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  1. #1

    Time to take Duke seriously as a Final Four contender

    An article by Rob Dauster on NBC Sports:

    "Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again: winning is a skill. The confidence to execute in late-game situations and the mental capacity to perform under pressure is a trait that isnít found in every player or team. Think about it like this: how many players that are good jump-shooters struggle from the free throw line? Its not always about technique. Confidence plays a role, too.

    Its the same thing for executing under pressure.

    They came back from 10 down in the final two minutes to beat North Carolina. They came back from 20 down in the final 11 minutes to beat NC State. They erased a 17 point deficit to force overtime in their loss to Miami. Most importantly, they are 24-4 on the season and 11-2 in ACC play.

    While the reasons behind those big deficits are quite clear, you cannot talk about the Blue Devils without saying unequivocally that this group has put together as many impressive wins as anyone in the country."

    http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcspor...ender/related/

  2. #2
    The ability to stay composed under adversity, particularly in hostile environments, is definitely a good sign. This team is far tougher mentally than it appeared even just a few weeks ago.

    It's still a team with flaws, and the wrong matchup in the 2nd round of the NCAAT could be fatal. But "contender" for the F4 is a fair assessment - Duke is in the discussion.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NM Duke Fan View Post
    An article by Rob Dauster on NBC Sports:

    "Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again: winning is a skill. The confidence to execute in late-game situations and the mental capacity to perform under pressure is a trait that isnít found in every player or team. Think about it like this: how many players that are good jump-shooters struggle from the free throw line? Its not always about technique. Confidence plays a role, too.

    Its the same thing for executing under pressure.

    They came back from 10 down in the final two minutes to beat North Carolina. They came back from 20 down in the final 11 minutes to beat NC State. They erased a 17 point deficit to force overtime in their loss to Miami. Most importantly, they are 24-4 on the season and 11-2 in ACC play.

    While the reasons behind those big deficits are quite clear, you cannot talk about the Blue Devils without saying unequivocally that this group has put together as many impressive wins as anyone in the country."

    http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcspor...ender/related/
    "Duke is the softest #1 seed ever."

    Let's just go ahead and get that out of the way now.

    Excellent article.
    Roy, be a man. Accept responsibility and resign.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2007
    They came back from 10 down in the final two minutes to beat North Carolina. They came back from 20 down in the final 11 minutes to beat NC State. They erased a 17 point deficit to force overtime in their loss to Miami.
    I'd have more confidence in them in the NCAAs if they didn't fall that far behind in the first place.

  5. #5
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    Philadelphia
    Well, I thought they were somewhat of a Final Four contender before, but maybe that's just me. A couple weeks ago, I think people were putting too much weight on close losses to FSU and Miami; now I think people are overly emphasizing one big win at FSU. In my opinion, any team's chances are not changed all that much by their performance in one game. (Except of course UNC losing by 33; that pretty much doomed their chances ).

    Two days ago, I heard there was no way Duke could get a #1 seed. Now we're a frontrunner? Come on. What's going to happen if we start slow against Virginia Tech tomorrow? Back to a #2 at halftime?

    Has the team improved over the past month? Of course it has. Didn't you expect it to? Hopefully, we'll continue to improve. But whether we do or not, people should realize that college teams (and players) rarely "are what they are." When your team is filled with teenagers, everything changes constantly.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by hq2 View Post
    I'd have more confidence in them in the NCAAs if they didn't fall that far behind in the first place.
    I agree with you on that point. It is way too early to even think about this. The next focus is Wake on Saturday.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    "Duke is the softest #1 seed ever."

    Let's just go ahead and get that out of the way now.

    Excellent article.

    "[Whichever level of success Duke achieves] was because the Committee gave them a ridiculously easy road to [said level of success.]"

    "[Whichever perceived failure resulting for Duke] just shows that they were always vastly overrated by the Committee."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    "Duke is the softest #1 seed ever."

    Let's just go ahead and get that out of the way now.

