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rsvman
02-05-2013, 08:45 AM
Pat Forde wrote a column right after the Superbowl to welcome hard-core football fans to the college basketball season. The column attempt to catch people up on what has happened so far this season. It's a pretty good read.

His take on Duke falls right into some discussions that we've been having on this board over the past weeks. It may or may not represent a typical non-Duke-fan's view of the Blue Devils. He wrote:

"Duke is doing what Duke does, winning more games than most of us expected, without yet convincing anyone it can avoid another March meltdown.

The Blue Devils have had yet another accomplished regular season, racking up early victories over Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville and Ohio State. But with (sic) forward Ryan Kelly--out for six games and counting--some vulnerability has been exposed in a blowout loss to Miami and a loss at North Carolina State.

Thsi looks like the 16th time in the last 17years that Duke will get a top-three NCAA tourney seed--an incredible run of consistency. But there have been 11 flameouts in the Sweet 16 or earlier in that time, often in either shocking upsets or surprising blowouts. (Last year it was No. 15 seed Lehigh doing the honors.) Often, the Devils have looked tired, past their peak or simply not athletic enough come elimination time."


He then adds this:

"Of course, it should be noted that there have been some high points since the mid-90s as well: Duke has won two national titles and been to four Final Fours. Kelly's health may decide whether this team booms or busts in the Big Dance."


Fair? Representative of most people's thoughts?

I like how two national titles and four Final Fours becomes an afterthought in the commentary. I've seen posters on this board guilty of the same sort of flawed thinking, though. I suppose it is human nature to put more emphasis on an unexpected first-round loss than on an unexpected championship run.

Big Pappa
02-05-2013, 09:00 AM
Pat Forde wrote a column right after the Superbowl to welcome hard-core football fans to the college basketball season. The column attempt to catch people up on what has happened so far this season. It's a pretty good read.

His take on Duke falls right into some discussions that we've been having on this board over the past weeks. It may or may not represent a typical non-Duke-fan's view of the Blue Devils. He wrote:

"Duke is doing what Duke does, winning more games than most of us expected, without yet convincing anyone it can avoid another March meltdown.

The Blue Devils have had yet another accomplished regular season, racking up early victories over Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville and Ohio State. But with (sic) forward Ryan Kelly--out for six games and counting--some vulnerability has been exposed in a blowout loss to Miami and a loss at North Carolina State.

Thsi looks like the 16th time in the last 17years that Duke will get a top-three NCAA tourney seed--an incredible run of consistency. But there have been 11 flameouts in the Sweet 16 or earlier in that time, often in either shocking upsets or surprising blowouts. (Last year it was No. 15 seed Lehigh doing the honors.) Often, the Devils have looked tired, past their peak or simply not athletic enough come elimination time."


He then adds this:

"Of course, it should be noted that there have been some high points since the mid-90s as well: Duke has won two national titles and been to four Final Fours. Kelly's health may decide whether this team booms or busts in the Big Dance."


Fair? Representative of most people's thoughts?

I like how two national titles and four Final Fours becomes an afterthought in the commentary. I've seen posters on this board guilty of the same sort of flawed thinking, though. I suppose it is human nature to put more emphasis on an unexpected first-round loss than on an unexpected championship run.

I don't have a problem with the characterization of this year's team by Forde. We were (are) an elite team with Ryan, but without him we have shown that on a poor shooting night from deep we are a team that has a grind-it-out win against Wake (14.3% from 3) and a blowout loss to Miami (17.4% from 3). Simply put, without Ryan fully integrated back into the lineup (meaning not the same way Kyrie was in 2010-2011) we are a poor shooting night away from a Lehigh loss and a string of GREAT basketball away from a championship run like 2010.

Although I agree with his assessment of this year's team, I think throwing "Duke has won two national titles and been to four Final Fours" in at the end isn't completely fair.

dyedwab
02-05-2013, 09:09 AM
Forde's view seems to be a common, relatively fair, but lean-negative view of Duke - something that I think is consistent when Forde writes about the Blue Devils

I would point out one thing. He views Duke's history as, boiled down, "wins more than we expect, loses earlier than it should." That seems to be an internally contradictory take on Duke's performance (and, as you point out, makes 2 NC's and a 4FF's a parenthetical aside). A more positive way to put it is that Duke is consistently better than its talent, but worse than its record. I would strongly disagree, but I think that many fans and sportswriters would argue the first point, and agree with the second one.

On Forde himself, there is no way to research what I am gonna say to prove its accuracy, but my memory on this is as follows. Tony Kornhesier, on his radio show in the DC market, the week before the tournament starts, asks "friends of the show" to give their tournament picks. One of the questions is always "which will be the first #1 seed to lose." Forde called in in 2010 and said "Duke". While it was not an uncommon response that year, I recall Forde's vehemence in essentially arguing that Duke shouldn't have been a one-seed. I'm not sure I saw what he wrote after Duke won :-).

Again, take my memory for what its worth, but I find Forde to be a good hoops writer, but one who is more like to see the negative than the positive about Duke

COYS
02-05-2013, 09:31 AM
Although I agree with his assessment of this year's team, I think throwing "Duke has won two national titles and been to four Final Fours" in at the end isn't completely fair.

This is an understatement! Only UCONN, UNC, and Florida can claim to join Duke as multiple title winners since 2000. In fact, when you factor in two titles each for those guys, there aren't that many titles left to go around to other schools (MichState, Syracuse, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas). Duke has been, at worst, a top 5 program since 2000, even factoring in the tournament.

Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask the question which school would you trade Duke's on court performance for? UNC? You'd have to swallow the 'Doh! years and 2010 to go along with those two titles. UCONN? You'd have to be ok with sanctions and less impressive regular seasons. Florida? Again you have to be ok with some NIT years sprinkled in. Michigan State has made a lot of final fours but have not been able to close it out for a title since 2000. Syracuse has had some good teams, but Carmelo Anthony was needed to lead them to their only title. UK had some really meagre years that included some tourney flameouts with Tubby at the helm and the Gillepsie seasons. Even Calipari's success comes with the cloud of Calipari's reputation for living in the ethical grey area. Kansas has only had one title despite managing to transition from Williams to Self without missing a beat. This has included more than a few surprising upsets in the tournament. Finally, there are many schools who have not won titles in this span who wouldn't give up anything to claim Maryland's record since 2000.

I will say this, though. Even though I am not one of those people who really feels like Duke has any perennial flaw that always makes us susceptible to losing early in the tournament (it was our alarmingly un-athletic team that won the title, of course!), I like the fact that people think it's significant news that Duke hasn't been the most obviously dominant team since 2000. I like the fact that "only" winning 2 titles in a thirteen year span is somewhat underwhelming to the national media. The reason I like this is because it means we're still on top. I know that K and the staff expect the team to strive for a national title every year. That's their goal (with other goals like ACC championships and preseason tourney championships entering the mix). It's what we fans expect and hope for every season. I'm perfectly ok being disappointed every year the team doesn't win the whole thing. At the same time, I also realize just how impressive and rare Duke's accomplishments have been over the past 13 seasons. Aside from basketball fantasies involving Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy staying for four years each, or maybe one extra recruiting coup (a Patrick Patterson or Greg Monroe commitment might have helped one of those years . . . maybe), I can't imagine what Duke fans could realistically wish to change about our recent history.

ChillinDuke
02-05-2013, 09:57 AM
This is an understatement! Only UCONN, UNC, and Florida can claim to join Duke as multiple title winners since 2000. In fact, when you factor in two titles each for those guys, there aren't that many titles left to go around to other schools (MichState, Syracuse, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas). Duke has been, at worst, a top 5 program since 2000, even factoring in the tournament.

Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask the question which school would you trade Duke's on court performance for? UNC? You'd have to swallow the 'Doh! years and 2010 to go along with those two titles. UCONN? You'd have to be ok with sanctions and less impressive regular seasons. Florida? Again you have to be ok with some NIT years sprinkled in. Michigan State has made a lot of final fours but have not been able to close it out for a title since 2000. Syracuse has had some good teams, but Carmelo Anthony was needed to lead them to their only title. UK had some really meagre years that included some tourney flameouts with Tubby at the helm and the Gillepsie seasons. Even Calipari's success comes with the cloud of Calipari's reputation for living in the ethical grey area. Kansas has only had one title despite managing to transition from Williams to Self without missing a beat. This has included more than a few surprising upsets in the tournament. Finally, there are many schools who have not won titles in this span who wouldn't give up anything to claim Maryland's record since 2000.

I will say this, though. Even though I am not one of those people who really feels like Duke has any perennial flaw that always makes us susceptible to losing early in the tournament (it was our alarmingly un-athletic team that won the title, of course!), I like the fact that people think it's significant news that Duke hasn't been the most obviously dominant team since 2000. I like the fact that "only" winning 2 titles in a thirteen year span is somewhat underwhelming to the national media. The reason I like this is because it means we're still on top. I know that K and the staff expect the team to strive for a national title every year. That's their goal (with other goals like ACC championships and preseason tourney championships entering the mix). It's what we fans expect and hope for every season. I'm perfectly ok being disappointed every year the team doesn't win the whole thing. At the same time, I also realize just how impressive and rare Duke's accomplishments have been over the past 13 seasons. Aside from basketball fantasies involving Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy staying for four years each, or maybe one extra recruiting coup (a Patrick Patterson or Greg Monroe commitment might have helped one of those years . . . maybe), I can't imagine what Duke fans could realistically wish to change about our recent history.

This post is so wonderfully and succinctly put. Instead of pitchforks, I will post to point out how true this is.

For all the Duke negativity that sportswriters and even posters on this board will bring up, it all comes down to expectations. We are so good that the expectations on us are correspondingly high, thus we have a history of not meeting this perceived threshold. Take Butler who made back-to-back NC's only to lose both. Expect Butler to be the #1 team - then they have underperformed. Expect Butler to be a respectable mid-major with, at most, Sweet 16 aspirations - then they have overperformed. Butler did the same thing in both scenarios. So at some point you have to account for the performance and not the performance vs. the expectation.

