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houstondukie
08-21-2010, 09:03 AM
Here is my ranking:

1. 1992 - national champs (back-to-back)
2. 2001 - national champs (arizona)
3. 1999 - runner-up (uconn)
4. 1986 - runner-up (louisville)
5. 1991 - national champs (beat '91 unlv in final four)
6. 2004 - final four (uconn)
7. 2010 - national champs (butler)
8. 1998 - elite 8 (kentucky)
9. 2002 - sweet 16 (indiana)
10. 2006 - sweet 16 (lsu)

A strong argument for #1 could be made for '92, '99, or '01.

2011??? Has the potential to be one of the best ever.

CameronBornAndBred
08-21-2010, 09:25 AM
Here is my ranking:

1. 1992 - national champs (back-to-back)
2. 2001 - national champs (arizona)
3. 1999 - runner-up (uconn)
4. 1986 - runner-up (louisville)
5. 1991 - national champs (beat '91 unlv in final four)
6. 2004 - final four (uconn)
7. 2010 - national champs (butler)
8. 1998 - elite 8 (kentucky)
9. 2002 - sweet 16 (indiana)
10. 2006 - sweet 16 (lsu)

A strong argument for #1 could be made for '92, '99, or '01.

2011??? Has the potential to be one of the best ever.
I have to think a bit more before I post mine, but I would put '91 at either one or two. I sure couldn't let them slip all the way to 5. Placing either '91 or '92 is tough, because '91 did some amazing things including beating UNLV, while '92 played the whole season and more importantly, the tournament, with a target on their back and expections of the repeat.

Lord Ash
08-21-2010, 09:37 AM
So this might sound stupid, but I am a bit of a video game basketball nerd. I've been playing March Madness 07 (the JJ cover) for years, and have made just about every major Duke team that exists in some way or another. I recently ran '99 against '11 (or as best as I can figure) a bunch and I gotta say, '11 beat '99 more than a few times.

Brand >> Mason/Miles
Shane < Kyle (UGH that kills me to type because Shane > God, but realistically I think it is true of sophomore Shane)
Seth = CWell (I think? I think Seth > junior CWell before long...)
Trajan = Nolan... but even here, Nolan might edge past before all is said and done...
Will < Kyrie (although Will DID have 15pts, 3.5 rebounds, and 5 assists a game... can't imagine Kyrie will match those raw numbers easily... is my memory selling Will short?)

Primary Benches:

Coach Nate (as a junior), Burgess, and Corey = (again, good chance the '11 bench will be better if things pan out) whichever Plumless is left, Ryan, Dre, Josh

I do think that the '11 team has the potential, depending on how the Plumlees, Kyrie, Seth and Ryan "turn out" (that is a lot up-in-the-air) to be one of the most talented ever at Duke.

Kedsy
08-21-2010, 12:49 PM
So this might sound stupid, but I am a bit of a video game basketball nerd. I've been playing March Madness 07 (the JJ cover) for years, and have made just about every major Duke team that exists in some way or another. I recently ran '99 against '11 (or as best as I can figure) a bunch and I gotta say, '11 beat '99 more than a few times.

Brand >> Mason/Miles
Shane < Kyle (UGH that kills me to type because Shane > God, but realistically I think it is true of sophomore Shane)
Seth = CWell (I think? I think Seth > junior CWell before long...)
Trajan = Nolan... but even here, Nolan might edge past before all is said and done...
Will < Kyrie (although Will DID have 15pts, 3.5 rebounds, and 5 assists a game... can't imagine Kyrie will match those raw numbers easily... is my memory selling Will short?)

Primary Benches:

Coach Nate (as a junior), Burgess, and Corey = (again, good chance the '11 bench will be better if things pan out) whichever Plumless is left, Ryan, Dre, Josh

I do think that the '11 team has the potential, depending on how the Plumlees, Kyrie, Seth and Ryan "turn out" (that is a lot up-in-the-air) to be one of the most talented ever at Duke.

I don't play the video game, but I have been thinking about this as well. But I would match things up differently, not strictly by position if you want to compare the two squads.

First of all, the '11 backcourt is (IMO) far superior to the '99 backcourt. Kyrie and Nolan should be a much better tandem than Will and Trajan. But the '99 frontcourt, led by the national player of the year at center, was superior to our '11 frontcourt. The '99 team was an outstanding defensive squad and I expect they'll be better defensively than the '11 team.

But if you want to match up player-by-player, this is how I'd do it:

Elton vs. Kyle -- a NPOY vs. a potential NPOY. Statistically this is going to be close to a wash (Elton had 17.7, 9.8, 1.1a, 2.2b, 1.3s), and while Elton was a load inside, Kyle is probably just as much of a matchup problem for our opponents. Taking into account the lesser competition in the college game today, I'd say this is a wash.

Soph Shane vs. Miles -- Shane was a much better defensive player, but I expect Miles to have similar stats except with more rebounds (Shane was 9.1, 4.9, 1.5a, 1.2b, 1.8s). Slight edge to Shane unless Miles brings his defense up a couple of notches.

Jr. Chris C vs. Mason -- Chris was more of a ballhander/passer, but he was a little undersized for his position and only put up pedestrian numbers in '99 (9.9, 4.8, 3.3a, 0.9b, 0.8s). Mason has more upside; if his defense has improved I'd give him a slight edge, but let's be safe and call it a wash.

Trajan vs. Nolan -- I'd give Nolan a big edge here. He has a much better handle than Trajan, can find his own shot, and is a better passer and more vocal leader. Trajan's numbers (17.3, 3.4, 1.9a, 0.1b, 1.4s) were good but Nolan's will be better. He may not make 44% of his 3-pointers, like Trajan did, but I wouldn't be surprised if he hit around 42%, with more assists, more steals, and probably more points.

Will vs. Kyrie -- It's hard to say this, having never seen him play, but from all accounts Kyrie should have a big edge here. Will put up good numbers (15.5, 3.5, 5.0a, 0b, 1.5s) but Kyrie should be a much bigger matchup nightmare for our opponents. Will's A/TO ratio was 1.92 to 1, which isn't that much better than LDIII's last year for UNC (1.85 to 1). I expect Kyrie to be better in that department and also to draw more defenders. This is a back-of-the-lottery player vs. a top 5 pick.

Sixth man: Corey vs. Seth -- Corey was an highlight reel out there, but Seth should be just as difficult to guard and should be able to surpass Corey's 10.6, 3.9, 1.5a, 0.4b, 0.7s. Personally, I'd give a small edge to Seth, but I guess we can call it a wash.

Rest of bench: Nate, Chris B, Taymon vs. Ryan, Andre, Josh, Tyler -- I expect a lot from Ryan and probably from Andre, so I'd give a big edge to the '11 team here.

So, to conclude this lengthy analysis, I count three washes, one small edge for the '99 team, and three big edges for the '11 team. Assuming the Plumlees' defense is up to snuff, I'd have to say the '11 team should be better than the '99 team, especially considering that the overall talent level in college today is generally considered to be down compared to '99.

We may not go undefeated in the league, because you need a lot of luck as well as skill to pull that off, but it should be a fun year.

Kedsy
08-21-2010, 01:56 PM
Here is my ranking:

1. 1992 - national champs (back-to-back)
2. 2001 - national champs (arizona)
3. 1999 - runner-up (uconn)
4. 1986 - runner-up (louisville)
5. 1991 - national champs (beat '91 unlv in final four)
6. 2004 - final four (uconn)
7. 2010 - national champs (butler)
8. 1998 - elite 8 (kentucky)
9. 2002 - sweet 16 (indiana)
10. 2006 - sweet 16 (lsu)

A strong argument for #1 could be made for '92, '99, or '01.

2011??? Has the potential to be one of the best ever.

I am a little confused by what you mean by "best team." If you mean "most talented team," then 2002 shouldn't be so low, but rather should be 4th or IMO 3rd. If you mean team with the most overall accomplishments (not over-weighting the NCAAT), then 2006 should be a lot higher than 10th. If the NCAAT is your primary indicator, then how can 2010 be 7th?

Obviously this is a hard list to assemble, especially considering you have left off your list completely two national runner ups (1990, 1994), two final four teams (1988, 1989), and a team that was the #1 team in the country going into the NCAAT (2000). There have been a lot of deserving squads in the K era.

jimsumner
08-21-2010, 02:11 PM
I'd figure out a way to get the '94 team in there somehow.

dukestheheat
08-21-2010, 05:47 PM
Simply put, the 1999 team is the best team we've had under K, in my opinion. To rank the others is, for me, very hard to do, since we've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch so many great teams. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season!

dth.

JohnGalt
08-21-2010, 06:05 PM
Simply put, the 1999 team is the best team we've had under K, in my opinion. To rank the others is, for me, very hard to do, since we've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch so many great teams. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season!

dth.

I've got to agree with dth here. The '99 team was perfect in the ACC and only lost 2 games all year during a time when most indicate the overall level of collegiate talent was higher than average. If I remember correctly - and I'm probably missing a few ACC games - the only game that was close during the regular season was the St. John's game at MSG. My vote goes for '99 being on top and - had they won the NCAAT - a potential candidate for greatest teams of all time.

Of course, like Kedsy mentioned, I'm voting on what I perceive to be overall teamtalent/cohesiveness/etc rather than overall team acheivement.

Cameron
08-21-2010, 06:41 PM
Domination. That's the best way to describe the way in which Duke's 1999 edition dealt with its opponents. The Blue Devils cruised through the ACC regular season schedule, beating 10 of 16 opponents by 20 points or higher (sporting a 24.7 PPG ave. win margin overall) on their way to the conference title. Even if the ACC was down relative to some of the conference's greatest years on record in '99, 24.7 points per game is 24.7 points per game. Today, only a little over a decade later, that level of average winning margin in the ACC would seem preposterous.

Perfect in the ACC regular season; unblemished en route to the ACC Tournament title by way of insanely unbalanced victories over Virginia (quarters, 104-67), N.C. State (semis, 83-68) and North Carolina (finals, 96-73); and one win shy of one of the most dominating NCAA Tournament trails on record, falling to UConn in the national finals after beating all five previous tournament opponents by an average of over 25 points per game.

Had unthinkable misfortune not struck Trajan's last possession as a Duke basketball player, there's reasonable doubt to think that any other team besides our '99 squad would be esteemed the greatest in the history of the sport. Then again, fans of Vegas (whoever may be left) could make the same claim:)

If the debate is based on national championships and NCAA success, then I'd go with 2001. That club featured TWO national players of the year on the SAME team (Shane racked up the biggies: Naismith, Wooden, Rupp; while Jason took home the NABC award), as well as future All-Americans in Dunleavy, Boozer and Duhon. The backcourt was, IMO, the best we've ever seen, and may ever see. Near the end of the season, Williams and Duhon were the two best guards in the country, a foreshadowing of what was to come a year later. Absolute poetry in motion.

chrisheery
08-21-2010, 07:48 PM
Simply put, the 1999 team is the best team we've had under K, in my opinion. To rank the others is, for me, very hard to do, since we've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch so many great teams. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season!

dth.

