Unfortunately I had to witness this in person surrounded by obnoxious UNC fans holding up "Go Lehigh" signs the whole game. As to the game, LU did a great job defending our guards, they took that away from us and forced us into the paint a lot which hasn't been good for us all season. We took no risks from what I saw that whole game and it looked like we were playing not to lose rather than to win. We had several open looks from 3 point range and drove it to the basket instead expecting I guess to draw the foul which God knows wasn't happening with those refs last night. I love Austin and think he's a very talented player that showed sparks of greatness all season but we expected him to be "the guy" and take over games way too much, he's just not there yet and needs to stay at least another year under K. My hats off to Miles for a good season and a great 4 years at Duke. Even though he went out with a few bitter loses, he's still a National Champion and that will never be taken from him. I do hope that Shabazz comes because with him, Rasheed, and Austin, we could be dangerous next year. No matter what, Forever DUKE!
We were able to play in July (?) in china, something a lot of other teams didn't have the opportunity to do this year, and I think hat extra prep helped us win some early games against really good teams, Michigan, Kansas....The disillusion was there. There were hints in the blowouts to OSU and the loss to temple, the fact that we eked out a lot of games we probably should have lost (Carolina, NCSU)...and had many close calls...
We knew defense would be a problem, and then with ryan out the offense went the same way.
Many of us came into the season with very tempered expectations, and I think a lot of us really upped those expectations after the play in maui, and again after the carolina win. We came back down to earth at the end of the season, and I think if we looked back to our INITIAL preseason expectations, that this would be a long year, a tough year, a rebuilding year, I think we should be incredibly happy with what we accomplished. A loss to a good lehigh team does not erase a season with lots of positive things.
As others have said, the FSU road win, in retrospect, seems like it was the high water mark of the year in terms of our play - a great road win against a ranked opponent late in the year with both teams vying for the regular season conference crown. Since that game, the team never even came close to playing at that level. The VTech 1>Wake>UNC>VTech 2>FSU 3>Lehigh stretch was simply brutal (with the FSU 3 game being, at least, a great effort). Obviously, the UNC road buzzer beater was the moment of the year, and the emotional high point, with Maui being right there, too.
Going out in the 2/15 game to a Patriot League squad leaves a really bad taste - imagine how the players and coaches feel. I hope Miles gets invited to a training camp - the kid has pro athletic ability and size despite his skill limitations.
I had a bad feeling when, at the start of the second half, TT and a Lehigh player had to be talked to for too much jawing at each other. We've seen that often this year - a surplus of woofing and a deficit of defense, the opposite of what I'd prefer to see.
There's a lot of individual talent on this squad, but it seems they have played less and less coherently as a team down the stretch. The defense was never great this year - though improving from the 100+ range (i.e., not even top 100!) to the mid 60s per Kenpom. But still - defense ranked mid 60s for a Duke team? The offense sputtered down the stretch and we could not sustain our top 10 offensive efficiency rating when push came to shove.
A look at some other statistics reveal much. This AM I checked ESPN and statsheet.com on our team and IF these figures are right, we weren't even in the top 200 in assists per game, at something like 12.5 for the whole team. We aren't ball-hawks (#190 in steals per game), so we don't get to pad our offensive numbers with fast breaks off turnovers. Rebounding - Tied #60th - and I'd like to see how that varies from frontcourt to backcourt. Free throw% - #132. A/T ratio: #127. Blocks/game: #88. Seriously - look these things up, you'll be amazed we were able to put together 27 wins and finish a game out of first place in the ACC season.
I absolutely disagree that we were outcoached. This is the same coaching staff that won the NCAAT a couple years ago, and a head coach that has more titles and wins than any active coach -. It's the player's job to execute the game plan, and I think we've seen enough games to notice many mistakes that are not in the game plan - lazy passes, losing your man on defense, guards not boxing out on long jumpers, sub-par free throw accuracy, failing to finish on drives to the hoop, poor shooting. None of those are the result of bad coaching.
Kudos to Lehigh for a well-earned win.
"That" has happened plenty of times in the past to Duke. Even to teams much better than this year's squad.
In fact, it's one of the "signs" that Duke is in trouble during a game- when the opponent has one guy just "go off" against us.
ETA: I now see other's have contributed on this thought with more specifics. Well done.
Last edited by TNTDevil; 03-17-2012 at 01:45 PM.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."- Mark Twain
There's no real description for the level of barefaced hate they exhibited. I so hope they choke on their own bile.
I'm not trying to pin this loss on the refs since Duke got outplayed last night, but did anyone see what happened on the intentional foul that was called? I think it was called on Thornton but the camera angle didn't have him in view when I looked for a replay.