    Excellent article.
    LOL I love this. And I can hear it already. But realistically and I am by no way saying Duke deserves to be a No. 1 but they have kind of earned it to this point. Up until recently I didn't think they were playing well enough to be in the conversaton. Sure they've played a brutal schedule. Beaten MSU, Kansas, FSU, unc, Michigan and that is just the big name ranked teams. But they weren't playing great. However, in the last few weeks they are starting to come together while other teams seen as possibly a more natural No. 1 seed, like say Ohio State, seem to be fading a bit.

    Still a lot of basketball to go and Duke still has its flaws and is far from a clear cut top seed but if the shoe fits.
    http://www.dukesportsblog.com/

    Twitter: @MikeKlineDSB

    Facebook: Duke Sports Blog

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline09 View Post
    LOL I love this. And I can hear it already. But realistically and I am by no way saying Duke deserves to be a No. 1 but they have kind of earned it to this point. Up until recently I didn't think they were playing well enough to be in the conversaton. Sure they've played a brutal schedule. Beaten MSU, Kansas, FSU, unc, Michigan and that is just the big name ranked teams. But they weren't playing great. However, in the last few weeks they are starting to come together while other teams seen as possibly a more natural No. 1 seed, like say Ohio State, seem to be fading a bit.

    Still a lot of basketball to go and Duke still has its flaws and is far from a clear cut top seed but if the shoe fits.
    This was one of the best defensive teams in the country, and we put some points on them, especially from behind the arc. Our team has shored up the defense somewhat, but is capable of putting up a lot of points in a hurry. I don't know if that gets mentioned enough in the "cardiac kids" discussion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PADukeMom View Post
    I agree with you on that point. It is way too early to even think about this. The next focus is Wake on Saturday.
    I hope they are focusing/feasting on the turkeys on Saturday and the Deacs after that ;>)) .
    I certify that I personally composed this post entirely on its own merit (or lack thereof) without assistance of tutors, advisers, counselors or other outside sources or references. No credit is requested or received and no eligibility has been questioned (yet) with its submission.

  11. #11
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    I beg to differ

    Quote Originally Posted by PADukeMom View Post
    I agree with you on that point. It is way too early to even think about this. The next focus is Wake on Saturday.
    Duke's playing VPI on Saturday, so a focus on Wake would not be good!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline09 View Post
    But realistically and I am by no way saying Duke deserves to be a No. 1 but they have kind of earned it to this point.
    this has been my issue all year - they don't seem to me to be good enough to be a #1 seed. But then I pay attention to the other teams that are competing for high seeds with us, and its hard to see who, other than Syracuse and KY, any teams that could get a #1 seed that are overwhelmingly better than us.

    Its all about perception and perspective. This team doesn't feel like a #1 seed compared to other Duke teams that have been #1 seeds. But compared to the other teams that are also in the mix this year for a #1 seed? Yeah, their are one.

  13. #13
    . . . people should realize that college teams (and players) rarely "are what they are." When your team is filled with teenagers, everything changes constantly.
    This is one of the reasons I love college basketball.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dyedwab View Post
    But then I pay attention to the other teams that are competing for high seeds with us, and its hard to see who, other than Syracuse and KY, any teams that could get a #1 seed that are overwhelmingly better than us.
    I don't know why everyone says Syracuse is overwhelmingly better. They have seven wins by 10 or fewer points against unranked teams (plus a loss against an unranked team at the time). Four of those seven close wins were played at home. All four of their games against ranked opponents were decided by 7 points or less (and three of those four games were at home). Their last three games were a 1 point, come-from-behind win against Louisville, a 10 point win at Rutgers (which was only a three point game with a couple minutes to play) and an 8 point win at home against South Florida. So the fact that we lost an OT game and a game on the last possession makes them "overwhelmingly" better than we are?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dyedwab View Post
    Its all about perception and perspective. This team doesn't feel like a #1 seed compared to other Duke teams that have been #1 seeds. But compared to the other teams that are also in the mix this year for a #1 seed? Yeah, their are one.
    Yeah, I think this is a bit of logical disconnect we all fall prey to at times. Either we're judging the team based on last year's team, or an archetypical Duke team, or our perception of what this team *should* be, rather than its actual competition.