Agreed. In terms of talent, I am not sure there has ever been a better college basketball team. They were just unbelievably filthy. I agree that this years team has that kind of potential, but that potential is based on a lot of players getting better from last year to this.

The main difference has to be the play of Elton Brand and the seasoned depth of the '99 team. We had guys buried on our bench who would have started 3 of the last 4 years (Tamon, Nate, Maggette).

Also, I agree it was disappointing how we lost to UConn in 1999 and that is what keeps this team from clearly being the best Duke (and maybe all college basketball) team ever. However, it never should have been close. I think if that is a 7 game series, even with the loss, we would win in 5 with an average margin of victory of 17 or 18 points. Should have dominated those fools. I still blame myself for drinking during the game due to complacency. I should have played harder. We would have won.

Kedsy
08-21-2010, 08:30 PM
Agreed. In terms of talent, I am not sure there has ever been a better college basketball team. They were just unbelievably filthy. I agree that this years team has that kind of potential, but that potential is based on a lot of players getting better from last year to this.

The main difference has to be the play of Elton Brand and the seasoned depth of the '99 team. We had guys buried on our bench who would have started 3 of the last 4 years (Tamon, Nate, Maggette).

Also, I agree it was disappointing how we lost to UConn in 1999 and that is what keeps this team from clearly being the best Duke (and maybe all college basketball) team ever. However, it never should have been close. I think if that is a 7 game series, even with the loss, we would win in 5 with an average margin of victory of 17 or 18 points. Should have dominated those fools. I still blame myself for drinking during the game due to complacency. I should have played harder. We would have won.

Well, I disagree with a lot of this (other than blaming yourself; I knew somebody was to blame ;) ). I thought the '99 team was really, really good, was excellent on the defensive end, and its accomplishments were amazing (going undefeated in the ACC with that insane margin of victory), but as far as talent, I think a lot of people see what Carrawell and Battier became in later years and not what they were then. Shane was essentially a defensive specialist with upside, and Chris was an average small forward. Both were below 10ppg and below 5 rpg. Elton was the NPOY, so of course he was outstanding, and Trajan was a great shooter, but he didn't have very much handle or ability to score by himself. Will Avery was good but turned the ball over too much to be considered an elite PG. Corey Maggette was an athletic freak who didn't have a lot of basketball savvy, and the rest of the bench was average at best (Nate became above average in 2000 and 2001, but he wasn't really in 1999). I would argue that the Duke 1992, 2001, and 2002 editions were all more talented, and if you want to talk about all-time, everywhere, I could name at least 20 other non-Duke teams. As I said in an earlier post, I think the 2011 Duke team will also be more talented than the '99 team.

You mention one of the two main differences as the "seasoned depth" of the 1999 team, but the starting lineup was three sophomores, a junior, and a senior. The sixth man was a freshman, the seventh and eighth men were sophomores (although admittedly one of them was a redshirt sophomore). It's probably one of the younger teams we've had at Duke.

Also, I don't think losing to UConn in the final was the incredible upset everyone seems to think it was. There's no way we would have beaten UConn 5 out of 7 with a 17 point margin of victory. I haven't gone back and done the math, but I bet UConn was ranked #1 in the country more weeks than we were that year. It was a great UConn team, that only lost two games (both to ranked teams). I remember at the time wondering why the point spread was so high in Duke's favor. The way I saw it at the time, it was a game between two pretty even teams, who were both a lot better than anybody else in the country.

I realize most people around here worship the 1999 squad, and going undefeated in the league was an absolutely incredible accomplishment, but my personal view is it wasn't the team of superhumans that people seem to remember. Obviously that's just my opinion.

jimsumner
08-21-2010, 08:33 PM
"Also, I agree it was disappointing how we lost to UConn in 1999 and that is what keeps this team from clearly being the best Duke (and maybe all college basketball) team ever"

I also agree that Duke likely would have prevailed in a best-of-seven series. But I think we undervalue that UConn team. They were pretty good. They were ranked number one about as many weeks as Duke that season, maybe more. Richard Hamilton was an elite college wing, El-Amin outplayed Avery, while Moore and Freeman had very good games. It's easy to make fun of Jake Voshkul but he managed to carve out a decent career in the NBA.

And Connecticut's bench outplayed Duke's.

Best-team ever? Several of Wooden's teams, '76 IU and maybe '90 UNLV would be in the mix.

chrisheery
08-21-2010, 08:43 PM
Well, I disagree with a lot of this (other than blaming yourself; I knew somebody was to blame ;) ). I thought the '99 team was really, really good, was excellent on the defensive end, and its accomplishments were amazing (going undefeated in the ACC with that insane margin of victory), but as far as talent, I think a lot of people see what Carrawell and Battier became in later years and not what they were then. Shane was essentially a defensive specialist with upside, and Chris was an average small forward. Both were below 10ppg and below 5 rpg. Elton was the NPOY, so of course he was outstanding, and Trajan was a great shooter, but he didn't have very much handle or ability to score by himself. Will Avery was good but turned the ball over too much to be considered an elite PG. Corey Maggette was an athletic freak who didn't have a lot of basketball savvy, and the rest of the bench was average at best (Nate became above average in 2000 and 2001, but he wasn't really in 1999). I would argue that the Duke 1992, 2001, and 2002 editions were all more talented, and if you want to talk about all-time, everywhere, I could name at least 20 other non-Duke teams. As I said in an earlier post, I think the 2011 Duke team will also be more talented than the '99 team.

You mention one of the two main differences as the "seasoned depth" of the 1999 team, but the starting lineup was three sophomores, a junior, and a senior. The sixth man was a freshman, the seventh and eighth men were sophomores (although admittedly one of them was a redshirt sophomore). It's probably one of the younger teams we've had at Duke.

Also, I don't think losing to UConn in the final was the incredible upset everyone seems to think it was. There's no way we would have beaten UConn 5 out of 7 with a 17 point margin of victory. I haven't gone back and done the math, but I bet UConn was ranked #1 in the country more weeks than we were that year. It was a great UConn team, that only lost two games (both to ranked teams). I remember at the time wondering why the point spread was so high in Duke's favor. The way I saw it at the time, it was a game between two pretty even teams, who were both a lot better than anybody else in the country.

I realize most people around here worship the 1999 squad, and going undefeated in the league was an absolutely incredible accomplishment, but my personal view is it wasn't the team of superhumans that people seem to remember. Obviously that's just my opinion.


Good points all. You are right, I just remember watching those guys (who I entered college with) and thinking it was incredible. I surely was swept up at the time and certainly that has not waned much. I had never seen a team (in person) just devastate other teams like that one did.

Newton_14
08-21-2010, 09:19 PM
"Also, I agree it was disappointing how we lost to UConn in 1999 and that is what keeps this team from clearly being the best Duke (and maybe all college basketball) team ever"

I also agree that Duke likely would have prevailed in a best-of-seven series. But I think we undervalue that UConn team. They were pretty good. They were ranked number one about as many weeks as Duke that season, maybe more. Richard Hamilton was an elite college wing, El-Amin outplayed Avery, while Moore and Freeman had very good games. It's easy to make fun of Jake Voshkul but he managed to carve out a decent career in the NBA.

And Connecticut's bench outplayed Duke's.

Best-team ever? Several of Wooden's teams, '76 IU and maybe '90 UNLV would be in the mix.

I have to side with Kedsy and Jim on this one. First, that UConn team was darn good. Ranked Number 1 for many weeks that year. They also had more upperclassmen if I recall correctly. Duke was youthful, with Battier the soph version, a soph PG in Avery, and Maggette a freshman. Trajan was great but slow, and average ball handler at best. He had great heart though, and a jumper that was lethal.

Duke also had the great misfortune of drawing a bruising Mich St team in the semi's and I have always felt that game used up much of the gas in the tank. Add in our guys partying all night Sunday night and end result is the team that took the floor that Monday evening, was tired, beat up, and just did not have their A game. Throw in 3 blind mice as ref's and it all added up to a close but no cigars.

There was a play in the 2nd half where Elton posted on the right low block, turned baseline, and Voskul literally hammered him to the floor with a help defender also hitting Elton from behind. No call. At that point I gave up all hope that Duke was going to get any kind of call on defenders against Elton. He should have lived at the line that game the way he was defended.

But, twas not to be. IMO, the 2 "greatest" Duke teams ever, unfortunately never actually made it to the court. The year 2000 could have easily been a run the table year if Brand, Avery, Burgess, and Maggette return to go along with Shane, Nate, Chris C, and 3 freshman named Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavey. Now that, would have been a team to reckon with.

The other year would have been 2003 if Jason Williams, Dunleavey, and Boozer, return to play along side Duhon, Ewing, Dahntay Jones, Horvath, and the freshman JJ, Shav, Shelden, Dockery, Lee M, Michael Thompson.

If and buts and all that. I just really would have loved to see those 2 teams lace them up and take on the college basketball world. I have a really good feeling our legendary coach would have picked up title number 6 this past April had we seen those 2 teams come to fruition.

COYS
08-21-2010, 09:38 PM
But, twas not to be. IMO, the 2 "greatest" Duke teams ever, unfortunately never actually made it to the court. The year 2000 could have easily been a run the table year if Brand, Avery, Burgess, and Maggette return to go along with Shane, Nate, Chris C, and 3 freshman named Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavey. Now that, would have been a team to reckon with.

The other year would have been 2003 if Jason Williams, Dunleavey, and Boozer, return to play along side Duhon, Ewing, Dahntay Jones, Horvath, and the freshman JJ, Shav, Shelden, Dockery, Lee M, Michael Thompson.

If and buts and all that. I just really would have loved to see those 2 teams lace them up and take on the college basketball world. I have a really good feeling our legendary coach would have picked up title number 6 this past April had we seen those 2 teams come to fruition.

Interesting thoughts. You might even add 2004-2005 to that mix if Deng sticks around and Shaun Livingston enrolls to join JJ, Shelden, Ewing, Dock, Shav, and freshman Demarcus and Dave McClure. A starting lineup with Deng, Livingston, JJ, Shelden, and Ewing would have been fun to watch. I don't know if that team is as dominant as the ones you mentioned, but I think it would have certainly put Duke in a great position to best UNC and Illinois for the title.

houstondukie
08-21-2010, 09:42 PM
I have to side with Kedsy and Jim on this one. First, that UConn team was darn good. Ranked Number 1 for many weeks that year. They also had more upperclassmen if I recall correctly. Duke was youthful, with Battier the soph version, a soph PG in Avery, and Maggette a freshman. Trajan was great but slow, and average ball handler at best. He had great heart though, and a jumper that was lethal.

Duke also had the great misfortune of drawing a bruising Mich St team in the semi's and I have always felt that game used up much of the gas in the tank. Add in our guys partying all night Sunday night and end result is the team that took the floor that Monday evening, was tired, beat up, and just did not have their A game. Throw in 3 blind mice as ref's and it all added up to a close but no cigars.

There was a play in the 2nd half where Elton posted on the right low block, turned baseline, and Voskul literally hammered him to the floor with a help defender also hitting Elton from behind. No call. At that point I gave up all hope that Duke was going to get any kind of call on defenders against Elton. He should have lived at the line that game the way he was defended.

