Point/CounterPoint #12- After the 1st Syracuse Game …

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In the installment, Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob discuss the 1st Syracuse game this weekend, their recent violations problem, and the upcoming 1st North Carolina game.

Query #1

This year’s game was another sell-out in the Carrier Dome, but the game had a different feeling.  Duke won quieting the sea of orange fans in the 2nd Half. What did we learn about this team with THIS win ???

Rowan:     I learned that Jahlil Okafor is a decent post defender. Rakeem Christmas went right at him over and over and came up short.  I do wonder if the fans bought their tickets before Syracuse announced their postseason ban ???

Syracuse just did not have that fight in them considering the amount of support they had. I was confident of the outcome regardless of the score in the 1st Half when Syracuse was up big.

Bermuda Bob:     I’m pleased that Duke looked like a more cohesive unit who could maintain their composure, even when they were getting beaten.   I’m glad they could effectively make the changes Coach K made at halftime, like Quinn on “Silent G,” who was hurting them.  I’m curious why Amile only got 14 minutes, but I’m glad Matt excelled.  Both “Plums” and Grayson got meaningful minutes and took advantage of them, even if was just 8 minutes each.  I won’t pretend to understand why …

Query #2

Jay Bilas of ESPN, while covering the game, was extraordinarily outspoken about the terrible officiating on both sides.  

Do you agree ???  

Rowan:     I don’t know, sometimes he gets it wrong. Jahlil was standing straight up and Christmas was creating the contact with his many fakes. Okafor even took a few elbows. However, that fast break where a Syracuse player was fouled on one end, then Cook got fouled on the other end was a legit “swallowing of the whistle” moment. Cooney didn’t get the call but Cook fortunately did.

Bermuda Bob:     I am not a fan of Referees who have any impact on a game, except for the real reason why they are there.  When the game is over, I should never even think of a question like this.  Unfortunately, all too often the Referees insert their personal perspective into the game.  We’ve seen it plenty this season:

  • Some call “Charging” much less when it comes to a Duke game …
  • Some call “3 Seconds” more than other Officials …
  • Some won’t call “Traveling” except when the kid “Moon Walks” …
  • Coach Knight likes to ask why “Palming” is not called more often …

I disagree with the notion that if they call the game equally, it is faire officiating.  No, it’s not !!!   Officiating exactly the same from game to game to game is faire.  That means:

  • It is equitable and identical from game to game …
  • It is commensurate to what is called by every other official …
  • It is disinterested in the caliber of play nor team reputations …
  • It is unconcerned that their rental car(s) is parked outside …

The fact that a Commentator the caliber of Jay Bilas felt it necessary to point it out on so many occasions means that the officiating was somewhere between appalling and atrocious.

Query #3

“Oaks” had nice things to say about his opponent, Rakeem Christmas.  

Our friend at Duke Report, David Aldridge, posted an excellent article this week asking if “Oaks” has become a victim of his own success.  

It that possible, or just another way of saying that everyone has his “number” ???

Rowan:      Jahlil Okafor is very well mannered and his having good things to say about an opponent is not a surprise. As they say, “Game does not lie.” Personalities shine thru on the Court, and he is always the first to help a fellow up off the floor, whether it’s a teammate or not.   

As for the ‘victim of his own success,’ part well with numbers like this of course, there will be game plans especially for him. It is the ultimate sign of respect. For my part he makes a great decoy as in while opponents are worried about him. Guys like Quinn Cook can take advantage. That’s how Virginia was beaten.  

Bermuda Bob:     It was surely wonderful to see that “Oaks” is a gentle and gentile giant.  He just fought a battle with another “big” and prevailed in being a large part of a hard fought win. He did so while not getting into foul trouble nor fouling out.  Your point about being an excellent decoy is as much a part of his game as is his scoring.  The very fact that teams have to formulate their Game Plan around “Oaks” makes the point. The counterpoint is that he is so flexible that there is no one specific plan that will consistently prevail against him.   That speaks to his adaptability but also to that of the rest of the squad too. You can’t have one without the other.

