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Kedsy
03-24-2011, 11:33 AM
Apparently nobody else was able to post a Phase VII report, so here I am again. This phase includes the Arizona game and hopefully either UConn or San Diego State.

1) Are we completely healthy and can we remain so? I learned from Jumbo that all phase reports need to start with health. It's the most important and most unpredictable aspect of the game. Coming into the tournament, we heard Seth had a hip pointer, and while he seemed to play reasonably well against Hampton, he went scoreless against Michigan. Was that related to his injury? I have no idea, but nagging injuries are part of the game at this time of year and it's impossible to say what effect they can have. Hopefully the three and a half days between games will heal our cuts and bruises, and no new injuries will arise.

2) When will the light bulb go off over Kyrie's head? Kyrie's back and it can only help. He's another quick, plus perimeter defender, another great ballhandler and free throw shooter, and another player who can help us get an easy score when we need it. But he was by no means dominating in our first two tournament games, as many expected. Were those expectations unrealistically high? Undoubtedly. A player can't come off a three month layoff without being at least a little bit out of synch. But to me it seemed the real issue was Kyrie deferring to others and not being sure of his role, while at the same time the other players appeared a bit hesitant in not knowing how much to defer to Kyrie.

Nolan was asked about this and said they'd need just one practice to iron out the details, and at this point they've had that practice (although not much more than that, maybe two or possibly three). And every day Kyrie gets to practice and/or play with the team both he and the team should improve dramatically. But the key moment for Duke is the moment when we can watch the game and not think about how well (or poorly) Kyrie is re-integrating with his teammates. If that question fades from our minds, meaning Kyrie has become a part of a well-oiled machine (albeit a very important part), all will be well. The question is when will this occur? I'm sure we can all agree, the sooner the better.

3) How will the Big vs. Small debate end up? In our first two tournament games we played two teams who were much smaller than we were. In our first game we only played "small" (i.e., Kyle at the 4) for four minutes, and we crushed a vastly overmatched opponent. In our second game we played Kyle at the 4 for 17 minutes, and played four guards with Kyle or Ryan at the 5 for five more minutes, and we won by two points. Against Arizona we once again have a big height advantage. But which way will we go? Only K knows the answer.

4) Will we see 40 minutes of Deeeeeeefense? Against Michigan, our defense looked outstanding for the first 8 minutes of the game, but after the second media timeout we seemed to lose focus a bit. We again played strong defense for the first 8 or so minutes of the second half, but again lost intensity after that. As the opponents get better and the games get more difficult, we're not going to be able to skate by playing D for half the game. If we bring our "A" defensive game for 80 minutes in Anaheim, I expect we can get to the Final Four. If we manage significantly fewer high-level minutes defensively, I suspect DBR won't be such a fun place to visit.

5) Will we see Dr. Threepoint or Mr. Schneid? This isn't rocket science. Against Hampton we shot 9 for 19 from three and won comfortably. Against Michigan we shot 5 for 20 and barely escaped. Against UNC in Chapel Hill we shot 6 for 27 from long range; in the ACC final we shot 9 for 20. When Duke is shooting the three ball well, we are almost impossible to defend. When we shoot it poorly, the in-game thread is almost impossible to read on a full stomach. And the issue isn't just Kyle, either, who will and should continue to take open, in-rhythm threes.

My suspicion is that the more Kyrie takes control of the game, the better our outside shooting will be. Beyond that, I'll be rooting for Seth and Andre to hit a few early, because both of them shoot way better when they feel more confident.

6) What new "strategery" will Coach K unveil? Our possible opponents all rely heavily on a single star player -- Williams for Arizona, Walker for Connecticut, Leonard for San Diego State (although San Diego State doesn't seem to lean on Leonard quite as much as the other teams rely on their stars). Over the years, Coach K has been very successful countering teams like this, whether by focusing on the opponent's star or by "letting him get his" and shutting down his teammates. I am very much looking forward to seeing how K plans to deal with our opponents' superstars.

7) Who will step up? One of the coolest things about this Duke team is every single player in the 8-man rotation has the ability to step up and take over a game, at least for a stretch. Seth and Andre by their shooting; Mason and Miles by their rebounding, alley-oops, and defensive intimidation; Ryan by his all-around play; and Kyle, Kyrie, and Nolan by simply being the best player on the floor for long stretches at a time. Against Michigan, Nolan went on a tear, scoring ten points in a row. His explanation was he wasn't ready to take off his uniform yet. Who will it be next?

