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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Princeton, NJ

    What is a trap game?

    It seems that there has been a huge increase in the use of the term "trap game" on these boards this season. What is a trap game? As far as I can tell, it appears to just mean any game Duke might lose that is not against a ranked opponent. Is that right? In that case, can we just stipulate that all games against unranked opponents are trap games? And, while we're at it, let's just shorten it to "game" since the "trap" doesn't mean anything.

    Or, is there a more interesting definition?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    It seems that there has been a huge increase in the use of the term "trap game" on these boards this season. What is a trap game? As far as I can tell, it appears to just mean any game Duke might lose that is not against a ranked opponent. Is that right? In that case, can we just stipulate that all games against unranked opponents are trap games? And, while we're at it, let's just shorten it to "game" since the "trap" doesn't mean anything.

    Or, is there a more interesting definition?
    It is a game that is played against a seemingly lesser opponent before a big game- like against a rival- that one might tend to overlook. So not every game against a non-ranked opponent is a trap game.
    dukelifer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Princeton, NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by dukelifer View Post
    It is a game that is played against a seemingly lesser opponent before a big game- like against a rival- that one might tend to overlook. So not every game against a non-ranked opponent is a trap game.
    Just this month, I've seen all of our games except UNC, FSU, and BC called trap games. This includes VT (twice), Miami, Maryland, NCSU, and Wake. The 2nd VT game was called "the very definition of a trap game" on the front page, and yet does not meet your definition at all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Northern VA
    Quote Originally Posted by dukelifer View Post
    It is a game that is played against a seemingly lesser opponent before a big game- like against a rival- that one might tend to overlook. So not every game against a non-ranked opponent is a trap game.
    The idea is that there is a bigger game just before or just after the "trap" game which might gain more of our team's attention, either b/c of rivalry or high ranking of opponent, or tired legs, etc, but the trap opponent is capable of beating us, although being "overlooked."

    I think the term was used in reference to VT b/c that match-up came only 2 days after the big first-place match-up vs FSU, because we were still mentally (and physically) recovering from FSU. I don't think it'll be used much this week in reference to Wake b/c, rightly or wrongly, the perception is that Wake isn't really capable of beating Duke (i.e. we could play poorly and still win) even if we were looking ahead to the NC game instead of focusing on the task at-hand.

    ....analogy would be a person walking a path and then stepping into a trap while looking too far ahead (or back).
    -BDBD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Philly
    This is just a personal thing, but I tend to only call games before a big game a "trap" game. I tend to categorize games after a big game as a "let down" game. It's hard to overlook those games because it's the only game in from of you at the time, but you are set up for an emotional let doown after putting so much effort and energy into the game before it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SCMatt33 View Post
    This is just a personal thing, but I tend to only call games before a big game a "trap" game. I tend to categorize games after a big game as a "let down" game. It's hard to overlook those games because it's the only game in from of you at the time, but you are set up for an emotional let doown after putting so much effort and energy into the game before it.
    I would agree with this description. I'd call Wake more of a trap game than VT, and VT more of a letdown game. Though if you extend the definition to be any game in which there's a reasonable chance that a superior to could lose because of overlooking the opponent (due to proximity - before or after - to another big game) then both could qualify as trap games.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    Just this month, I've seen all of our games except UNC, FSU, and BC called trap games. This includes VT (twice), Miami, Maryland, NCSU, and Wake. The 2nd VT game was called "the very definition of a trap game" on the front page, and yet does not meet your definition at all.
    To be fair, all games at College Park are "trap games", because there is a decent chance the airport will be shut down in the post-game riot, thus preventing the team from leaving.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    Just this month, I've seen all of our games except UNC, FSU, and BC called trap games. This includes VT (twice), Miami, Maryland, NCSU, and Wake. The 2nd VT game was called "the very definition of a trap game" on the front page, and yet does not meet your definition at all.
    Yes-it is somewhat overused. As as noted here- games played after a big game are really let down games- but still in some sense a trap. I think the game before the big game is really a trap if the opponent is really not supposed to win and there is a tendency to look past them. Trap games are lessened in my mind if on the road. So the Wake game is a trap game but less of a trap game than if it were at home. That said, Duke is usually not often trapped. Every team tends to play very hard against Duke and if they do not match intensity every night - they will lose. Players learn this very early.
    dukelifer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Most generally, I'd say a trap game is any game against a clearly inferior opponent where the chances of losing are significantly increased due to any non-basketball reason.