    We're #4 in the nation and have a stellar resume. We've beaten three of the other top contenders head-to-head, one on the road and one on a neutral court. A lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday, but as of today we absolutely are a #1 seed, and it's well-deserved.

  16. #16
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    I'll be honest, I didn't expect Ohio St. to struggle as much in terms of W-L record. It definitely opens the door for Duke to take a number 1 seed. And while I don't think this team is at the level that we can definitively say it's one of the 4 best teams in the country, it is shaping up exactly as we all hoped earlier in the season. Austin took his lumps for a bit in January, but has had some incredible February games. In some ways, last night may have actually been his best. Yes, nothing will ever trump his UNC performance (the 26 points prior to the final three were at least as impressive), but he played with such maturity last night at FSU. He has become much less erratic with his decision-making and is getting his teammates involved more frequently (there have been a number of games where some better shooting from open shooters would have given him far more impressive assist totals). Meanwhile, the team as a whole has tightened up it's offensive execution in late game situations AND has begun to tighten up the D.

    I've always felt that the individual talent level on this team was ahead of it's execution and focus, meaning that as the team matured and developed chemistry, the ceiling would get higher and higher. While I'm not convinced we're one of the 4 best teams in the country, our W-L record says otherwise and I am certain that we can end up as one of the 4 best as long as we continue on our current trajectory.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by COYS View Post
    it is shaping up exactly as we all hoped earlier in the season. Austin took his lumps for a bit in January, but has had some incredible February games. In some ways, last night may have actually been his best. Yes, nothing will ever trump his UNC performance (the 26 points prior to the final three were at least as impressive), but he played with such maturity last night at FSU. He has become much less erratic with his decision-making and is getting his teammates involved more frequently (there have been a number of games where some better shooting from open shooters would have given him far more impressive assist totals).
    Agreed. The key has always been Austin. He has the most talent on the team, and with the type of players we have on the roster --shooters and athletic big men that mostly can't create for themselves-- we needed him to become the consummate creator who sees the floor, makes good decisions, finds teammates and scores for himself when appropriate. That's a lot to ask of a freshman. But Austin has stepped up to the challenge, improved greatly as the season progressed, and he's become that lynchpin that we needed to put all his teammates in the proper role. I'm very proud of him. And intangibly, his attitude has been great, he's become more of a leader, and he's clutch. Coach K said that Austin played like a senior last night, which is high praise coming from Coach K. Love that kid.

    I personally think that Duke is a top 4 team, but it doesn't matter that much if we're top 4 or top 8. It will come down to injuries and brackets. I think everyone's heart was in our throat last night when Austin went down, but thankfully he looks like he'll be okay. Hopefully the basketball gods will endow the team with good health and good matchups in our brackets. I'd rather be a top 8 team with those things going for us than a top 4 team without.

  18. #18
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    Final Four

    I think we all can agree that the offense is final four good, but the defense not so much. If our defense or our rebounding were closer to elite we might be one of the favorites. I do like that this team can close out games. We still have not had a game where we are firing on all cylinders. I think most would agree we are getting better. Man I love college ball.

  19. #19
    The defense just isn't good enough for us to weather a poor shooting night. There have been a lot of years where the book on Duke was "live by 3, die by 3" even when that wasn't the case at all. This year, the book fits. We don't defensively rebound well enough nor do we play defense well enough to weather a poor shooting night. Is this Duke team capable of getting to the FF? Yes, but it's also a lot more capable than many years of losing to a double digit seed that's got a couple of decent guards and catches Duke on a night when the shots just don't fall from 3 point range at nearly 40%

  20. #20

    Definitely talented

    but the team seems to be wildly inconsistent, even with wins (one awful stretch or half, one brilliant run), that seems to be a focus/effort issue. Although, they seem to be working that out hopefully. I always think Duke has a final four team, an offshoot of having watched a series of late 80's Duke teams go 9-5 in conference and still make a Final Four run.

    That said, what worries me the most is the drubbing in Columbus and the loss at Temple. Final Four teams generally don't get gobsmacked by anyone (with the notable exception of the '91 team which Kerlina destroyed in the ACC tourney).

    It will be a fun tourney from excitment level, that's for sure.

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