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Saratoga2
01-31-2010, 06:13 AM
Maybe this post should be in the pre-game GT thread?

Just a recap of what we have done on the road against teams with excellent big men and quality guards who can penetrate and shoot well.

FT% Shooting % Fouls TO's Rebounds
Total 3pt O D

G'Town 73.9 71.7 46.7 23 16 2 20
Duke 84.6 37.1 31.0 29 15 17 15

NCState 73.1 58.2 41.7 24 9 17 23
Duke 75.8 38.6 38.5 21 14 6 22

Wis 72.2 45.3 42.9 14 5 12 22
Duke 93.6 44.1 40.0 18 11 8 24

GT 78.6 41.5 35.7 17 15 13 25
Duke 84.6 37.1 31.0 29 15 17 15

We lost these games for different reasons, however, defense, turnovers and shooting % were a big part of those. So what are the issues on defense and offense?

Defense:
Problem
Our man defense quickly broke down when our bigs couldn't stop theirs on a one to one basis. We helped with a guard and the opponent exploited that by going with the three. Their quick guards were able to get some dribble penetration and our interior defense broke down as well. We fouled too often and our second line of less experienced players were more confused in handling all of the above. Also our TO's tended to lead to fast breaks more often than we could do the same.

Possible imprvements:
Thomas semi fronts his man in an effort to deny the ball, which has seemed to work best. He has the athletic ability but not the size to deal with the really dominant players. Miles Plumlee has size and athletic ability and may do best to deny the ball. He needs to get into position and attempt to keep the inside pllayer from getting a position too close to the basket. Guards probably need to stay close enough to their men to prevent oppen 3 point shots. Mason also has the size and athletic ability to do the same, but does lack experience. We have him pressuring the ball on the inbounds and when he does that he is often late getting into defensive position. Zoubek has the size, but not the quickness and fouls too often. Our guards need help from the bigs hedging out to prevent penetration, but this also can lead to easy baskets if the opponents can find a passing lane inside.

Alternatively, we could use a zone and work on it more. That would open more perimmeter shots. A lot depends upon development of the younger players.


Offense:
Problems
Our inside game is really weak. Miles Plumlee hass the size and strength to be effective, but he is haaving trouble receiving passes and mabye the guards trust that he can catch and create. He has a hook shot move that is okay, but lacks touch on his shot (line drives it). Zoubek also has trouble inside and is not able to consistently finish, tends to travel and frequently misses bunnies and hesitates while bringing the ball down. Thomas also has his issues with traveling and gets his shots blocked. Mason sets up a little too far from the baskets and his moves in are with large sweeping steps. He causes offensive fouls and travels a bit, but shows signs of being able to finish. Kelly is not strong as yet and doesn't get off the floor very well.

Because of our inside problems, teams can take the risk of heavily guarding our three perimeter players. Nollan can break people down and is a clever scorer, but he can be controlled somewhat by a quick determined guard. Jon also can be somewhat neutralized by being closely played by a quick experienced guard nearly his size. Jon has slipped in his decision making, perhaps trying too hard to make things happen. He has gotten caught against the baseline, in the air and making less than stellar passes. I prefer the Jon who vallues the ball first and foremost. Singler usually can present a matchup problem for the opponent. He can get off his three point shot against smaller quicker players or drive against the larger slower ones. He also has issues of driving into traffic, making bad passing decisions, etc. All three of our scorers tend to go cold from the 3 point line, presumably when under heavy defensive pressure for most of the game.

Possible Improvments:
Concentrate on improvements to MIles and Mason to get them to catch the ball near the basket and to finish more effectively. Work plays to get them the ball inside. Run screens for Singler to get him inside without requiring him to dribble in. He can shoot or dish to an outside shooter.


These are my thoughts for improvements. If we are to beat the teams with dominant inside players and quick guard who can shoot we need to make some impovement, and these seem the most likely avenues for us to take.

sivartrenrag
01-31-2010, 06:18 AM
The bigs need to work on establishing position deep in the post. When I see them set up, it always appears that they are much too far away from the basket to set up for an effective shot. Muscle your man inside, seal him, and then retrieve the pass. That has to be our first step. If we have a serious offensive threat in the post that would make life much easier for our guards.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 07:01 AM
"Duke defense" is predicated on three basic things:

1) Ball pressure, particularly the point. Jon is a good player and nice defender, but he can not do this against most top ten/twenty teams point guards.

2) Overplaying the wings. This requires long, athletic guys. Kyle does not foot the bill, Nolan is somewhat effective.

3) Interior stopper when 1/2 break down. Miles has some ability to do this, but his inexperience and poor footwork/positioning are just not there at this time.

