SDBB: Looking at Duke’s First Big Dance Weekend, and a Look Forward to the Sweet 16

SDBB - On to Sweet 16

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:

Query #1:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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.  

Rowan: 

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.

Query #2:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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 !!! 

Rowan: 

That was a lot of whistling, but it didn’t hinder Duke, this time, thankfully.

Query #3:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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.

Rowan: 

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.

Query #4:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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.   

Rowan:   

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. 

Query #5:          

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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.

Rowan: 

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.

Query #6:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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 !!!

Rowan: 

You can only beat whoever is in front of you and worrying about anything else is futile.

Query #7:

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 ???

Bermuda Bob:             

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.

Rowan: 

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.

************************************************

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18 thoughts on “SDBB: Looking at Duke’s First Big Dance Weekend, and a Look Forward to the Sweet 16

  1. Duke was lucky to get by Yale. What amazes me is that when a boat is taking on water (27 point lead is lost) you want all hands to help bail the boat out. Obviously Coach K doesn’t believe in that type of logic so he only plays 6 capable players. If Oregon is as athletic as advertised, Duke maybe be on the charter flight home Friday. The 1st given is that the Pacific breeze will keep Duke’s backdoor open. Will K try to close it with a mixed zone defense? The 2nd given is that the proven rebounder will only be inserted if Plums and Jeter get in deep foul trouble.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      A tale of 2 Halves for sure !!!
      I only saw what Oregon did to St. Joe’s, who I had winning that game, so I’m impressed.
      The BackDoor is always opened … remember the Vermont game a few years ago ???
      No team is unbeatable, but I expect it to be some sort of wizardry tomorrow night if they are to prevail.
      It sure would be nice to see an all-ACC Final Four, but lots has to happen for that to occur !!!

      Enjoy & Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  2. Oregon 10 more assist than Duke. Maybe the back door wasn’t completely open but then Oregon didn’t need it as they slammed down the center lane and shot the lights out of the corner threes off of penetration drives and dished back out.

    Bob, your article last week about lack of offensive plays came to mind when Coach K was interviewed after halftime. The female reporter asked K what does Duke need to do offensively to get back in the game. His response “it is not X’s and O’s,” and the reporter pulls back with a look of surprise on her face, it is “competing”… My interpretation is that means K does not have any plays for these young men. Oh well, I wasn’t surprised by the loss.

    I just hope we don’t have to listen to another year about how young this team is. I guess when 3 or 4 incoming freshmen start next year, that is all we will hear. Maybe K will get lucky and the team will rock to another National title.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      The problem this year was twofold:

      1. Coach K’s leadership on the Court went to hell in a hand-basket when Amile went down. He had no real Point Guard to lead, but with Amile on the Court, he had some solid leadership. “Plums” was able to inspire, but that’s not the type of leadership this squad needed on the floor !!!

      2. Coach K got snookered by Jeter turning out to be a dud. He gave new meaning to the old term “ButterFingers” by having the uncanny ability to commit a Foul for every 4 minutes he was on the Court.

      In all my years of watching Coach K, I was never so flummoxed by his choices. Yes, that means Obi. If he wants us to believe that miraculously Obi has bad knees, then tell the fans, dammit. I don’t believe it because he contributed instantly in each of those 27 minutes he got on the floor this season.

      I hate to come to hasty conclusions, so I’ll save some of what’s flooding thru my head right now for our next article. Suffice to say that I’m not a happy camper … not because Duke lost tonight, hell, had Baylor beaten Yale, Duke would probably have lost to them for the same reasons they lost tonight. I’m upset because I hate (a word I do not use lightly) it when someone I think so highly of disappoints me !!!

      Enjoy the Rest of the Big Dance !!! It’s going to be a great one …
      In the meantime,
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  3. Quiz

    What Final Four team has a senior player who has averaged 17.6 points per game, 4.4 assist per game and is expected to go in the 1st round of the NBA draft?

    Still not sure, well this one should give it away – he transferred from Duke because he was not given enough playing time.

    Michael Gbinije

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      I was at a friend’s family gathering, and glad it was time to eat, because I was glued to the TV for the ‘Cuse game. I have watched and root intently for “Silent G” … I think of Coach K’s comment last year when he said: “… we knew he was good, that’s why we recruited him …”

      I, like so many, had Virginia getting to the Final Four, but I just couldn’t help but to root for Mike, just like I’d root for all those other guys who were forced to leave Duke to get minutes.

