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CDu
03-11-2012, 07:41 PM
Time for Phase VI: first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Iíve come up with some topics related to our team specifically as well as topics related to our potential opponents for the weekend. One thing I wonít talk too much about is the rotation. I think itís pretty clear that Coach K will trim the rotation to 7-8 when it gets to tough games. From here on out, I donít expect to see much of Gbinije or (if Kelly is back) Hairston, and I expect Dawkins and Cook to split backup guard minutes. Thatís not a commentary on any of those players. Itís just the way Coach K does things come tourney time.

I also think that we are nearing the point where some of the questions are not going to have a change in answer. To some degree, we are who we are at this point. But here goes.

Questions Specific to the Devils

1. Health. I spent all season saying that I felt health should be lower on the list. And I still think that I was right about that, as without Kelly we were still almost able to beat a 3 seed on a night in which we shot atrociously and turned it over a ton. And yet here I am writing about health first. What is the matter with me? Well, now that weíre currently missing a key starter in Kelly (havenít yet heard his official status for the weekend), his health and how available heíll be becomes priority #1. We need him back to help spread the floor and make life easier for Curry and Rivers. We need him to help the Plumlees inside and not make foul trouble a concern inside. I feel comfortable saying that we have a very small chance of making the Final Four without him. His availability probably wonít matter in our first game (we should really win comfortably with or without him against the 15 seed), but it could absolutely make a difference against the 7/10 seed.

Note: Iím writing this without yet knowing whether Kelly will be available or how healthy heíll be if he does play. If he is cleared and ready to go, then I move health back down to the bottom of the list. ☺

2. Can we get the Plumlees going together? The Plumlees have mostly taken turns being big-time presences game by game this year. But theyíve rarely both put together really strong performances. Ironically, in one of the few games that both really stepped up we had our second worst loss of the season (of course, that was the fault of the backcourt). Will we ever see these two consistently play well together? Iíd expect at least one to have a big game against Lehigh. Hopefully both can step up if we make the Sunday game against Notre Dame/Xavier.

3. Will Curry bounce back? Curry has at times been an incredibly dynamic complement to Rivers in leading the backcourt offensively. He can score off the dribble with sneaky drives to the rim. He can score in the mid-range. He can bomb home the 3. And he can set up others for good scoring chances. But at other times (unlike Rivers), he seems hesitant to handle the ball and afraid to attack the defense. He was very shaky this weekend and had a really rough night against UNC in Cameron. That needs to change, because we have very few players who are capable of attacking the defense.

4. Andre the magnificent? I apologize for not giving credit, but one of the regular posters (I forget who) coined the term that Dawkins must be a magician with all of his disappearing acts. Heís now scored 3 points in the last 5 games (scoreless in 4 of them). Heís shot 1-14 from the field (1-12 from 3) in that stretch. His confidence appears to be gone. The game right before the 0-fers started? He scored 22 on 6-9 3pt shooting against FSU. Will he regain his shooting touch? He can be a game-changing weapon when heís hitting shots. It would make such a difference if he could figure things out again.

5. Is the defense coming around? We were very good defensively against VT and FSU. Frankly, we had to be because the offense was pretty bad in both games. Sure, there were some missed assignments. But it was a much better display of team defense than weíve seen at times this year. We did a better job with dribble penetration than weíve done most of the year. Will we continue that this weekend, or will we fall back into bad habits?

6. Will we find our shooting groove again? In our last 3 games, weíve shot 6-21, 5-26, and 5-20 from 3 point range. We were the best 3pt shooting team in the ACC this year, yet we shot below 30% in each of the last 3 games. When youíre as reliant on good shooting as we are, thatís a recipe for disaster. Not surprisingly, we dropped 2 of 3 and had to scrape by in the other game against an inferior opponent. Frankly, I donít have a good answer for why itís happening. I felt we got good looks against UNC and VT. They just didnít go in. FSU made things a bit more difficult, but even then I felt like the shots we got werenít atypical shots for us. The only exception was that Thornton shot a lot more than normal. But even ignoring that, the main 3 point threats have all been well off of late. Whatever it is, we need to get the mojo back.

