rowan:     They lost to a very good team on the road. Grant just nailed the ACC Player of the Year award, and it is now his to lose. The Blue Devils just need a more effective defensive system that will mask their very obvious weaknesses. Notre Dame is a terrible matchup for Duke because they have quick Guards that exploit Duke’s perimeter defense and interior defense.

Bermuda Bob:     Good coaches have figured out more than one way to handle “Oaks” on Offense. His Defense is questionable. I pointed out plenty of times during the game that he just stood there as if he was afraid to be called for a Foul. Great Centers in history knew how to challenge Shooters in the Lane. He will learn that someday, but not at Duke, just as both Plumlees have !!!

I think Coach K needs to develop a simple Game Plan for each game and commit to it. I’m not too sure these kids can make complicated changes in the heat of a game.

Query #3

One of the rhetoric being floated around is that Duke is still a young team, do you think this is correct ???

Rowan:     Yes this is very true. In an ideal world Duke would take their lumps this season then come back stronger and better the following season, but with this team there is no room for that. Three Freshman have an appointment with Adam Silver in June and I don’t think they want to miss that. Here is the thing, Duke also have 3 Upperclassmen. Amile Jefferson, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon. Amile only played 17 minutes and Sulaimon was 1-of-6 on field goals. Cook played a heck of a game though.

Bermuda Bob:     OK, you asked for it !!!   Coach K has succumbed to the “one-and-done” recruit, much to my dismay. Going back to Kyrie Irving, each team has been subverted to a kid who had no intention of staying at Duke more than one season. This year, the Upperclassmen are seemingly in the minority, and possibly all 4 could be gone next year. I worry Grayson may leave, making it 4 kids in 4 years.

As far as the game is concerned, Notre Dame put one Frosh on the floor for 15 minutes. Duke was playing against 2 Seniors, 1 Junior, and 2 Sophomores, starting.   THAT is why they moved the ball so well. THAT is why they looked so much more poised. THAT is why their Defense seemed so much tougher. It’s great that the Duke kids seem to like each other and get along well. Unfortunately, they lack true cohesiveness because they have not played together long enough, and they don’t intend to any longer than they have to !!!

Query #4

Who would you appoint as Duke’s player of the game?

Rowan:     Jahlil Okafor had a great stat line (22 points, 17 rebounds) but I wish Duke would play a more inclusive game, offensively, and not rely too much on the Freshman. He played 36 minutes and was visibly exhausted as Notre Dame wore him down.

Justice Winslow made some key shots but he isn’t himself, maybe due to a current injury, but it was good to see him hitting from the Three Point Line.

Bermuda Bob:     I do not believe in awarding a Game Ball when the team loses. I think Duke’s Guards were stymied and produced mediocre stats. Matt Jones did not score well, but produced 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists, and 1 Steal off the bench. Together, Quinn and Tyus had 6 Rebounds, 4 Assists, and 2 Steals. Oh, by-the-way, Matt only played 21 minutes versus 40 and 38 minutes respectively. Notre Dame’s Guard play was so tremendous, I won’t quote it !!!

I also believe that a Center’s Field Goal Percentage ought to have an asterisk because, while they are often spectacular, his shots are always in the Paint. I can’t recall the last time he shot facing the Basket. You cannot fairly compare his Shooting Percentage to the others who usually shoot facing the Basket and from distance. That’s the job assigned to “Oaks” and he does it well, but one might say he gave away the game from the Charity Stripe shooting 2 of 7.

Justise shot better with 4 of 7 from the Field and 3 of 4 from outside the Arc. It demonstrates that he is healing, and his extension is coming back. It may still be some time before we see the dynamic presence he was early on. I just hope he does not worry about being injured again. It is human nature to cower from what hurt you before.

I’m dismayed that Coach K only used “Plums” for 6 minutes. I don’t get why Amile only got 17 minutes in favour of a relatively ineffective Matt Jones and/or Rasheed. Combined, the three shot 4 of 14 with nothing from outside the Arc. If Coach was trying to accomplish something with this “rotation,” it failed !!!

Query #5

How was the officiating ???

Rowan:     No play stands out to me as overly terrible so I would say it was OK overall.

Bermuda Bob:     I made the comment during the game that the Refs were so faire that they were surely not “homers” like the Officiating Crew for the St. John’s game seemed to be.

I was dismayed to hear that Coach K complained about the physicality of the game these days. Obviously it tires “Oaks,” but it goes both ways. I’d prefer to see fewer Blocking Fouls and more Offensive Fouls.   Kids are playing less hard core Defense these days because of “ticky-tack” touch Fouls.

When so many Fouls are called – and I’m speaking about CBB in general – the Refs become part of the outcome of the game, and that is never right !!!

Query #6

Think Duke can beat Virginia ???

Rowan:     Virginia is very similar to Notre Dame but have arguably the best defense in college basketball. This game will be a make or break game for Duke.  They just played good in a game they lost now they have to play an incredibly good team.

Bermuda Bob:     Well, if I were a betting man, I’d stay away from the game. Virginia is arguably the best defensive team around and their offense is shooting 47%, 40% of their Trifectas, and 75% from the Charity Stripe.

Virginia played a Senior, 5 Juniors, 1 Sophomore, and 2 Frosh against Notre Dame, at Notre Dame, and prevailed by 6 Points !!!

I think that if Duke loses it may very well prove that they (A) they learned nothing from this game, or (B) are incapable of making the changes from what they learned from this game. Neither is encouraging.

Well, that’s it for our debate folks.  Please tell us what you think. 

Editor’s Note:   This debate took place BEFORE the news of Rasheed Su-Su-Sulaimon being released.   We did not know about it and it did not impact our debate.  




2 thoughts on “Point/CounterPoint #8 – After a Disappointing Performance Against Notre Dame

  1. Duke is in a very difficult spot at this point. They have lost 3 ACC games and may face a 9 and 7 season in the ACC. Coach K reached a milestone, but he has not put an ACC champion on the floor since 2010. One and done players are making Duke a second tier competitor. Additionally, Duke has lost one transfer for each of the last 3 seasons. All three of those young men would make up a substantial deep bench for any team in the country.


    • That’s an excellent point, Bill !!! I worry about the question mark it might out in the minds of kids that ought to come to Duke and contribute versus just being a Top 30 kid wanting a ticket to the NBA !!!

      Welcome to our site … Thanks for commenting. Please continue …

      Rock On !!!


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