Circling back to Duke and the expectations - call it excessive, call it unreasonable, call it what you will. But the simple logic is an "early tournament flame out" (by whatever definition of "early") means we were expected to do better, which in turn means the public thought more of us. We are so good that we are given those expectations by the public. When you put aside those expectations and just grade the performance, as Coys did above, Duke is unquestionably an elite, if not the most elite, team in college basketball over almost any timeframe in the K era.

Coys, I completely agree. We are, indeed, still on top.

- Chillin

Monmouth77
02-05-2013, 10:27 AM
This is an understatement! Only UCONN, UNC, and Florida can claim to join Duke as multiple title winners since 2000. In fact, when you factor in two titles each for those guys, there aren't that many titles left to go around to other schools (MichState, Syracuse, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas). Duke has been, at worst, a top 5 program since 2000, even factoring in the tournament.

Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask the question which school would you trade Duke's on court performance for? UNC? You'd have to swallow the 'Doh! years and 2010 to go along with those two titles. UCONN? You'd have to be ok with sanctions and less impressive regular seasons. Florida? Again you have to be ok with some NIT years sprinkled in. Michigan State has made a lot of final fours but have not been able to close it out for a title since 2000. Syracuse has had some good teams, but Carmelo Anthony was needed to lead them to their only title. UK had some really meagre years that included some tourney flameouts with Tubby at the helm and the Gillepsie seasons. Even Calipari's success comes with the cloud of Calipari's reputation for living in the ethical grey area. Kansas has only had one title despite managing to transition from Williams to Self without missing a beat. This has included more than a few surprising upsets in the tournament. Finally, there are many schools who have not won titles in this span who wouldn't give up anything to claim Maryland's record since 2000.

I will say this, though. Even though I am not one of those people who really feels like Duke has any perennial flaw that always makes us susceptible to losing early in the tournament (it was our alarmingly un-athletic team that won the title, of course!), I like the fact that people think it's significant news that Duke hasn't been the most obviously dominant team since 2000. I like the fact that "only" winning 2 titles in a thirteen year span is somewhat underwhelming to the national media. The reason I like this is because it means we're still on top. I know that K and the staff expect the team to strive for a national title every year. That's their goal (with other goals like ACC championships and preseason tourney championships entering the mix). It's what we fans expect and hope for every season. I'm perfectly ok being disappointed every year the team doesn't win the whole thing. At the same time, I also realize just how impressive and rare Duke's accomplishments have been over the past 13 seasons. Aside from basketball fantasies involving Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy staying for four years each, or maybe one extra recruiting coup (a Patrick Patterson or Greg Monroe commitment might have helped one of those years . . . maybe), I can't imagine what Duke fans could realistically wish to change about our recent history.

There is no perennial flaw, and each season has its own story. It's just more fun for sportswriters (especially ones from Kentucky) to find ways to characterize Duke as "overrated."

Forde's narrative is one that he nurtured over his ESPN years in the mid-late 2000s when the theme had some limited degree of resonance. I would agree that the 2005, 2007, 2008 teams and, separately, the 2012 team "overperformed" relative to some limitations (youth, unexpected NBA defections) that have caused even other major programs like UConn or UNC to miss the Tournament altogether. The '05 team had talent but little depth, and, though a #1 seed, was nothing like the '04 #1 seed that featured not just JJ and Shelden but Duhon and Deng, and was pretty even talentwise with the Mich State #5 seed that took them down. The '07 and '08 teams were just young. No one could have been too surprised that the '07 #6 seed team lost to an #11 seed, but the '08 #2 seed team depended heavily on sweet shooting and had nights where it looked nowhere near as good as its record.

But Forde (and others) have always tried to stretch some of these results into something they are not. The 2006, 2009, and 2011 teams lost earlier than they were seeded because they ran into bad matchups against hotter teams. That's what happens sometimes in the Tournament. Those teams had both the talent and the results to justify their seed, but ran into (1) a team with 2 NBA power forwards who were finally putting together a string of dominant play ('06 LSU) (2) a hot Final Four bound Villanova team with big quick guards that we couldn't defend ('09) and (3) a hot Arizona team (with a #2 NBA draft pick) that turned into the Phoenix Suns for 40 minutes.('11)

Without knowing more about Kelly's return it's hard to predict much of anything, but I reckon if/when we lose in the Tournament this year, it will be because we hit a bad matchup or a hot opponent, and not because some weakness was "exposed." And I happen to think Miami is one of the worst possible matchups available for us this year-- just like 'Nova in '09 or LSU in '06. Luckily, if we see them in the NCAAs this year, it will probably be because we made the Final Four.

OldPhiKap
02-05-2013, 10:35 AM
I think his analysis is fair, although underappreciates the difficulty of making a Final Four. With the greater parity we see today, any of the top three or four seeds in a given bracket have a darn good chance of winning it. (Our regional bracket last year had Kentucky #1, Duke #2, Baylor #3 and Indiana #4 for example). Late season injuries also play into all team's chances, Duke included.

If you are a hard-core football fan just turning over to college basketball, you need to know that Duke is doing better than expected; that it has brought home the hardware over the last 20 years; and that it has seen its share of "upsets." The presence or absence of Kelly is a huge factor in what happens in March as well. That's pretty much what Forde said.

Dev11
02-05-2013, 11:41 AM
There is no team that routinely gets a top-3 seed and performs to that seed. Everybody loses, and for every Cinderella story there have to be losers along the way.

Pat Forde is simple. Like me, I suppose, but I don't get paid to write about college basketball.

moonpie23
02-05-2013, 01:48 PM
after reading over it again and again.....it SEEMS to be just his opinion.......but i could be wrong...

Nugget
02-05-2013, 04:39 PM
I think both Forde's point, and the comments in response, are valid.

We've certainly had more consistently excellent regular seasons than anyone over the past 25 years. And the high seeds we've earned the past 15 years with staggering consistency, especially when compared with expectations for some of those seasons that others have noted, is a huge testament to our performing above expectation during the regular season. And yes, everyone on balance loses some tournament games they "should" win based on expected seeds.

But, having said all of that, Forde's kind of got a point -- we have underformed relative to our seeding (in some cases dramatically) the last 17 years.

One reason why it seems so noticeable is that Duke significantly over-performed vs. our seeding during Coach K's 1st great run from 1986-1996. In those 9 seasons, we equaled or exceeded our expected performance to seed 8 times, including taking out a #1 seed 6 times (Kansas in 86, Temple in 88, Georgetown in 89, U.Conn in 90, UNLV in 91, and Purdue in 94).

The only year we did not perform to seed was in 1993, with the bizarre upset loss to Cal in the 2nd round, attributable in large measure to Grant’s having missed most of the last 3 weeks of the season due to a toe injury (coming back right before the ACC tournament, but obviously not a full strength) and Cherokee Parks being knocked out during the Cal game.

In the last 17 years, however, there are only 5 times where we equaled or exceeded expected performance, or made the Final Four (I'm not counting losing to U.Conn in in the 2004 Final Four as "underperforming" just because they were a #2 seed): 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, and 2003 (loss to #2 Kansas as #3 seed).

3 times we lost to team seeded 1 spot ahead of us, which is basically a wash: 1996 (#9 Eastern Mich), 1998 (#2 Kentucky), 2009 (#3 Villanova)

But, that leaves 9 times in 17 years (and 8 of the last 13) where we significantly underperformed relative to our seed, including several very embarrassing losses:

1997: Lost as #2 seed to #10 Providence (2nd round)
2000: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Florida (Sweet 16)
2002: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Indiana (Sweet 16)
2005: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Michigan St. (Sweet 16)
2006: Lost as #1 seed to #4 LSU (Sweet 16)
2007: Lost as #6 seed to #11 VCU (1st round)
2008: Lost as #2 seed to #7 West Virginia (2nd round), after beating #15 Belmont by 1 point.
2011: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Arizona (Sweet 16)
2012: Lost as #2 seed to #15 Lehigh (1st round).

And, a compared to the slew of #1 seeds we beat in the 1986-1994 tournaments, over the last 17 years we’ve beaten a total of one #1 seed (Michigan St., 1999), and had several very good wins as a #1 seed against strong #2 or #3 seeds (Arizona and Maryland, 2001; West Virginia and Baylor, 2010). That just doesn't look as great when balanced against our absurd 1986-1994 streak.

ncexnyc
02-05-2013, 04:46 PM
Success is its’ own worst enemy. You build a powerhouse program like Coach K has and eventually the expectations from not only the media, but some of your own fan base become unrealistic.

I never put too much stock in stories like this one. They are after all just someone’s opinion.

I am somewhat curious about the following comment from Big Poppa. “Simply put, without Ryan fully integrated back into the lineup (meaning not the same way Kyrie was in 2010-2011) we are a poor shooting night away from a Lehigh loss and a string of GREAT basketball away from a championship.”

I’m not sure our loss to Arizona in 2010-11 was primarily due to the return of Kyrie to the line-up. Let’s not forget the injury to Seth, early in the second half, the failure of the medical staff to quickly get Kyle’s cut under control, and of course the near career game for Derrick Williams.

As most people know, not only do you need a very talented team to win it all, but you need some luck as well.

sagegrouse
02-05-2013, 05:08 PM
Success is its’ own worst enemy. You build a powerhouse program like Coach K has and eventually the expectations from not only the media, but some of your own fan base become unrealistic.

I never put too much stock in stories like this one. They are after all just someone’s opinion.

.

Reading between the lines and hearing off-the-cuff remarks from time to time, the college basketball press, collectively and individually, has huge respect for the Duke program, the players as intelligent and dedicated people, Coach-K-as-icon, and other things.

You don't write stories that way, especially about a program that is THE household name in college basketball and is both loved and hated. (I know, I know.... The many, many folks who root for Duke are a lot quieter than the ones spewing hatred, but that's true in a lot of situations.)

So you write the story in a sardonic way, that plays up some warts and gives grudging acknowledgement of its huge accomplishments. Live with it. Get over it. There is never gonna be a lovefest of publicity over such a high-profile program.

sagegrouse

roywhite
02-05-2013, 05:09 PM
As most people know, not only do you need a very talented team to win it all, but you need some luck as well.

A point so basic it's often forgotten --- the NCAA Tournament has a one-loss elimination format, and on a given night, the better team can lose to a team that shoots better, or happens to be more emotionally prepared.

Reilly
02-05-2013, 05:13 PM
...