7. Handling the rock and decision making. We were incredibly sloppy with the ball and frequently made poor decisions in the ACC tournament. We were fortunate not to lose many of them against VT, but we lost a lot of them against FSU. We arenít going to suddenly become a strong ballhandling team at this point in the season. But we need to value the ball better to avoid beating ourselves. When we move the ball well and shoot good shots, weíre a top-10 team. When weíre sloppy and canít hit shots, we make it a sweatfest against NIT teams.

Questions Related to our (potential) Opponents

8. How will we defend CJ McCollum? Lehigh is a tough draw as a #15 seed. They are deep (10 guys average 10+ mpg, with their bench getting 27.1 ppg. They shoot the 3 pretty well, with 7 guys averaging 33.3+% from 3. But they rely pretty heavily on one player. CJ McCollum is a do-everything guard who leads them in minutes, points, rebounds, and steals, while coming up just one short of leading in assists and blocks. Thatís right: he nearly has a clean sweep of the five major stats for his team. Heís not that tall but heís strong and he shoots it well from everywhere. Aside from McCollum thereís just not much in terms of size or athleticism that should give us trouble. Weíll need to keep him from dominating the game. We also need to avoid trying to get into a one-upsmanship battle with him and stay within our gameplan.

9. How will we defend Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons? Itís in some ways a similar scouting report for Xavier. They play really deep (10 guys averaging 10+ mpg). They have a stud guard that does a bit of everything in Tu Holloway (heís shorter and stouter than McCollum though). They differ a bit in that they have fewer shooters, but the shooters they have do shoot it well and the rest donít take long shots at all. They have a monster big man in Frease (7í0Ē 275), though heís not terribly athletic. And they run a lot of bodies through their post spots. Theyíll play physical and try to goon it up. They have four skilled players in Holloway, Lyons, Wells, and Redford. We need to pay a lot of attention to Holloway, Lyons, and Wells while not losing their bigs around the basket. Weíre much better than them, we just have to contain their few good players and not lose composure.

10. Can we shoot Notre Dame out of the gym? Notre Dame is a complete contrast to Lehigh and Xavier. They have a lot of big bodies and they donít shoot it very well from 3. Their best player is a bruising low post Luke Harangody lookalike. And they have 2 more guys 6í9Ē 250+ in reserve (though they play limited minutes). Theyíll pack it in defensively and make you shoot from the perimeter, and to say they wonít push tempo is putting it very mildly (#327 in adjusted tempo). Basically, if weíre hitting shots this matchup plays right to our strengths. We just have to do it.

All in all, I think itís a pretty good first-weekend draw for us. We didn't get a criminally underseeded team or one of those inconsistent high-ceiling teams. We shouldnít have too much trouble making the Sweet-16 unless we beat ourselves. The story will likely get very different should we make it to the second weekend, but thatís a topic for another Phase.

FerryFor50
03-11-2012, 07:45 PM
I was the one who coined the term "magician." But sometimes, magicians pull rabbits out of hats. Let's hope Andre starts shaking the illusion that he can't fit in this offense. He was a huge part of the title run 2 years ago and is the X factor, IMO.

JNort
03-11-2012, 08:17 PM
I was the one who coined the term "magician." But sometimes, magicians pull rabbits out of hats. Let's hope Andre starts shaking the illusion that he can't fit in this offense. He was a huge part of the title run 2 years ago and is the X factor, IMO.

Hmm I thought I coined it back earlier in the year....

FerryFor50
03-11-2012, 08:19 PM
Hmm I thought I coined it back earlier in the year....

It very well could have been you earlier. I said it in the in-game thread over the weekend.

Apologies if I stole it. :)

JNort
03-11-2012, 08:29 PM
It very well could have been you earlier. I said it in the in-game thread over the weekend.

Apologies if I stole it. :)

Well I said something similar (Jan 25th: Duke Maryland post game thread)

"Andre- Best magic act ever, one game he is there the next he is not."

So I guess he actually used yours

CDu
03-11-2012, 08:36 PM
You both deserve credit. Kudos. I'm happy to say I stole it from both of you.

JNort
03-11-2012, 08:49 PM
You both deserve credit. Kudos. I'm happy to say I stole it from both of you.

