Discuss the game here.
United States Navy (Retired)
With his play so far (and with the recent Grantland article), a lot of people will be (and are) talking about Austin's decision-making, mostly saying that he needs to start passing out of his drives. I think that, on this particular issue, we are just going to need to be patient.
Even when Austin was at Winter Park, when he was scoring 29 points a game, when he had the ball in his hands nearly every single possession, he only averaged two assists per game. Just two. He's not a drive-and-dish player; he's a drive-and-drive player. He simply never needed to pass out of his drives in high school. So it's not just a matter of concentration or "making better decisions." It's a matter of adding a whole new aspect to his game. It's about teaching him to keep an eye out for open players while also keeping an eye on the rim. This is not something you do by just magically "paying more attention." It has to be learned. And that takes time.
But there's good news: we've been here before. Remember when Nolan came back for his junior year as a completely transformed player? Remember the one criticism people still made of Nolan that entire fall? "He dribbles into traffic." "He doesn't pass out of his drives." "He needs to make better decisions." By the end of the year, however, people didn't seem so worried about it. Why? Because our staff knows what they're doing. They know how to teach this stuff. It's their job. All we have to do is be patient.
"With seven national titles and 20 Final Fours in the 64-team NCAA Tournament era, Duke and UNC have had more playoff success than any other CONFERENCE." - Al Featherston
Best game of the season to date by far.
1) we still need to be better guarding off the bounce
2) mason needs to make his ft
3) I'd like to see more out of Miles.
Tomorrow's match will be fun!
-Ryan Kelly is once again the most efficient player on offense. I think he should be getting more touches in iso situations, he's very very difficult to stop.
-Quinn Cook looked pretty good in transition, he's very exciting when he's pushing the ball. Defensively, he's really trying, but not quite there yet. I like what I see from him. He'll be a contributor sooner rather than later.
-Seth once again was shaky handling the ball towards the end of the game, but as usual, came up with a couple of key steals to help build the late lead.
-Rivers looked terrible, then he hit 2 threes, then he looked terrible, then he took over. I expect this to continue for some time until he learns how to make good decisions with the ball.
-Mason was great, except at the free throw line. No surprise.
-Overall, our perimeter defense is doing a great job of closing out on shots, but having a tough time stopping penetration. It's going to be rough when we play against a great true point guard. Michigan has 2 outstanding guards in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, they will really test us.
Very sloppy first half on both ends, and a sloppy first several minutes of the second half.
We went with a lineup of Curry/Thornton/Dawkins/two bigs for several minutes and built a lead. Then Rivers came back in and finished strong.
It was an incredibly balanced scoring effort. Three guys got 15+, another guy got 10, and another guy got 8.
Curry and Kelly are such efficient scorers. Mason is much more confident this year, though he's still not a polished offensive player. Still, I feel so much more comfortable with him handling it in the post than last year.
Rivers showed some of why he's so highly touted in the second half. But for the first 25+ minutes of the game, I thought he made some very bad decisions. He's clearly capable of hitting any shot, and he knows it. That's a blessing and a curse, because we need him to figure out when to take those runners and contested 3s and when to set up a teammate. He's going to have no problem beating his man - when he figures out when to pass to the wide open man and when to shoot, he's going to be unstoppable.
Thornton is such a sparkplug defensively. Unfortunately, he fouls a LOT and brings very little offensively. Still valuable for the minutes he can provide, but I do wonder if he's going to continue to have a foul-imposed minutes ceiling.
For whatever reason, I feel like Dawkins just doesn't get enough shots. He's going to be up and down all year, I think.
Survive and advance. Let's play better tomorrow.
I was unaware that he averaged only 2 assists per game in high school. That seems ridiculously low for such a high-volume player. But it does explain why that part of his game is still a work in progress.
I don't have much fear that he won't figure it out. He's a terrific talent. I do hope it happens sooner rather than later, because when it does, he's going to be lethal.
Nice use of floaters by Austin and 'dre. Need to use that more; should put it up once they get by their
man instead of forcing it under the bucket. Opens up the lane for our bigs too.