1997: Lost as #2 seed to #10 Providence (2nd round)
2000: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Florida (Sweet 16)
2002: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Indiana (Sweet 16)
2005: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Michigan St. (Sweet 16)
2006: Lost as #1 seed to #4 LSU (Sweet 16)
2007: Lost as #6 seed to #11 VCU (1st round)
2008: Lost as #2 seed to #7 West Virginia (2nd round), after beating #15 Belmont by 1 point.
2011: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Arizona (Sweet 16)
2012: Lost as #2 seed to #15 Lehigh (1st round).....

What are the results for 1, 2, and 6 seeds in similar games. For example, how many times has a 1 met a 5 overall, and how many times did the 1 win?

dukelifer
02-05-2013, 05:34 PM
This is an understatement! Only UCONN, UNC, and Florida can claim to join Duke as multiple title winners since 2000. In fact, when you factor in two titles each for those guys, there aren't that many titles left to go around to other schools (MichState, Syracuse, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas). Duke has been, at worst, a top 5 program since 2000, even factoring in the tournament.

Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask the question which school would you trade Duke's on court performance for? UNC? You'd have to swallow the 'Doh! years and 2010 to go along with those two titles. UCONN? You'd have to be ok with sanctions and less impressive regular seasons. Florida? Again you have to be ok with some NIT years sprinkled in. Michigan State has made a lot of final fours but have not been able to close it out for a title since 2000. Syracuse has had some good teams, but Carmelo Anthony was needed to lead them to their only title. UK had some really meagre years that included some tourney flameouts with Tubby at the helm and the Gillepsie seasons. Even Calipari's success comes with the cloud of Calipari's reputation for living in the ethical grey area. Kansas has only had one title despite managing to transition from Williams to Self without missing a beat. This has included more than a few surprising upsets in the tournament. Finally, there are many schools who have not won titles in this span who wouldn't give up anything to claim Maryland's record since 2000.

I will say this, though. Even though I am not one of those people who really feels like Duke has any perennial flaw that always makes us susceptible to losing early in the tournament (it was our alarmingly un-athletic team that won the title, of course!), I like the fact that people think it's significant news that Duke hasn't been the most obviously dominant team since 2000. I like the fact that "only" winning 2 titles in a thirteen year span is somewhat underwhelming to the national media. The reason I like this is because it means we're still on top. I know that K and the staff expect the team to strive for a national title every year. That's their goal (with other goals like ACC championships and preseason tourney championships entering the mix). It's what we fans expect and hope for every season. I'm perfectly ok being disappointed every year the team doesn't win the whole thing. At the same time, I also realize just how impressive and rare Duke's accomplishments have been over the past 13 seasons. Aside from basketball fantasies involving Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy staying for four years each, or maybe one extra recruiting coup (a Patrick Patterson or Greg Monroe commitment might have helped one of those years . . . maybe), I can't imagine what Duke fans could realistically wish to change about our recent history.

It is all Coach K's fault. He wants his teams to win every game. If he just loosened up, played his whole bench and simply let the season play out- Duke would be a 4-7 seed every year- maybe missing the tourney once in a while and they might actually out perform their seed from time to time. That would be great. Sure they may never have won a National Championship, but isn't out performing your seed the only thing that matters?

Monmouth77
02-05-2013, 05:46 PM
Reading between the lines and hearing off-the-cuff remarks from time to time, the college basketball press, collectively and individually, has huge respect for the Duke program, the players as intelligent and dedicated people, Coach-K-as-icon, and other things.

You don't write stories that way, especially about a program that is THE household name in college basketball and is both loved and hated. (I know, I know.... The many, many folks who root for Duke are a lot quieter than the ones spewing hatred, but that's true in a lot of situations.)

So you write the story in a sardonic way, that plays up some warts and gives grudging acknowledgement of its huge accomplishments. Live with it. Get over it. There is never gonna be a lovefest of publicity over such a high-profile program.

sagegrouse

I think yours is a valid viewpoint. But as a well-informed citizen of a democracy, not just a zealous Duke fan, I hold journalists -- particularly ones with large influential platforms -- to certain standards of rigor. And oftentimes the facts get in the way of an article that purports to do nothing more than "play up warts" and pay "grudging respect."

Here, Forde's got a fair opinion with some factual support. But he does make some generalizations (ones he's made before) that I think are wrong in ways worth discussing.

What jumped out at me was the fact that our loss at Miami is the event that, at this point in the season, allows him to tie this team into a string of Duke teams past that he characterizes as early overachievers. I think that's going to prove to be wishful thinking for the haters.

Miami is the real deal and a matchup nightmare for this year's Duke team-- especially without Ryan Kelly. I don't think that loss is a window into weaknesses that will hurt Duke come tourney time. And I like our chances on a neutral floor against most of the teams in the Tourney field this year-- with or without Kelly.

But I'm an optimist.

Nugget
02-05-2013, 06:02 PM
What are the results for 1, 2, and 6 seeds in similar games. For example, how many times has a 1 met a 5 overall, and how many times did the 1 win?

We don't have too many examples of having lost as a 2 or 6 seed in the 1st or second round, so I think those are probably best chalked up to flukes. Some of the other statistics gurus on the board no doubt have links to how teams in those spots have fared over the years.

But, since the ones that have most haunted us the past decade or so (and been more common) have been the Sweet 16 losses as a #1 seed, I pulled up the numbers since 1997 on how #1 seeds have done in the Sweet 16 vs. #4 or #5 seeds.

In those games, the #1 seeds are, collectively 33-11.

Duke, however, is only 4-5.

And if you exclude Duke, the rest of the #1 seeds have gone 29-6 against the #4 or #5 seeds. So, below .500 as compared to every other #1 seed winning those games at 83% doesn't look great.

Of our main rivals, North Carolina is 6-0 over that time period as a #1 seed against #4 or #5 seeds, and Kentucky is 3-0 in that situation. While that comparison stings, it also highlights the point made above about how much more consistent we've been in the regular season -- we have played as many Sweet 16 games as a #1 seed as Carolina and Kentucky combined.


Here's the breakout:

1997: Kentucky d. #4 St. Joe’s
N. Carolina d. #5 Cal.
Minnesota d. #4 Clemson
#4 Arizona d. Kansas.

1998: Duke d. #5 Syracuse
Arizona d #4 Maryland
N. Carolina d. #4 Mich. St.

1999: U.Conn d. #5 Iowa
#4 Ohio St. d. Auburn (how the hell did Auburn ever get a #1 seed?)

2000: Mich St. d. #4 Syracuse
#5 Florida d. Duke

2001: Illinois d. #4 Kansas
Stanford d. #5 Cincy
Duke d. #4 UCLA

2002: Maryland d. #4 Kentucky
Kansas d. #4 Illinois
#5 Indiana d. Duke

2003: Kentucky d. #4 Wisconsin
Texas d. #5 U.Conn
Arizona d. #5 Notre Dame

2004: Duke d. #5 Illinois
St. Joe’s d. #4 Wake Forest

2005: N. Carolina d. #5 Villanova
#4 Louisville d. Washington
#5 Mich St. d. Duke

2006: U.Conn d. #5 Washington
Villanova d. #4 BC
#4 LSU d. Duke

2007: Florida d. #5 Butler
N. Carolina d. #5 USC
Kansas d. #4 Southern Illinois
Ohio St. d. #5 Tennessee

2008: Memphis d. #5 Mich St.
N. Carolina d. #4 Wash St.

2009: Pitt d. #4 Xavier
U.Conn d #5 Purdue
N. Carolina d. #5 Gonzaga

2010: Duke d. #5 Purdue
#5 Butler d. Syracuse

2011: #4 Kentucky d. Ohio St.
#5 Arizona d. Duke

2012: Kentucky d. #4 Indiana
Syracuse d. #4 Wisconsin
#4 Lousiville d. Mich St.

MaxAMillion
02-05-2013, 06:31 PM
Duke is not playing at the level that they were in the 90's and that is why there are questions about Duke's achievements in the last decade. The early 90's had the back to back champions. The late 90's had the Brand, Battier, Langdon team (arguably the best Duke team of all time even though they did not win a title). The early 2000's had the Williams, Battier, Boozer team. Those teams dominated in ways that we don't see from recent Duke teams. Duke had a period of time when they were going to the final four almost every year. That led many to believe that Duke always got the best players and therefore should be competing for titles every season. Perception of Duke basketball being on its own level above everyone else is what Coach K created. It is a unrealistic expectation, yet one that his programs often get judged against. I understand why the outside media would knock Duke down a peg when they see the team lose in the tournament to VCU or Lehigh. There was a time when that was unthinkable.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
02-06-2013, 08:35 AM
I think both Forde's point, and the comments in response, are valid.

We've certainly had more consistently excellent regular seasons than anyone over the past 25 years. And the high seeds we've earned the past 15 years with staggering consistency, especially when compared with expectations for some of those seasons that others have noted, is a huge testament to our performing above expectation during the regular season. And yes, everyone on balance loses some tournament games they "should" win based on expected seeds.

But, having said all of that, Forde's kind of got a point -- we have underformed relative to our seeding (in some cases dramatically) the last 17 years.

One reason why it seems so noticeable is that Duke significantly over-performed vs. our seeding during Coach K's 1st great run from 1986-1996. In those 9 seasons, we equaled or exceeded our expected performance to seed 8 times, including taking out a #1 seed 6 times (Kansas in 86, Temple in 88, Georgetown in 89, U.Conn in 90, UNLV in 91, and Purdue in 94).

The only year we did not perform to seed was in 1993, with the bizarre upset loss to Cal in the 2nd round, attributable in large measure to Grant’s having missed most of the last 3 weeks of the season due to a toe injury (coming back right before the ACC tournament, but obviously not a full strength) and Cherokee Parks being knocked out during the Cal game.

In the last 17 years, however, there are only 5 times where we equaled or exceeded expected performance, or made the Final Four (I'm not counting losing to U.Conn in in the 2004 Final Four as "underperforming" just because they were a #2 seed): 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, and 2003 (loss to #2 Kansas as #3 seed).