We are trying to play a defense with personel that have a difficult time executing that defense because they are not able to do it against the better teams. It works against less talented teams or teams that are big, but not quick and atlhletic.

The only way we can overcome these physical limitations is by playing at an incredible level of intensity and hustle. When this level drops some, NCSU/GT, we get thumped.

Our best options are to overplay less ( BC FSU ) or zone. And by the way, recruit more effectively

dukelifer
01-31-2010, 07:30 AM
"Duke defense" is predicated on three basic things:
And by the way, recruit more effectively

or not lose kids due to family issues. Elliot Williams was looking to be Duke's key stopper and that was lost at the beginning of the year.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 07:55 AM
or not lose kids due to family issues. Elliot Williams was looking to be Duke's key stopper and that was lost at the beginning of the year.

I agree EW was a huge loss and just bad luck, but how about not having a point guard?

DukeVu
01-31-2010, 08:15 AM
I do not believe that Duke lost Williams JUST because of family problems. You believe what you will. Why else would he have considered Kentucky which is just as far away as Duke? His only realistic choice was Memphis.

camion
01-31-2010, 08:31 AM
I do not believe that Duke lost Williams JUST because of family problems. You believe what you will. Why else would he have considered Kentucky which is just as far away as Duke? His only realistic choice was Memphis.

I believe that, if not for family problems, Elliot would have been at Duke this year. You can believe what you will; that is your right.

oldnavy
01-31-2010, 08:47 AM
I believe that, if not for family problems, Elliot would have been at Duke this year. You can believe what you will; that is your right.

Unless you have some inside information that has not been made public, you have to believe that he left for family reasons.

I believe that, and he has said that, so in order to believe that there were other reasons, you must conclude that EW is a liar, and that the NCAA was an accomplice since they granted him a waiver. Sometimes, things ARE as simple as they appear.

roywhite
01-31-2010, 09:12 AM
What a range of shooting and offensive performances we've seen this year:

Charlotte 38% FG
UConn 37%
St. Johns 51%
Gonzaga 28%
Clemson 33% and 37%
NCState 58%
G-town 72%

Is our defense good, or is it bad?
Is the defense inconsistent, or have a few teams just shot lights out?

dukelifer
01-31-2010, 09:28 AM
I agree EW was a huge loss and just bad luck, but how about not having a point guard?
You mean an NBA caliber point guard- yes that would be nice-but Duke doesn't have that. But Williams is sort of playing the point at Memphis and doing pretty well and Scheyer is solid as a rock. I think this Duke team is lacking a defensive stopper it has had in the past that can cover wings and guards. That really helps Duke's O to get more easy baskets.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 09:30 AM
What a range of shooting and offensive performances we've seen this year:

Charlotte 38% FG
UConn 37%
St. Johns 51%
Gonzaga 28%
Clemson 33% and 37%
NCState 58%
G-town 72%

Is our defense good, or is it bad?
Is the defense inconsistent, or have a few teams just shot lights out?

roywhite,

Do you have a shot chart from the Gtown game? In the second half, I can not remember a Hoya three. I don't remember any shots that were not dunks, layups or five footers. 72% is not that heard from that distance.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 09:33 AM
What a range of shooting and offensive performances we've seen this year:

Charlotte 38% FG
UConn 37%
St. Johns 51%
Gonzaga 28%
Clemson 33% and 37%
NCState 58%
G-town 72%

Is our defense good, or is it bad?
Is the defense inconsistent, or have a few teams just shot lights out?

The defense is inconsistent. I have become convinced it has to do with the other team playing four guys (on offense) on the perimeter. This was the obvious formula for the Wisconsin and State losses, and last year's Villanova loss. I didn't expect Georgetown to do this, because they play two big men most (if not all) of the time, but for much of the game (as far as I could tell) Monroe played outside-in, and that as much as anything seemed to befuddle Duke's defense. It spread us out, forced one of our big men to play outside where he was less comfortable and the other to play one-on-one defense and become hesitant when it was time to help. Our defense this year has seemed to be predicated on a lot of large, inside help if an opposing perimeter player beat his man (we were fabulous at this against UConn, for example), but if our bigs are pulled outside and/or hesitant, there is no help and the opponent can get lots of layups.

How to fix it? I don't know. A lot of people have been clamoring for zone, and that would seem to make some sense, but (a) if the other team is playing four guys on the perimeter, a zone would be seemingly problematic if they shoot really well from the outside; and (b) to think we'll play more than a token amount of zone would not appear to be a realistic hope as long as K is our coach. Could we go small, use Kyle or Lance as the inside guy and the other one plus Jon, Nolan, and Andre on the wings? Possibly, but if the other team has an inside beast (like Tracy Smith) then I'm not sure it would work, not to mention how tiring it would be for Kyle to be guarding a bigger player for 40 minutes, and the fact that Andre's defense is probably not ready for him to be a 25 minute player yet. Some sort of trapping defense? Wouldn't have worked against Georgetown.