This calls for a post off.... Wait what is a post off? Uhhh nvm we can both get credit I guess.

Greg_Newton
03-11-2012, 09:31 PM
6. Will we find our shooting groove again? In our last 3 games, we’ve shot 6-21, 5-26, and 5-20 from 3 point range. We were the best 3pt shooting team in the ACC this year, yet we shot below 30% in each of the last 3 games. When you’re as reliant on good shooting as we are, that’s a recipe for disaster. Not surprisingly, we dropped 2 of 3 and had to scrape by in the other game against an inferior opponent. Frankly, I don’t have a good answer for why it’s happening. I felt we got good looks against UNC and VT. They just didn’t go in. FSU made things a bit more difficult, but even then I felt like the shots we got weren’t atypical shots for us. The only exception was that Thornton shot a lot more than normal. But even ignoring that, the main 3 point threats have all been well off of late. Whatever it is, we need to get the mojo back.

This is the biggest thing in my eyes. We are who are at this point, and I don't think the poster who made the "10 is our magic number" thread was that far off. If we hit 10 threes, we've got a great chance against anybody. If we shoot 24%, on the other hand (that's a pretty amazing number for our last 3 games), we don't. Hopefully a week off will give our shooters a little chance to refocus and retune their fundamentals heading into the tourney.

Newton_14
03-11-2012, 09:36 PM
Great job on the write up CDu. I said at the beginning of the year that this was Seth Curry's team, and he would be the leader. Over the course of the year, there were bumps in the road, with Austin emerging as the points leader, and the guy who got the ball with the game on the line. Even with that, Curry averaged 14.3 ppg in the 27 wins, and only 10.3 points in the 6 losses. In my opinion, Seth is the key. When he is on, hitting big shots, and attacking the rim, Duke wins. When he is off, struggles with his handle, and does not attack the rim, or attacks tentatively, Duke loses. We need Seth playing at his normal high level. He struggled in Hot Lanta and just never looked comfortable to me.

When both of Seth, and Ryan are playing well, Duke is a Top 10 team that can beat anyone. When those 2, plus Andre are playing well, Duke becomes a Top 5 team that is darn near unbeatable.

Austin is going to score the ball to the tune of 15+ points on most any night, and history for this season says that at least one of Mason or Miles is going to play at a high level also. Throughout all the consistency this year, the Austin plus 1 Plum being solid has been a consistency. Another consistency for quite awhile now is that Thornton is going to play good defense, including being really disruptive on defense most nights, while limiting turnovers, and being a vocal leader. He had his struggles early on but down the stretch you cannot knock his defense, his turnover rate, and his leadership.

To me, how far this team will go in this tourney, is based on how well, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly perform. Should Andre find a way to bounce back, the bar raises even higher. If one or both of Seth/Kelly struggle, and Andre stays on his Ofer streak, it will be a very short ride.

Wheat/"/"/"
03-11-2012, 09:48 PM
One key thing for Duke to do well that I'm not seeing discussed is the need to show some improved basketball IQ from the bigs.

Mason has to avoid the tricky tack fouls and stay on the court as these games get more intense. Miles too.

kmspeaks
03-11-2012, 10:03 PM
Questions Related to our (potential) Opponents

8. How will we defend CJ McCollum? Lehigh is a tough draw as a #15 seed. They are deep (10 guys average 10+ mpg, with their bench getting 27.1 ppg. They shoot the 3 pretty well, with 7 guys averaging 33.3+% from 3. But they rely pretty heavily on one player. CJ McCollum is a do-everything guard who leads them in minutes, points, rebounds, and steals, while coming up just one short of leading in assists and blocks. Thatís right: he nearly has a clean sweep of the five major stats for his team. Heís not that tall but heís strong and he shoots it well from everywhere. Aside from McCollum thereís just not much in terms of size or athleticism that should give us trouble. Weíll need to keep him from dominating the game. We also need to avoid trying to get into a one-upsmanship battle with him and stay within our gameplan.


