Tonight, Ro Shiell and Bermuda Bob take a look back at Duke’s first weekend in the Big Dance, and then look forward to the challenges that present themselves in the Sweet 16:
On Thursday, Duke needed an exemplary 2nd Half performance from “Plums” (9 of 10 shooting, plus 5 of 6 from the Charity Stripe) to prevail over a very talented UNC-Wilmington team that led by 3 at the Half. Was there anything else that you’d point to as the reason why they won ???
As I’ve said before, “Plums” is the toughest of the 3 brothers. He rose to the occasion, taking advantage of the UNC-W “bigs” fouling out practically en masse. Brandon and Grayson added 20 and 23 respectfully, but it was Grayson’s 15 of 17 shooting from the Charity Stripe that was a wonderful help.
There was a lot of whispering that this was a potential upset in the making, and it almost was, until Duke realised that they were bigger and started playing like that.
In that Thursday game, 51 Fouls were whistled under these new contact rules. Since WE don’t get fined, or sanctioned, for stating our mind, what was your opinion of the officiating ???
This was an abomination, especially considering that they were so inconsistent. I’m not saying that they weren’t equally abdominal to both teams, but they routinely made calls for a violation that they didn’t call the next time it happened. An identical Charge was called only 3 of 5 times. I am hoping that those Refs are NOT allowed to work another game !!!
That was a lot of whistling, but it didn’t hinder Duke, this time, thankfully.
In this game “Plums” and Matt Jones fouled out. Duke got only a modicum of assistance from Chase Jeter in 11 minutes on the floor, relying on a 4 Guard Line-Up. Do you think Duke can prevail against the caliber of teams left with this solution ???
In a word, NO !!! If you look at most of the teams that prevailed into the Sweet 16, you will note that they play a full accompaniment of credible players. Coach K has refused to play his Bench this season, thus he only had one proven player available to him, and he won’t play him. Thus, he is short handed and his team is prone to getting “puffed” by the 10 minute mark. I do not see that as plaguing anyone else in the Sweet 16.
UNC-Wilmington utilised a 4 Guard Line-Up, so this was the perfect team for Duke to play this way against, considering the Blue Devils were bigger anyway. I think that any 4 Guard Line-Up that Duke utilises has to have versatile defender, Matt Jones in it against any other team.
In the next game, against Yale, Duke had to overcome a Yale team they had beaten earlier in the year at home, but then Amile Jefferson was playing a large part. Duke got out to an incredible start, leading by 23 at the Half, only to see Yale outscore Duke 39-23 in the 2nd Half. What do you make of this game ???
Do you remember the old children’s rhyme about the 3 Little Pigs ??? “… not by the hair on your chinny chin-chin.” ??? Well, that’s about all that Duke had left to hold on to keep from losing … the non-existent hair on the chin of a pig. The only saving grace was that Yale had much too much to make up and too little time so to do.
Ingram and Allen started off hot which gave Duke a comfortable lead. We now know of Plumlee’s heroics behind the scenes, encouraging his teammates to not give up. He was also pretty good on the Court. Even though he only scored 2 Points, he hit the Boards and blocked 5 Shots. Matt Jones may have Fouled Out, but between he and Derryk Thornton, they corralled Yale’s Makai Mason into a 2-of-12 outing.
Duke was soundly out-rebounded by Yale on both the Offensive and Defensive sides, primarily because “Plums” was outnumbered, regardless of his best efforts. Considering that this will be the norm going forward, how do they prevail against the likes of Oregon, who logged 44 and 35 Rebounds in their previous games ???
The conundrum exists that the more Duke tries to aid “Plums” with the present Starting Line-up, the more they commit Fouls. Inasmuch as Coach K is not going to rotate all 4 “bigs,” he is left with only a 4 Guard Line-up to go to. That won’t be enough, I fear. Only a consistent pair of Halves shooting lights out will give Duke the chance they need to prevail.
Rebounding is indeed an issue for Duke, and it has been all season, but this Duke team wins by outscoring it’s opponents. By now we have to accept this.
Rebounding is a skill that Duke players just do not have. They think out- jumping their opponent is the best way to do this, but it isn’t always so. I was always taught that as soon as the Shot goes up to put a body on the closest Defender, thus preventing them from getting to the ball. Then go for the rebound when the ball is safely off the Rim. Many people know this as “Boxing Out.”
Ingram and Plumlee will always out-jump anyone for a Rebound due to the latter’s size and the former’s athleticism. What happens when they meet someone Like Zack August who Boxes Out like a champion, or Tyler Roberson the human pogo stick ??? Both of these players had record games, on the Boards, against Duke.
I have only seen one player who Boxes Out consistently, and that is seldom used Sean Obi.
It was more than insinuated by the CBS Commentators that Duke had the easiest ride to the Sweet 16 of the majority of the teams that who also got there. What do you make of that assertion ???
Well, Duke got lucky when Yale beat Baylor, a team that Duke did not match up against favourably. I would note that there might be some credence to that argument, once again, only because of that Baylor early exit.
As an aside, considering that the Selection Committee put Kentucky and Indiana in each other’s paths, because of the refusal of “Cal-the-Lip” to schedule a Home-and-Home arrangement. Considering Coach K’s expressed objection to ever schedule Maryland, I surely would have thought Duke and Maryland might have been placed in the same Region. Thus, creating the possibility they may cross paths in a match of former rivals. Once again, the Selection Committee proved that all they are consistent about is their being inconsistent !!!
You can only beat whoever is in front of you and worrying about anything else is futile.
Speaking of the CBS Commentators, whom we will have to endure for 2 more weekends, who were your favourites, and who do you wish were not around next week ???
Once again, CBS has tried to put around peg in a square hole. They insist on trying to prove that NBA Commentators are capable of doing college basketball. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because it’s basketball does not mean it is the same game. All year long we listen to ESPN Commentators, but when it comes to the National Championship, with the exception of 4 or 5 guys, we are forced to deal with idiots and imbeciles.
The best team is still Jim Spinarkle and Vern Lundquist, while the best trio is Raftery, Grant Hill, and Nantz. When the rest of them are on, I wish I could listen to the radio and watch the game to get better Commentators. The worst team were the guys Ian Eagle was saddled with … Len “I Hate Duke” Elmore and Chris “No Time Outs Left” Webber are masters of useless, idiotic, and over-used observations. Doug Gottlieb, on the other hand believes that because he sez it, it is gospel. Last but not least are the NBA Studio people, who routinely prove that they are making it up as they go along. They prove it each time they must speak without notes in their hand.
Their insistence in using guys who aren’t familiar with the College Basketball landscape beyond the popular players has been simply unforgivable to the well-heeled fans. As March Madness has many casual fans, I suppose this works for them to see a familiar face.
Thanks for taking the time to read our thoughts.
Want to add yours ???
Please post a Comment here, or on our Twitter site:
We promise to always answer you !!!