Certainly we can play with more energy than we did against State or G-town, although I understand how demoralizing it can get when you're just not stopping the other team. It may be that matchups (i.e., opponent's style of play) will be more important than ever in the NCAAT.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 09:38 AM
roywhite,

Do you have a shot chart from the Gtown game? In the second half, I can not remember a Hoya three. I don't remember any shots that were not dunks, layups or five footers. 72% is not that heard from that distance.

Georgetown was 5 for 7 on threes in the first half and 1 for 6 on threes in the second half.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 09:41 AM
dukelifer,

I am not even referring to an NBA caliber point guard even though we have one coming. NONE of the players on our roster or EW were recruited as point guards, none played point in HS. Jon, EW, and Nolan have been forced into duty because we do not have a legitimate top ten program point guard. Jon, EW, and Nolan do the best they can at point, but they are just not elite program point guards. Jon has had great stats at the point and it is a credit to his game, but he is just not PG, and he would be even better on the wing.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 09:43 AM
Georgetown was 5 for 7 on threes in the first half and 1 for 6 on threes in the second half.

Kedsy,

Thanks, can we spell ZONE?

dukelifer
01-31-2010, 09:47 AM
dukelifer,

I am not even referring to an NBA caliber point guard even though we have one coming. NONE of the players on our roster or EW were recruited as point guards, none played point in HS. Jon, EW, and Nolan have been forced into duty because we do not have a legitimate top ten program point guard. Jon, EW, and Nolan do the best they can at point, but they are just not elite program point guards. Jon has had great stats at the point and it is a credit to his game, but he is just not PG, and he would be even better on the wing.
Well- this is true but both Williams and Scheyer are playing the point and at a high level, despite what happened in high school. Boozer did not play with his back to basket in HS and did okay at Duke- guys can adjust. Still an elite point guard would have helped Duke. They have recruited 1 next year with a possible solid backup in Thornton. But elite ones tend not to hang around too long.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 09:53 AM
Kedsy,

Thanks, can we spell ZONE?

Well, as I said before, it's not realistic to expect Duke to play an extended amount of zone while K is our coach.

Also, Georgetown shot 71.4% on threes in the first half against us. You think a zone would have helped against that?

Vincetaylor
01-31-2010, 09:55 AM
dukelifer,

I am not even referring to an NBA caliber point guard even though we have one coming. NONE of the players on our roster or EW were recruited as point guards, none played point in HS. Jon, EW, and Nolan have been forced into duty because we do not have a legitimate top ten program point guard. Jon, EW, and Nolan do the best they can at point, but they are just not elite program point guards. Jon has had great stats at the point and it is a credit to his game, but he is just not PG, and he would be even better on the wing.

Agree. Hence the reason K went after John Wall. Pure desperation. K knew this would be an issue for us this year.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 09:56 AM
Well- this is true but both Williams and Scheyer are playing the point and at a high level, despite what happened in high school. Boozer did not play with his back to basket in HS and did okay at Duke- guys can adjust. Still an elite point guard would have helped Duke. They have recruited 1 next year with a possible solid backup in Thornton. But elite ones tend not to hang around too long.

Sure, guys can adust but when your goal is to be an elite program with final four hopes and maybe a NC, you should not have to take players out of their natural roles year in and year out. I also understand that ever year is not perfect, and you do have to make adjustments with your personnel. We have not had an elite program PG since 2004, and the results are what they are.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 10:00 AM
Well, as I said before, it's not realistic to expect Duke to play an extended amount of zone while K is our coach.

Also, Georgetown shot 71.4% on threes in the first half against us. You think a zone would have helped against that?

Kedsy,

I agree it is not realistic to expect K to play zone for an extended period, just is not going to happen. But mixing it up a little would help and the zone ( even by K's post game comments ) turned the FSU game in the second half. Since GTown was 1/6 from three in the second half, zone would have likely helped. The man to man we know was not working.

Teton Jack
01-31-2010, 10:06 AM
Friends,

I would like to eviscerate the next announcer that says that Duke has fouls to give with the Plumlees, Zoubek, Thomas, and Ryan. It seems as soon as they say that our bigs go on a rampage to give up their extra fouls on purposeless reach-ins, over-the-backs, and moving screens. Next thing you know we're five minutes into the game,the opponents are shooting free-throws, and our bigs have shrunk to 5'10" as they try not to foul out.

