Point/CounterPoint Installment #13 – After the UNC Game #1

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In this Installment. Ro Shiell and Bermuda Bob answer some of the questions left unanswered about the Duke-Carolina game at Cameron, the first of the yearly series …

Query #1

We always seem to ask this question because this team continues to mature and gain poise, but aside from that, what did we learn from this performance ??? 

Rowan:    You learn a lot about a team that is down by 7 with 90 seconds left on the clock, and who are able to claw their way to Overtime, then seal the victory. To quote Bill Raftery, “Onions !!!” 

Bermuda Bob:

Very well said !!!   I’m sure Coach K has found an opportunity to thank and praise the efforts of Duke’s “6th Man” – The Cameron Crazies. I basically think we learned that these young men are growing up fast, because they have had to. It is a very good thing as March approaches quickly.

Query #2        

All the Starters were in Double Figures …

Who do you give the Game Ball to ???

Rowan:

Quinn Cook started out the game with some hot shooting, keeping North Carolina at bay, even though they were playing better.  I have to credit everyone for playing at an incredible level, especially Jahlil Okafor for coming back out after an injury sustained in the 1st Half.

I didn’t think he needed to play the whole 2nd Half, but Marshall Plumlee did not exactly sell himself as a viable replacement in limited minutes. Hopefully, it is just a precaution but I understand the Freshman is now wearing a boot. He played a good game and rebounded well on a night when Duke was struggling to control the boards, especially on the Offensive side.  In the end the gap in rebounds was not as big as it looked like, 49-46, but that’s because Duke was able to address that issue during the game. Okafor had a huge part in that.

The game ball goes to Tyus Jones. When the game was all but lost, he went through the UNC defense like a hot knife through butter, scoring 9 straight points at one point, not to mention sending the game to overtime with a driving layup.

Bermuda Bob:

I agree with you on Tyus. It’s funny that he originally described himself as a “pass first” type of Point Guard. That’s hard to believe by just looking at the Box Scores, but watching him on the floor shows a very special dimension. He has emerged as the “take charge” guy who reminds me a bit of Bobby Hurley in the way he does that. Inasmuch as he gets the ball to who needs it, and if that’s not available, he takes it himself.  I also love his deflecting praise to his teammates. That’s wonderful !!!

Query #3

Immediately after the game, which ESPN was “all in” and began to crown Quinn and Tyus as maybe the best BackCourt in CBB.  Remember when everyone was worried about how they would work together ???  What do you think now ??? 

Rowan:

I am not sure about them being the best backcourt but I think they work very well together. Not many BackCourts score 44 points in such a monumental game though. I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but I cannot anoint them the best backcourt, yet.

Bermuda Bob:

Let’s face it, the media jumps to ridiculous conclusions, and I have always wondered how a coach keeps his kids from actually believing all of it. The idea is that they must keep an “even strain” for the sake of the team, and when they do, they shine.

The best aspect of all of this is I do not think anyone has thought about the earlier concerns for one moment thru this season. That’s a great thing going forward because it means that this great mindset is imbedded. 

Query #4

Coach K essentially only played 6-Deep, giving “Plums” only 7 minutes and Grayson 4 minutes … 

What do you think of that ??? 

Rowan:

Whenever Coach K is in a dogfight he doubles down and goes back to his tried and trusted method of relying on his First Five, unless foul trouble forces his hand. I thought Grayson Allen looked good in limited minutes, but Plumlee looked outclassed.

Do you think Jahlil Okafor should have played that much on such a bum ankle ???  

Bermuda Bob:

I have heard a lot of ideas, and even proffered one myself in liking the old fashioned 2-1-2 with Amile in the Center position and “Oaks” and “Plums” at the Forwards.   I’m not the Coach, and I’m sure they have thought of it. I think seeing Grayson more often is more likely as he is developing well into the player we expected him to be.

Coach K noted that he relied on the adrenaline pumping to keep “Oaks” going despite the pain. I think putting him on the Bench would have not allowed him to take advantage of Carolina’s single-teaming him, plus, on the Bench, he might have stiffened up, making re-entry to the game difficult.   I’m also pretty sure that the team OrthoPod OK’d his playing further on.

Query #5

After using it here and there since the Louisville game, why don’t you think we saw a Zone in this game ??? 

Rowan:

I thought I saw glimpses of am occasional Zone but I guess perimeter offense was not too much of a threat. Nate Britt had his moments and Marcus Paige had a tough night. The damage was being done on the inside by Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks. I don’t think Roy Williams knows what he has with Joel James because he could have reproduced Johnson’s contribution after he fouled out.

Bermuda Bob:

I was looking for it and each time I thought I saw those wisps of a Zone, they evaporated into the old Man-to-Man Defense.   I thought the Zone might keep Carolina out of the Paint, plus even a slight showing of “Orange” could have thrown them off for a bit. On the other hand, you might see it in March. I’m sure Coach Roy might have been expecting it, and that won’t change next time.

Query #6

Afterward, some Duke fans bemoaned the officiating on Twitter.  

What do you think ???

Rowan:

I will agree with Jay Bilas when he said it was equally bad on both sides of the court.

Bermuda Bob:

I believe that the officiating was much better than the Syracuse game. I cannot recall a heinous issue, even though people like Doug Gottlieb made a big deal out of a few calls down the line. Once again, I believe that some members of the media often over emphasize, or even dramatize, things just to have something to say that sounds unique. 

Query #7

Jahlil Okafor is now walking in a boot and is questionable for Saturday’s Clemson game.

Do you think Duke can win without him ??? 

Rowan:

Clemson is a tough opponent with or without Okafor, but I like Duke’s chances either way.

Bermuda Bob:

I hope that there is not a let down after such a great game on such a short turnaround. Fortunately they are home, which helps. Clemson’s record does not reflect their ability to be a stern opponent.

 

Thanks for checking us out …

Please know that we welcome your comments !!!

You can find us at:  @SimplyDukeBB on Twitter 

 

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