3 times we lost to team seeded 1 spot ahead of us, which is basically a wash: 1996 (#9 Eastern Mich), 1998 (#2 Kentucky), 2009 (#3 Villanova)

But, that leaves 9 times in 17 years (and 8 of the last 13) where we significantly underperformed relative to our seed, including several very embarrassing losses:

1997: Lost as #2 seed to #10 Providence (2nd round)
2000: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Florida (Sweet 16)
2002: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Indiana (Sweet 16)
2005: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Michigan St. (Sweet 16)
2006: Lost as #1 seed to #4 LSU (Sweet 16)
2007: Lost as #6 seed to #11 VCU (1st round)
2008: Lost as #2 seed to #7 West Virginia (2nd round), after beating #15 Belmont by 1 point.
2011: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Arizona (Sweet 16)
2012: Lost as #2 seed to #15 Lehigh (1st round).

And, a compared to the slew of #1 seeds we beat in the 1986-1994 tournaments, over the last 17 years we’ve beaten a total of one #1 seed (Michigan St., 1999), and had several very good wins as a #1 seed against strong #2 or #3 seeds (Arizona and Maryland, 2001; West Virginia and Baylor, 2010). That just doesn't look as great when balanced against our absurd 1986-1994 streak.

I'm not a big fan of the "outperforming your seed" argument. Half the teams in the tournament only have to win one game to outperform their seed. I mentioned this in another thread last week about seeding and under/over performance. That thread spoke to quantifying the degree to which you outperform or underperform. However, is 12 seed winning two games really the same thing as a #2 seed getting to the national championship game?

9 times in 17 years is pretty darned close to 50/50, which means we underperform about as much as we overperform, right? Makes sense to me.

Go Duke!

Reilly
02-06-2013, 09:52 AM
I'm not a big fan of the "outperforming your seed" argument ...

Fun to look at ... but it needs to be clarified and clearly explained what standard we are being measured against.

One way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: the 1 seed is higher and should win 100% of the time. We only won 44% of the time in that situation since 1997, meaning we are underperforming 66% of the time.

A second way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: thanks the info compiled by Nugget above ("since 1997 on how #1 seeds have done in the Sweet 16 vs. #4 or #5 seeds. ... In those games, the #1 seeds are, collectively 33-11. ... Duke, however, is only 4-5") we see that 1 seeds win 75% of the time in that situation, and lose 25% of the time. Duke is winning 44% of the time, meaning we are underpeforming 31% of the time -- not 66% of the time.

A third way to look at it: there are 347 teams in DI college hoops. A team seeded #1 is the #1-4 out of 347 (top 1%) of the college hoop world. A team seeded #4 or #5 is in the top #13-20 out of 347 (top 4 or 5%). Are we really ever surprised when a top 20 team beats a top 5 team, especially when both teams are playing well recently (having come off at least 2 straight wins), in a 1 and done format? In any competitive format, is it really "underperforming" by the top dog if one entity that is in the top 5% bests an entity that is in the top 1%?

DukieInBrasil
02-06-2013, 10:04 AM
Fun to look at ... but it needs to be clarified and clearly explained what standard we are being measured against.

One way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: the 1 seed is higher and should win 100% of the time. We only won 44% of the time in that situation since 1997, meaning we are underperforming 66% of the time.

A second way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: thanks the info compiled by Nugget above ("since 1997 on how #1 seeds have done in the Sweet 16 vs. #4 or #5 seeds. ... In those games, the #1 seeds are, collectively 33-11. ... Duke, however, is only 4-5") we see that 1 seeds win 75% of the time in that situation, and lose 25% of the time. Duke is winning 44% of the time, meaning we are underpeforming 31% of the time -- not 66% of the time.

A third way to look at it: there are 347 teams in DI college hoops. A team seeded #1 is the #1-4 out of 347 (top 1%) of the college hoop world. A team seeded #4 or #5 is in the top #13-20 out of 347 (top 4 or 5%). Are we really ever surprised when a top 20 team beats a top 5 team, especially when both teams are playing well recently (having come off at least 2 straight wins), in a 1 and done format? In any competitive format, is it really "underperforming" by the top dog if one entity that is in the top 5% bests an entity that is in the top 1%?

44% + 66% = 110%, like the amount of effort coach expects from his players ;-)

Otherwise, i think your interpretation is interesting.

CDu
02-06-2013, 10:05 AM
Fun to look at ... but it needs to be clarified and clearly explained what standard we are being measured against.

One way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: the 1 seed is higher and should win 100% of the time. We only won 44% of the time in that situation since 1997, meaning we are underperforming 66% of the time.

A second way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: thanks the info compiled by Nugget above ("since 1997 on how #1 seeds have done in the Sweet 16 vs. #4 or #5 seeds. ... In those games, the #1 seeds are, collectively 33-11. ... Duke, however, is only 4-5") we see that 1 seeds win 75% of the time in that situation, and lose 25% of the time. Duke is winning 44% of the time, meaning we are underpeforming 31% of the time -- not 66% of the time.

Slight edit. It's 56% of the time, not 66%.


A third way to look at it: there are 347 teams in DI college hoops. A team seeded #1 is the #1-4 out of 347 (top 1%) of the college hoop world. A team seeded #4 or #5 is in the top #13-20 out of 347 (top 4 or 5%). Are we really ever surprised when a top 20 team beats a top 5 team, especially when both teams are playing well recently (having come off at least 2 straight wins), in a 1 and done format? In any competitive format, is it really "underperforming" by the top dog if one entity that is in the top 5% bests an entity that is in the top 1%?

This is sort of questionable logic. Other top-4/5 teams appear to have done better against the top-20 than Duke in the information you posted above. So, by virtue of that, it is underperforming relative to similar seeds.

Now, one could argue that the issue is not with Duke but rather the seeding, and that Duke has tended to get overseeded relative to their talent based on outperforming their talent during the regular season. One could also argue that the seeding has some measure of error, and that (on a smallish sample size) Duke has tended to be on the positive end of the error in their seeding (which would mean that they were really more like a 2 than a 1, e.g.).

Reilly
02-06-2013, 10:21 AM
DukieinBrasil and CDu, thanks for catching the math mistake.

CDu, I guess my main point is that things often are not as bad as they may seem. Number 1 seeds don't get it done 100% of the time, so hopefully we are not being held to a standard that others, collectively, do not attain. Hold us, as you note, to the standard that others do collectively achieve -- so maybe some underperformance, but not as bad as feared. On the list of losses since 1997 as a #1 seed, the one that still bugs me, that is unfathomable, that still hurts, is 2002 Indiana. That was not getting it done. All of the others were not unexpected, in my opinion, and not what I would label underperformance.

CDu
02-06-2013, 10:36 AM
DukieinBrasil and CDu, thanks for catching the math mistake.

CDu, I guess my main point is that things often are not as bad as they may seem. Number 1 seeds don't get it done 100% of the time, so hopefully we are not being held to a standard that others, collectively, do not attain. Hold us, as you note, to the standard that others do collectively achieve -- so maybe some underperformance, but not as bad as feared. On the list of losses since 1997 as a #1 seed, the one that still bugs me, that is unfathomable, that still hurts, is 2002 Indiana. That was not getting it done. All of the others were not unexpected, in my opinion, and not what I would label underperformance.

I would consider the loss last year as underperforming (even though Kelly was out and Lehigh shouldn't have been a #15 seed). I would also consider the losses to West Virginia and Villanova (more the nature of the loss to Villanova) as underperforming. In 2007, I'd consider that loss a slight underperformance, but not a significant one. I wouldn't consider any of the losses from 1998-2004 as underperforming, as in that stretch the team we lost to either made the championship game or won the title. In 2005 and 2006 the teams that beat us made the Final Four. So those losses I'd call examples of being on the wrong end of the standard error when it comes to seeding.

Li_Duke
02-06-2013, 10:44 AM
Fun to look at ... but it needs to be clarified and clearly explained what standard we are being measured against.

One way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: the 1 seed is higher and should win 100% of the time. We only won 44% of the time in that situation since 1997, meaning we are underperforming 66% of the time.

A second way to look at a 1 seed versus a 4/5 seed: thanks the info compiled by Nugget above ("since 1997 on how #1 seeds have done in the Sweet 16 vs. #4 or #5 seeds. ... In those games, the #1 seeds are, collectively 33-11. ... Duke, however, is only 4-5") we see that 1 seeds win 75% of the time in that situation, and lose 25% of the time. Duke is winning 44% of the time, meaning we are underpeforming 31% of the time -- not 66% of the time.

A third way to look at it: there are 347 teams in DI college hoops. A team seeded #1 is the #1-4 out of 347 (top 1%) of the college hoop world. A team seeded #4 or #5 is in the top #13-20 out of 347 (top 4 or 5%). Are we really ever surprised when a top 20 team beats a top 5 team, especially when both teams are playing well recently (having come off at least 2 straight wins), in a 1 and done format? In any competitive format, is it really "underperforming" by the top dog if one entity that is in the top 5% bests an entity that is in the top 1%?

From a statistical point of view, we're kind of cherry picking the data here. This is equivalent to rolling a 6-sided dice every year and then, after looking at the results, using the fact that from 1997 on, in specific circumstances, 4 rolled a disproportionate number of times to support that the dice is weighted.

I wonder what the results of a regression model on all the NCAA tournament data from 1985 on (year NCAA tournament expanded to round of 64) using an indicator variable for Duke and adjusting for seeding would give us (dependent variable being wins in a tournament). That should be a good way of testing an alternative hypothesis of whether Duke under Coach K under-performs in the NCAA tourney relative to its seeding. Without doing the analysis, Coach K has a .767 win percentage; I'm guessing we won't have sufficient evidence to support that statement.

CDu
02-06-2013, 10:49 AM
From a statistical point of view, we're kind of cherry picking the data here. This is equivalent to rolling a 6-sided dice every year and then, after looking at the results, using the fact that from 1997 on, in specific circumstances, 4 rolled a disproportionate number of times to support that the dice is weighted.

I wonder what the results of a regression model on all the NCAA tournament data from 1985 on (year NCAA tournament expanded to round of 64) using an indicator variable for Duke and adjusting for seeding would give us (dependent variable being wins in a tournament). That should be a good way of testing an alternative hypothesis of whether Duke under Coach K under-performs in the NCAA tourney relative to its seeding. Without doing the analysis, Coach K has a .767 win percentage; I'm guessing we won't have sufficient evidence to support that statement.