8) Go Duke!

cato
03-24-2011, 12:05 PM
Thank you, Kedsy, for taking on this very important task. If Duke wins the next two games, you may have to continue with your duties.

Putting aside health, which will always be the biggest factor for every team, if there is one key for Duke, it is the continued reintegration of Kyrie Irving. Personally, I just don't think that last weekend and a couple of practices will be enough to truly work him back into the team, to the point where everyone is just playing, instead of thinking. Hopefully the guys can prove me wrong.

DukieInBrasil
03-24-2011, 01:24 PM
it might not be an important issue, but i'd just like to add: does the semi-trash talking coming from the AZ players get our guys riled up and focused?
Seems to me that the 3pt shooting-balance will be mega-important, ie., if we out-shoot them from 3 our chances of winning go up a lot.
As for Williams, the "let their interior star get his" mentality seems to have worked pretty well over the year and years. One thing that often gets overlooked in regards to this is that if the opponent has a single interior star, our trio of interior players (MPs and Kelly) seems to cancel out the production of a single star. They average nearly 19ppg and 17.2rpg, to go with 3.5 bpg and 2.5apg, which is great production from nearly 63 mpg between the 3. So, if our "interior 3" can cancel out Williams and Hill, the next highest producing interior guy, (Williams + Hill = 55 mins, 27ppg and <13rpg), i have to believe that Nolan + Kyrie + Seth + Andre + Kyle will be able to beat the AZ backcourt.
Go Duke!

superdave
03-24-2011, 02:32 PM
1) Are we completely healthy and can we remain so?
2) When will the light bulb go off over Kyrie's head?
3) How will the Big vs. Small debate end up?
4) Will we see 40 minutes of Deeeeeeefense?
5) Will we see Dr. Threepoint or Mr. Schneid?
6) What new "strategery" will Coach K unveil?
7) Who will step up?
8) Go Duke!

Thanks Kedsy. Your thoughts are dialed in like Andre's going to be tonight (my answer to your #7).

Health -I have speculated for the last few months that Kyle may have an injury that is keeping him from getting more lift on his jumpers. I dont know if that's true or if it's just a shooting slump.

Project Kyrie Re-Integration - A great point guards seeks to set up his teammate's and get them involved first, then look for his own scoring. The one place where I hope Kyrie looks for shots is when he can sniff out a one-man fast break opprtunity. Beyond that, his penetrate-pass abilities can get solid looks for Seth and Andre (Kyletoo). One of the keys to all this is Nolan to be able to continue to attack off the ball. Can he catch and attack off dishes and curls, rather than attack off the dribble from the top?

Size - I really like our size advantage against Arizona. First off, we have to guard Derrick Williams. His 19 and 8 dont scare me, but him finding shooter out of a double team does. I think we should see how Derrick enjoys shooting over the Plumless all game long and just play him straight up. Our bigs can protect the rim, rebound well, throw bodies at guys and set wide screens. I like how they have progressed of late. I hope we deploy this size advantage to our great benefit.

40 - This is a big key for Duke. We play with great energy when we start with great energy. Otherwise it seems to fade out at times. I am praying for a start tonight with incredible ball pressure from Nolan that leads to back to back dunks by Mason and Miles. I think that would be a nice energy generator.

Andre 3-pointer - I think Andre is our break-out guys tonight (and hopefully this weekend). He should be confident after big minutes vs. Michigan and has had a really good overall game the last few weeks.

Strategery - Coach K's game plan for tonight will be interesting. I think pressuring the ball is the key. If we can hound the ball, we can slow down Derrick Williams, make their shooters' lives difficult and set our own tempo. Our ball-hounding is closely tied to our energy level and our level of execution. This is a good way to generate some energy.

jv001
03-24-2011, 02:33 PM
Kedsey you have done a great job of breaking down Duke's needs and concerns. Numbers 2 & 4 are very important. Kyrie not only helps with how smooth our offense runs, but his defense against AZ will be key. From what I've read, the wildcats guards have a problem with their ball handling. Turnovers and the ability to make the entry pass into Williams in the post can be a weapon for Duke. Thanks for this Phase of the season. And Go Duke!

NSDukeFan
03-24-2011, 03:24 PM
Apparently nobody else was able to post a Phase VII report, so here I am again. This phase includes the Arizona game and hopefully either UConn or San Diego State.

1) Are we completely healthy and can we remain so?

I agree with your well thought out comments.