I haven't seen Lehigh play at all this year but from what you've written I would think we take the classic K approach of letting McCollum get his and hold the rest of the team down. Similar to how Reggie Johnson went off twice against us last year but we won by 10 and 11 points.

ncexnyc
03-11-2012, 10:45 PM
Health: I hope Ryan is good to go for next weekend, however I think Josh more than held is own this weekend and if Kelly isn't ready the extra time spent working with the first team will only let Josh improve upon what we saw this weekend. He ran the open court well, kept his emotions in check, and wasn't afraid to bang down low.

Plumlees: Just play baby. Both have the physical gifts it seems more focus and mental more than anything else.

Curry: Physical guards bother him, it's that simple.

Andre: This kid will never want for a drink in a Durham bar for the rest of his life, but the same can be said for Bucky Dent in NYC and Bil Mueller in Boston. The two shots he hit against Baylor have risen him to near Demi-God status on this board. Harsh? Yes, hopefully he makes me eat my words and not against Lehigh. Save your big game for someone like Baylor or Kentucky.:D

Defense: Aside from the last UNC game it's been fairly decent. Hopefully this wasn't just the level of the offenses that we faced which gives us this appearance.

Shootinig: The shots have been there, they really have. The last two games were against teams that defend the 3 really well, but still way too many corner 3's not dropping.

Bad Decisions and Sloppy Ball Handling: I'd chalk up Saturday's woes to a new player in the rotation along with FSU defensive abilities.

Lehigh: Tyler looked good this weekend and if he can't cut it Austin isn't a bad fallback position. Just don't let any of the other kids involved and we should be ok.

Xavier: Big, quality guards can be dicey, but we should have enough firepower to wear them down.

Notre Dame: I trust our frontcourt.

Kedsy
03-11-2012, 11:29 PM
In my opinion, Seth is the key. When he is on, hitting big shots, and attacking the rim, Duke wins. When he is off, struggles with his handle, and does not attack the rim, or attacks tentatively, Duke loses. We need Seth playing at his normal high level.

These are very small sample sizes, but we generally do play better when Seth shoots a high percentage: if Seth shoots 40% or worse, we are 10-5 this year; when he shoots greater than 40%, we are 17-1 (the exception being Miami, where Seth made 7 of 13 shots for 22 points and had a 4 to 0 a/to ratio).

Ryan and Andre may even be more predictive, although again the sample sizes are way too small. When Ryan scores more than 10 points, we are 16-0; when he scores 10 or fewer (including games he didn't play), we are 11-6.

When Andre scores more than 3 points, we are 21-1 (the exception being the first FSU game, when he had 14 points). When he scores 3 or fewer points, we are 6-5. Actually, if he scores at all, we're in decent shape. In games that Andre scores, we're 25-2, and in games he gets zero points, we're 2-4.

I'm not saying this stuff really means anything, and perhaps the point is obvious, but if Seth shoots well and Ryan and Andre score well, we're difficult to beat. Hopefully those things will happen in the next few weeks.

CDu
03-12-2012, 06:47 AM
I'm not saying this stuff really means anything, and perhaps the point is obvious, but if Seth shoots well and Ryan and Andre score well, we're difficult to beat. Hopefully those things will happen in the next few weeks.

Yup. We can usually count on Rivers to get double digits. It's Curry, Kelly, and especially Dawkins who are the less consistent players offensively. When they score, we're VERY difficult to beat.

rtnorthrup
03-12-2012, 09:56 AM
I was at the ACC Tournament this weekend, and despite the gritty loss to FSU, I was actually a little disheartened by what I saw in this Duke team. Now I will grant you, that the atmosphere in a gym like Phillips Arena during a conference championship can make the games feel less passionate, so I may be being a little over-critical on this Duke team, but here are my thoughts.

1. We don't get any easy buckets. In the past 20 years, it seems like one of the strengths of Duke is that we always have those 5 minutes spurts where really click, and mostly those runs come off easy buckets. This year every point seems to be contested and nothing comes easy to this team. This comes from the lack of quality in three essential areas: a) Transition buckets- we simply dont push the ball up the court quickly off of missed baskets, which is a little counter-intuitive. With a small three guard lineup and athletic bigs, you would think we would do a little bit more running. Duke has long been one of the best teams in the country in the secondary break, getting open looks for threes before the defense has time to set up. This year it looks like we are making a concerted effort to play at a slower pace. b) No offensive rebounds. In 2010 when we decided to play slow, we counted on getting an inordinate amount of offensive rebounds that led to more possessions. Thus, even when we had poor shooting days, we got more possessions than the opponents. Often these offensive rebounds were kicked out to open shooters at the three point line before the defense had time to get set again. c) We don't create live ball turnovers. This factor has been the hallmark of almost every K team at Duke. Not only do we force turnovers, but we force a lot of live ball turnovers that lead directly to points. This year, we simply don't pressure the ball well enough to create live ball turnovers.