But, twas not to be. IMO, the 2 "greatest" Duke teams ever, unfortunately never actually made it to the court. The year 2000 could have easily been a run the table year if Brand, Avery, Burgess, and Maggette return to go along with Shane, Nate, Chris C, and 3 freshman named Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavey. Now that, would have been a team to reckon with.

The other year would have been 2003 if Jason Williams, Dunleavey, and Boozer, return to play along side Duhon, Ewing, Dahntay Jones, Horvath, and the freshman JJ, Shav, Shelden, Dockery, Lee M, Michael Thompson.

If and buts and all that. I just really would have loved to see those 2 teams lace them up and take on the college basketball world. I have a really good feeling our legendary coach would have picked up title number 6 this past April had we seen those 2 teams come to fruition.

It's not realistic to think those teams should of happened. We were lucky to have JWill come back for his Jr. year, nobody expected he would ever come back for his senior yr especially since he already received his degree.

However, the 2005 Duke team could have been one of the greatest ever if Luol Deng returned for his sophomore year and Shaun Livingston enrolled at Duke instead of being picked #2 overall in the draft. Those two players, along with a junior JJ Redick, junior Shelden Williams, and senior Daniel Ewing would of been nasty.

Newton_14
08-21-2010, 10:06 PM
It's not realistic to think those teams should of happened. We were lucky to have JWill come back for his Jr. year, nobody expected he would ever come back for his senior yr especially since he already received his degree.

However, the 2005 Duke team could have been one of the greatest ever if Luol Deng returned for his sophomore year and Shaun Livingston enrolled at Duke instead of being picked #2 overall in the draft. Those two players, along with a junior JJ Redick, junior Shelden Williams, and senior Daniel Ewing would of been nasty.

I never said "should have". I said "could have" and I said "if and buts and all that" meaning we could look back on lots of "could have been" teams and think of what could have been. The 2 years I picked are just the 2 teams that I feel could have easily been in the running for greatest Duke teams of all time. They never happened, just like your "wishful thinking" team of 05 never happened.

How likely or unlikely any of those near misses were is really irrelevant. But again, that was not at all the point of my post. It does not matter to me how likely or unlikely it was that those two teams actually happen.

My point was simply that I wished we could have seen those two teams play because it would have been a heck of a lot of fun watching them chase history.

sagegrouse
08-21-2010, 10:07 PM
I opened up the spreadsheet and scored teams on the following points:

NCAA-T Results (Champ = 15, Runnerup = 12, Final Four = 10, Sweet Sixteen = 6)
AP Final (#1 = 10, #2 = 9, etc.)
ACC Champ = 5
ACC Regular Season champ = 5 (to give credit to the regular season)

Here is my ranking of teams, including points:

1. 35 1992
1. 35 2001
3. 32 1986
3. 32 1999
3. 32 2010
6. 25 1991
6. 25 2006
8. 22 1994
9. 21 1988
10. 20 2002
10. 20 2004
12. 14 1989
13. 12 1990

My main disagreement with Houston Dukie is in the 2010 team [ahem!]. I had them tied for 3rd with 1986 and 1999, which were national runner-ups but AP #1. HD had the team 7th. Wow! This was a team that won the ACC title and regular season and marched to a NC in a very impressive manner. He has them ranked behind the iconic 1991 team and the very good 2004 team, neither of which won the ACC or were ranked in the top 5 of the final AP poll. Don't see it.

Also, I am with Sumner in recognizing the 1994 team as #8 in my ranking vs. unranked by the OP.

sagegrouse

dukeballboy88
08-21-2010, 10:45 PM
92 devils maybe the best college team ever. the 99 team didnt even finalize the deal so that has to subtract points. Any team with Laettner is the best team.

CameronBornAndBred
08-21-2010, 10:53 PM
I opened up the spreadsheet and scored teams on the following points:

NCAA-T Results (Champ = 15, Runnerup = 12, Final Four = 10, Sweet Sixteen = 6)
AP Final (#1 = 10, #2 = 9, etc.)
ACC Champ = 5
ACC Regular Season champ = 5 (to give credit to the regular season)

Here is my ranking of teams, including points:

1. 35 1992
1. 35 2001
3. 32 1986
3. 32 1999
3. 32 2010
6. 25 1991
6. 25 2006
8. 22 1994
9. 21 1988
10. 20 2002
10. 20 2004
12. 14 1989
13. 12 1990

My main disagreement with Houston Dukie is in the 2010 team [ahem!]. I had them tied for 3rd with 1986 and 1999, which were national runner-ups but AP #1. HD had the team 7th. Wow! This was a team that won the ACC title and regular season and marched to a NC in a very impressive manner. He has them ranked behind the iconic 1991 team and the very good 2004 team, neither of which won the ACC or were ranked in the top 5 of the final AP poll. Don't see it.

Also, I am with Sumner in recognizing the 1994 team as #8 in my ranking vs. unranked by the OP.

sagegrouse
Ok..I have so many problems with the '91 team being knocked so low..even in a tie with '06(?!). The fact of the matter is that to win the NC is one of the hardest accomplishments in sports...for all the folks lauding the '99 team this should be proof positive. Only 4 Duke teams have ever done it..so I have a hard time with not putting those 4 in the top spots. To let one of those fall to 6th..and in fact THE FIRST team to do it to fall to 6th..(or 5th since you have a tie and the OP just has them there) is amazing. Point systems be damned, those guys did it first, and finally "got the monkey off of K's back".
So my top 4 Duke teams have to be the NC teams..the rest are all up for debate..but not those champions.

COYS
08-21-2010, 10:53 PM
I opened up the spreadsheet and scored teams on the following points:

NCAA-T Results (Champ = 15, Runnerup = 12, Final Four = 10, Sweet Sixteen = 6)
AP Final (#1 = 10, #2 = 9, etc.)
ACC Champ = 5
ACC Regular Season champ = 5 (to give credit to the regular season)

Here is my ranking of teams, including points:

1. 35 1992
1. 35 2001
3. 32 1986
3. 32 1999
3. 32 2010
6. 25 1991
6. 25 2006
8. 22 1994
9. 21 1988
10. 20 2002
10. 20 2004
12. 14 1989
13. 12 1990

My main disagreement with Houston Dukie is in the 2010 team [ahem!]. I had them tied for 3rd with 1986 and 1999, which were national runner-ups but AP #1. HD had the team 7th. Wow! This was a team that won the ACC title and regular season and marched to a NC in a very impressive manner. He has them ranked behind the iconic 1991 team and the very good 2004 team, neither of which won the ACC or were ranked in the top 5 of the final AP poll. Don't see it.

Also, I am with Sumner in recognizing the 1994 team as #8 in my ranking vs. unranked by the OP.

sagegrouse

Very interesting. Would adding a "wins against unc" category help break some of those ties? It's not a perfect measure because it has as much to do with the relative strength of unc's squads each season, but there's no denying that sweeping unc, or even beating them three times, counts a lot for duke teams. Winning the title this year was incredible, but there was no game that was more fun to watch than 82-50.

CameronBornAndBred
08-21-2010, 10:58 PM
Very interesting. Would adding a "wins against unc" category help break some of those ties? It's not a perfect measure because it has as much to do with the relative strength of unc's squads each season, but there's no denying that sweeping unc, or even beating them three times, counts a lot for duke teams. Winning the title this year was incredible, but there was no game that was more fun to watch than 82-50.
That was the first carolina game I've been to in person in 20 years, and I would easily give that one up to see the NC game in person, or on TV. It's a matter of perspective..it was fun as hell...but there is no way the beating Butler wasn't more fun.

Vincetaylor
08-22-2010, 01:05 AM
1992 team would have beaten the 1999 team. Upperclassmen vs. Underclassmen usually favors the upperclassmen. 1992 was the best Duke team ever. I don't really think there is much of a debate. You had the most talented player to ever wear a Duke uniform...Grant Hill, the best true point guard Duke has ever had...Bobby Hurley, and one of the best college players of all time...Christian Laettner. All 3 have their jerseys retired.

monkey
08-22-2010, 06:40 AM
1992 team would have beaten the 1999 team. Upperclassmen vs. Underclassmen usually favors the upperclassmen. 1992 was the best Duke team ever. I don't really think there is much of a debate. You had the most talented player to ever wear a Duke uniform...Grant Hill, the best true point guard Duke has ever had...Bobby Hurley, and one of the best college players of all time...Christian Laettner. All 3 have their jerseys retired.

This is an interesting perspective. I take the point about the upperclassmen. I don't think the jersey retirement thing in comparison with 1999 is fair - the jersey retirement is essentially a celebration of a career, not the year in question. And if you are looking at a head to head match up, and start looking at careers, then it's also fair to say (IMO) that if Elton had stayed, given that he was NPOY as a sophomore, that he would have had his jersey retired. With Shane, that's two. And I think people are really discounting how good Will Avery was at the time he left. Give him another 2 years in a Duke uni at similar production (or slight uptick) and I don't know if he gets his jersey retired, but he's at least in the mix. Carawell was ACC POY the following year and he was much the least of the starting 5. I can see 1992 winning the head-to head, if only because of Laettner but .... 1999's defense was spectacular and it seemed like they were on the fast break every 2 seconds. Give Elton & Crew one more year (the hypothetical 2000 season, with JWill, Booz and Dunleavy added) and I think a head-to-head goes the other way, and pretty strongly.

Incidentally, last year's gets the nod over 2004. Even if we got cheated in the final four that year, last year's half court defense during the second half of the year was incredible. No way 2004 beats 2010 in a head-to-head IMO.

BobbyFan
08-22-2010, 07:39 AM
This is based on my interpretation of "best" - put all of K's teams into a tournament, and the teams are ranked on likelihood to be the winner (separated by tiers):

1. 1992
2. 1999
3. 1986
4. 2001

5. 1998
6. 2002
7. 1991
8. 2010

9. 1994
10. 2004

I think 98 was quite underrated.

Indoor66
08-22-2010, 08:25 AM
This is based on my interpretation of "best" - put all of K's teams into a tournament, and the teams are ranked on likelihood to be the winner (separated by tiers):

1. 1992
2. 1999
3. 1986
4. 2001

5. 1998
6. 2002
7. 1991
8. 2010

9. 1994
10. 2004

I think 98 was quite underrated.

I think '86 is, due to sentiment, consistently overrated.

jimsumner
08-22-2010, 08:39 AM
I think '86 is, due to sentiment, consistently overrated."

This team was 37-3. It defeated Kansas and St. John's to win the Pre-Season NIT. It won the ACC regular-season title at 12-2, with the losses to two top five teams. It defeated an excellent Georgia Tech (Mark Price, John Sally, Duane Ferrell, Bruce Dalrymple, Tom Hammonds) team to win the ACC Tournament. It advanced to the Final Four, where it beat Danny Manning and Kansas. It lost to Louisville in a title game decided in the final seconds.

The team included two All-Americans, Naismith winner Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie. Dawkins passed Mike Gminski to become Duke's career scoring leader, a title he held for 20 years. Alarie joined him in the 2,000-point club. Classmates David Henderson and Jay Bilas scored over 1,000 points. Future National POY Danny Ferry. point-guard deluxe Tommy Amaker and defensive stopper Billy King completed the rotation.