Nevertheless, this team has the ability to go far. I remember in the 90's that teams that struggled at the end of January and early February learned from their defeats and went on to become national champions

CDu
01-31-2010, 01:16 PM
The defense is inconsistent. I have become convinced it has to do with the other team playing four guys (on offense) on the perimeter. This was the obvious formula for the Wisconsin and State losses, and last year's Villanova loss. I didn't expect Georgetown to do this, because they play two big men most (if not all) of the time, but for much of the game (as far as I could tell) Monroe played outside-in, and that as much as anything seemed to befuddle Duke's defense. It spread us out, forced one of our big men to play outside where he was less comfortable and the other to play one-on-one defense and become hesitant when it was time to help. Our defense this year has seemed to be predicated on a lot of large, inside help if an opposing perimeter player beat his man (we were fabulous at this against UConn, for example), but if our bigs are pulled outside and/or hesitant, there is no help and the opponent can get lots of layups.

Completely agree. I was also surprised by Georgetown's approach. But in retrospect it makes perfect sense. Thompson must have seen how we struggled against "spread offenses," and Monroe is a very gifted player capable of attacking or passing from the perimeter. Playing him out there gave him space to show his skills, and it spread us out at the same time.


How to fix it? I don't know. A lot of people have been clamoring for zone, and that would seem to make some sense, but (a) if the other team is playing four guys on the perimeter, a zone would be seemingly problematic if they shoot really well from the outside; and (b) to think we'll play more than a token amount of zone would not appear to be a realistic hope as long as K is our coach. Could we go small, use Kyle or Lance as the inside guy and the other one plus Jon, Nolan, and Andre on the wings? Possibly, but if the other team has an inside beast (like Tracy Smith) then I'm not sure it would work, not to mention how tiring it would be for Kyle to be guarding a bigger player for 40 minutes, and the fact that Andre's defense is probably not ready for him to be a 25 minute player yet. Some sort of trapping defense? Wouldn't have worked against Georgetown.

Certainly we can play with more energy than we did against State or G-town, although I understand how demoralizing it can get when you're just not stopping the other team. It may be that matchups (i.e., opponent's style of play) will be more important than ever in the NCAAT.

I think the key will be the Plumlees becoming more able to defend in isolation in the paint. If they can guard bigs consistently, then Thomas can defend the other big playing on the perimeter. I think Thomas is a better post defender than perimeter defender, but he's at least capable out there against big guys. But as long as we have to have at least one big guy on the floor (sometimes two) who is a liability defensively, I think we'll be susceptible to these types of teams.

Development by the Plumlees on both ends of the floor will be key. They make the team look so different when they're playing well. They don't need to be dominant players (though that would obviously be nice), but they need to be consistently present players.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 02:42 PM
Kedsy,

I agree it is not realistic to expect K to play zone for an extended period, just is not going to happen. But mixing it up a little would help and the zone ( even by K's post game comments ) turned the FSU game in the second half. Since GTown was 1/6 from three in the second half, zone would have likely helped. The man to man we know was not working.

Well, he did play zone a little bit. It didn't work any better.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 02:55 PM
I think the key will be the Plumlees becoming more able to defend in isolation in the paint. If they can guard bigs consistently, then Thomas can defend the other big playing on the perimeter. I think Thomas is a better post defender than perimeter defender, but he's at least capable out there against big guys. But as long as we have to have at least one big guy on the floor (sometimes two) who is a liability defensively, I think we'll be susceptible to these types of teams.

Development by the Plumlees on both ends of the floor will be key. They make the team look so different when they're playing well. They don't need to be dominant players (though that would obviously be nice), but they need to be consistently present players.

I think you're right about the Plumlees being key. And the next few games would be a good time to see it. For a few games it looked like Miles was settling into consistency and Mason was finally getting it, but after they were so good in the Wake game, not so much.

This may sound silly, but it seems that both of them play better in games where we try a few alley oops to them early. Gets them dialed in, or something.

Having said all that, I'd still be a little worried about defending these 4-out, 1-in spread offenses. This year's team is very good at team defensive concepts, but less good at straight up one-on-one defense. In order for a Plumlee in the middle to be the answer, they would not only have to contain their man one-on-one, but they'd also have to be able to step up and help if a perimeter guy gets past his man. There's really no way to help on that without leaving your guy open, which means one of the baseline defenders has to rotate over, and we aren't doing that so well against a spread. So while it certainly would help if our center could contain the Tracy Smiths of the world, I don't know if it would help enough.

dukelifer
01-31-2010, 03:00 PM
I think you're right about the Plumlees being key. And the next few games would be a good time to see it. For a few games it looked like Miles was settling into consistency and Mason was finally getting it, but after they were so good in the Wake game, not so much.