2) We dont have any defensive effort. One of the advantages of getting to watch the games live is that you can do a better job of watching the play off the ball. I cannot remember a time when we switched on so many off the ball screens. It was amazing watching FSU's defenders (kudos to Louks and Dulkys--the are much better defenders than even I imagined). When our guards came of down screens or any off the ball screens and FSU defender was right on our hip. Very rarely were we able to catch and get a clear look at the basket. Essentially, we were reduced to running our offense solely through on ball screens, because we could not get open away from the ball. Conversely, when FSU guards ran simple cross screens, our defenders were 2-3 steps slow getting out, meaning we were not able to close down effectively. This led to easy FSU pump fakes and blow bys into the lane. I was terribly disspointed with our effort getting over/under screens and getting out on shooters. FSU was able to create space in their offense with off ball screens, whereas Duke was not. With all due respect to the athleticism argument, it appeared to me to be an effort issue.

3) We dont rebound well. Yes, we give up a significant advantage at the 3 position, but as a team, we simply do not block out well. This has to be corrected before the tourney. We dont play half court defense well enough to give teams more possessions.

4) Three point shooting. A lot of this goes back to our inability to get open off the ball. As many point out on here, not all three point shots are created equally. Some of our misses this past weekend were good shots that were missed. Others were forced and were not good shots. Likewise, some of our makes were difficult contested/step back threes. If you ever listen to Coach K, he will tell you that the most difficult shot to guard, is a three point shot that comes off a pass from inside the lane. It is natural for defnders to turn their heads once the ball goes in to the lane (either on a drive or entry pass). That gives the shooter the ability to slide to an open spot, and makes it more difficult for the defender to recover out to the shooter. We dont do very much of this anymore. When we penetrate with either Rivers or Curry, they usually look to score, not kick out to open shooters. Same goes for Mason and Miles, when we make an entry pass, they usually look to score. I think we need more kick out threes.

I dont know that Coach K is going to radically alter our game plans for the tournament; however, I would like to see us speed the game up in an effort to get easier basket and more uncontested threes. It will be interesting to see if our shooters can get space in our motion offense. If the other team can force us to us to play pick and roll all game, I think we will be in for a dog fight in every game.

Billy Dat
03-12-2012, 11:07 AM
Since midway through the conference season, our offense has gotten slightly worse while our defense has improved vastly, but the defense hasn't improved to the point where it is even top 50. Ever since the first Maryland game, and especially since the first UNC game, we moved away from feeding the post and became a much more one dimensional 3-point bombing team. We have also moved away from setting up our 3s by throwing the ball inside to force the defense to collapse. Is it because our bigs aren't good at re-directing? Is it because we do a poor job feeding the post? Is it because we don't even set up to try and feed the post? Is it because the bigs aren't good at getting post position? Is it likely a combination of all of the above? It just seems like we depend on Austin, Seth and Thornton working screen action 23 feet from the hoop. If we nail some early shots, the D has to play tighter and it opens things up a bit. If we miss, they dare us to keep shooting and we keep shooting. We live and die by the 3, K said as much after the second UNC game in his post-game comments:

On UNC playing screens to take away the three-point shot:
"Well I thought they played really good defense. I did think we had good looks though. But again, when you base your offense like we do on three-point shooting, you know some say don't, but that is who we are man. That is who we are, and if we are not hitting them, then, we have a much greater chance to lose."

So, as K said, that's who we are. Let's hope we get Ryan back at close to 100%, that our defense continues its recent upward trend, and we shoot better.

House G
03-12-2012, 11:32 AM
3) We dont rebound well. Yes, we give up a significant advantage at the 3 position, but as a team, we simply do not block out well. This has to be corrected before the tourney. We dont play half court defense well enough to give teams more possessions.