Can you explain why you think a 37-3, ACC champion, NCAA runner-up team with two All-Americans was overrated?

Duvall
08-22-2010, 08:45 AM
I think '86 is, due to sentiment, consistently overrated.

Why? 37-3, 12-2 in the ACC and ACC champions (back when that meant something). Finished the year at #1 in the final AP poll and lost in the NCAA final by three points. Seems pretty great to me.

gus
08-22-2010, 08:45 AM
We may not go undefeated in the league, because you need a lot of luck as well as skill to pull that off, but it should be a fun year.

We will not go undefeated.

Assuming our odds of winning any one game is 90%, the odds of winning 16 in a row is 18.5%.

And Duke won't be a 9-1 favorite in every game.

brevity
08-22-2010, 09:15 AM
Can you explain why you think a 37-3, ACC champion, NCAA runner-up team with two All-Americans was overrated?

Not my statement, but I can kind of see how the greatness of the 1986 team might be confined to its own era. In this magical place where one Duke squad in its prime faces another in its prime, in a time of indeterminate rules on offense and defense, I think many people would still speculate that the 1986 team might not make this particular Final Four. "Overrated" still seems harsh, though. Maybe "outdated."

I hate this kind of thread because each person who posts, starting with the first one, should be required by law to set forth individual criteria explaining their rankings. Otherwise it's a pointless exercise with no real reason for any agreement. (I know, offseason filler. But is it such a bad thing to demand a better thread?)

jimsumner
08-22-2010, 09:34 AM
"Not my statement, but I can kind of see how the greatness of the 1986 team might be confined to its own era."

How else would we evaluate teams?

brevity
08-22-2010, 10:11 AM
"Not my statement, but I can kind of see how the greatness of the 1986 team might be confined to its own era."

How else would we evaluate teams?

I know what you're saying -- or at least I think I do -- but please note that more than a few people in this thread are evaluating these teams on an all-time, mostly hypothetical scale rather than an era-specific, richly contextual one. And it's somewhat misguided for them to predict that the team from year X would be dominant in any year just because they were dominant that particular year.

jimsumner
08-22-2010, 10:35 AM
Let me elaborate a bit on that 1986 season. I've long maintained that 1986 was the ACC's best season.

Georgia Tech began the season ranked number one nationally. They lost their opener and UNC took over as number one. They held that spot until February, when Duke took over. Duke was number one the rest of the season.

This is the only time in history that one conference has held the top spot in the polls with three or more teams.

The top three picks in the 1986 NBA draft were Brad Daugherty, Len Bias and Chris Washburn. This remains the only time one conference has had the top three picks.

Five of UPI's 15 All-Americans were ACC players, Dawkins and Bias on the first team, Daugherty on the second team, Mark Price and Mark Alarie on the third team.

These five All-Americans were all seniors. Imagine talents like Bias, Daugherty or Dawkins staying four years in the 21st century. But that's not all. A selected list of other seniors that season would include such notables as David Henderson, Jay Bilas, John Salley, Steve Hale, Nate McMillan, Ernie Myers and Glen McCants.

Non-seniors included Danny Ferry, Tommy Amaker, Duane Ferrell, Tommy Hammonds, Kenny Smith, Joe Wolf, Washburn, Charles Shackelford, Bennie Bolton, Olden Polynice, Mel Kennedy, Keith Gatlin, Horace Grant,and Muggsy Bogues. The eight-team league produced over two-dozen future NBA players.

Five of the eight teams advanced to the NCAAs, with UNC and NC State (7-7 in the ACC) losing in the Elite Eight and Duke losing in the title game.

So, finishing first in the regular season and winning the ACC Tournament was not an inconsequential accomplishment. The context was pretty impressive.

chrisheery
08-22-2010, 10:38 AM
It's not realistic to think those teams should of happened. We were lucky to have JWill come back for his Jr. year, nobody expected he would ever come back for his senior yr especially since he already received his degree.

However, the 2005 Duke team could have been one of the greatest ever if Luol Deng returned for his sophomore year and Shaun Livingston enrolled at Duke instead of being picked #2 overall in the draft. Those two players, along with a junior JJ Redick, junior Shelden Williams, and senior Daniel Ewing would of been nasty.

Not only that, but Boozer would not have come to Duke if Brand had stayed.

Kedsy
08-22-2010, 10:39 AM
We will not go undefeated.

Assuming our odds of winning any one game is 90%, the odds of winning 16 in a row is 18.5%.

And Duke won't be a 9-1 favorite in every game.

Well, the 1999 Duke team wasn't a 9-1 favorite in every game, either. But they went undefeated in the league. That's what I meant when I said it takes luck. I don't think the 2011 team will do it, but we will be good enough that you can't dismiss it out of hand (at least until we lose one).

chrisheery
08-22-2010, 10:46 AM
We will not go undefeated.

Assuming our odds of winning any one game is 90%, the odds of winning 16 in a row is 18.5%.

And Duke won't be a 9-1 favorite in every game.

That is true from a purely statistical analysis. However, there are many factors in real basketball that make this a less than ideal way to look at this question. All that matters is each game, one at a time, because that is how Coach K prepares his team.

CameronBornAndBred
08-22-2010, 11:00 AM
Well, the 1999 Duke team wasn't a 9-1 favorite in every game, either. But they went undefeated in the league. That's what I meant when I said it takes luck. I don't think the 2011 team will do it, but we will be good enough that you can't dismiss it out of hand (at least until we lose one).
Didn't Nolan predict some "good losses" this season? He wasn't specifying in or out of conference of course. I think the coming team has the talent to do it, and they will have the senior leadership required to do it. But like Nolan said...if they lose they will be good losses. Similar to the Georgetown stomping this year. (Although I'd rather not have another one of those, thank you very much.)

Kedsy
08-22-2010, 11:04 AM
This is based on my interpretation of "best" - put all of K's teams into a tournament, and the teams are ranked on likelihood to be the winner (separated by tiers):

1. 1992
2. 1999
3. 1986
4. 2001

5. 1998
6. 2002
7. 1991
8. 2010

9. 1994
10. 2004

I think 98 was quite underrated.

With regards to '98, I think you are underrating experience and overrating the team based on its players subsequent accomplishments. Of that team's 9 players who averaged 10+ minutes, four were freshmen and two were sophomores. It was a good team, to be sure, but almost all the players on the team became good or great in later years. For example, just because that team had Shane Battier, who was a freshman, doesn't mean it had a NPOY-caliber player. He wasn't in 1998.

And the 1998 team shouldn't be anywhere close to #5 on this list. Certainly not ahead of two national champions or the 2002 team who had the 2nd and 3rd picks in that year's NBA draft, plus a future NBA all-star, two other future NBA starters and a future NBA reserve.

The 1998 team did not win the ACC championship (tournament) and was ranked #3 in the final polls. In contrast, the 2006 team won the ACC championship and was ranked #1 in the final polls (as well as 24 weeks during the season). Yet you don't rank them at all. True, the 2006 team lost in the Sweet 16, but the 1998 team only won one more NCAAT game than 2006. Is that one game the difference between 5th and unranked on your list?

Kedsy
08-22-2010, 11:07 AM
Didn't Nolan predict some "good losses" this season? He wasn't specifying in or out of conference of course. I think the coming team has the talent to do it, and they will have the senior leadership required to do it. But like Nolan said...if they lose they will be good losses. Similar to the Georgetown stomping this year. (Although I'd rather not have another one of those, thank you very much.)

I agree. That Georgetown loss didn't seem so good at the time, did it?

I think when teams are trying to go undefeated, the pressure gets too much and they end up playing not to lose instead of aggressively trying to win. It shouldn't be a goal of ours. I only brought it up originally because we were comparing to the 1999 team.

Lord Ash
08-22-2010, 11:07 AM
Didn't Nolan predict some "good losses" this season? He wasn't specifying in or out of conference of course. I think the coming team has the talent to do it, and they will have the senior leadership required to do it. But like Nolan said...if they lose they will be good losses. Similar to the Georgetown stomping this year. (Although I'd rather not have another one of those, thank you very much.)

I LOVED that comment from Nolan. It is SO important, as a team, to understand that losses happen, and that they can often be SO much more important as a learning experience than a 30 point blowout of your rival. Given the pressures this years team will face, I thought this comment from Nolan was very smart and will be remembered when the inevitable losses happen.

Hopefully we fans can understand this as well, but I make no promises re: my behavior after a loss!:D

BattierBattalion
08-22-2010, 12:25 PM
Just throwing in some change in to the conversation. First of all, I think putting a lot of weight on getting a NC is unfair. It's hard to win the NC, even if you're the odds on favorite. Any super elite team has like a 25% chance to win the championship. Therefore, it's unfair to discount the 1986, 1999, and 2004 teams because they didn't actually win one. 1991, 1992, and 2010 were all a play away from not being championships.

Also, I think analyzing teams by the individual players is a very un-Duke like thing to do. You have to look at it collectively. Just because on an individual matchup level the 2011 team compares favorably to 1999 doesn't make it better. Haven't we learned that this year (with Duke being the positive example and UNC being the negative)?

Additionally, the 1999 team individually might have been merely above-average, but their collective defense was brilliant and a thing of beauty. 1999 Duke did a fantastic job of turning the ball over and every guy on the starting lineup (with maybe the exception of Langdon) was a brilliant one-on-one defender. Not only were they really good defensively, they were great at turning defense to offense (turnovers to fast break points). They might have been the best defensive Duke team ever.

Newton_14
08-22-2010, 12:41 PM
Not only that, but Boozer would not have come to Duke if Brand had stayed.

Ugghhhh! You guys are killing me here. The point of that part of my post, had absolutely nothing to do with how likely or unlikely it was that those players would have been on the same team. Whatever each individual based his decision on regarding "come" "stay" or "leave" those seasons is irrelevant.

I simply said that "I" "Boozer the poster" would have greatly enjoyed watching those two particular teams play had the stars aligned and they all ended up playing together. That was point 1. Point 2 was "if" they had played together, I believe those two teams would have had a great chance of being the 2 best Duke teams of all time.

I then clarified it further by saying "if and buts and all that", meaning what's done is done and we will never know. It is just fun to me to speculate on what could have been...

Peace

Kedsy
08-22-2010, 01:09 PM
Just throwing in some change in to the conversation. First of all, I think putting a lot of weight on getting a NC is unfair. It's hard to win the NC, even if you're the odds on favorite. Any super elite team has like a 25% chance to win the championship. Therefore, it's unfair to discount the 1986, 1999, and 2004 teams because they didn't actually win one. 1991, 1992, and 2010 were all a play away from not being championships.

Also, I think analyzing teams by the individual players is a very un-Duke like thing to do. You have to look at it collectively. Just because on an individual matchup level the 2011 team compares favorably to 1999 doesn't make it better. Haven't we learned that this year (with Duke being the positive example and UNC being the negative)?

Additionally, the 1999 team individually might have been merely above-average, but their collective defense was brilliant and a thing of beauty. 1999 Duke did a fantastic job of turning the ball over and every guy on the starting lineup (with maybe the exception of Langdon) was a brilliant one-on-one defender. Not only were they really good defensively, they were great at turning defense to offense (turnovers to fast break points). They might have been the best defensive Duke team ever.

