SDBB: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … Can Coach K Straighten His Team Out After All ???

TO OUR READERS:

Before we go further, I must apologize to our readers for being absent since our Countdown Profiles. I have not been feeling up to snuff, and the Doctors took their sweet time in coming up with a diagnosis, as opposed to a palatable postulation. Anyway, Saturday’s game was more than I could stomach, so I will attempt to provide a faire but just commentary of the game, for the season left.

Thanks for your understanding and standing by me during these difficult times !!!

Bermuda Bob

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Mirror, Mirror

After having turned the corner of the conference season with an unforeseen loss to St. John’s, Duke looks forward to another struggling team in North Carolina.  St. John’s is a bottom-dweller in the Big East with a 0-11 conference record and 11-13 overall records. Duke had no business losing this game that they went into as a comfortable odds-on favourite.

I won’t go into what happened in the game.  They lost because they played a very inferiour game. Coach K would go on to say that they did not play their game for the first 32 minutes.  He claimed that they played as individuals, and that he did not know why.  After going on a diatribe of lamentations, like:

The team was:

  •        “… very frustrating to coach today …” or
  •        “… this is not acceptable …” or
  •        “… we’ve got to get better …” and
  •        ” … we’ve got to grow up …” … then …
  •        “… the Basketball Gods know why …”

All of these are rather hackneyed and overused observations, especially by a coach who just lost his 4th game of the season, when preseason predictions were for an undefeated, or nearly undefeated season.   Having lost 3 games in-Conference, Duke has a not-so-easy schedule that resumes on Thursday.

The comment from Coach K that wrenched my neck when I heard it was when he described the game as “… disgusting …” Really Coach ???

Now, as a 30+ year fan, observing all those ways and means that reflect my recognition of who I’m speaking to, I have to register my sincere disagreement with this type of sentiment. Coach, if the team is “disgusting” and all those other things you said in such a frustrating manner, I have to ask: “Have you looked in the mirror lately ???”            Not once in your “presser” did you once turn the sentiment to you and you Staff, and here is why:

  1. You are not using your whole team !!! You have nine (9) guys sitting on the Bench waiting, willing, and wanting to contribute, but you rarely call on them.  Any of them could start on another team, but they came to YOU because they trusted that you’d allow them to contribute.

There are many coaches who you respect, who realize that if their Starters are not getting it done, you don’t waste 32 minutes waiting for them to come into themselves, you replace them with players who WILL not be “… expressionless …” players.

  1. When you do use one of your Bench players, you can’t insert them for barely enough time to break a sweat. Bench players need and deserve to be used        fairly, but inserting …
  •          Marquis Bolden for 10 minutes …
  •          Jack White for 8 minutes …
  •          Javin DeLaurier for 2 minutes …

… doesn’t give any of them time to contribute, especially a guy who gets in for only               2 minutes !!!

  1. Replacing a Starter should be done based on their performance on that day. Being replaced, for not playing up to one’s capabilities, as opposed to only for being in foul trouble, is understood and recognized everywhere.  Sometimes the replacement ought to be en masse’ while other times, it is appropriate to give another player an opportunity to contribute.

In one of your XM Radio broadcast in January you complemented Jay Wright and Roy Williams for having “consistent” programs that have been to the Final Four twice in the last few years.  Those are just two (2) coaches who understand the idea of making substitutions when they have “… expressionless …” players.

  1. Duke is shooting a paltry 68.9% from the Charity Stripe, where points can be scored without minutes coming off the clock !!!  Why is this accepted ???         I’m really surprised that such a big factor in many pivotal games across America is being accepted. Out of the Top 100 Free Throw Shooters in America, only Gary Trent appears at 58th with 86.9% …

          Oh, if the team were to only share that percentage with Gary ???

  1. Coach, for whatever reason, you have embraced the “one-and-done” recruit. You have used the strange excuse that they were given a significant “job offer” that should not have been turned down.  That means you recruit more guys to replace the guys who left to accept up their offers.  Personally, I believe to equate a “job offer” that almost all Duke graduates expect to receive, but after 4 years of study, is why you are filled with Frosh again, while the upperclassmen languish on the Bench.
  1. If you consider the theorem that “… for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction …” every player you recruit, there will be one player who leaves for another school (as has been done by a player each year since the 2011-12 season) and another who leaves for the NBA.   That’s not equal to the student who matriculates for four (4) years to earn a degree to get a normal job offer, but you’ll bring in more guys who have no intention of staying to matriculate for four (4) years !!
  • What happened to the days of Jay Williams, who you personally orchestrated his ability to get his degree in 3 years ???
  • If full matriculation is not so important, then why do you require that a player graduate in order to have his jersey retired.  Remember when it took years for Christian Laettner to get his up there ???
  • What’s going to happen next year when the only Senior will be Antonio Vrankovic, a true Senior, and Justin Robinson, who is a Red Shirt Junior, and thereby an academic Senior ???  Are you going to make players you have disregarded for years, team Captains ???

Coach, mirrors have a great way of making things “crystal clear” so I suggest it to you.  After all, if you want to leave your legacy to be as it is presently, you have to live with the fact that starting four (4) Frosh is going to cause trouble … trouble that might be solved by the upperclassmen sitting on the Bench.

Imagine how THEY feel ???  I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts that you did not recruit any of them to the Bench, aka the Practice Squad !!!