This may sound silly, but it seems that both of them play better in games where we try a few alley oops to them early. Gets them dialed in, or something.

Having said all that, I'd still be a little worried about defending these 4-out, 1-in spread offenses. This year's team is very good at team defensive concepts, but less good at straight up one-on-one defense. In order for a Plumlee in the middle to be the answer, they would not only have to contain their man one-on-one, but they'd also have to be able to step up and help if a perimeter guy gets past his man. There's really no way to help on that without leaving your guy open, which means one of the baseline defenders has to rotate over, and for some reason we aren't doing that so well against a spread. So while it certainly would help if our center could contain the Tracy Smiths of the world, I don't know if it would help enough.

It is tough for this Duke team to manage that spread. They will see some more of it going forward- so maybe something will click with them. K will need to figure out something-otherwise the team will just need to try to outscore 'em- which may mean living and dying by the three.

CDu
01-31-2010, 03:02 PM
Having said all that, I'd still be a little worried about defending these 4-out, 1-in spread offenses. This year's team is very good at team defensive concepts, but less good at straight up one-on-one defense. In order for a Plumlee in the middle to be the answer, they would not only have to contain their man one-on-one, but they'd also have to be able to step up and help if a perimeter guy gets past his man. There's really no way to help on that without leaving your guy open, which means one of the baseline defenders has to rotate over, and for some reason we aren't doing that so well against a spread. So while it certainly would help if our center could contain the Tracy Smiths of the world, I don't know if it would help enough.

I agree that getting better play from the Plumlees doesn't resolve the situation. Unless they can get to be as good defensively as Shelden Williams, we're still going to be susceptible to the 4-out, 1-in approach. But at least we'd be a little less susceptible. Ultimately, stopping this approach that requires having very strong individual on-ball defenders or applying a sagging approach to perimeter defense. The former is not a strength of this team as a collective, and the latter is just not something that Duke has done very often.

But one thing getting better play from the Plumlees might do is increase the margin of error against these types of teams. We might become a slightly more efficient offensive team in those matchups, (reducing the emphasis on defense) and we might become a slightly less inefficient defensive team in those matchups. So while it doesn't fix the problem completely, it gives us a better chance to overcome the problem.

Kedsy
01-31-2010, 03:15 PM
I agree that getting better play from the Plumlees doesn't resolve the situation. Unless they can get to be as good defensively as Shelden Williams, we're still going to be susceptible to the 4-out, 1-in approach. But at least we'd be a little less susceptible. Ultimately, stopping this approach that requires having very strong individual on-ball defenders or applying a sagging approach to perimeter defense. The former is not a strength of this team as a collective, and the latter is just not something that Duke has done very often.

But one thing getting better play from the Plumlees might do is increase the margin of error against these types of teams. We might become a slightly more efficient offensive team in those matchups, (reducing the emphasis on defense) and we might become a slightly less inefficient defensive team in those matchups. So while it doesn't fix the problem completely, it gives us a better chance to overcome the problem.

I agree. If we're a little better on offense and a little better on defense and the game is close enough that the kids don't become demoralized, then it's a whole different thing.

But even the Shelden Williams teams had this problem. It seemed for awhile in 2006 (when several of our perimeter defenders were not the best at one-on-one containment) that even though we won, every opposing center had a career night. Remember Marco Killingsworth?

CDu
01-31-2010, 03:25 PM
I agree. If we're a little better on offense and a little better on defense and the game is close enough that the kids don't become demoralized, then it's a whole different thing.

But even the Shelden Williams teams had this problem. It seemed for awhile in 2006 (when several of our perimeter defenders were not the best at one-on-one containment) that even though we won, every opposing center had a career night. Remember Marco Killingsworth?

Yes, even the Williams teams had this problem at times. But he was MUCH better at reducing the problem, and often completely covered the problem entirely with his timing on help. But yes, there were also the occasional Killingsworth/Jeff Green games, in which the team just got easy layups because of being spread out.

Ultimately, I think the way you eliminate the problem of giving up easy layups against the spread offense is to sag off on the perimeter a little more (or at least more often) to prevent dribble penetration. The tradeoff is that teams get a few more good looks at 3s. In that situation, you have to hope that they don't hit those open 3s at a high rate. Perhaps you switch it up some - sagging off at times, playing extended defense at times, maybe zoning occasionally - to try to confuse them or keep them out of rhythm.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 04:02 PM
Well, he did play zone a little bit. It didn't work any better.