Another good win with 4 players into double figure scoring. Seth had an excellent game as he is becoming a cagy leader with ball handling, passing, scoring and reasonable defense. Obviously coach K trusts him. Kelly also was excellent out there and has the best overall ability for our bigs plus his length allows him to alter shots and rebound. At the end of game, he also can stay in with his excellent free throw shooting. Austin created defensive problems for Tennessee with his quick step and ability to score with either hand. Dawkins didn't get a lot of shots but his percentage was good and his defense will keep him in a lot of games. Mason looked good out there when he gets the ball close to the basket, but he and most other big men shouldn't be expected to dribble in from beyond 15 feet. Cook's ball handling wasn't exploited due perhaps to his defense, but he certainly can be a plus on offense. Miles had some good minutes and some not so good, which is consistent with his usual play. No one was injured significanly but our key guys did play a lot of minutes.
On the negative side, I thought Tennesse was able to get the ball inside and when they did they scored and/or they will quicker jumpers while our big may have altered shots but gave away some rebounds they should have gotten. Maeon and Miles both have great difficulty with free throws and it makes them a liability, especially at the end of game.I thought Mason would be subbed on offense and defense at the end of game, but coach left Mason in.
I thought another negative was the use of our bigs during the early part of the second half. We seemed determined to get the ball to Miles and Mason, often away from the basket. Miles did hit one jump shot, but the strategy backfired with traveling, lost balls and poorly taken shots.
Michigan played very well and with composure against Memphis. They will be a worthy opponent for us tomorrow as they defend well and are patient and careful with the ball. Should be a good one.
I really liked our toughness tonight. Those UT guys were pretty physical, and we didn't back down.
Some really good stuff to build off of....once Austin understands when to alley-oop and when to shoot on his drives, we are going to be TOUGH.
Miles perplexes me. He is so incredibly gifted, yet can't seem to put it together. He had one Iso where he moved so fluidly with the ball down-low, but then threw up an absolute piece of ugliness. Then he turned around and made an amazing block. Oh well....I'm cheering for ya' Miles!
I'm glad our defense figured them out. I thought that their superior athleticism might wear us down, but we showed some toughness by fighting back.
Next game against Michigan will be the toughest game so far. Hopefully our guys get the W.
Tennessee had the look of some teams that play against us----they really, really wanted to beat Duke and played hard and physical.
An example, I think, of how we get the best effort from many teams.
One of the trademarks of the 2011-12 team could well be balanced scoring.
Seems like it so far.
It'll make it very difficult for teams to shut us down.
Our poor foul shooting will sooner or later end up costing us a game we should win. Mason, Miles and even Austin are not making a good percentage of their foul shots. I look for Coach K to do some offense to defense substitutions and get his better shooters in the closing minutes. GoDuke!
First of all, that was a terribly, terribly officiated game. I don't blame Dre a bit for being frustrated.
Anyway, this game was, again, a tale of two halves. We looked absolutely awful in the first half, and scraped by with hot 3-point shooting. I fail to understand why don't come out every game trying to establish either 1) the post, or 2) Dre with some JJ-plays. Also, it's one thing to take away the three, but it's another to not even get down in your defense stance while just chasing the guard into the lane. It should NOT be that much of an either/or choice; we're not quick enough to sell out like that, so hopefully K starts adapting his system to his players' defensive strengths.
I still think Curry is getting worn down by handling the ball so much... he was getting destroyed on defense in the first half and made another inexcusable turnover in crunch time. When he gets low on defense and puts a little extra into his offense, he's a great player. When he's too winded to do that, he's a liability. Honestly, I'd rather of 25 minutes of great-Curry than 40 minutes of tired-Curry, if that's what it comes down to.
Looked great in the second half, though. Kelly is finally getting comfortable/confident enough to flash some of those funky moves I've been preachin' about!
Mason played another near-perfect game. One of his turnovers was even a thing of beauty - he went to work on the left block, and every step and shoulder-blow for 4-5 dribbles was perfect until he got too excited and shuffled his right foot on the final pivot. I wish we'd run the offense through him down low every time, unless we've got a set play that demands otherwise.
I thought the play where his improvement was most clear was the first play of the second half. I mean, how many times last year did we see him drive from the top of the key without a clear plan, spin, then plant his spinning foot lateral to his pivot foot and either a) panic and travel, b) get stripped, or c) shoot a weak fadeaway because he was left with bad position and no more steps?
However, on this move, he a) held his pivot foot, b) was aware of his surroundings and under control, and c) made an incredible step with his right foot to complete the spin. If you watch it in slow-mo, you'll see him step 5-6 feet straight towards the rim - not easy or natural with a spin move - and plant his foot past the legs of the defender, thus working in a textbook drop step, and finishing through an (uncalled) foul at the rim. That right-foot step alone is a massive improvement from anything we saw of him as an underclassman, IMO.