Sample size certainly is a factor. It is certainly possible that there is a meaningful, systematic trend over the last 15 years. It is also certainly possible that it's simply random variation over a small sample size. Unfortunately, life is a small sample size. So we're often left to make conclusions without sufficient data to gain statistical significance.

Reilly
02-06-2013, 10:58 AM
Li_Duke, I hope you do the analysis you mention. When I posed the question, above, about how similarly-seeded teams have done, I was hoping somebody (a gambler?) would have a link to the data that you might need. I believe I'm with you -- in that I'm not totally sold that Duke is underpeforming based on the fact a 1 has lost to a 4 a couple times, which is the conclusion Forde seems to reach. Or, if it is underperforming, maybe it is not as often, or as bad, as first thought just by looking at the seed number.

Listen to Quants
02-06-2013, 12:25 PM
Sample size certainly is a factor. It is certainly possible that there is a meaningful, systematic trend over the last 15 years. It is also certainly possible that it's simply random variation over a small sample size. Unfortunately, life is a small sample size. So we're often left to make conclusions without sufficient data to gain statistical significance.

Indeed, sample size is important. That is why the regression model suggested by Li_Duke is valuable. It would use all the data available and given the large number of NCAA games Duke has played since 85 the model has some power. Other than this model, an analysis that selects one or another subset of data *AFTER THE FACT ... WHEN WE KNOW HOW THAT DATA COME OUT* is cherry picking (in this case perhaps sour cherry picking). Pick and examine cherries all you like. Probably not a good idea though to try for any statistical conclusions.

CDu
02-06-2013, 12:54 PM
Indeed, sample size is important. That is why the regression model suggested by Li_Duke is valuable. It would use all the data available and given the large number of NCAA games Duke has played since 85 the model has some power. Other than this model, an analysis that selects one or another subset of data *AFTER THE FACT ... WHEN WE KNOW HOW THAT DATA COME OUT* is cherry picking (in this case perhaps sour cherry picking). Pick and examine cherries all you like. Probably not a good idea though to try for any statistical conclusions.

Not necessarily true. There could be any number of reasons why it isn't cherry picking. You just have to have a sound theory for why you pick a different sample than the whole sample. If you have a reason to believe that, post-1994, there is a systematic reason for Duke's change in performance, it is completely justified to look at the smaller sample. Now, if you're just going back and taking numbers out of thin air, then yes, it's cherry-picking.

But here are some examples of arguments (I'm not saying any of them are correct or incorrect) that could be justifiable reasons to select a subset of the 64+ team tournament era rather than the whole era:
- Post Coach K's hiatus for back troubles
- Introduction of the early-entry era
- Increase in physicality of the game with less stringent application of the rules
- Increase in television exposure
- Rise in prominence of the AAU circuit and "handlers" like Worldwide Wes

Li_Duke
02-06-2013, 01:55 PM
Li_Duke, I hope you do the analysis you mention. When I posed the question, above, about how similarly-seeded teams have done, I was hoping somebody (a gambler?) would have a link to the data that you might need. I believe I'm with you -- in that I'm not totally sold that Duke is underpeforming based on the fact a 1 has lost to a 4 a couple times, which is the conclusion Forde seems to reach. Or, if it is underperforming, maybe it is not as often, or as bad, as first thought just by looking at the seed number.

The Washington Post has historic brackets going back to 1985, so I should be able to do this. The most time consuming part for me will be setting up a database as I'll have to write a program to read these brackets and organize the tournament results in text format (if anyone knows where I can find such a database in text format, that would be awesome).

tendev
02-06-2013, 04:52 PM
I think both Forde's point, and the comments in response, are valid.

We've certainly had more consistently excellent regular seasons than anyone over the past 25 years. And the high seeds we've earned the past 15 years with staggering consistency, especially when compared with expectations for some of those seasons that others have noted, is a huge testament to our performing above expectation during the regular season. And yes, everyone on balance loses some tournament games they "should" win based on expected seeds.

But, having said all of that, Forde's kind of got a point -- we have underformed relative to our seeding (in some cases dramatically) the last 17 years.

One reason why it seems so noticeable is that Duke significantly over-performed vs. our seeding during Coach K's 1st great run from 1986-1996. In those 9 seasons, we equaled or exceeded our expected performance to seed 8 times, including taking out a #1 seed 6 times (Kansas in 86, Temple in 88, Georgetown in 89, U.Conn in 90, UNLV in 91, and Purdue in 94).

The only year we did not perform to seed was in 1993, with the bizarre upset loss to Cal in the 2nd round, attributable in large measure to Grant’s having missed most of the last 3 weeks of the season due to a toe injury (coming back right before the ACC tournament, but obviously not a full strength) and Cherokee Parks being knocked out during the Cal game.

In the last 17 years, however, there are only 5 times where we equaled or exceeded expected performance, or made the Final Four (I'm not counting losing to U.Conn in in the 2004 Final Four as "underperforming" just because they were a #2 seed): 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, and 2003 (loss to #2 Kansas as #3 seed).

3 times we lost to team seeded 1 spot ahead of us, which is basically a wash: 1996 (#9 Eastern Mich), 1998 (#2 Kentucky), 2009 (#3 Villanova)

But, that leaves 9 times in 17 years (and 8 of the last 13) where we significantly underperformed relative to our seed, including several very embarrassing losses:
1997: Lost as #2 seed to #10 Providence (2nd round)
2000: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Florida (Sweet 16)
2002: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Indiana (Sweet 16)
2005: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Michigan St. (Sweet 16)
2006: Lost as #1 seed to #4 LSU (Sweet 16)
2007: Lost as #6 seed to #11 VCU (1st round)
2008: Lost as #2 seed to #7 West Virginia (2nd round), after beating #15 Belmont by 1 point.
2011: Lost as #1 seed to #5 Arizona (Sweet 16)
2012: Lost as #2 seed to #15 Lehigh (1st round).

And, a compared to the slew of #1 seeds we beat in the 1986-1994 tournaments, over the last 17 years we’ve beaten a total of one #1 seed (Michigan St., 1999), and had several very good wins as a #1 seed against strong #2 or #3 seeds (Arizona and Maryland, 2001; West Virginia and Baylor, 2010). That just doesn't look as great when balanced against our absurd 1986-1994 streak.

It is like love. It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Why would anyone prefer a mediocre season that leads to lower seed and therefore avoids an "embarrassing" loss to a high seed that accurately reflects your "body of work"(I HATE THAT PHRASE) but leaves you with the prospect of underperforming unless you get to the freaking Final Four or Elite Eight. The assessment that we underperformed is a joke in a sport with a year end one and done tournament.

freshmanjs
02-06-2013, 05:06 PM
It is like love. It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Why would anyone prefer a mediocre season that leads to lower seed and therefore avoids an "embarrassing" loss to a high seed that accurately reflects your "body of work"(I HATE THAT PHRASE) but leaves you with the prospect of underperforming unless you get to the freaking Final Four or Elite Eight. The assessment that we underperformed is a joke in a sport with a year end one and done tournament.

no one is suggesting it would be better to have a mediocre season or a lower seed. nor is anyone suggesting anything about embarrassment.

assessing performance of Duke as a high seed relative to performance of other high seeds is not a "joke."

dcdevil2009
02-06-2013, 07:31 PM
But here are some examples of arguments (I'm not saying any of them are correct or incorrect) that could be justifiable reasons to select a subset of the 64+ team tournament era rather than the whole era:
- Post Coach K's hiatus for back troubles
- Introduction of the early-entry era
- Increase in physicality of the game with less stringent application of the rules
- Increase in television exposure
- Rise in prominence of the AAU circuit and "handlers" like Worldwide Wes

I think the one and done era is a big factor in Duke's perceived underperformance. Duke has consistently gotten to its peak earlier than one and done heavy teams with early season losses that hurt their tournament seeding. Instead of looking at performance relative to seeing, which is based (admittedly with more weight given to recent performance) on a full season's body of work, I'd be curious to see how Duke has performed relative to Vegas' expectations, which I believe are a better reflection of present expectations. For example, Duke was a higher seed against UConn, but a 3 or 4 point underdog. While we've probably still lost more games as favorites than won as underdogs, adjusting for the odds Duke might still have outperformed expectations.

cptnflash
02-06-2013, 08:58 PM
Ignore Forde completely when it comes to Duke. He's still upset about Laettner's game winner against his beloved Wildcats in '92.

Nugget
02-06-2013, 09:30 PM
Why would anyone prefer a mediocre season that leads to lower seed and therefore avoids an "embarrassing" loss to a high seed that accurately reflects your "body of work"(I HATE THAT PHRASE) but leaves you with the prospect of underperforming unless you get to the freaking Final Four or Elite Eight. The assessment that we underperformed is a joke in a sport with a year end one and done tournament.

My word choice of "embarassing" was definitely a poor one. I was responding to Forde's comment that Duke had an inordinate number of "flameouts" or "shocking upsets" in the tournament, and examining whether that is an objectively reasonable comment, not making a value judgment as to whether I personally believed we under or overperformed in a given tournament.

I think both of Forde's words accurately characterize how the college basketball world at large (*again, not me personally*) perceived our losses as a #1 seed in the Sweet 16s to Indiana, Michigan St., LSU and Arizona and, to a lesser extent, Florida in 2000.

To respond to someone who asked about what happened to similarly situated teams all the way back to when the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, I pulled the results from those brackets too (the ones from 1985-1996 are listed below, in addition to one of the post above that had 1997-2012).

All told, since expansion, #1 seeds playing 4 or 5 seeds in the Sweet 16 are 55-21 (72%).

Excluding Duke, all the remaining similarly situated 1 seeds are 50-16 (76%), which I imagine is a fairly decent sample size.

Duke is 5-5 in those games as a 1 seed.

North Carolina is 8-0 in those situations. Kentucky is 7-0.



1985: Okla d. #5 La. Tech
Georgetown d. #4 Loyola

1986: Kentucky d. #5 Alabama
Kansas d. #5 Mich St.