    This is most commonly used to refer to a conference road game immediately preceding a very important conference game, but there other less common examples including games against teams that have had much more time to prepare than your team, non-conference games in the middle of the conference schedule, or a game that occurs immediately after a team has wrapped up first place and thus has less motivation. I'd describe our last VT game as very much a trap game - but probably not any of the others you mentioned.

  10. #10
    Wake Forest.
    ~rthomas


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama

    Definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    Most generally, I'd say a trap game is any game against a clearly inferior opponent where the chances of losing are significantly increased due to any non-basketball reason.

    This is most commonly used to refer to a conference road game immediately preceding a very important conference game, but there other less common examples including games against teams that have had much more time to prepare than your team, non-conference games in the middle of the conference schedule, or a game that occurs immediately after a team has wrapped up first place and thus has less motivation. I'd describe our last VT game as very much a trap game - but probably not any of the others you mentioned.
    This is my definition also. The VT game this past Saturday was considered a Trap Game due to thefact that we had less than 48 hourse between games. This is an unusual scheduling quirk that does not normally occur during the regular season. (Though Coach K likes to schedule these toward the end of the season to simulate Tournament conditions.)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Dillon, Colorado

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    It seems that there has been a huge increase in the use of the term "trap game" on these boards this season. What is a trap game? As far as I can tell, it appears to just mean any game Duke might lose that is not against a ranked opponent. Is that right? In that case, can we just stipulate that all games against unranked opponents are trap games? And, while we're at it, let's just shorten it to "game" since the "trap" doesn't mean anything.

    Or, is there a more interesting definition?
    I'm so glad you started this thread, because I've been thinking the same thing. It's one of those terms that talking heads started using years ago to try to show what deeper knowledge they have than do the rest of us -- using a term like "trap." Ooh, you're so insider.

    It doesn't mean anything, at least not anymore, because it's so overused. In order for something to be a trap, it must be unexpected, unforeseen or unforeseeable. If a team is being warned all week by the coaches, media, and/or fans that an upcoming game is a "trap" game, then by defintion it's not unexpected, unforeseen, or unforeseeable. They're on notice: you have a game coming up and all games require your attention. There is no trap at all.

    It's a meaningless term at this point. Sure, teams can overlook opponents, but they don't do so because they're unaware of the game or its importance or potential difficulty; they're not being "trapped." I wish the basketball culture would drop the term from the lexicon. Makes me cringe.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    Just this month, I've seen all of our games except UNC, FSU, and BC called trap games. This includes VT (twice), Miami, Maryland, NCSU, and Wake. The 2nd VT game was called "the very definition of a trap game" on the front page, and yet does not meet your definition at all.
    Its an overused term, and I agree with SCMatt's description below. The fact that the VT game came <48hrs after our previous game doesn't make it a trap game, just makes it one we are less prepared for, mentally and physically, due to time constraints. A trap game means we are less prepared b/c we overlooked the opponent, usually b/c the next game is a big one, and did not play with enough focus/energy/etc. This is our own fault, not something constrained by randomness in schedules.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCMatt33 View Post
    This is just a personal thing, but I tend to only call games before a big game a "trap" game. I tend to categorize games after a big game as a "let down" game. It's hard to overlook those games because it's the only game in from of you at the time, but you are set up for an emotional let doown after putting so much effort and energy into the game before it.
    Quote Originally Posted by hurleyfor3 View Post
    Can't help myself...

    its_a_trap_star_wars.jpg

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