I wish you the best this Thursday, as always !!!

Go Duke !!!

“Rock On” !!!

Bermuda Bob

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Point/CounterPoint #19 – Looking at the Big Dance Thus Far

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In this installment, Rowan Shiell & Bermuda Bob talk about what else they saw in the Big Dance, aside from Duke’s games.  

Be careful, if you’re not able to handle very frank opinions !!!

Query #1

Cinderella teams have long been the mark of a good tournament because they garner the attention of the casual fans as well as those whose teams were defeated.

This year there are no higher seeded teams remaining except UCLA with an #11 Seed.

Do you think the games have been entertaining in spite of this ??? 

Rowan:

No, because the NCAA tournament is all about upsets and with the higher seeds winning, emphatically at times, this is not a great show. If your team is still in it, then you may have a different opinion.

There were some great matchups on Saturday, and even better on Sunday culminating in Kansas being sent home by Wichita State.

Bermuda Bob:

Yes, I love to see the Butlers, Valpos, George Masons, VCUs, and the other great upsets (desperately trying to forget Lehigh and Mercer) as much as the next fan, but I think the original intent of the Big Dance has gotten lost.  The idea was to have teams that would not normally play each other to determine who is the best.  Duke’s draw in the South looks like that, but the East does not.

As we noted in our “Blue Paper” on the Selection Committee, I think that since they are not “basketball people,” they look to create match-ups for the wrong reasons. One needs to only look at how they orchestrated the Kansas-Wichita State match-up to understand my point.  The Committee essentially considered Bill Self’s adamancy to schedule Wichita State, and made a statement about it.   

Query #2

Which Sweet Sixteen Coach is under the most pressure ???

 Rowan:

Everyone thinks it is John Calipari because he has an undefeated team but I don’t think so.  He is already winning.  His formula works and he is just two seasons removed from his first Championship.  He is a man on top of his game, and unless we can prove that he is another Lance Armstrong, respect has to be given to his achievements.

Coach K on the other hand has suffered in the NCAA tournament is his pursuit of “one-and-done” players. He has to prove his doubters wrong and that he can indeed win with players on campus for only one year.

North Carolina needs some good publicity after the current scandal, so Roy Williams better be a keeper.

Meanwhile, Tom Izzo is playing with house money and Bo Ryan has a chance to step up from the middle tier of the coach’s ladder to the top within the next fortnight.

Bermuda Bob:

Well, you know I’m going to disagree on “Cal-the-Lip” and I guess I was backed up by the college basketball writers, who did not name him their Coach of the Year. That went to Tony Bennett.

Simply said, this whole idea of “reinforcements” is just another bit of the slick way “Cal-the-Lip” tries to look like a coach, but alas, his past record tell you all you need to know about him.  For you Godfather movie buffs, let me just refer you to the way Don Corleone characterized Phillip Tattiglia after the meeting of the “5 Families.”  That what I think of “Cal-the-Lip”

I think guys like Coach Miller at Arizona, Coach Few at Gonzaga, and Coach Marshall at Wichita State all need to take a step closer to the National Championship to validate their efforts. 

Query #3

Which top seed has had the easiest run to the Sweet Sixteen ??? 

Rowan:

Louisville had to beat Northern Iowa and UC Irvine. 

Bermuda Bob:

As an ACC fan, I’m happy that Louisville is still in, otherwise, I’m surprised that a team who shot so poorly during the season has won twice.

Arizona did not get much from Ohio State. Wisconsin has dispatched their opponents handily. 

Query #4

Which team had the hardest path to the Sweet Sixteen ???

Rowan:

No question, it is Wichita State, beating Indiana and Kansas. Then NC State, second, who had to take down Villanova, the #1 Seed, to progress. Notre Dame has had some issues but they prevailed.

Bermuda Bob:

Michigan State is, by Coach Izzo’s admission not nearly as talented as some of his other teams, but never bet against “Mr. March.”   I agree with you on your picks and would just add that any of the 3 other teams left in the MidWest Region could break a lot of BlueGrass hearts and expectations. 

Query #5

Which had the most Controversial route ??? 

Rowan:

Was it a rebound or a goal tending ???  That’s something we will be debating for an eternity, especially with SMU fans.

Bermuda Bob:

I agree on SMU, but often calls are skewed for the same reason as why UCLA was in the Big Dance in the first place.  Otherwise, I think the officiating has been reasonable faire.  When they make bad calls, they make them for both teams. It’s a concept that has always made me shake my head.  Calling a game evenly is not calling the game effectively.

As Cosmo Castorini of “Moonstruck” fame likes to say: “… and I’ll say no more …” 

Query #6

Who is the tournament’s MVP so far ??? 

Rowan:

Fred Van Fleet of Wichita State 

Bermuda Bob:

Jerian Grant of Notre Dame.  He’s a Senior, the sparkplug of that team and a worthy runner-up for ACC POY !!!

Query #7

Who are the 4 most impressive teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Kentucky, Arizona, Duke and Gonzaga in no particular order.  They all won the games they were meant to win without any drama. Wisconsin belongs in that group but sadly the question was four not five. 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m going the other way with Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.  All have had much more difficult draws and prevailed when some considered them underdogs.  

Query #8

Who have been the Most Entertaining teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Wichita State, Michigan State, NC State and Notre Dame.

Bermuda Bob:

I’ll stay with the same teams in Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.

 

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