1987: Georgetown d. #5 Kansas
N. Carolina d. #5 Notre Dame
Indiana d. #5 Duke

1988: Oklahoma d. #5 Louisville
Arizona d. #5 Iowa
#4 Kansas St. d Purdue

1989: Illinois d. #4 Louisville
Georgetown d. #5 NC St.
#4 UNLV d. Arizona
#5 Virginia d. Oklahoma

1990: U.Conn d. #5 Clemson
#4 Georgia Tech d. Mich St.

1991: UNLV d. #4 Utah
Arkansas d. #4 Alabama
#4 St. John’s d. Ohio St.

1992: Duke d. #4 Seton Hall
Ohio St. d. #4 N. Carolina

1993: N. Carolina d. #4 Arkansas
Indiana d. #4 Louisville
Kentucky d. #5 Wake Forest

1994: Purdue d. #4 Kansas
Missouri d. #4 Syracuse

1995: Kentucky d. #5 Arizona St.
UCLA d. #5 Miss St.
#4 Okla St. d. Wake Forest
#4 Virginia d. Kansas

1996: Kentucky d. #4 Utah
#5 Miss St. d. U.Conn

Kedsy
02-06-2013, 09:49 PM
Excluding Duke, all the remaining similarly situated 1 seeds are 50-16 (76%), which I imagine is a fairly decent sample size.

Duke is 5-5 in those games as a 1 seed.

Well, 66 games might be a fairly decent sample size (I'm not sure, I'm not a statistician), but 10 games (Duke's total) sure isn't.

sagegrouse
02-06-2013, 11:07 PM
Duke is 5-5 in those games as a 1 seed.

All told, since expansion, #1 seeds playing 4 or 5 seeds in the Sweet 16 are 55-21 (72%).

Excluding Duke, all the remaining similarly situated 1 seeds are 50-16 (76%), which I imagine is a fairly decent sample size.

Duke is 5-5 in those games as a 1 seed.

North Carolina is 8-0 in those situations. Kentucky is 7-0.




Well, isn't Duke 7-5 as a #1 seed in the Sweet Sixteens since the NCAA's expanded to 64 teams (or more)?.

But my concerns, Nugget, are elsewhere. Your tests are so narrow as to be almost meaningless.

(1) There is no reason, for instance, in evaluating Duke's Sweet Sixteen performance to limit it to just #1 seeds. For instance, Duke is 4-1 over the same period as a #2.

(2) And what's so magical about Sweet Sixteen performance, unless one is only looking to put Duke in a bad light. Duke's record since 1985 in regional finals, for example, is without parallel -- 11-1. Who can compete with that?

(3) Duke is also 12-7 in the very difficult Final Four games, and 4-4 in NC matches.

(4) Since expansion, Duke is 42-6 in subregional games; surely a very good record. Duke is also 23-8 in regional games -- not a bad record for anyone.

sagegrouse

sporthenry
02-06-2013, 11:42 PM
Well, isn't Duke 7-5 as a #1 seed in the Sweet Sixteens since the NCAA's expanded to 64 teams (or more)?.

But my concerns, Nugget, are elsewhere. Your tests are so narrow as to be almost meaningless.

(1) There is no reason, for instance, in evaluating Duke's Sweet Sixteen performance to limit it to just #1 seeds. For instance, Duke is 4-1 over the same period as a #2.

(2) And what's so magical about Sweet Sixteen performance, unless one is only looking to put Duke in a bad light. Duke's record since 1985 in regional finals, for example, is without parallel -- 11-1. Who can compete with that?


UNC is 9-6 in regional finals since 1985. Similarly, UK is 6-7. So I guess getting to the E8 really makes the season successful?

I also agree about the relatively meaningless point behind limiting it to 1 seeds. Just because K is a great coach and is able to navigate the regular season better than others doesn't mean we should somehow penalize him for being a #1 seed.

darthur
02-07-2013, 12:06 AM
Well, isn't Duke 7-5 as a #1 seed in the Sweet Sixteens since the NCAA's expanded to 64 teams (or more)?.

But my concerns, Nugget, are elsewhere. Your tests are so narrow as to be almost meaningless.

(1) There is no reason, for instance, in evaluating Duke's Sweet Sixteen performance to limit it to just #1 seeds. For instance, Duke is 4-1 over the same period as a #2.

(2) And what's so magical about Sweet Sixteen performance, unless one is only looking to put Duke in a bad light. Duke's record since 1985 in regional finals, for example, is without parallel -- 11-1. Who can compete with that?

(3) Duke is also 12-7 in the very difficult Final Four games, and 4-4 in NC matches.

(4) Since expansion, Duke is 42-6 in subregional games; surely a very good record. Duke is also 23-8 in regional games -- not a bad record for anyone.

sagegrouse

As a math guy, I'd argue that there is a simple and fair way to measure tourney performance relative to seeding. Find out the average number of games won by each possible seed over the last 20 years. Then find out many wins Duke averages at each seed position, and compare. I saw this analysis somewhere and I think they said #1 seeds won ~3.5 games on average. Duke has been well below this number over the last 20 years.

Of course there are many ways to explain this data - including the possibility that it's just bad luck on a small sample, or that Duke is overperforming in December rather than underperforming in March. As a fan, my take mirrors Pat Forde's exactly though. I love how Duke starts seasons, especially this year where I had no idea they would be this good, but I always expect a bit of a let-down and a weaker finish. Fair? Perhaps not, but it's subconscious and I can't control it :).

Des Esseintes
02-07-2013, 01:10 AM
As a math guy, I'd argue that there is a simple and fair way to measure tourney performance relative to seeding. Find out the average number of games won by each possible seed over the last 20 years. Then find out many wins Duke averages at each seed position, and compare. I saw this analysis somewhere and I think they said #1 seeds won ~3.5 games on average. Duke has been well below this number over the last 20 years.


20 years is kind of an arbitrary number, especially since if we made it a similarly round 25, Duke would get to include five straight years of MASSIVE overperformance. I've thought for a long time that if Duke has gone out a little early on average of late, a big part of that is just reversion to the mean. I don't care how good the coach of a team is, you aren't supposed to win as overwhelmingly in a single elimination tournament as Duke did during that late 80s/early 90s run. Luck played a role there--as did having fantastic teams and great coaching, of course--and luck usually evens out over the long haul. Which also makes me (perhaps childishly) hopeful that we're due for a few lucky tournament bounces in the near future.

ice-9
02-07-2013, 03:34 AM
Guys...a lot of the statements being thrown around here aren't mutually exclusive. Yes, Duke can look really good if you use this data and these variables. And yes, Duke can look not so great if you use others. What is the objective of the discussion here?

If it's to say that Ford's statements about Duke are understandable...yes, they are understandable.

If it's to reiterate that Duke is a top college bball program...yes, we are a top college bball program.

If it's to show that for a stretch Duke hasn't performed to seed...yes, we haven't performed to seed in that specific stretch.

If it's to posit that we've been overseeded in some years...yes, we probably were in some years.

All those statements can be true.

Reilly
02-07-2013, 07:07 AM
... I don't care how good the coach of a team is, you aren't supposed to win as overwhelmingly in a single elimination tournament ....

I'm amazed at K's record when both Duke and the opponent are ranked in the AP top 5. I'd think such games are essentially toss-up games, and I forget the number, but Duke has won *way* more than 50% of those.

Monmouth77
02-07-2013, 09:06 AM
Just because K is a great coach and is able to navigate the regular season better than others doesn't mean we should somehow penalize him for being a #1 seed.

This is the key point, and the one I was trying to make back in post #6. There have been seasons-- 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012 for example -- where Duke was seeded #1 or #2, but were not quite the same strength #1 or #2 as we have been in other seasons.

The example I like to think of (which I mentioned in post #6) is the difference between our #1 seed in '04 and our #1 seed in '05. Both were richly deserved on the basis of regular season performance.

In 2004 we won the ACC regular season and swept a very good Carolina team and lost something of an upset in the ACCT Finals against Maryland. We were seeded #1 and made the Final Four (after a nail biter against Xavier in the E8). That team had NBA All-Star Luol Deng, along with Redick and Shelden and Ewing and Duhon -- all of them NBA players now or in the past. It also had reasonably good depth, balanced scoring , and featured two quality post defenders with shotblocking ability.

The next season, sans Deng and Duhon, the team was really good but not quite great, depended a lot more on Redick's hot shooting, and earned its #1 seed on the strength of some gutty wins against the Chris Paul Wake team, the Carolina Championship team, and the Julius Hodge State team. It was a great year for the conference and we won the ACC Tournament-- hence the 1 seed. But you could see that the #1 seed was not quite as strong as the previous year's #1 seed. Kenpom had us as the #3 team that year, which sounds pretty good, until you realize that the Michigan State team we lost to in the Round of 16 was #7-- which is more like the kind of match up you'd see in the Final Four.

I guess my point is, there is a lot more granularity here than a rough statistical analysis based on a small sample will reveal. Part of it is that not all #1 and #2 seeds are created equal (even if they come by their seeds honestly through big regular season wins) and not all #1-#5 or #2-#7 matchups are created equal.

And that doesn't even get to stuff like injuries. Do we beat Lehigh with Ryan Kelly? I think so.

COYS
02-07-2013, 10:19 AM
UNC is 9-6 in regional finals since 1985. Similarly, UK is 6-7. So I guess getting to the E8 really makes the season successful?

I also agree about the relatively meaningless point behind limiting it to 1 seeds. Just because K is a great coach and is able to navigate the regular season better than others doesn't mean we should somehow penalize him for being a #1 seed.

I'm surprised it took someone this long to point this out. Ok, for whatever reason (and it really might be mostly luck), Duke has done worse than these to programs in the Sweet Sixteen. However, Duke would be undefeated in regional finals under K if it weren't for a 17 point comeback by UK in 1998 . . . that's 11-1. That's far out performing our seed.

I really do look at this as mostly statistical noise. Duke was insanely dominant in the tournament from 86-94. Duke has come down to earth a little bit from 97-present. Hard to get upset with three final fours and two national titles during the "down to earth" era.

Billy Dat
02-07-2013, 10:36 AM
Perhaps there's an added wrinkle that is harder to quantify but may be part of the trend, if there even is a trend.