I agree but I doubt this will be corrected before the tournament. I heard Frank Haith interviewed yesterday and he said much of Missouri's success this year (and they start four guards) could be attributed to their learning to box out.

UrinalCake
03-12-2012, 01:06 PM
This season has been such a roller coaster, more than any I can remember. For the first half of the season our frontcourt was our strength - Ryan was our best player in China, then Mason played great early on. Then for the second half of the season we've resorted to our more typical roles of relying on our guards for scoring while our inside guys mostly screen and rebound and only occasionally score the ball. For most of the season our offense has been great while our defense has struggled, but lately it's been the other way around. Seth started the season phenomenally, then hit a rough patch when we experimented with Tyler and Quinn playing more minutes, then got back to playing well again, and now he's in a slump. Of all of our players, Austin is the only one who has really followed an upward trajectory as the season has progressed.

I'm not really sure what to attribute all of this inconsistency to. I just hope we have one last run in us where we can put together a stretch of playing as well as we're capable of.

greybeard
03-12-2012, 01:26 PM
Duke will beat the teams they should even if Dawkins does not contribute.

I doubt that they will beat the teams that are a toss-up or have slightly better odds unless Dawkins scores the ball, can hit 2 or more in a row, or at least 2 nearly every time he takes the court. Teams are throwing an awful lot at Rivers and Curry to make someone else beat them. That strategy will not play if Dawkins can be Dawkins. Also, the line of victory for Duke, and a lot of other teams, is often quite fine. If past is prologue, killer shots by Dawkins when the battle is really on, are likely to be the differe3nce maker.

I think that Dawkin's funks is a collective mindset, not just within Dawkins. How does the collective mindset change, Seth and Rivers give it up much sooner early in the clock, they and Ryan look to get Dawkins touches when he is not in shooting position, look to involve him in the rhythme of the game, and then, perhaps, the offense should be organized to get Dawkins some looks inside the 3-line to get things going. Plays designed to get Dawkins the ball inside the three line, with a right side clear out would not be a bad idea either.

I think that, like Curry, Rivers, and Ryan, Dawkins should be given a real chance in a game to miss a couple to four without being yanke. Circumstnces might not permit that if an opponent is on a run and threatens to get separation, or close too close at crucial times. If Duke busts to a meaningful lead, 12 or above, and Dawkins does not get that chance early in the tournament, I think that that will be a shame.

If Ryan plays and really gets hot from the three line, then the odds are much better for Duke to prevail even if Dawkins does not shoot well and gets little playing time. I think Duke's odds are substantially better if Dawkins is Dawkins. I think that if the team commitment is there, he will be.

Matches
03-12-2012, 01:39 PM
If Ryan is healthy and ready to go, I suspect Mason will move back out of the starting lineup and we'll revert to the pre-ACCT starting five. That would leave Mason as the 6th man, with Dawkins and Cook splitting time as the 7th and 8th guys.

Dawkins is very obviously frustrated - he needs very much to see the ball go in the basket. If he can get on a roll he potentially can carry us for a game or so. Certainly would be nice to see him have some success after the last few weeks.

Agreed with the comment above about basketball IQ, not just from our bigs but from everyone. LOTS of unforced errors marred the FSU game (though, to be fair, only 2 TOs after halftime).

This is a team that has struggled with focus for much of the year. The time for that is over. There's no doubt in my mind that we can beat any team in the tournament - we HAVE beaten 2 1 seeds and a 2. Stringing together six straight wins seems like a much taller order - let's tee it up and hope for the best.

Saratoga2
03-12-2012, 05:21 PM
This season has been such a roller coaster, more than any I can remember. For the first half of the season our frontcourt was our strength - Ryan was our best player in China, then Mason played great early on. Then for the second half of the season we've resorted to our more typical roles of relying on our guards for scoring while our inside guys mostly screen and rebound and only occasionally score the ball. For most of the season our offense has been great while our defense has struggled, but lately it's been the other way around. Seth started the season phenomenally, then hit a rough patch when we experimented with Tyler and Quinn playing more minutes, then got back to playing well again, and now he's in a slump. Of all of our players, Austin is the only one who has really followed an upward trajectory as the season has progressed.

