Point/CounterPoint #17 – After North Carolina & Into the ACC Tournament

SDBB - Point-CounterPoint LogoIn this installment Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob cover things after the Duke win over Carolina, have a bit of a look into the ACC Tournament, and even have a word about Kentucky … 

Query #1

Duke prevailed in their 2nd meeting with North Carolina at the Dean Dome.  This game had it’s ups and downs, with Duke coming out hard and fast, then losing their lead, and finally taking the lead for good.  

Did we learn anything we didn’t think of yet ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

When Duke came out so hot, I was I worried that they would run of gas, Coach K subbed his whole Bench, and Carolina caught up, taking the lead at the Half.  It’s pretty obvious that, while they are capable of running with anyone, they give away something when the Starters need a “blow.”   While I think they would prefer to see a more measured approach, I don’t know if it’s possible.  That concerns me with teams that have a very competent bench.

Rowan:

Duke is very resilient. Last year’s team would have given up, or lost composure, after UNC took the lead. 

Query #2

Every CBB media outlet has lit up saying maybe Duke has “peaked” at the right time.  

Do you agree ???

 Is there anything they need to work on ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I think that’s much ado about nothing.  Traditionally, Duke draws an always tough Carolina, so if they win, especially for the second time, the media lights up.  I will see how they look in the ACC Tournament in possibly three (3) straight days of play.  That’s the big test to see if they can hold up.  Of course, they will have a bit more time to recover in the Big Dance, but this week is the fire that sharpens the blade !!!

Rowan:

The thing about the Post Season Tournaments is that everyone starts at zero. Murray State was peaking at the right time when they blitzed the Ohio Valley Conference 16-0, but fell in the Conference Finals tournament to Belmont.

Duke found a way to win the Carolina game. Not every game is going to be the same especially with the stakes being raised as it is now win, or go home. No second chances. We can take comfort with the thought that they are a tight knit bunch and they enjoy playing together. Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook do a masterful job of knowing when to take over games, and when to defer to other teammates. This should well help them going forward especially if Amile Jefferson can find himself. 

Query #3

Tyus has become the newest “Little Big Man” in Duke’s long line of Guards.  Has he met or surpassed your expectations of him from back when we profiled him in October ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I believe that comparisons are usually unfaire both to the present player and the alum.  Each player has his own specific style as it relates to their team.  The biggest aspect of concern this year was how Tyus would mesh with Quinny.   Well, the skeptics have all gone silent as the pair work like bread on butter.  My favourite thing about Tyus is how he always mentions his teammates and backs it up with his floor play.  He is the guy who gets it done, regardless of how he has to do it.  Against Carolina, he matched Amile’s team-high 6 Rebounds, doled our 7 Assists, shot 50% from both outside and inside the Arc, and was 12 of 12 at the Charity Stripe to lead the team with 24 Points.   Only one other player in Duke history did things like that – Bobby Hurley.  I’m sure both Bobby and Tyus would enjoy the comparison, especially because it’s made with such fondness for both !!!

Rowan:

I knew Jones had great ball control and could pass but, coming into the season, I was worried about two things regarding Tyus Jones, his ability to finish around the basket and to shoot the basketball. He currently shoots 40% of his 3 Pointers and has no problem finishing around the basket. Plus he gets to the free throw line just under five times a game where he is shooting 88%.

Query #4

There have been plenty of wonders about why Amile was not getting minutes.  He got 31 big minutes against Carolina.  

What impression do you have after the game ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

Amile is a true leader.  As a Co-Captain, he has done whatever it took to lead, even if it was from the Bench.  In this game he played plenty and was a “garbage man,” meaning he did a lot of dirty work.  His stats will never show the hustle he showed, but he seemed to be in on every play.  Most important to me was his 6 Rebounds with 5 of them being on the Offensive Boards.  That is probably the least emphasized statistic is college basketball.  He got the job done, and that was great to see !!!

Rowan:

I understand that the reason given for his “demotion” was that he was not rebounding well, so Matt Jones was elevated to the starting line up, which made little sense. In the Carolina game we saw exactly how Jefferson affects the game with his defense. He only had 6rebounds and 3 points to show for that 31 minutes, but at the end of the game Jay Bilas had high praise for Jefferson and his defensive awareness. 

Query #5

Predictably, “Oaks” was named to the 1st Team All-ACC, Quinny to the 2nd Team, Tyus to the 3rd Team, and Justise got Honourable Mention.              No Duke player was named to the Defensive Team  

Any surprises for you ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m not so surprised.  Justise might have been higher had he not gotten banged-up in the middle of the season.  I also think that just having four (4) players honoured like this is sensational, regardless of which team they are named to.  On the contrary, not having anyone being mentioned to the Defensive Team is disheartening, but at the same time, profoundly honest.  Going forward, defense will be pivotal to moving forward in both the ACC Tournament and the Big Dance. 

Rowan:

I think Duke’s idea of Defense is to outscore their opponents. On a more serious note, I would only peg Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson as defensive players, but Jones’ defense has deteriorated this season and Jefferson spent more time watching ACC games than playing.

Query #6

Once again, Duke players have succumbed to foot and ankle problems.  It seems to be somewhat of a pervasive and omni-present aspect of Duke Basketball.  

In a day when uniform, footwear, and clothing manufactures seem to have a great deal of preeminence in the life of over the teams who they sponsor, do you see Nike as being responsible ???    

Bermuda Bob:

I have not laced up a pair of “sneakers” in ages, but I do know that each manufacturer’s products fit differently.  I also know that very often the manufacturers make footwear with more accent on style than performance.  They are in business to sell products, which is why Duke has a third uniform that is NOT in Duke’s official colours.  While I’m not an Orthopedist, I have to wonder about the support of the recent Nike shoes based on the injuries realized.  I’d surely be interested in a comparative analysis of ankle and foot injuries across the country by manufacturer.

Rowan:

This might be a little difficult to prove. I did see on Twitter that they might be wearing Kyrie Irving’s new shoes 

Query #7 

Kentucky has completed an undefeated season.

Are we going to talk about this ??? 

Rowan:

We should because going undefeated is an amazing feat no matter the circumstances. Some people say the SEC is weak this year, though ESPN “Bracketologist,” Joe Lunardi currently has the SEC sending 5 teams dancing, which is one less than the ACC. Florida, the one team that can be counted on to annually humble John Calipari is a long shot to make the tournament.

In good faith we must congratulate the players for having a remarkable season. Going undefeated is an achievement that cannot be taken away from them.

Bermuda Bob

Yes, Kentucky has gone undefeated and they deserve our recognition. I’m not as impressed as many fans, or most of the media. I also find it an anathema to compare them to the Indiana team of 1975-76. That team was essentially a team of “nobodies,” led by an all-time Hall of Fame coach, not a guy who has had wins vacated.

Pomeroy has their Strength of Schedule rating as 38th and 99th for it’s out of conference schedule. Their conference strength is at 5th, 6th, or 7th in the nation, dependent on who you believe.

I think Kentucky can be beaten by a team with a well-organized Game Plan, which they stick to strictly. To paraphrase Michael Corleone of “GodFather” fame: “If anything is this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you (can beat) anyone.”   I’ll put my faith in this concept.

 

Thanks for the read !!!

Please feel free to comment here or at our Twitter site:  

@SimplyDukeBB

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