On the twice-weekly ESPN College Basketball podcast featuring Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg, they recently interviewed Gonzaga HC Mark Few. Few was discussing the reality of being every WCC team's Superbowl because of the stature of the Gonzaga program and the potential for the win to improve the opponents at-large NCAA chances. Few said it takes a huge toll on the players emotions to "get up" that high for every game. Greenberg correctly pointed out that his teams never had to play that role, but that he respected the burden that it placed on teams like Gonzaga and Duke. He said that it was very hard to play that way and not end the year emotionally spent.

When do we think the full impact of Duke being every other team's Super Bowl, especially the level of hostility and anger from opposing fan bases and even casual fans, really took hold? K always says that the tide turned in 1992, but I think the graduations of Laettner and Hurley, and the dip the program took from 1995-1997, kept things neutral for a while. I feel like the start was the 2001 title team with Billy Packer and Gary Williams, let alone the entire Maryland fanbase, fanning the flames. Then, once JJ arrived, it fully flowered and really hasn't stopped. That kind of dovetails with the perceived NCAA under performance era Forde touts.

Maybe Duke "under performs" in the NCAAs because, since roughly 2001, there are more people then ever focusing their collective negative energy trying to bring about that very outcome. I am not supporting the under-performance claims, which I think have been argued well, both pro and con, in this thread and others - but just adding a piece that I hadn't seen discussed.

Kedsy
02-07-2013, 10:55 AM
As a math guy, I'd argue that there is a simple and fair way to measure tourney performance relative to seeding. Find out the average number of games won by each possible seed over the last 20 years. Then find out many wins Duke averages at each seed position, and compare. I saw this analysis somewhere and I think they said #1 seeds won ~3.5 games on average. Duke has been well below this number over the last 20 years.

Of course there are many ways to explain this data - including the possibility that it's just bad luck on a small sample, or that Duke is overperforming in December rather than underperforming in March. As a fan, my take mirrors Pat Forde's exactly though. I love how Duke starts seasons, especially this year where I had no idea they would be this good, but I always expect a bit of a let-down and a weaker finish. Fair? Perhaps not, but it's subconscious and I can't control it :).

On the other thread that seems to be pretty much the same as this one, bedeviled did a really cool three part analysis.

Part one (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621362#post621362)

Part two (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621363#post621363)

Part three (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621364#post621364)

One of the many interesting things his analysis seemed to show was that a team who has a #1 seed four times should be expected to underperform the seed three times and overperform the seed once. Which is exactly what Duke has done with its last four #1 seeds. Considering the sample size and the great variability in a one-and-done format, I continue to feel the theme of our recent NCAAT underperformance is way overplayed.

_Gary
02-07-2013, 11:01 AM
Perhaps there's an added wrinkle that is harder to quantify but may be part of the trend, if there even is a trend.

On the twice-weekly ESPN College Basketball podcast featuring Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg, they recently interviewed Gonzaga HC Mark Few. Few was discussing the reality of being every WCC team's Superbowl because of the stature of the Gonzaga program and the potential for the win to improve the opponents at-large NCAA chances. Few said it takes a huge toll on the players emotions to "get up" that high for every game. Greenberg correctly pointed out that his teams never had to play that role, but that he respected the burden that it placed on teams like Gonzaga and Duke. He said that it was very hard to play that way and not end the year emotionally spent.

When do we think the full impact of Duke being every other team's Super Bowl, especially the level of hostility and anger from opposing fan bases and even casual fans, really took hold? K always says that the tide turned in 1992, but I think the graduations of Laettner and Hurley, and the dip the program took from 1995-1997, kept things neutral for a while. I feel like the start was the 2001 title team with Billy Packer and Gary Williams, let alone the entire Maryland fanbase, fanning the flames. Then, once JJ arrived, it fully flowered and really hasn't stopped. That kind of dovetails with the perceived NCAA under performance era Forde touts.

Maybe Duke "under performs" in the NCAAs because, since roughly 2001, there are more people then ever focusing their collective negative energy trying to bring about that very outcome. I am not supporting the under-performance claims, which I think have been argued well, both pro and con, in this thread and others - but just adding a piece that I hadn't seen discussed.

Billy, I completely agree with you that 2001 was the start of what you are talking about. And anyone that lightly dismisses such things simply hasn't dealt with the experience of being the "target" all the time. It does take a toll, especially on the emotional level. And anything that takes a toll on someone emotionally will eventually also take a toll on them physically. Yes, I get it that we are talking about 18-22 year old young men. But nevertheless, I've heard Coach K reference this before and it's been a much more prominent issue since the entire Billy Packer Final Four in '01. No doubt about it in my mind. But that's just my two cents.

freshmanjs
02-07-2013, 11:04 AM
On the other thread that seems to be pretty much the same as this one, bedeviled did a really cool three part analysis.

Part one (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621362#post621362)

Part two (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621363#post621363)

Part three (http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?30309-Let-s-Face-It-We-are-the-Kings-of-November-and-December&p=621364#post621364)

One of the many interesting things his analysis seemed to show was that a team who has a #1 seed four times should be expected to underperform the seed three times and overperform the seed once. Which is exactly what Duke has done with its last four #1 seeds. Considering the sample size and the great variability in a one-and-done format, I continue to feel the theme of our recent NCAAT underperformance is way overplayed.

another way to look at this. #1 seeds historically reach the final 4 about 40% of the time. bedevilled ran this for the period since 2005 and it was 37% or so. i previously looked at for earlier period and it was about 44%.

duke has been a #1 seed 12 times under coach K and reached the final 4 6 times in those years. 50%. that is above normal. even in the last 5 trips a as a #1 (04,05,06,10,11), duke has made it twice or 40%. so either way inline with typical results for #1 seeds and above if you include K's entire tenure.

the differences emerge in the seasons where duke has been a #1 seed and not made it to the final 4. in those years, the losses have been on the earlier side, a few times in the sw16. randomness, a dunleavy illness, an underseeded msu team, etc make it hard to tell what that means, if anything.

rsvman
02-07-2013, 11:08 AM
I think that it means nothing. I think it's statistical abberration. I think it's a perception, not a reality.

In light of last night's Kansas loss to lowly TCU, and given that the NCAA tournament is a one-and-done proposition, I don't think anybody could reasonably make anything out of it.

I guess it's just human nature to connect dots into shapes, and to draw conclusions from inconclusive evidence.

freshmanjs
02-07-2013, 11:12 AM
I think that it means nothing. I think it's statistical abberration. I think it's a perception, not a reality.

In light of last night's Kansas loss to lowly TCU, and given that the NCAA tournament is a one-and-done proposition, I don't think anybody could reasonably make anything out of it.

I guess it's just human nature to connect dots into shapes, and to draw conclusions from inconclusive evidence.

i don't disagree. but by that logic, championships dont mean anything either.

sagegrouse
02-07-2013, 11:25 AM
another way to look at this. #1 seeds historically reach the final 4 about 40% of the time. bedevilled ran this for the period since 2005 and it was 37% or so. i previously looked at for earlier period and it was about 44%.

duke has been a #1 seed 12 times under coach K and reached the final 4 6 times in those years. 50%. that is above normal. even in the last 5 trips a as a #1 (04,05,06,10,11), duke has made it twice or 40%. so either way inline with typical results for #1 seeds and above if you include K's entire tenure.

the differences emerge in the seasons where duke has been a #1 seed and not made it to the final 4. in those years, the losses have been on the earlier side, a few times in the sw16. randomness, a dunleavy illness, an underseeded msu team, etc make it hard to tell what that means, if anything.

I agree with you, fjs. Here are some further thoughts.

There have been a hundred thousand words written about Duke's problems at the Sweet Sixteen. There have been many fewer words written about Duke's phenomenal success at the Elite Eight. Fact is, both are anomalies. Sportswriters have a hole to fill and frequently will jump into such topics, especially the Sweet Sixteen losses.

It ain't good statistics (or good grammar) if you start from an anomalous set of results and then try to establish that the results are statistically significant. In technical terms, which I used to know something about, it has to do with the "power of the test." One is prone to have false positives IIRC.

I think it is wrong to "test" Sweet Sixteen significance without, at the minimum, including the Elite Eight results. Duke's record, as any seed, is 23-9 in the NCAA regionals since 1985. In fact, the best approach is to look at the whole NCAA tournament and evaluate a team's success (in absolute terms or versus seeding). That way, you are not reasoning from results, or anomalies. The overall results since 1985 are 77-23, which is winning 77 percent of games.

Now, if there is something systematic that suggests a hypothesis for a particular part of the NCAA bracket, then it's OK to delve into it. The only differences I can find between the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight is the greater preparation time for both teams in the round of 16 vs. round of eight and the presumption that the round of eight has significantly better teams. I don't see such differences foretelling radically different results. Therefore, the apparent 16 failures and the 8 successes are anomalies.

sagegrouse

Kedsy
02-07-2013, 11:35 AM
i don't disagree. but by that logic, championships dont mean anything either.

Well, championships clearly don't mean you have the best team (e.g., UConn 2011, Kansas 1988, Villanova 1985, NC State 1983, etc.), but they certainly mean something. All achievements mean something.

In my mind the issue has to do with defining success and failure. If the only "success" is winning a championship or overperforming a seed in a one-and-done tournament, and everything else is "failure," then it's easy to develop a skewed look at the world. Coach K strives each season to put together a team with the potential to win the championship and/or overperform, but it would be foolish of we fans to expect that potential to turn into reality every year or even on a regular basis. In my opinion, a more healthy way to look at it is as a continuum. We set several goals before the season and the more of those goals we meet the more successful we've been. The only failure would be if the team is completely overwhelmed or stopped trying. That may sound too touchy-feely for some people here, but quite frankly we're talking about a game played by kids.

vick
02-07-2013, 11:40 AM
i don't disagree. but by that logic, championships dont mean anything either.

I think there's a pretty powerful case to be made that the emphasis American sports fans put on tournaments, and especially single-elimination tournaments, is not desirable. If you take another sport where there is a large degree of 'chance,' soccer, leagues generally deem the team with the best record in a double-round-robin format to be the 'champion,' which in all honesty probably makes the most sense if your goal is to actually identify the best team, as opposed to having the creation of entertainment as your goal. This isn't practical with something like 350 college basketball teams, and entertainment is valuable in its own right, so I wouldn't propose abolishing the tournament or anything, but I think it's actually pretty sad when people don't seem to enjoy 27-6 seasons because of what happens one night in late March.

rsvman
02-07-2013, 11:49 AM
i don't disagree. but by that logic, championships dont mean anything either.