We played zone for how many possessions? Not enough to come to the conclusion that it didn't work any better. Georgetown made only one three in the second half ( one for six ). I suspect their layup/dunk percentage was higher. If we choose not to use zone, don't overplay as much so guys aren't blowing by on every possession.

dyedwab
01-31-2010, 04:31 PM
We played zone for how many possessions? Not enough to come to the conclusion that it didn't work any better. Georgetown made only one three in the second half ( one for six ). I suspect their layup/dunk percentage was higher. If we choose not to use zone, don't overplay as much so guys aren't blowing by on every possession.

or, in other words, stop playing the defensive system that we've played for Coach K's entire tenure.

Would playing zone, or not overplaying man worked yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But to gives this as the answer to what we should have done.

The thing is, our best defensive teams imposed their will on other teams. Other teams could exploit the best matchups/style they had...but we could overcome that.

For the past couple of years that hasn't been true.

But, simply, our defense played at a high level should be able to stop the other team. Their are tradeoffs in what we give up, but they don't matter if we play well enough, often enough. We haven't been this year.

Troublemaker
01-31-2010, 05:22 PM
Despite having just given up 72% shooting to an opponent, I'm actually much more concerned about the offense than the defense.

Duke has now played 9 games away from Cameron. In those 9 games, Duke has played well offensively only once, against ISU. That's both my subjective opinion based on watching all 9 games and an objective "fact," if you define "playing well" on offense to mean scoring at a rate of 1.1 points per possession (ppp); if a team averaged 1.1 ppp for an entire season, its offense would rank around 50th in the country. In general, for BCS teams, many stat guys would consider 1.0 ppp to be "average", 1.1 ppp to be "good," and 1.2 ppp to be "great." Away from home, Duke has only reached the 1.1 ppp plateau once this season, against ISU, when we scored 1.23 ppp. (All this data is from kenpom).

Meanwhile, on defense, Duke has played well at least 4 times away from home this season (ASU, UConn, Gonzaga, Clemson). That's both subjective opinion and objective "fact," if you define "playing well" on defense to mean allowing 0.9 ppp or fewer; a team that averages 0.9 ppp defensively for a season would rank around 30th in the country. I would actually say Duke's defense played "great" those 4 games, pretty well against ISU, average against GaTech, and had 3 stinkers against Wisconsin, NCSU, and G'town. That covers the 9 games away from Cameron.

Why am I focusing so much on those 9 games? For the obvious reason -- nobody plays home games in the postseason. I'm not saying there's no benefit to being an outstanding home team, which Duke is this season; Duke will probably win the ACC because it holds serve at home better than any other team. And Duke's lofty kenpom offensive rating is buoyed by the outstanding home efforts.

But, essentially, how good a team is relative to the national competition is a reflection of how well it plays away from home. Subjectively, I think Duke's defense is very good against non-spread teams, and I'm okay with that. I wish there were no weaknesses or poor matchups to speak of at all, but at least there are certain kinds of teams Duke can expect to play good defense against. On offense, though, it seems like Duke doesn't play well against any kind of team, and that worries me.

dyedwab
01-31-2010, 05:41 PM
I like Troublemaker's post - it makes a good point about offense on the road being our real problem.

But whether you believe we have an offense problem, or a defense problem, we certainly have a road problem. Twice in post-game press conferences (G'Town and State), Coach K has mention not being able to match the intensity of our opponent. Though we have won on neutral sites, other than Gonzaga, I don't think we have looked complete in any of our games not at Cameron. And our problems seems similar - bad shooting and sloppy defense, leading to turnovers and easy buckets for the opposition.

I'm not sure what we need to do, but this seems like more than a one-off problem.

roywhite
01-31-2010, 05:57 PM
I like Troublemaker's post - it makes a good point about offense on the road being our real problem.

But whether you believe we have an offense problem, or a defense problem, we certainly have a road problem. Twice in post-game press conferences (G'Town and State), Coach K has mention not being able to match the intensity of our opponent. Though we have won on neutral sites, other than Gonzaga, I don't think we have looked complete in any of our games not at Cameron. And our problems seems similar - bad shooting and sloppy defense, leading to turnovers and easy buckets for the opposition.

I'm not sure what we need to do, but this seems like more than a one-off problem.

Part of the problem simply has to do with Duke's high reputation and the degree to which other teams and fanbases get emotionally "up" to play Duke. As Coach K has said, he probably leads the country in the category of number of times he has witnessed opposing fans storm the court.

This was not a problem in 1999 or even 2006 when Duke teams had more talent and jumped to large leads even on the road. A win over Duke in January or February seems to make a successful season for some teams. We don't have a significant talent advantage this year, so the opponents are able to play their best games and feed off the emotion.

Unfortunately that's a fact of life and we still have to adjust and play better in these circumstances. Seems to me the key to greater success will rest on improvement and more significant contributions from the freshmen, especially Mason Plumlee. If he can achieve a comfort level and familiarity with defense (avoiding fouls also), he can block or alter shots, and reduce the number of easy baskets we give up. Additionally, he should be able to give us more inside scoring.