I'm not sure if anyone has posted this or not, but here goes. It seemed like all year the team lacked the usual defensive intensity and focus. I always have been more excited to watch Duke play defense more than offense. Last night when the game was on the line, defensively, Duke played on their heels, playing scared, and Lehigh had swagger. There have been very few games this year that have generated the usual excitement for me defensively. I'm anxious to see what happens next year, who stays and who goes. My main observation is that we lacked a true defensive stopper at all this year. Maybe someone already on the team can step up next year. Maybe there is a positive recruiting surprise coming in. It's just depressing to see this team that seemingly failed to buy into the usual enthusiasm as a unit for playing defense. Ultimately, that is what ended the season.
It was the dagger, for sure.
The year began with many positives, but ended with many more negatives. We didn't play good Duke man to man defense all year, even though we did improve toward the end of the year. At the beginning of the year, our offense looked good. Then as the year rolled on our offense got worse. I think as Andre went so did our offense. By years end we were reduced to dribbling the air out of the ball and players standing around watching the dribbler. We had no one that could penetrate and finish. We had no one that could penetrate and dish the ball to open shooters. Our big men began the year with good jump hook shots, but as the year went on, that shot disappeared. It seemed like every ACC game was closer than it should have been and we seemed to always begin the game slowly. Next years team is going to be made up with mostly the same players with one or two recruits coming aboard. I don't know what to expect of Sheed, but if he can play man to man defense, he likely will be in the rotation with major minutes. I'm confident Coach K will make the necessary adjustment and some players may get their feeling hurt(some parents also). GoDuke!
This team just doesn't seem to have the fire that has become inherent with being a Duke basketball team. I'll say that Tyler has it in spades, but he's just not athletic/skilled enough to back it up, but at least he plays his butt off every single minute. Austin gets fired up, but it doesn't really seem to hit anyone else.
McCollum is a great player, but every time we run into a team with a great player thats a little under the radar, he ends up dropping 25 or more on us. I think a part of that is that K wants that player be volume shooters and limit everyone elses attempts. I don't particularly agree with this message, but since we don't have the athletes or size on the perimeter (especially after foul trouble) to deal with him effectively, maybe this is the best way to go. I'd rather have somebody who can do a good defensive job, like that LSU kid in 2006 did on JJ (one of the best defensive performances I've ever seen)
These guards, I don't know when it became okay to not even look for a big after a pick and roll, there were double digit times when Mason or Miles rolled perfectly to the rim and the guards didn't even look. I understand that none of them are good passers, but at least look. The only one they hit was Hairston and he finished it, Hairston finished it (after walking).
Our lack of athleticism on the perimeter is a serious problem, and thankfully its getting at least a little bit better with Rasheed, hopefully a lot better with Bazz and hopefully Mike G improves enough to become a serious player next year.
What do people think about Mason's upcoming decision? It really seems to me that all he did last night was dunk the ball and make relatively uncontested layups, no good, effective post moves in particular, but he still scored 19 I think? I keep waiting for this next level that everyone says the Plumlees can reach, but I just don't know if it's coming, and Mason may need to get out before NBA teams start asking that too. We really, really need Austin to stay IMO. I think Seth would be better coming off the bench next year with less pressure, he's not a marquee scorer, he's a great 3rd option who can put up 1st option points when he's not one of the focal points of a scouting report.
This season was bad for my heart, huge wins at the last minute and bad losses, but as much as I love Duke basketball, I never loved this team. I loved certain players at certain times, but the team itself never got me, and I hate that it didn't cause I love it when it does. But... on to the next.
Lehigh's a good team and made some plays, so we first have to credit their focus.
You know what's coming from me.... what I've been predicting and saying all year....No commitment to feeding the inside and lack of back to the basket post offense caught up with Duke on a poor shooting night.
I have great respect for coach K, but it's been obvious, at least to me, that Duke needed to loosen up the perimiter by feeding the post to create the balance necessary to be an elite team.
It seemed coach K saw it too, but he never got this team to do it consistently.
Duke could not manufacture points by feeding the post effectively all year. Duke could score inside, but if you look back this season, very few plays inside resulting in scores began with a post player having his back to the basket. Watch the teams that continue on in the tourney and you will see the best teams looking to feed the back to the basket post players in close games, creating oportunities and forcing defenses to pack it in.
This Duke weakness allowed teams to stick to the shooters and force more contested shots, especially the ones off the dribble, which are tougher than those spot up jumpers Duke was getting from kick outs or space created when teams were concerned about inside play earlier in the season. Teams challenged Duke by giving up the post and Duke did not capitalize.
We also need to recognize neither Kelly or Hairston is Kyle Singler, it's a talent issue.
Singler's play allowed Duke to use the center spot as a cleanup, rebounding or transition scoring position and not depend on dumping it inside to score. This team did not have that luxury. They not only needed some post scoring, but needed it in a way that would open up the outside.
Also a lack of communication on defense hurt, which coach K has preached about all season, and gave up some key baskets.
It wasn't a bad season, and I thought they played hard, if not totally together, all year.
UNC is gonna get bounced too, sooner or later, if they can't shoot better from outside. Their weakness is just as great as Dukes was inside, IMO.
"An angry man catches no fish"-Zen proverb.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."- Mark Twain