I'm not really sure what to attribute all of this inconsistency to. I just hope we have one last run in us where we can put together a stretch of playing as well as we're capable of.

I agree with you about Austin making solid progress this year. As a freshman with his capability, you could expect him to have a steep learning curve. On the other hand, I think Miles has made improvements in many ways and has become our best big. Yes he still makes mistakes which I attribute to him not being aware of game situations. Pass to nowhere or missing bunnies is still a problem with him. I think Seth has gotten far better defensively and has added the drive to the basket to his offensive moves. He does seem bothered by large physical guards, but that is related to his size and lack of super quickness. His opportunities should improve if Ryan is healthy enough to offer a threat from ourside.

Mason seems to be stuck in limbo with his game. He has the physical ability but seems not to be in the game mentally. The hedging foul late in the game is just one example, along with offensive fouls, walking, etc.

Andre is the poster child for regression in his game. The fundamental problem is his lack of confidence with his handle. He could do so much more if he could feel comfortable with the ball in traffic. Perhaps his psyche is fragile, but I think the coaches and other players could be helping him more. He has a lot of talent and it is just not being expressed. Is this level of performance going to define Andre's time at Duke? I hope for all that he will be made an integral part of the offense. I doubt it will happen in the tournament this year though.

In the point guard area, we all know that coach K loves Tyler Thornton's toughness on the defensive side, however his offensive game is not up to leading this team. The team slows down with him at point and he is unlikely to improve as a scorer. Quinn has made real progress and has the offensive spark we need to get this team going. His problem is the reverse of Tyler's, yet I can see definite improvement in his defense.

So giving a scorecard for improvement, and conciously leaving out some players, I would rate the kids as follows:

Austin ++
Seth +
Miles +
Mason Even
Andre --
Tyler +
Quinn +

Hope the guys get it together for the tournament

Jderf
03-12-2012, 05:43 PM
So giving a scorecard for improvement, and conciously leaving out some players, I would rate the kids as follows:

Austin ++
Seth +
Miles +
Mason Even
Andre --
Tyler +
Quinn +

Hope the guys get it together for the tournament

Did you just hand out grades to our players? Uh oh... :D

AtlDuke72
03-13-2012, 02:11 PM
In my opinion the offense is not going to get better with the line up that is being played most of the time because we simply do not have a point guard that sets up his teammates or can create his own shot when necessary. I think that the best chance that this team has to go very far would be to play Quinn Cook a whole lot more than he plays now. I understand that Thornton makes a lot of things happen on the defensive end but I don't think that it is worth the trade off. I see almost no discussion of this on the Board but it seems to be the obvious choice in view of what we have seen the last few games.

Jderf
03-13-2012, 02:16 PM
I see almost no discussion of this on the Board but it seems to be the obvious choice in view of what we have seen the last few games.

That's because that discussion (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?27021-We-have-our-point-guard&highlight=point+guard) has long been beaten to death. Enjoy :)

tele
03-13-2012, 05:19 PM
One, well two laments and missing elements have concerned team defense and now offensive struggles. I think there has been improvement on team defense in the last couple of games in the acct. Playing vt and fsu on consecutive days must be something like stubbing your toe then shutting your finger in the door, and the team played together on defense very well ins spite of this. This kind of effort on defense can carry a team a round or two when the shots aren't falling. And the offensive struggles lately have in my view been due to conference rivals taking away what has been working for a team. There haven't been the accustomed adjustments in x's and o's on offense that lead to those Duke runs we've all seen as teams struggle to respond to the new offensive wrinkles thrown at them. I don't think this is due completely to the coaches not responding in game to opposing teams defenses, just that it hasn't been followed through with for whatever reason, maybe chemistry. And a lot of those accustomed Duke runs fed off of defensive stops as much as offensive adjustments. So has the defensive effort solidified enough to carry the team and launch a sustained offensive run? I think based on the fsu and vt game, even the second half effort against CACC in the last regular season game, it is very close.
And we know the in game x and o's are going to come. So if the defensive effort is there, when the x and o adjustments come, the runs should return too. Go Duke!