There's time enough for this team to improve, but some urgency to do so.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 06:17 PM
or, in other words, stop playing the defensive system that we've played for Coach K's entire tenure.

Would playing zone, or not overplaying man worked yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But to gives this as the answer to what we should have done.

The thing is, our best defensive teams imposed their will on other teams. Other teams could exploit the best matchups/style they had...but we could overcome that.

For the past couple of years that hasn't been true.

But, simply, our defense played at a high level should be able to stop the other team. Their are tradeoffs in what we give up, but they don't matter if we play well enough, often enough. We haven't been this year.
I guess I can not read my own post. Where did I say " stop playing the defensive system that we've played for Coach K's entire tenure."? I have said we should use zone or a less overplay man to man for short periods to help change the rhythm of the game. It worked nicely against BC and FSU.

Our ability to impose our will requires having the players to accomplish that goal. Our teams over the last five years or so just do not have that defensive prowess. It starts at the point, and without our point guard pressuring the ball, our defense is just not as effective.

dyedwab
01-31-2010, 07:02 PM
I guess I can not read my own post. Where did I say " stop playing the defensive system that we've played for Coach K's entire tenure."? I have said we should use zone or a less overplay man to man for short periods to help change the rhythm of the game. It worked nicely against BC and FSU.

Our ability to impose our will requires having the players to accomplish that goal. Our teams over the last five years or so just do not have that defensive prowess. It starts at the point, and without our point guard pressuring the ball, our defense is just not as effective.

Your implication is that had we done this, we would have played better and possibly won. Well, we do play zone - certainly more than we ever did in the 1980's and 1990's and we played in some against Georgetown. Maybe it would have worked.

So we don't play as much zone as you would want - but more than we ever have under K. Perhaps that's a philosophical dispute about how the program operates - not about in game, or in season adjustments.

And THAT is the single most frustrating things about thinking about this loss. We can play better defense, or shoot the ball better, or prepare for the road more. But commentary about changing our recruiting philosophy, or changing our defensive philosophy (which, despite protestations is what you are arguing for), or changing the way we schedule - well, it seems that they aren't exactly things that can be implemented in January...

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 07:12 PM
Your implication is that had we done this, we would have played better and possibly won. Well, we do play zone - certainly more than we ever did in the 1980's and 1990's and we played in some against Georgetown. Maybe it would have worked.

So we don't play as much zone as you would want - but more than we ever have under K. Perhaps that's a philosophical dispute about how the program operates - not about in game, or in season adjustments.

And THAT is the single most frustrating things about thinking about this loss. We can play better defense, or shoot the ball better, or prepare for the road more. But commentary about changing our recruiting philosophy, or changing our defensive philosophy (which, despite protestations is what you are arguing for), or changing the way we schedule - well, it seems that they aren't exactly things that can be implemented in January...
I was certainly implying that we could have played better with some zone. There is little doubt in my mind that it could not have been worse than what we watched. Who knows if we could have won.

These are not criticisms that just popped up here in January. It starts with recruiting, and many have been critical of our recruiting before now. What excuse can you offer for not having a single point guard on our roster? Of course, I am referring to a player that actually played point in high school, and was recruited to play point for Duke.

xblade
01-31-2010, 07:33 PM
Kedsy,

I agree it is not realistic to expect K to play zone for an extended period, just is not going to happen. But mixing it up a little would help and the zone ( even by K's post game comments ) turned the FSU game in the second half. Since GTown was 1/6 from three in the second half, zone would have likely helped. The man to man we know was not working.

It wasn't working because there was no effort to make it work. On many of the shots, Duke had a guy in position to play defense, they just didn't do it. Duke was extremely passive on defense most of the day. Zone wouldn't have helped that. It also wouldn't have stopped the multiple wide open fast break baskets Georgetown used to build their lead.

And as far as FSU is concerned......Georgetown isn't FSU.

Zone wasn't the answer, effort was.

doctorhook
01-31-2010, 07:49 PM
It wasn't working because there was no effort to make it work. On many of the shots, Duke had a guy in position to play defense, they just didn't do it. Duke was extremely passive on defense most of the day. Zone wouldn't have helped that. It also wouldn't have stopped the multiple wide open fast break baskets Georgetown used to build their lead.

And as far as FSU is concerned......Georgetown isn't FSU.

Zone wasn't the answer, effort was.
How do you know that zone wouldn't have helped that? Sometimes a change in defense changes the momentum and our guys start picking it up on both ends. I agree that effort was a problem, but in a zone at least they are shooting more jumpers which generally have a lower probability of going in. As for GTown v FSU, GT is better but FSU is a very good team right now. If we had not gone to the zone against FSU, the outcome might have been different.

greybeard
01-31-2010, 09:34 PM
The single principal of the game is to make the other team defend at the rim and beat them there. You can't do that on a consistent basis you can't win.

