I am interested in K's comment in yesterday's ACC teleconference that games often turn on "attention to detail where you have to make a play."
Obviously that could apply to Sunday's game v. Miami, and I hope it will apply Wed eve, with more positive results for Duke. I'm inclined to add a friendly amendment to K's observation, by suggesting that tough games turn on attention to detail on many, many plays, and not just at the end. That is, you "have to" to make lots of plays - on O and D - throughout the game. If our guys fail to pay attention to the very details that distinguish good from bad play(s), they're going to lose.
Beyond the point that several posters have made - gotta make shots, including good % of 3s, and rebound against an excellent rebounding team - I will be looking for these kinds of "attention to detail":
- no one-handed thunder dunks, none; even when successful it's unwise, as it only encourages more such crap
- intense, focused block-outs on rebounding when UNC's at the line; no tap backs by Heels
- no silly fouls, none, especially by Miles and Mason; tough enough to deal with Zeller and Henson without wasted fouls
- focus on the detail of setting solid, not moving, screens
- constant, constant talk on D; K has repeatedly said staff has worked on getting more, and more effective, communication; that's a big detail for K, yet up to now it seems this crucial detail hasn't been mastered [this is a detail I guess we might not be able to "see" as clearly as some of the others, but if it's there, K would probably praise it after the game
- bigs get back on D every time, including after Duke scores; no easy baskets via long Marshall passes to streaking Zeller/Henson
- no rhythm-dribble by Mason in the off-chance play or 2 that he's literally wide open via a good pass
Other detail things? There must be quite a few that other posters could add.....
Beyond these things, I hope that when our guys drive, they go up and into Henson, rather than trying to avoid him. IMO, better chance to draw a foul than to avoid a block; he's too long, but he's not too strong. Also, I hope our guys realize that Zeller is sneaky-good at intercepting entry passes. He's not as good on D as O, but he's pretty good.
I'm looking forward to what I assume might be a game-long Barnes-Rivers duel against each other. Now maybe Roy will surprise and put Bullock on Rivers, and let Barnes guard Seth/Andre. But I just assume Rivers and Barnes will play 35 minutes, and try to check each other. If Barnes had a better handle, Rivers would be in big trouble. If Roy actually designs a game-plan that emphasizes Barnes posting up a lot, that might also be a problem for whoever's defending him. But on the optimistic - and just generally fun side - I sort of look forward to seeing Austin v. Barnes, or anyone else. Despite his missed FTs, Austin has game and attitude, and is the closest thing Duke has to a relentless player.
I'm still getting used to Austin, but he certainly possesses what, IMO, is the single most important physical skill, especially for perimeter players - handle. And I think he shows what, IMO, is the single most important mental/psychological [??] skill - relentlessness. His decision-making, though still inconsistent, is coming along ok.