Well, kind of, but the difference is that with a championship an event occurred 6 times in a row, whereas with a first-round loss an event only occurred once.

But I do think that even the championship depends to a certain extent on luck. Look at the TarHeels championship in 2005. But for a bad no-call in the waning moments, they would've lost to Villanova that year. Look at Butler's remarkable back-to-back runs to the championship game. Everybody remembers that. But who remembers that Butler was one tipped shot away from losing in the very first round to lowly Old Dominion? Imagine that the tip didn't fall. ODU moves on and Butler goes home. All the talk about Brad Stevens and Butler changes dramatically. They'd be the team that made the final game and almost won it all in 2010 but couldn't even get out of the first round in 2011. They'd be "underachievers."

In short, I think Vick makes an excellent point. I also agree with Kedsy that there were many teams in 2011 who were "better" than UConn. The tournament doesn't crown the best team in college basketball; it crowns the team that won the tournament.

freshmanjs
02-07-2013, 01:14 PM
Well, championships clearly don't mean you have the best team (e.g., UConn 2011, Kansas 1988, Villanova 1985, NC State 1983, etc.), but they certainly mean something. All achievements mean something.

In my mind the issue has to do with defining success and failure. If the only "success" is winning a championship or overperforming a seed in a one-and-done tournament, and everything else is "failure," then it's easy to develop a skewed look at the world. Coach K strives each season to put together a team with the potential to win the championship and/or overperform, but it would be foolish of we fans to expect that potential to turn into reality every year or even on a regular basis. In my opinion, a more healthy way to look at it is as a continuum. We set several goals before the season and the more of those goals we meet the more successful we've been. The only failure would be if the team is completely overwhelmed or stopped trying. That may sound too touchy-feely for some people here, but quite frankly we're talking about a game played by kids.

i certainly wouldn't argue that a season like 2006 was a failure. for me, it was one of the most fun seasons ever - largely because of jj's dominant performance throughout the year. i don't at all subscribe to the view that ncaa-t victory is success and everything else is failure.

still, i do think it's interesting to examine ncaa-t performance. it is a big event and, for better or worse, is the defining event of the sport.

Listen to Quants
02-07-2013, 01:43 PM
Not necessarily true. There could be any number of reasons why it isn't cherry picking. You just have to have a sound theory for why you pick a different sample than the whole sample. If you have a reason to believe that, post-1994, there is a systematic reason for Duke's change in performance, it is completely justified to look at the smaller sample. Now, if you're just going back and taking numbers out of thin air, then yes, it's cherry-picking.

But here are some examples of arguments (I'm not saying any of them are correct or incorrect) that could be justifiable reasons to select a subset of the 64+ team tournament era rather than the whole era:
- Post Coach K's hiatus for back troubles
- Introduction of the early-entry era
- Increase in physicality of the game with less stringent application of the rules
- Increase in television exposure
- Rise in prominence of the AAU circuit and "handlers" like Worldwide Wes

Oh, the reasons make sense. The trouble is the human imagination is multiple. One can, post hoc, come up with any number of ways of looking at data. If, say, each of them is terribly unlikely but you do a LOT of them then it is not surprise if one of them comes up 'true.' The statisticians will, I believe, tell you to go into data collection with a firm grasp of the questions you are going to ask *before-looking-at-the-data*. If you data mine you are indeed entering a minefield.

Kedsy
02-07-2013, 02:08 PM
i certainly wouldn't argue that a season like 2006 was a failure. for me, it was one of the most fun seasons ever - largely because of jj's dominant performance throughout the year. i don't at all subscribe to the view that ncaa-t victory is success and everything else is failure.

Well, the funny thing is, I think 2006 is the key to the whole narrative. If we had made the Final Four in 2006, then we'd have Final Four appearances in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2010. We wouldn't have had more than three non-Final Four years in a row; 2005 wouldn't even be in the discussion; 2007 could be easily explained away after losing two first-team All-Americans plus our fifth starter and sixth man; and 2011 and 2012 would seem like the injury-affected performances they were.

And if you buy that (which I do) it shows how fragile the whole viewpoint is. Because in 2006 we only played LSU (instead of 12th seeded Texas A&M) because they managed to hit a half-court heave at the buzzer to beat the Aggies by 1. If that clanks off the iron or sails into the crowd (like it would at least 9 times out of 10 and maybe 99 times out of 100), we easily beat 12th seed Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 and then the only thing between us and the Final Four was the same Texas team we'd beaten by 30+ earlier that season. Sure, we could have lost to Texas, or even Texas A&M, but we probably wouldn't have and then, as I said in the previous paragraph, even with everything else being exactly the same this whole narrative about Duke peaking early and underachieving never gets played out.

freshmanjs
02-07-2013, 02:16 PM
Well, the funny thing is, I think 2006 is the key to the whole narrative. If we had made the Final Four in 2006, then we'd have Final Four appearances in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2010. We wouldn't have had more than three non-Final Four years in a row; 2005 wouldn't even be in the discussion; 2007 could be easily explained away after losing two first-team All-Americans plus our fifth starter and sixth man; and 2011 and 2012 would seem like the injury-affected performances they were.

And if you buy that (which I do) it shows how fragile the whole viewpoint is. Because in 2006 we only played LSU (instead of 12th seeded Texas A&M) because they managed to hit a half-court heave at the buzzer to beat the Aggies by 1. If that clanks off the iron or sails into the crowd (like it would at least 9 times out of 10 and maybe 99 times out of 100), we easily beat 12th seed Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 and then the only thing between us and the Final Four was the same Texas team we'd beaten by 30+ earlier that season. Sure, we could have lost to Texas, or even Texas A&M, but we probably wouldn't have and then, as I said in the previous paragraph, even with everything else being exactly the same this whole narrative about Duke peaking early and underachieving never gets played out.

yes and that 2006 team may well have won it all if they got by LSU. next was a rick barnes texas team that duke owned earlier in the year and then a final 4 with george mason, a ucla team that could not score, and the excellent but young version of the florida back to back team. duke-florida would have been fun to watch...oh well.

Bojangles4Eva
02-07-2013, 03:35 PM
Perhaps there's an added wrinkle that is harder to quantify but may be part of the trend, if there even is a trend.

On the twice-weekly ESPN College Basketball podcast featuring Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg, they recently interviewed Gonzaga HC Mark Few. Few was discussing the reality of being every WCC team's Superbowl because of the stature of the Gonzaga program and the potential for the win to improve the opponents at-large NCAA chances. Few said it takes a huge toll on the players emotions to "get up" that high for every game. Greenberg correctly pointed out that his teams never had to play that role, but that he respected the burden that it placed on teams like Gonzaga and Duke. He said that it was very hard to play that way and not end the year emotionally spent.

When do we think the full impact of Duke being every other team's Super Bowl, especially the level of hostility and anger from opposing fan bases and even casual fans, really took hold? K always says that the tide turned in 1992, but I think the graduations of Laettner and Hurley, and the dip the program took from 1995-1997, kept things neutral for a while. I feel like the start was the 2001 title team with Billy Packer and Gary Williams, let alone the entire Maryland fanbase, fanning the flames. Then, once JJ arrived, it fully flowered and really hasn't stopped. That kind of dovetails with the perceived NCAA under performance era Forde touts.

Maybe Duke "under performs" in the NCAAs because, since roughly 2001, there are more people then ever focusing their collective negative energy trying to bring about that very outcome. I am not supporting the under-performance claims, which I think have been argued well, both pro and con, in this thread and others - but just adding a piece that I hadn't seen discussed.

Totally agree. I think it goes beyond stats, and is more of a "feel" of emotional fatigue I have noticed in recent early exits. Granted injury and other things play a huge role too, but I do think that the constant uber-hype of every game we play (especially away from home) in-conference does take a mental toll. It seems like the "beat duke in NCAAT" playbook in recent years has revolved around taking advantage of this fatigue. I used to remember when teams appeard scared of Duke (in the NCAAT or otherwise), but now it's like everyone just see's red when they play us, and if we can't match that intensity it can easilt result in an "upset".

On the plus side, I think this very process helped mold the '10 team into a national champion. Those guys dealt with that intensity for 3 years, and all of those included less than stellar tourney appearances. By the time February '10 rolled around they were carved out of wood (and Brian emerged)...Without that toughness I don't think we beat Butler in the NC that year.

flyingdutchdevil
02-07-2013, 03:38 PM
Guys...a lot of the statements being thrown around here aren't mutually exclusive. Yes, Duke can look really good if you use this data and these variables. And yes, Duke can look not so great if you use others. What is the objective of the discussion here?

If it's to say that Ford's statements about Duke are understandable...yes, they are understandable.

If it's to reiterate that Duke is a top college bball program...yes, we are a top college bball program.

If it's to show that for a stretch Duke hasn't performed to seed...yes, we haven't performed to seed in that specific stretch.

If it's to posit that we've been overseeded in some years...yes, we probably were in some years.

All those statements can be true.

This is, so far, the post of this thread. One of the reasons that I love DBR is because of the its emphasis on stats, number, hard facts, objective statements, etc (I know they are all essentially the same thing, but you get the point). The truth is, Pat Forde gave stats that cannot be disputed. He said that we lost a lot during and before the Sweet Sixteen in relation to our seed. Is that true in the last 17 years? Yup. He also said that we're had a ton of success, including 2 NCs and 4 FFs. These are objective facts. We cannot merely manipulate the stats to remove the negative and improve the positive. Forde was accurate in his assessment - we will probably get a top 3 seed. We are consistent. And have we "flamed out" a lot in the past? I don't think that you can argue against this either. He is not saying that we will flame out early this year, only that if one were to look at Duke's Sweet Sixteen record, we certainly could.

I have continuously found Forde to be one of the bright spots in college bball analysis, and if that includes a few objective pieces of data / analysis that do not shed positive light on Duke, then so be it. We are what we are: the most consistent basketball team in the last 20 years with a lot of FFs in that time span, but we also have a few blemishes. There isn't a team in sports - both domestic and internationally - that doesn't have a few blemishes.