I agree that the 1999 team was a fantastic defensive team. I agree that the greatness of the 2011 team will be measured in how good our defense is. I also agree that the greatness of a team is not necessarily the sum of its individual parts. And I very much agree that determining which were the best teams should not be overweighted by NCAAT performance.

But where does that leave us in this debate? Eye test? Win-loss record? KenPom rating? If we're talking about overall performance and achievement (and not just about NCAAT performance), why do people around here discount the 2006 team so much?

It all comes down to what is our definition of "best," and I don't know that any of us can answer that one satisfactorily.

gus
08-22-2010, 07:37 PM
That is true from a purely statistical analysis. However, there are many factors in real basketball that make this a less than ideal way to look at this question. All that matters is each game, one at a time, because that is how Coach K prepares his team.

"real" basketball, like any other sport, cannot escape randomness and probability. Defense in basketball isn't about preventing your opponent from scoring. How many shutouts have you seen? It's about reducing their probability of scoring. Force a player to his weak hand. Keep players off their favorite spots. Make them rush. (read, for example this article about Battier: The No-Stats All-Star (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html)

There is no such thing as a "hot hand" or a "cold hand" -- streaks (whether winning, missing, or hitting) are natural aspects of randomness. Coach K will tell a players like JJ or Trajan to shoot even if they're in a slump. A 40% three point shooter is still a 40% three point shooter regardless of how many he's made or missed immediately before.

Coach K understands this. That's why he employs the much deplored but very successful stall at the end of games. That's why he had Zoubek intentionally miss the second free throw. His statistical and probabilistic approach does lead to exposure to low-probability but highly damaging events (see Bootsy Thornton, and whatshisface from WV who kept draining threes, or in the pre-K era, Jack Givens). But it usually results in wins.

Atldukie79
08-22-2010, 09:06 PM
I must say this discussion is fun, but a bit uncomfortable...akin to comparing your own children....but:

One of the points used to suggest the greatness of the 99 team vs. the 92 team is the margin of victory and the sheer dominance. No arguing facts. But it is fair to remember that the 92 team was a dominating team when healthy. As I recall Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley took turns being injured. I will let those with better recall (or inclination to research) chime in, but our 2 losses and some close games occured when our stars were not playing or hobbled. I think the 92 team held an edge in mental toughness.

I ran into Bobby Hurley on a cruise and asked hom how he thought 92 would compete with 99. He ran through a quick analysis and concluded that 99 would have real trouble matching up with Laettner.

Who am I to argue:)

Kedsy
08-22-2010, 10:34 PM
I ran into Bobby Hurley on a cruise and asked hom how he thought 92 would compete with 99. He ran through a quick analysis and concluded that 99 would have real trouble matching up with Laettner.

Who am I to argue:)

Well, he was right, but I'm not sure the '92 team would have had an easy time with Elton Brand, either.

basket1544
08-23-2010, 06:30 AM
The real trouble with comparing the 92 and the 99 teams is you are comparing Coach K with Coach K. I'll start thinking about how Christian would have gotten Elton into foul trouble early... and then remember that Coach K would have switched and had Shane or Burgess guard Christian instead. I enjoy playing this matchup in the simulator I found here: http://www.whatifsports.com/ncaab/default.asp#top (http://http://www.whatifsports.com/ncaab/default.asp#top). They usually go back and forth. This morning when I ran it, the 99 team won 102-80 and then the 92 team won 104-96. One thing is for sure, these teams would score a lot of points.

jimrowe0
08-23-2010, 06:43 AM
Simply put, the 1999 team is the best team we've had under K, in my opinion. To rank the others is, for me, very hard to do, since we've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch so many great teams. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season!

dth.

My thoughts exactly, the 1999 was loaded. However, the team this year will be very exciting to watch.

Class of '94
08-23-2010, 08:58 AM
I must say this discussion is fun, but a bit uncomfortable...akin to comparing your own children....but:

One of the points used to suggest the greatness of the 99 team vs. the 92 team is the margin of victory and the sheer dominance. No arguing facts. But it is fair to remember that the 92 team was a dominating team when healthy. As I recall Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley took turns being injured. I will let those with better recall (or inclination to research) chime in, but our 2 losses and some close games occured when our stars were not playing or hobbled. I think the 92 team held an edge in mental toughness.

I ran into Bobby Hurley on a cruise and asked hom how he thought 92 would compete with 99. He ran through a quick analysis and concluded that 99 would have real trouble matching up with Laettner.

Who am I to argue:)

I wanted to chime in as well. IMO, the '92 was the best team ever for Coach K. The '92 team was number 1 for the entire season (although I admit they had some luck in doing this based on the timing of their losses with respect to the other teams that could have supplanted them as the No. 1 losing at the same). The '99 team was deeper in terms of bringing talent off the bench; but I've always felt that the '92 team had the better starting 5 with Hurley, Christian and Grant the big 3 with T-Hill being a guy who could score and defend the 2 and Brian Davis being the team's defensive stopper. The '92 team IMO had greater mental toughness and a stronger will to win than the '99 team as evidenced by their ability to win tight games (a la Kentucky in the tournamet) and overcome key injuries (Hurley midway through the season and G-Hill towards the end of the season) at different times through the season. Don't forget, the '92 team convincingly won at LSU with and LSU team featuring Shaq (I think by 20 or close to it), and Grant was shifted to point guard due to Hurley's injury. The '92 team won convincingly at a good UCLA team (and I believe Grant was out for that game). They had a very good chance of only having a 1-loss season if Grant didn't get injured in the Wake Forest loss towards the end of the season (the second and last loss of that season); luckily, Hurley came back for the next game while Grant was out.

MChambers
08-23-2010, 09:13 AM
They had a very good chance of only having a 1-loss season if Grant didn't get injured in the Wake Forest loss towards the end of the season (the second and last loss of that season); luckily, Hurley came back for the next game while Grant was out.
I'm pretty sure both losses came with Hurley hurt. The first loss was at UNC, in the game in which Hurley broke his foot. The team also lost at Wake while Hurley was still out.

I agree that the UCLA win came while Grant was out. It was an impressive win, but one ugly game.

I think 1992 was better than any other Duke team, including 1999. Not only did Hurley and Grant miss time due to injuries, but so did Parks. Nevertheless, the team was ranked no. 1 every single week.

sagegrouse
08-23-2010, 12:09 PM
OK. So, instead of scoring championships and ranking, I developed five separate weighting schemes. The first four concentrate on games won; the fifth purely on scoring margin.

I have some commentary at the bottom, so you may want to skip there (or skip this message entirely).

There are six teams that are consistently (but not exclusively) at the top of all five rankings. In rough order, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2010, 1986, and 1991. Not surprisingly, these include the four NCAA championship teams plus the iconic 1986 and 1999 teams.

The following rough table boldfaces the teams not among these six that ranked in the top six.

Weight Scheme 1: Non-ACC = 1; ACC = 2; ACC-T = 3; NCAA = 4.

1992
1999
2001
2010
1986
1991

Weight Scheme 2: All games equal (I standardized the number of non-ACC and ACC games. Std. No.*Pct. Won = Std. Wins)

1999
1992
2001
1986
2010
2006
Weight Scheme #3: All non tournament games are 2 pts. ACC-T = 3; NCAA-T = 4

1992
1999
2001
1986
2010
1991

Weight Scheme #4. forget the regular season: ACC-T = 3. NCAA-T = 6

Tie for First
1992
2001
2010
Fourth
1991
Tie for Fifth
1986
1999

Weight Scheme #5. Ave. Scoring Margin

1999
2001
2002
1989
2010
1992

Either the 1992 or 1999 teams were #1 in each of the five schemes.

I think each of the five schemes have their drawbacks. For me, average scoring margin is empty calories. I like winning championships. Moreover, I well remember that the 1992, SIXTH in scoring margin, routinely ran out to huge leads and nonchantly gave up lot of points at the end. I well remember a game against #7 St. John's at Greensboro where Duke rolled out to a 30-point lead and ended up winning by ten.

Any rating scheme fails to capture key story lines. The 1986 team was Duke's first powerhouse team since 1966. The 1991 team had a very good regular season, but went on a historic run in the NCAA's, including the best win in Duke history over UNLV and Duke's first championship banner.

I really prefer the story lines to the spreadsheet.

sagegrouse

Johnboy
08-23-2010, 09:35 PM
The 1986 team was Duke's first powerhouse team since 1966.

Great post. I have one minor quibble. Substitute the year 1979 (or possibly 1978) for 1966 in the sentence above and we are in perfect agreement. We weren't as feared in 1978, but we won titles. The next year, we expected to win titles and we didn't - but we were probably more respected than in 1978, with everyone of consequence back from the '78 NCAA runner-up team.

trinity92
08-23-2010, 09:59 PM
Don't forget, the '92 team convincingly won at LSU with and LSU team featuring Shaq (I think by 20 or close to it)

The LSU game was at Cameron, I was there. Shaq was big, Laettner was better.

Kedsy
08-23-2010, 10:08 PM
The LSU game was at Cameron, I was there. Shaq was big, Laettner was better.

I was there, too, except the LSU game at Cameron was in 1991 (we won by 18). The 1992 game against LSU was at LSU, and we won by 10. I wasn't at that one, and my guess is you weren't either.

Newton_14
08-23-2010, 10:12 PM
The LSU game was at Cameron, I was there. Shaq was big, Laettner was better.

Actually the OP is correct, but you were close. Duke and LSU played in both the 90/91 season, and the 91/92 season. The first game was in Cameron and I was there for that one as well. The game in the 92 season was at LSU.

Laettner outplayed Shaq in both contests. He had 22 points, 10 boards in the road game in 92 and 24 points, 11 rebounds in the game at Cameron.

Duke won by 18 at home and by 10 in the road game.

BlueintheFace
08-24-2010, 11:24 AM
If we are talking about body of work, I also have to go with 1999. There has never been a more dominant Duke Basketball team.

37-2
ACC: 16-0
Home:14-0
Away: 10-0

91.8 PPG
67.2 OppPPG
Avg. Margin of Victory: 24.6 PPG

We were #1 in the country in-- Wins, Possessions, Efficiency, FG Made, FT Made, FT attempts, PPG, PPPossession, Def. Rebounds, and total Rebounds.

We were top 5 in the country in-- Blocks/game, Blocks, Steals, Assists, Offensive Rebounds, 3 pt. FG made, and FG%.

Look, we beat ACC teams by 30, 40+ that season. We beat UVA by 46 TWICE. We beat Carolina by a combined 43 points. We basically had three close games (meaning the game wasn't wrapped up with 2 minutes left) before the Final Four. We are talking about 1991 UNLV good here. That team was absolutely ridiculous. I just can't see an argument for another Duke team being more impressive over the course of a season.

jimsumner
08-24-2010, 01:52 PM
"Laettner outplayed Shaq in both contests. He had 22 points, 10 boards in the road game in 92 and 24 points, 11 rebounds in the game at Cameron.
"

For the record, Shaq had 25 points and 12 rebounds in the '92 rematch in Baton Rogue. That includes a 3-9 performance from the line. Shaq outplayed Laettner for much of the game but Laettner made some big plays down the stretch to secure the win. But Shaq did win the individual stat war.