2) When will the light bulb go off over Kyrie's head?

I wonder if it will be a light bulb, or just consistent improvement as he becomes more comfortable playing again and the rest of the team becomes more comfortable with what Kyrie can now do.

3) How will the Big vs. Small debate end up?

I have always been a big fan of the Big line-up as I like the line-up best when all interior shots are contested and feel that when the team is defending the best, this occurs. I do wonder about this line-up against Arizona, though. I think that the team's bigs do a reasonable job staying with quicker players on the perimeter, but wonder if they can do this well enough and dominate inside offensively and on the boards. I hope so. I expect the small line-up to get more minutes than the average for the year now that Kyrie is a factor and more of the team's best players are smaller.

4) Will we see 40 minutes of Deeeeeeefense? As the opponents get better and the games get more difficult, we're not going to be able to skate by playing D for half the game. If we bring our "A" defensive game for 80 minutes in Anaheim, I expect we can get to the Final Four. If we manage significantly fewer high-level minutes defensively, I suspect DBR won't be such a fun place to visit.

Very well put. Like the board reference.

5) Will we see Dr. Threepoint or Mr. Schneid?

I agree this certainly will be a factor. Hopefully the team will do enough other things well to give them a bit of a buffer, so three point shooting can be the difference between a blow-out win and a close one.

6) What new "strategery" will Coach K unveil?

This will be interesting to see. To let the star player go off and take away his teammates, or try to make it as hard for the star and make the role players take a bigger role.

7) Who will step up? One of the coolest things about this Duke team is every single player in the 8-man rotation has the ability to step up and take over a game, at least for a stretch. Seth and Andre by their shooting; Mason and Miles by their rebounding, alley-oops, and defensive intimidation; Ryan by his all-around play; and Kyle, Kyrie, and Nolan by simply being the best player on the floor for long stretches at a time. Against Michigan, Nolan went on a tear, scoring ten points in a row. His explanation was he wasn't ready to take off his uniform yet. Who will it be next?

Hopefully, we will have a great debate about who stepped up most.
8) Go Duke!

I agree. I hope to see another Phase post this year.

superdave
03-24-2011, 03:56 PM
5) Will we see Dr. Threepoint or Mr. Schneid? This isn't rocket science. Against Hampton we shot 9 for 19 from three and won comfortably. Against Michigan we shot 5 for 20 and barely escaped. Against UNC in Chapel Hill we shot 6 for 27 from long range; in the ACC final we shot 9 for 20. When Duke is shooting the three ball well, we are almost impossible to defend. When we shoot it poorly, the in-game thread is almost impossible to read on a full stomach. And the issue isn't just Kyle, either, who will and should continue to take open, in-rhythm threes.

My suspicion is that the more Kyrie takes control of the game, the better our outside shooting will be. Beyond that, I'll be rooting for Seth and Andre to hit a few early, because both of them shoot way better when they feel more confident.


Do you think Duke is better served going to the rim early (drives, lobs, post ups) then looking for 3s? Or do you think we just need to be bombs away whenever we get an open look? Any idea whether our 3 point % is better or worse either way?

I guess the only open 3s I dont like are ones in the first 10-12 seconds of the shot clock, especially if we have not attempted to to make the D work. My favorite 3s are off offensive rebounds that get kicked out. We got pretty at that last year, and have gotten a few this year. But they are so dis-spiriting for the D.

Kedsy
03-24-2011, 05:06 PM
Do you think Duke is better served going to the rim early (drives, lobs, post ups) then looking for 3s? Or do you think we just need to be bombs away whenever we get an open look? Any idea whether our 3 point % is better or worse either way?

I guess the only open 3s I dont like are ones in the first 10-12 seconds of the shot clock, especially if we have not attempted to to make the D work. My favorite 3s are off offensive rebounds that get kicked out. We got pretty at that last year, and have gotten a few this year. But they are so dis-spiriting for the D.

I like looking for alley-oops early, because it gets the MPs involved. They're much more active on both ends of the floor after they've flushed it a couple times.

As far as threes go, I like us taking open looks in rhythm, and don't like us forcing them. I agree that offensive rebound kick outs are a great way to score. Not only does it demoralize the opposition, but it's more likely to be a wide open shot. A drive, draw, and dish kick out accomplishes the same thing. Andre and Kyle, in particular, shoot a lot better in that scenario (Seth, too, but it's not as necessary for him because he gets his shot off so quickly), and that's one way Kyrie can really help the team.