      There’s one additional thing about this Final Four … Did you notice that none of them depend on Frosh ??? Regardless of how the “basketball society” tries to force their abominations, like the “one-&-done” on CBB, there will always be programmes that get things done the way it was always intended. Over the weekend, I commented to Ro that Coach K was: ” … getting more like “Cal-the-Lip” than “Cal-the Lip” relying so heavily on Frosh.” I honestly never thought I’d see this day inasmuch as until the last Championship, everyone graduated !!!

      I hope you had a Buona Pasqua yesterday !!!
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  4. Yes I did have a Good Easter. I unlocked some of my old talents, and participated in a musical where I had a had a short speaking part. It was fun. There was a TV station in Virginia that interviewed MG. Although the interview doesn’t show it, the article states he left Duke in search of more playing time.

    Below is a quote from a 2012 article by Mike Waters at Syracuse when MG transferred:

    “We wish Michael (Gbinije) the best of luck and we will support him through his impending transfer,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. “He’s a talented player with a solid future ahead of him.”

    My question is: Coach K if you knew he was talented then, why didn’t you play him more?

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      Easter has always been my favourite holiday in Christendom, and of the calendar year. We spent a wonderful day with a friend’s family. I got to contribute and make some lovely new friends. I may be a bit prejudice, but no one does a Festa like Italians do !!! Hee-Hee-Hee !!!

      Imagine how much fun we had being able to feast on such wonderful food while watching such a great Regional game !!!

      Gee, Bill … that’s the second quote about “Silent G” from Coach K that makes you want to scratch you head head until you’ve created a bald spot !!! I couldn’t agree with you more, but he seems to do it every year with a player, and that makesno sense for me … As Dickie V noted that: “… every kid given a uniform ought to be allowed to contribute at least 10 minutes a game …”

      Now, that might not be practical but there are some coaches who play 13 deep. Coach Roy has played the better part of his Bench almost every year I can remember. I have never understood why Coach K INSISTS on playing only a modicum of his squad. I also wonder if each kid’s parents are allowed to call on Coach K (or even the coaching staff) to inquire about their son’s performance, playing time, etc as was revealed in the Sports Illustrated article about Jabari Parker.

      I am going to go on record as wondering if Coach K recruits kids as something other than a Starter, but more so I wonder if he is honest with the kid and his parents ??? In this “one-and-done” era, does he recruit a kid as a “practice player” or does he use that old axiom that any kid can earn a a Starter’s spot by practicing hard ??? I’ve never bought into that idea. You can’t recruit Frosh like Coach K has in recent years and not make some form of promise of a kid having an better than even chance of playing.

      My perpetual pugnacious position on this is because of Coach K’s history of recruiting kids who thought they had no chance of getting a reasonable shot at Starting. Go all the way back to Billy McCaffrey, then Mike Chappell and Chris Burgess, and the long list of others who felt they needed to go elsewhere to get playing time.

      Let’s not only focus on “Silent G” … Let’s also be just as quick to laud Rasheed Suliamon, who had a great year and was a huge part of the Maryland’s Sweet 16 season !!!

      My hope is that Semi can get away from SMU and get a chance to shine. Unfortunately, Alex was injured at the wrong time.

      You have to wonder what goes on in a kid’s mind when he sees Coach K recruit a kid behind him and that incoming kid has every expectation of starting.

      Something tell me that it is going to be an interesting off season for sure !!!

      Have a great week !!!
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  5. Is the replacement for Coach K set? With Jeff Capel turning down the Ga Tech job, I would have to believe there has been some discussions behind the scenes about who and when someone takes over for Coach K. I would think he does not go past age 70.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      I don’t see any signs that Coach K is ready to go yet … He’s still recruiting like crazy – OK, Capel gets things going !!! I never thought that Jeff was going to Tech as they’re in the same conference.

      I think Johnny, Tommy, & Bobby still have stakes in the field. Glad Johnny will have the chance to turn that programme in Orlando around. There are plenty of good kids in Florida, not all are “Mickey Mouse Players” !!!

      There are still going to be a few interesting openings coming up … Hey, the job at NJIT is still open !!!
      Hee-Hee-Hee !!!