It should be noted that this was Duke's first game without Hurley, who broke a foot a few days earlier in Chapel Hill. Grant Hill filled in at point.

In case you're wondering, Shaq had 15 points and 10 rebounds in Cameron in '91.

In case you're not wondering, Shaq still had 15 points and 10 rebounds in Cameron in '91.
But it's more interesting the former way. :)

Class of '94
08-24-2010, 02:32 PM
If we are talking about body of work, I also have to go with 1999. There has never been a more dominant Duke Basketball team.

37-2
ACC: 16-0
Home:14-0
Away: 10-0

91.8 PPG
67.2 OppPPG
Avg. Margin of Victory: 24.6 PPG

We were #1 in the country in-- Wins, Possessions, Efficiency, FG Made, FT Made, FT attempts, PPG, PPPossession, Def. Rebounds, and total Rebounds.

We were top 5 in the country in-- Blocks/game, Blocks, Steals, Assists, Offensive Rebounds, 3 pt. FG made, and FG%.

Look, we beat ACC teams by 30, 40+ that season. We beat UVA by 46 TWICE. We beat Carolina by a combined 43 points. We basically had three close games (meaning the game wasn't wrapped up with 2 minutes left) before the Final Four. We are talking about 1991 UNLV good here. That team was absolutely ridiculous. I just can't see an argument for another Duke team being more impressive over the course of a season.

I know people have disagreed with this line of thinking; but I hold the fact that the 1999 team didn't win the NC against them in terms of putting them as the best team. The 1992 team only had two losses (both away on ACC floors); and I think were better defensively in crunch time. The '92 team won every championship possible (the round-robin ACC regular season; ACC tournament and NC). In a head to head matchup, I 'd still take the '92 team over the '99 team.

In terms of dominating season, '99 probably should be No. 1; but best team IMO still goes to '92.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the '99 team and it hurt that they lost to UCONN after such a dominating season. But for me, the season was tarnished a bit because they couldn't finish the season with a NC.

94duke
08-24-2010, 02:47 PM
I know people have disagreed with this line of thinking; but I hold the fact that the 1999 team didn't win the NC against them in terms of putting them as the best team. The 1992 team only had two losses (both away on ACC floors); and I think were better defensively in crunch time. The '92 team won every championship possible (the round-robin ACC regular season; ACC tournament and NC). In a head to head matchup, I 'd still take the '92 team over the '99 team.

In terms of dominating season, '99 probably should be No. 1; but best team IMO still goes to '92.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the '99 team and it hurt that they lost to UCONN after such a dominating season. But for me, the season was tarnished a bit because they couldn't finish the season with a NC.

I agree with this.
Both teams only lost two games for the season.
'99 was more dominant in the regular season (by one win and scoring margin),
but winning the Nat'l Championship puts '92 over the top (IMO).
:)

sagegrouse
08-24-2010, 03:12 PM
If we are talking about body of work, I also have to go with 1999. There has never been a more dominant Duke Basketball team.

37-2
ACC: 16-0
Home:14-0
Away: 10-0

91.8 PPG
67.2 OppPPG
Avg. Margin of Victory: 24.6 PPG

We were #1 in the country in-- Wins, Possessions, Efficiency, FG Made, FT Made, FT attempts, PPG, PPPossession, Def. Rebounds, and total Rebounds.

We were top 5 in the country in-- Blocks/game, Blocks, Steals, Assists, Offensive Rebounds, 3 pt. FG made, and FG%.

Look, we beat ACC teams by 30, 40+ that season. We beat UVA by 46 TWICE. We beat Carolina by a combined 43 points. We basically had three close games (meaning the game wasn't wrapped up with 2 minutes left) before the Final Four. We are talking about 1991 UNLV good here. That team was absolutely ridiculous. I just can't see an argument for another Duke team being more impressive over the course of a season.

I was in St. Pete in 1999, and I don't know what happened -- overconfidence, nonchalance, over-partying, whatever... But that team did not play up to its season-long standards in either the semis or the finals. Falling behind by ten points against UConn in the first few minutes; Brand never once passing out of the double and triple teams that UConn used, and no one making the crucial basket in crunch time. Couldn't even get off a shot. Where was Hurley? Where was Grant? Where was Laettner?

Now if this had happened one weekend in February, no one would remember it. But it happened in the two most important college basketball games of the year.

Now we have three Duke teams that have swept the table: regular season ACC, ACC championship, and National Championship. Why should 1992, 2001, or 2010 be ranked behind 1999? And 1991, with a late surge during the NCAA tournament, won the most important game in the history of Duke basketball on its way to our first NC.

I couldn't put 1999 at the head of the class, although when I was cooking the books :p in building spreadsheets, it was clear the team belonged in the top 5-6 Duke teams.

And hey, if you want statistics, look up the Mad Bomber of the Oakland Raiders, Daryle Lamonica, a perennial all-pro with gaudy stats and an impressive W-L record, who won only one AFL championship and then got crushed in the Super Bowl.

sagegrouse

BlueintheFace
08-24-2010, 05:46 PM
If Best Team= Team most likely to win in tournament of Duke teams, give me the team that I believe was most talented by a significant amount... '99

If Best Team= Team with best overall season performance (obviously taking in to account the importance of March and April), give me the most talented of the champions IMO... '92

hurleyfor3
08-24-2010, 07:41 PM
Whaddyaknow, another one of these threads that comes down to '99 vs. '92.

I'll repeat my answer:

With 40 minutes to play and the score 0-0, I'll take '99.
With one minute to play and the score 75-75, I'll take '92.

If the issue is 2001 vs. '92 my response is the same.

basket1544
08-24-2010, 08:07 PM
Whaddyaknow, another one of these threads that comes down to '99 vs. '92.

I'll repeat my answer:

With 40 minutes to play and the score 0-0, I'll take '99.
With one minute to play and the score 75-75, I'll take '92.

If the issue is 2001 vs. '92 my response is the same.

I think this is a much more interesting question. With 1 minute to play and the team down, who would you rather have the ball?

Duvall
08-24-2010, 08:09 PM
I think this is a much more interesting question. With 1 minute to play and the team down, who would you rather have the ball?

How much are they down?

basket1544
08-24-2010, 08:15 PM
How much are they down?

Somewhere between 5 and 10... I hadn't really decided.

BlueintheFace
08-24-2010, 08:28 PM
Somewhere between 5 and 10... I hadn't really decided.

If it is 10, Jason Williams.

hurleyfor3
08-24-2010, 08:36 PM
If the margin is within a possession, I still want '92.

Up more than a possession, I also want '92. That team (and '91, which was most of the same players) did not blow a lead at full strength that I recall. (Hurley was injured in the '92 Wake loss, in which we blew a 10-point lead in 4+ minutes.) There were some hairy gaimes for sure, but none that we ended up losing. Can't say that about the '99 or '01 teams (remember the '01 team blew leads against Stanford and I think, uVa).

Down more than three or four, I'll take 2001. Everyone remembers Gone in 54 Seconds, but that team also made up a nine-point deficit in the final minute against unc in Cameron.

BobbyFan
08-26-2010, 10:27 PM
With regards to '98, I think you are underrating experience and overrating the team based on its players subsequent accomplishments. Of that team's 9 players who averaged 10+ minutes, four were freshmen and two were sophomores. It was a good team, to be sure, but almost all the players on the team became good or great in later years. For example, just because that team had Shane Battier, who was a freshman, doesn't mean it had a NPOY-caliber player. He wasn't in 1998.

I understand all of this, but I wasn't making any of these mistakes.


And the 1998 team shouldn't be anywhere close to #5 on this list. Certainly not ahead of two national champions or the 2002 team who had the 2nd and 3rd picks in that year's NBA draft, plus a future NBA all-star, two other future NBA starters and a future NBA reserve.

I'm not following here. What is the relevance of pointing out future NBA starters and reserves when you just described the fallacy earlier? More importantly, why bring up NBA draft slot or performance in judging college players when it's apparent that the correlation isn't consistent? Was Mike Dunleavy was the 2nd best college player in the nation in 2002?


The 1998 team did not win the ACC championship (tournament) and was ranked #3 in the final polls. In contrast, the 2006 team won the ACC championship and was ranked #1 in the final polls (as well as 24 weeks during the season). Yet you don't rank them at all. True, the 2006 team lost in the Sweet 16, but the 1998 team only won one more NCAAT game than 2006. Is that one game the difference between 5th and unranked on your list?

No, the one game isn't the difference. The difference is I think the 98 team was better. Both teams ended with 32-4 records. Three of 98's losses came to a loaded UNC team and to the eventual champs in UK. The 98 team also had one of the best average victory margins of any of K's teams.

The 06 team was flawed, and I felt that way before the LSU loss. They depended heavily on one player on each end of the floor. JJ and Shelden did an admirable job carrying that team, but the #3-7 players on that team just fell far too short to allow for a even comparison to some of K's better teams.

hq2
08-27-2010, 08:06 AM
I'd say the very first poster got it almost exactly right. First, the '92 team was hands down the best in Duke history. It had 2 NPOYs on it, the all time NCAA assist leader, and 6 NBA players, and went wire to wire #1. That team lost only 2 games, one at Carolina to their (next years) national championship team, and at Wake when someone (was it Hurley?) was injured. The '99 and '86 teams came one play each away from being national champions, and overall they were better than the '91 team. The 2010 team did win it all, but was helped by the collapse of the other #1s, and barely got by in the title team against an (admittedly better than) #5 seeded team.

jimsumner
08-27-2010, 10:03 AM
"First, the '92 team was hands down the best in Duke history. It had 2 NPOYs on it"

Actually, it had one, Christian Laettner. The '99 team had two, Brand and Battier. The
'00 and '01 teams also had two, Battier and Jason Williams, as did the 1986 team, Dawkins and Ferry. The '89 team had two, Ferry and Laettner.

But '92 had one. Neither Bobby Hurley nor Grant Hill won any national POYawards during their college careers. IU's Calbert Cheaney in 1993 and Purdue's Glenn Robinson in 1994 won all seven accepted national POY awards.

hq2
08-27-2010, 12:51 PM
My mistake. I'd remembered GHill as having one at least one (it was him and Robinson the whole year), but I must have been wrong. He was certainly the better pro. Nonetheless, getting back to the main topic, the '92 team was still the best overall.

MarkD83
08-27-2010, 01:55 PM
Somewhere between 5 and 10... I hadn't really decided.

If the are down 5-10 with 1 minute to go then perhaps they are not the best team on this list?

MisterRoddy
08-27-2010, 02:59 PM
If the are down 5-10 with 1 minute to go then perhaps they are not the best team on this list?

I don't think this makes a lot of sense. Most great teams find themselves in that kind of situation at least once.

94duke
08-27-2010, 03:11 PM
My mistake. I'd remembered GHill as having one at least one (it was him and Robinson the whole year), but I must have been wrong. He was certainly the better pro. Nonetheless, getting back to the main topic, the '92 team was still the best overall.