I do not thin that Duke's bigs get enough touches to create offense at the rime for themselves or others. There might be a play called, someone might try a high-low pass, it don't work for whatever, andwe don't see the passer or catcher get another chance.

I think that Duke has at least three bigs who can put it on the floor after a catch and attack the rim. It rarely happens. Miles gets a chance, bellies out a little too far, and has a jump hook that is a little too far and misses and then gets called for a foul on a tip in when he puts his hand on Monroe's shoulder, but seems to gain no advantage from it. Miles get no similar opportunity again.

I think that the Plumblees need to get many more opoortunities to play two man ball in int paint, maybe 3 man with Singler. I think that Singler must catch inside the circle, close of the foul line, turn reasonably erect, hold it high and pass to one of the two Plumblees on either side, or fake a two hand over the head pass, and just shoot the thing, or dribble penetrate step sliding away and finish or dish. These three guys need to become the big three, and if Z and L want time they better damn well catch and scre the thing unless double teamed.

Duke is in love with the outside three line and does not have the speed and the stone cold scorers to make it work. They need to make defenses defend the rim with more guys Duke has attacking it. People have to catch it, turn, and put it in the basket or find a lob or a little pass to a partner with an edge, and then get the offensive board.

Georgetown looked past Syracuse to get at Duke who whooped up on them last year by 40. They played the best game a JTIII team has played. They won't play that way again. I belive Duke was looking past Georgetown to GT because Tech punked Duke down in Atlanta, had their way with Duke physically. Let's forget about the refs who let GT get away with murder. Duke, I believe, was thinking about GT in the versizon ceter.

I look for 'duke to play extremely physical again GT. To play well and win.

I don't like this triple-threat-position, expecially for long players like Singler, and wish like hell they stop encougaging him to cop it. Let him stand up straight, with the ball high, and make the defender stand high to guard him. The added mobility will give him all the first step he needs, and he needs to play for a 12 foot shot in rhythm and a=dare defenders to try to stop it, then take it all the way on a hesitation or put up, fake, step through a score the damn thing. 'catching it outside the 3 line ain't working and has loused up his shot.

Duke's offense is playing very poorly, is psoing no meaningful threats at the rim, and that is empowering other teams on both ends. If I had to guess, WoJo and Chris, neither of whom I believe played with a potent front court, need some help here.

jv001
01-31-2010, 09:48 PM
Let me add......Way too much dribbling by the so called big 3. The bigs may get a couple of tosses into the paint and that's it. They spend the rest of the game setting picks up high. Go Duke!

mike88
02-01-2010, 03:35 AM
or, in other words, stop playing the defensive system that we've played for Coach K's entire tenure.

Would playing zone, or not overplaying man worked yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But to gives this as the answer to what we should have done.

The thing is, our best defensive teams imposed their will on other teams. Other teams could exploit the best matchups/style they had...but we could overcome that.

For the past couple of years that hasn't been true.

But, simply, our defense played at a high level should be able to stop the other team. Their are tradeoffs in what we give up, but they don't matter if we play well enough, often enough. We haven't been this year.

Against good teams, particularly those with players that present match-up problems (like Monroe), it is not simply an issue of effort. Our guys were trying "hard" against Georgetown, but not making plays. Georgetown played very well and never let up. Their offense is well-suited to counter what Duke wants to do on defense.

Duke 2009-10 is going to have a hard time winning games against good teams on the road or at tourney sites, particularly when it seems that every team gets "up" for their games vs. us. I am not sure whether the game plan was somewhat flawed and we played poorly, or whether we just played poorly, but winning games against teams like Georgetown on the road or at neutral sites is going to require us to:

1) not turn the ball over (turnovers killed us in the early 2nd half vs Georgetown)

2) not give up alot of easy baskets

3) create turnovers OR win the rebound battle

4) shoot well (by shooting good shots in rhythm / moving the ball / feeding the post some to get different looks and not rushing the offense)

We have shown we can win if we do the first three, but not the 4th (U Conn, for example). Traditionally, we have focused on creating turnovers with an overplaying man to man defense- I don't think this will work against most good teams we will face the rest of the year, although it may work just fine the rest of the ACC season. The problem is, we likely won't know until the NCAA tournament, as we don't face any more Top Ten teams until then. I would favor more zone or switching man to man, with a goal of making teams try to beat us from outside. K has shown that he can adjust to his personnel- I will be interested to see if we head in that direction in upcoming games . . .