I think that David’s point was both complimentary and wishful. I too am happily voting for Quinn as the team MVP because he has consistently fulfilled his recruitment by his leadership. I guess David and I would be fighting to be first in line to plead with “Oaks” to stay !!!

Query #4

Mike “Silent G” Gbinije scored 17 of his 27 points in the 1st Half, shooting 5 of 8 from outside the Arc.  

A fan on Twitter wondered if he had his old Duke jersey underneath his ‘Cuse jersey.  

Do you think he was inspired by proving, as Coach K noted: “I’m glad he turned out to be the player we thought he’d be …” 

Rowan:     The rest of that quote is, “and that he did not beat us tonight.” Cut to Duke fans collectively nodding at this.

Actually in the last few games Michael Gbinije has been playing really great basketball, and this was his third game in a row scoring over 20 points. I am glad to see a player flourish upon leaving Duke, which is not normally the case. A player doesn’t normally transfer to another ACC team either, so there you have it !!!

Bermuda Bob:     I do not doubt for a moment that Mike’s adrenalin was pumping sky high, and he did a great job of playing within himself. Thankfully, Coach K had a weapon in his quiver – Mike’s old roommate, Quinn Cook.   “Quinny” played “Silent G” well in the Second Half and reduced his effectiveness. I would have thought that, considering how well he has played as of late, he would have been mortified by a poor performance. I expect the same on the 28th in Cameron because, as Coach K noted: “Look, we recruited him because we thought he was good …”

I certainly wish he had gotten the playing time he was recruited for, and stayed, instead of becoming disillusioned and being forced to take his talents elsewhere, especially within the ACC. 

Query #5

Considering that ‘Cuse has self-penalized themselves for something that happened before most of these kids were recruited, do you have any thoughts on the fairness of such penalizations happen ???

Rowan:     How many people came to see Duke play Syracuse ??? Over 35,000 right ??? That is a lot of ticket sales for a team playing for nothing. The general feeling is that Syracuse is going nowhere this season so they could afford to absorb such a punishment much easier, especially considering the recruiting class they have coming in next season.  That means that the only people hurt are the fans, and the players being denied a chance to prove their worth in both the ACC Tournament and the Big Dance, especially the Seniors.

Bermuda Bob:     I believe that it is patently wrong to penalize any kid for the actions of a predecessor. I’m not sure if monetary fines are the answer, but it has to start somewhere else rather than this inequitable penalizing of kids who did nothing wrong.   I feel terrible for the present ‘Cuse kids for a very real reason.

When I was a youngster, my brother broke a window throwing a baseball bat at me. When my father got home he lined us both up and asked who broke the window.  My brother lied, and I simply said “Not me !!!”  We each got a lick, then the question was asked again.  Over and over and over again my brother lied, each time my response was the same, and each time the same lick.  A total of 4 each until my brother broke down. My father finished doling out his punishment, then my father turned to me and said nothing more than, “You see what you get for lying ???” 

Yup, I truly feel for the present “Cuse kids, but I sure wish the real violators could get theirs !!!

Query #6

Carolina comes to Cameron on Wednesday night at 9PM  …

Any thoughts ???

Rowan:     We had this discussion previously and my prevailing thought is that UNC is like a wounded grizzly (I don’t remember using such colorful terms though) and they should not be discounted after losing to PITT over the weekend. Duke is at home, so hopefully they can find that same intensity they played Notre Dame with.

Bermuda Bob:     The reason why the Duke-Carolina rivalry is the best in sport is because the players are playing for all the right reasons.  They do not profit like the Yankees/Red Sox or the Celtics/Lakers or so many other supposed rivalries.  The other reason is because the kids, from all over the country, on both sides, share the same small geographic area as compatriots, not enemies !!!

This rivalry has guaranteed such incredible competition on both Home Courts that it is always scheduled promoted so all will not forget to watch.  It can make temporary heroes of pariahs as when Austin “Da Black Hole” Rivers sank the winning shot, even though he is now looked upon as the makebate for that terrible season.

This year will be a somber one after the passing of Dean Smith, as he was instrumental in developing and perpetuating this rivalry, and I, for one, am so glad he did !!!

We welcome your comments here or at our Twitter site @SimplyDukeBB 

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