Grant was National Defensive Player of the Year in 1993.
http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4200&ATCLID=3756213

AZLA
08-27-2010, 04:24 PM
Duke '92 all the way. The talent they faced and defeated that year was insane.

Underdog5
08-27-2010, 04:55 PM
I'll admit I have a VERY STRONG bias but for me its 92 and not really close. Played the entire year with a bulls eye. Played a crazy schedule including a brutal ACC schedule with at least 1 future pro on just about every team. And I disagree with the notion that 99 was significantly more talented... without thinking twice, I would take senior Hurley over sophomore Avery, senior Laetner over sophomore Brand, T Hill over Langdon as he's not that much worse shooting and a considerably better defender, and G Hill over Carrawell. Those were the key players on those teams and I think 92's key players were not only better individually but actually played together better and have not 1 but 2 chips to show for it.

jimsumner
08-27-2010, 05:07 PM
"And I disagree with the notion that 99 was significantly more talented... without thinking twice, I would take senior Hurley over sophomore Avery, senior Laetner over sophomore Brand, T Hill over Langdon as he's not that much worse shooting and a considerably better defender, and G Hill over Carrawell"

Agree on Laettner marginally over Brand; both were consensus national POYs, after all. Grant over Carrawell is clear, although Grant mostly played the 4 in 1992, with Brian Davis as the 3. So, the proper comparison would be with Battier.

Hurley was a junior in 1992 and made second-team All-ACC, as did Avery in 1999. The edge for Hurley probably isn't as big as we remember it.

Langdon and T. Hill is the one comparison I can't agree with. TH was a better athlete and rebounder but Langdon had significantly better ball skills and was a very good defender, not unlike Scheyer. Langdon was a first-team All-ACC and second-team All-America, versus a third-team All-ACC.

I also would argue that '99 got more from Maggette, Burgess, James and Domzalski than did '92 with Lang, Parks and Blakeney.

lucybluebear
08-27-2010, 05:09 PM
I have to go with 1991. #1 it was #1 (remember the shot!!!). #2 Billy McAffrey. What? 16 points against Indiana.

Underdog5
08-27-2010, 05:44 PM
"I also would argue that '99 got more from Maggette, Burgess, James and Domzalski than did '92 with Lang, Parks and Blakeney.

Won't dispute this other than to say Lang and Parks played well enough at Duke to get drafted and play in the NBA and 2 chips is better than none... I know I know, not what your saying but I said I have a huge bias so I'm reaching.

Would also suggest that 1st team second team POY stuff is not a good measuring stick. 92 was stacked with talent around the country. The ACC alone was stacked with a future NBA'er on every team! Laettner's POY was over Zo, Shaq (who he owned head to head in his gym), the Fab 5 (who he owned twice, once in their gym), LaPhonso Ellis (who he owned in Cameron)...

Anyway, 92 was a magical year for me so I will defend them without rationale as the the hands down undisputed best Duke team of all time until I get tired (or a life).

JohnGalt
08-27-2010, 05:49 PM
Would also suggest that 1st team second team POY stuff is not a good measuring stick. 92 was stacked with talent around the country. The ACC alone was stacked with a future NBA'er on every team! Laettner's POY was over Zo, Shaq (who he owned head to head in his gym), the Fab 5 (who he owned twice, once in their gym), LaPhonso Ellis (who he owned in Cameron)...



See Jim's comments above in regard to "owning."

...tough to make a serious argument against that...

jimsumner
08-27-2010, 07:00 PM
"Would also suggest that 1st team second team POY stuff is not a good measuring stick"

Let me frame it in a different way. You're making your list of 25 best players in Duke history.

Would Trajan Langdon be on that list?

Would Thomas Hill be on that list?

I'm reasonably certain that a lot more knowledgeable folks would answer yes to the first question, than would answer yes to the second question.

I have to be careful in discussions of this nature. I don't want to seem like I'm bashing anyone. I love Thomas Hill. He was a superb role player on some of Duke's best teams.

But he was not as good a college player as Trajan Langdon. Did you know that Langdon is the only player in the K era to make first-team All-ACC three times?

Think about that for awhile.

AZLA
08-27-2010, 07:29 PM
I might go so far as to argue that '02 was equal to '99 in terms of talent, maybe better, this despite that tough loss to Indiana, based on guard talent. JayWill was a beast (along with Ewing, Duhon and Dahntay -- all solid NBA talent). Boozer (and even Sanders) were underutilized, but throw in Dunleavy and that's some serious talent.

Underdog5
08-27-2010, 09:12 PM
"

Think about that for awhile.

Neither would make MY top 25 players. I would probably put both behind three players on the 2010 team but that's just me and my on personal view. I'm sure others would put Trajan a lot higher due to his individual achievements but I've seen them play on the same court in person and have a much different view. Like I said, I know my view is strongly skewed due to personal bias. Most folks will likely agree with you.

AZLA
08-28-2010, 02:41 AM
Thomas Hill was a superior defender and rebounder compared to TL. I'm biased towards Hill, probably because he was on two championship teams and was an integral starter. His athleticism and ball handling surpassed TL IMO -- and his jump shot wasn't too bad either.

gumbomoop
08-28-2010, 06:46 AM
The OP [houstondukie] included a question about potential of '10-'11, and both Lord Ash and Kedsy offered some thoughts about potential greatness of '10-'11. I want here to revisit speculation about upcoming season, by thinking aloud about the 4 NCs and 2 agonizing "should-haves": '99 and '02 .

I say "thinking aloud" to indicate that (1) my own thoughts are tentative, and (2) I'd welcome constructive correction either of my faulty memory or suspect analysis.

My working question is this: Can we or can we not identify factors that help to account for the different outcomes of the respective "last games" played by each of the 6 great Duke teams listed in paragraph #1? Somewhat more precisely: Did or did not the 4NCs have something that the 2 uber-talented '99 and '02 teams lacked?

One straightforward - and surely correct as far as it goes - answer to my question would be: "Anything can happen in the tourney. You don't bring your A-game, you probably lose, no matter how talented." Now it seems reasonable to conclude that that's precisely what happened to our guys in '99 and '02, not to mention to UNLV in '91. [Or KU and UK in '10. Etc., etc.]

So then, what constitutes "A-game"? Is it or is it not something like focused, relentless intensity? If yes [if], is that what observers are actually, well, observing, when they [which includes we] say, "Duke plays every play"?

Did Duke have a lot more focused, relentless intensity than UNLV in '91? Did the '99 team, so talented and dominant, get by on amazing talent, but lack something at the ultimate moment? UConn did bring their A-game that evening, Duke didn't, so is it simply, "You don't bring your A-game, you lose; simple as that, end of story"?

It seems undeniable that in '02 against a much less talented IU, Duke messed around, frittered away a real shot at repeating. [Here I should be careful not to assume that Duke would have beaten a focused, relentless, and intense Mayland.] What did Duke lack in '02 that it had in '01? Partial answer: Battier and James, who were...... focused, relentless, intense, playing every play. I'm aware that "We wuz robbed" by the no-call by Bruce Benedict, but Duke should have won going away, had they played every play.

Now to a brief comparison of '09-'10 to '10-'11: the '10 NCs were "very good, not great," talent-wise, but one could hardly find a group of 5 starters more focused, relentless, and intense. [That's true, isn't it?] Indeed, contrast these attributes among the starters with their relative absence among the inconsistent role players. We all agonized [not knowing all would be wonderful in the end] about lack of concentration among the MPs; those silly, silly fouls, for example. In other threads specifically devoted to next year, many posters hope for big improvement in consistency from MPs.

[Harrangue-coming-to-an-end alert] Duke in '10-'11 might well be uber-talented. We're all sure excited. Offensively looks like dynamite. Defensively? Focused, relentless, intense, every play? Is that the key to A-game? If defense and rebounding are frequently key, what defines defense and rebounding better than focused, relentless intensity? Given that nothing guarantees a NC, just how much does a team improve its chances by displaying focused, relentless intensity on every play? A whole, whole lot [my view]? Or just somewhat, given that "anything can happen in a single game"?

jimsumner
08-28-2010, 08:02 AM
"His athleticism and ball handling surpassed TL IMO "

Ball handling? I'm sorry but you're losing me here. For an ACC guard, Hill had a very mediocre handle not close to that of Langdon.

MChambers
08-28-2010, 08:20 AM
"His athleticism and ball handling surpassed TL IMO "

Ball handling? I'm sorry but you're losing me here. For an ACC guard, Hill had a very mediocre handle not close to that of Langdon.
I loved Thomas Hill as a player, but I've got to go with Langdon on this one. I would say, however, that the gap between THill and Langdon wasn't as great as the statistics and awards would make you think. Both were very good defenders, although with very different styles. Langdon had a better handle and shot, but Hill was a far better rebounder and blocked a lot of shots for a wing. Hill could play the 3 for stretches; Langdon not so much.

jimsumner
08-28-2010, 08:37 AM
I think we're leaving out one variable here: luck.

The final results of these seasons have been hard-wired into our systems for so long that we tend to forget how so many of these seasons hinged on one key play that easily could have gone the other way.

Imagine, if you will, that Rick Pitino puts a man on Grant in '92. Or Grant throws the same curveball against Kentucky that he threw a few weeks earlier against Wake.

Or remember the play late in the '99 title game. Langdon is tripped on a drive and loses the ball. A foul could have been called. Wasn't.

'91 v. Vegas. Anthony doesn't foul out. Or Hurley misses that three. Or Vegas blocks out Laettner.

The officials blow the whistle and foul out Jason Williams in '01. Or they blow the whistle and send Boozer to the line in '02. Or the officials leave their whistles in their hotel rooms in '04. Or Jeff Hall's airball hits the rim and bounces to Dawkins or Amaker.
Scotty Thurman. Gordon hayward. One play in an entire season.


Sure, toughness and poise matter in these situations. The '02 team in particular falls short in that area. But there's almost a random element involved here.

In the multiverse, we don't have to go very far to find one where Duke doesn't win the title in '91, '92, '01 or '10 titles but does win in '86, '94, '98 and '04.

One final thought. We're having this discussion and we're leaving out teams that made the Final Four, played for the NCAA title, won 30+ games, had All-Americans and national POYs and these teams don't even make the short list. A season like 1990 or 1994 or 2004, maybe even 2006, would be the best season in history for the overwhelmingy majority of high D-1 schools. At Duke, they are just footnotes.

A Golden Age people, a Golden Age.

Indoor66
08-28-2010, 09:51 AM
ing
I think we're leaving out one variable here: luck.

The final results of these seasons have been hard-wired into our systems for so long that we tend to forget how so many of these seasons hinged on one key play that easily could have gone the other way.

Imagine, if you will, that Rick Pitino puts a man on Grant in '92. Or Grant throws the same curveball against Kentucky that he threw a few weeks earlier against Wake.

Or remember the play late in the '99 title game. Langdon is tripped on a drive and loses the ball. A foul could have been called. Wasn't.

'91 v. Vegas. Anthony doesn't foul out. Or Hurley misses that three. Or Vegas blocks out Laettner.