      Enjoy the Game Tonight !!!
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  6. Well I picked the champion in the Final pool, don’t know how I did on the points. UNC had more assist and outrebounded Villanova, but it really looked like the game came down to the points in the paint which Nova scored more of those. Sorry to see the ACC have 6 teams in the Sweet 16 and not win the championship. A miraculous shot by UNC ties the game and then Carolina doesn’t defend the 3 point line on the final play.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      I had a few complaints about the way things went before things go to tonight, which did not disappoints for one minute.

      Complaints:
      1. If the Selection Committee thought thru the idea of Kentucky and Indiana, then maybe they could have gone and put Maryland and Duke in the same Region.

      2. the CBS coverage was abysmal,except for the Raftery, Grant Hill, Nantz team … Why anyone would think we’d want to listen to NBA hacks cover the greatest annual sporting event is beyond me. Think of it, we listen to the guys from ESPN all year long, then have to put up with such imbeciles in March. Ro got the better end of the stick in London as he got Dickie V doing his big games.

      3. It would have been nice if CBS took a few stolen minutes to demonstrate their admiration for Craig Sager like everyone who he interviewed to his face !!!

      This is not a complaint, but one major observation that needs not to be overlooked. ALL of the Sweet 16 teams, and many others in the Big Dance, were led by upperclassmen who fully matriculated, and in the case of others, were Graduate Students. Im not talking about the guys playing the game like those at Louisville who transferred in, I’m talking those guys like Malcomb Brogdon of Virginia, who was extending his scholarly studies !!! I have all the respect in the world for him !!!

      We’ll be writing more in retrospect, so stay tuned !!!
      In the meantime …
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  7. No knock against Bradon Ingram, I wish him success in the NBA. Villonova’s Jenkins may not be a #1 pick in the NBA, but in my opinion he has the body size and skills to do more than Ingram. Coach K you need to stop recruiting McD’s and focus on skilled physical players who can be developed in 3 or 4 years.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      Sorry I missed this last week …
      My opinion is that the more mature player trumps the younger skilled player … I asked Ro why Buddy and Valentine were not the top choices, and we are shaking our heads. That is why you rarely see franchise players anymore. I like Ingram even more than I did early on after getting to know him. He personifies not judging a book by it’s cover. I too wish him well, but unless he fits a particular perceived need by an NBA team, I’ll shake my head if he goes high.

      While we’re at it, let’s mention Grayson … As I told a clown on Twitter that claimed to have “inside info” that he was going … I’m happy that he appreciates a Duke education, especially since he has a REAL Major, as opposed to come thing more cupcake that won’t get a job after graduation !!! I could not be happier !!!

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  8. Bob

    The rumors about Thornton are now official. Like you have said, I find this deeply concerning. Coach K had this young man give up his high school year for what? To come to Duke where there was no future after your freshman year because we are going to bring in more one and dones. Coach “I want to be like Cal” K who is going to be your point guard this year. G Allen, M Jones and L Kennard are not point guards. I think this high recruited class and the 2016 team are already in trouble and the season is 8 months away.

    Bill

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      Ro and I were talking about this all afternoon whilst I had one eye on the Masters.

      I’m troubled inasmuch as Thronton is now just another of kid who felt the need to go elsewhere. Now, his announcement sez he wants to be closer to home, and I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see just how close he get to Cal-eeee-forn-ya. If he should sign with a mid-west team, I will call “BS” !!!

      Looking at what Ro tells me about who’s coming and who K still wants, I wonder about his having too many kids, and upperclassmen he has recruited behind. I wonder what happens to Luke, especially because in 2017-18, when he will have the most seniority, after Amile & Cazzie graduate and Grayson presumably goes. Nick and Obi will be Seniors that have only seen the Court in Practice. As you can imagine, I’m hoping that Joker Jeter jilts !!!

      Is that what he could leave the next coach ??? Slim pickins, for sure !!!

      What happened to the Duke team that developed players like all those Sweet 16 teams that prevailed this year ???

      Have a great week !!!
      As Always, Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      I will rely only on the young man’s own words that he’s prefer to be closer to home. It’s too bad Coach Dawkins is no longer out there … he’d be perfect. Of course, Bobby Hurley is out there !!!

      If the young man goes elsewhere to a programme east of the Mississippi, I will consider his words to be disingenuous and then look to the real reasoning for his leaving !!! I believe he has an Uncle with an itchy Twitter finger !!!

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

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