The officials blow the whistle and foul out Jason Williams in '01. Or they blow the whistle and send Boozer to the line in '02. Or the officials leave their whistles in their hotel rooms in '04. Or Jeff Hall's airball hits the rim and bounces to Dawkins or Amaker.
Scotty Thurman. Gordon hayward. One play in an entire season.


Sure, toughness and poise matter in these situations. The '02 team in particular falls short in that area. But there's almost a random element involved here.

In the multiverse, we don't have to go very far to find one where Duke doesn't win the title in '91, '92, '01 or '10 titles but does win in '86, '94, '98 and '04.

One final thought. We're having this discussion and we're leaving out teams that made the Final Four, played for the NCAA title, won 30+ games, had All-Americans and national POYs and these teams don't even make the short list. A season like 1990 or 1994 or 2004, maybe even 2006, would be the best season in history for the overwhelmingy majority of high D-1 schools. At Duke, they are just footnotes.

A Golden Age people, a Golden Age.

Darn you, Jim. Always bringing perspective to a hard argued point. :cool:

94duke
08-28-2010, 11:08 AM
"Would also suggest that 1st team second team POY stuff is not a good measuring stick"

Let me frame it in a different way. You're making your list of 25 best players in Duke history.

Would Trajan Langdon be on that list?

Would Thomas Hill be on that list?

I'm reasonably certain that a lot more knowledgeable folks would answer yes to the first question, than would answer yes to the second question.

I have to be careful in discussions of this nature. I don't want to seem like I'm bashing anyone. I love Thomas Hill. He was a superb role player on some of Duke's best teams.

But he was not as good a college player as Trajan Langdon. Did you know that Langdon is the only player in the K era to make first-team All-ACC three times?

Think about that for awhile.

I love it when you dig up these little factoids!
Thanks!

Cameron
08-28-2010, 11:43 AM
Did you know that Langdon is the only player in the K era to make first-team All-ACC three times?

That's one of the most interesting things I've read in awhile. As a long time -- and quite obsessive -- Duke fan, I'd like to think I already knew that, but I'm not sure I really did.

Considering the names of greatness that come to mind when one thinks Duke Blue Devil basketball under Mike Krzyzewski -- Dawkins, Ferry, Laettner, Hill, Battier, J. Williams, Duhon, Redick, Scheyer -- it is an extraordinary honor for Langdon to own.

Thanks for sharing.

hurleyfor3
08-28-2010, 01:32 PM
Or the officials leave their whistles in their hotel rooms in '04.

UConn still wins, because Okafor doesn't pick up any ticky-tacky fouls in the first half. So he plays more of the second half, and we don't build an eight-point lead.

The '04 team wasn't able to close out games when it mattered. I was as frustrated about this as anyone here, as I watched the game in Dallas and was all set to drive down to San Antonio to attend the championship. (Also, I attended the ACC tournament final.) But that team was not in the echelon of the championship teams, period.

Most often, Bill Parcells is right. You are what your record says you are.

jimsumner
08-28-2010, 01:57 PM
"UConn still wins, because Okafor doesn't pick up any ticky-tacky fouls in the first half. So he plays more of the second half, and we don't build an eight-point lead.

The '04 team wasn't able to close out games when it mattered."

Certainly a valid point. We'll never know. But Shelden Williams, Shavlik Randolph and Nick Horvath combined for 40 minutes and 15 fouls. That's a pretty shocking factoid. I have to believe that compensates for Okafor sitting out as much as he did. At least he was on the floor when the game was decided.

As for closing out close games, I also have bad memories of the Maryland game in the ACCT.
But that team certainly closed out a close game with Xavier when it mattered and had a
memorable road OT win against Carolina. Both FSU wins were close, as was the win at
Maryland.

So, they did win some close games.

Using the Parcells dictum (law? theory?), I wouldn't put '04 in the top half-dozen or so Duke
teams. But it doesn't take a great leap of imagination, IMO, to change a play or two and re-write history.

AZLA
08-28-2010, 08:21 PM
TL's two consecutive turnovers against UCONN in '99 may have left an indelible impression -- to your point -- the outcome of a season may psychologically cloud judgement as to an individual player's overall abilities. You have a good point. I wouldn't go so far as to say T Hill had a mediocre handle, especially considering he played forward. Technically, TL had more career turnovers, but that's a throw away stat, since he also had more assists. When it boils down to it, how the heck did '99 Duke lose to UCONN?!

jimsumner
08-28-2010, 09:50 PM
Thomas Hill played some forward but mostly was a shooting guard, with one of Robert Brickey ('90), Greg Koubek, Brian Davis, Grant Hill or Marty Clark playing the 3.

I think '99 Duke beats '99 UConn in a best-of-seven series. But the Huskies were pretty good. They were ranked number one about as many weeks as Duke that season and Richard Hamilton was a truly great college player. The '99 Duke team was the best rebounding team of K's tenure but Connecticut handled Duke on the glass. Duke didn't do a good job of countering the double-team on Brand, Al-Amin negated Avery, Kevin Freeman played big and Duke's bench was badly outplayed.

If anyone wants to rag on Langdon for that final thirty seconds, go ahead. But Langdon was the only Duke player who brought his A game that night. If he doesn't hit one big shot after another, then Duke isn't in position to win in the final minute. He kept Duke in that game.

BobbyFan
08-29-2010, 07:43 AM
Picking between T. Hill and Langdon is tough, and I think they are close enough that it depends on the situation.

Kedsy
08-29-2010, 10:38 AM
The OP [houstondukie] included a question about potential of '10-'11, and both Lord Ash and Kedsy offered some thoughts about potential greatness of '10-'11. I want here to revisit speculation about upcoming season, by thinking aloud about the 4 NCs and 2 agonizing "should-haves": '99 and '02 .

I say "thinking aloud" to indicate that (1) my own thoughts are tentative, and (2) I'd welcome constructive correction either of my faulty memory or suspect analysis.

My working question is this: Can we or can we not identify factors that help to account for the different outcomes of the respective "last games" played by each of the 6 great Duke teams listed in paragraph #1? Somewhat more precisely: Did or did not the 4NCs have something that the 2 uber-talented '99 and '02 teams lacked?

One straightforward - and surely correct as far as it goes - answer to my question would be: "Anything can happen in the tourney. You don't bring your A-game, you probably lose, no matter how talented." Now it seems reasonable to conclude that that's precisely what happened to our guys in '99 and '02, not to mention to UNLV in '91. [Or KU and UK in '10. Etc., etc.]

So then, what constitutes "A-game"? Is it or is it not something like focused, relentless intensity? If yes [if], is that what observers are actually, well, observing, when they [which includes we] say, "Duke plays every play"?

Did Duke have a lot more focused, relentless intensity than UNLV in '91? Did the '99 team, so talented and dominant, get by on amazing talent, but lack something at the ultimate moment? UConn did bring their A-game that evening, Duke didn't, so is it simply, "You don't bring your A-game, you lose; simple as that, end of story"?

It seems undeniable that in '02 against a much less talented IU, Duke messed around, frittered away a real shot at repeating. [Here I should be careful not to assume that Duke would have beaten a focused, relentless, and intense Mayland.] What did Duke lack in '02 that it had in '01? Partial answer: Battier and James, who were...... focused, relentless, intense, playing every play. I'm aware that "We wuz robbed" by the no-call by Bruce Benedict, but Duke should have won going away, had they played every play.

Now to a brief comparison of '09-'10 to '10-'11: the '10 NCs were "very good, not great," talent-wise, but one could hardly find a group of 5 starters more focused, relentless, and intense. [That's true, isn't it?] Indeed, contrast these attributes among the starters with their relative absence among the inconsistent role players. We all agonized [not knowing all would be wonderful in the end] about lack of concentration among the MPs; those silly, silly fouls, for example. In other threads specifically devoted to next year, many posters hope for big improvement in consistency from MPs.

[Harrangue-coming-to-an-end alert] Duke in '10-'11 might well be uber-talented. We're all sure excited. Offensively looks like dynamite. Defensively? Focused, relentless, intense, every play? Is that the key to A-game? If defense and rebounding are frequently key, what defines defense and rebounding better than focused, relentless intensity? Given that nothing guarantees a NC, just how much does a team improve its chances by displaying focused, relentless intensity on every play? A whole, whole lot [my view]? Or just somewhat, given that "anything can happen in a single game"?

I think you may be on to something here. Playing with intensity every play is in most cases what allows a team to reach its potential, and it is something the 2002 team, especially, didn't seem to do. On the other hand, it's possible that same sort of intensity is what tuckered out the 2006, 2008, and 2009 teams and set them up to be outmuscled and outplayed in their NCAAT games.

I don't think intensity is the whole answer, however. The nature of a one-and-done tournament means anything can happen. The 1999 Duke team and the 1991 UNLV team I think were both victims of something else, namely they were so much better than their opponents in most of their games that when faced with a close game in a high-pressure situation, they got a little bit of jitters and didn't have that "extra gear" that would enable them to take the game at the end. Is that an intensity issue? Maybe, but to me it's more of a not-used-to-stress scenario.

gumbomoop
08-29-2010, 11:17 PM
I don't think intensity is the whole answer, however. The nature of a one-and-done tournament means anything can happen. The 1999 Duke team and the 1991 UNLV team I think were both victims of something else, namely they were so much better than their opponents in most of their games that when faced with a close game in a high-pressure situation, they got a little bit of jitters and didn't have that "extra gear" that would enable them to take the game at the end. Is that an intensity issue? Maybe, but to me it's more of a not-used-to-stress scenario.

You know, maybe 'intensity" really isn't quite the right word, because, as you say [or I infer from what you have said], too much intensity has a downside. So maybe it's more the disciplined ability to focus that I've mis-characterized as intensity.

I don't discount your anything-can-happen reminder, nor jimsumner's point [post #88] about random luck, but it seems clear that some attributes must increase a player's/team's good luck and/or help them overcome bad luck.

I guess one question might be whether focus, relentlessness, intensity, discipline, etc., are as effective in high-pressure end-game situations as in more mundane moments. I will say that both Butler and Duke exhibited such qualities in so much visible and even visceral abundance that objective observers remarked that the '10 NC game was as intense as any they'd witnessed in awhile. In that regard, Duke-haters [and fans who just couldn't quite take Butler seriously] sort of missed a classic.

Edouble
08-30-2010, 01:56 AM
In the multiverse, we don't have to go very far to find one where Duke doesn't win the title in '91, '92, '01 or '10 titles but does win in '86, '94, '98 and '04.

WOW! Great post! Really makes you think about the four digit series on the banners.

How about this multiverse, where we even retain the back-to-back: '86, '99, '00, '06.

I always thought that we "unluckily" drew the exact team designed to beat us in '00 and '06.

larrypmac
08-30-2010, 06:28 AM
If Robert Brickety didn't get injure against Seton Hall...

If Bob Verga didn't get sick against Kentucky...

Larry

hq2
08-30-2010, 11:09 AM
Duke basketball history does indeed have a lot of "what might have beens"; '66, '86, '94, and '99 do spring readily to mind, as does '89, although there is no guarantee they would have beaten Michigan that year. However, in balance, both '91, '92, and '10 could have been losses too. I'd say on the +- "what might have been" scale, this year puts us at about even.