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rsvman
03-31-2014, 08:49 AM
Now that Kentucky has made it back to the Final Four, I find it fascinating to listen to all the sports talking heads, whether on TV or on the radio, exhibiting an interesting form of selective memory that seems to be the exact converse of another kind of selective memory that they apply to Coach K and to the Duke program.

Let me explain.

Apparently, Kentucky's return to the Final Four has provided absolute proof of concept that assembling a bunch of young, talented, mostly one-and-done players is a surefire recipe for success. This conclusion is based upon the fact that Kentucky won it all with the Anthony Davis team, and now they are in the Final Four with the Julius Randle/Harrison twins team.

This narrative sounds pretty good, except that it completely omits the time when the concept not only failed, but failed spectacularly. Perhaps my memory is faulty, but it seems to me that last year Kentucky not only did not make it to the Final Four, but actually didn't even make it to the tournament. In fact, it seems to me that they went to the NIT and.......wait, the memory is sketchy here.......gosh, if I'm not mistaken, not only did they go to the NIT, but it seems like they lost in the FIRST ROUND! Maybe I'm wrong.

What happens is that the broadcasters just elide that event. They take the first event (the championship) and tie it to the third event (making the Final Four), and the event in between just disappears completely. Sort of the way the mind will take a dotted line in the shape of a circle and see the full circle; we just fill in the blanks between the dots or dashes.


The same thing seems to happen to Duke and Coach K, only in this case it makes the program seem WORSE than it actually is. Event one, the loss to Lehigh. Event two, the Elite 8, just LAST YEAR. Event three, the loss to Mercer. All you have to do is elide the middle event, and the new narrative is that Coach K and Duke do nothing but lose in the first round. You tie events one and three together; you make a circle that doesn't exist. And then it becomes the narrative.

It's amazing, really. I don't think I've heard even one commentator say anything about Kentucky's colossal failure last year, nor anything about Duke's Elite Eight run in last year's NCAA tournament.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 09:18 AM
Now that Kentucky has made it back to the Final Four, I find it fascinating to listen to all the sports talking heads, whether on TV or on the radio, exhibiting an interesting form of selective memory that seems to be the exact converse of another kind of selective memory that they apply to Coach K and to the Duke program.

Let me explain.

Apparently, Kentucky's return to the Final Four has provided absolute proof of concept that assembling a bunch of young, talented, mostly one-and-done players is a surefire recipe for success. This conclusion is based upon the fact that Kentucky won it all with the Anthony Davis team, and now they are in the Final Four with the Julius Randle/Harrison twins team.

This narrative sounds pretty good, except that it completely omits the time when the concept not only failed, but failed spectacularly. Perhaps my memory is faulty, but it seems to me that last year Kentucky not only did not make it to the Final Four, but actually didn't even make it to the tournament. In fact, it seems to me that they went to the NIT and.......wait, the memory is sketchy here.......gosh, if I'm not mistaken, not only did they go to the NIT, but it seems like they lost in the FIRST ROUND! Maybe I'm wrong.

What happens is that the broadcasters just elide that event. They take the first event (the championship) and tie it to the third event (making the Final Four), and the event in between just disappears completely. Sort of the way the mind will take a dotted line in the shape of a circle and see the full circle; we just fill in the blanks between the dots or dashes.


The same thing seems to happen to Duke and Coach K, only in this case it makes the program seem WORSE than it actually is. Event one, the loss to Lehigh. Event two, the Elite 8, just LAST YEAR. Event three, the loss to Mercer. All you have to do is elide the middle event, and the new narrative is that Coach K and Duke do nothing but lose in the first round. You tie events one and three together; you make a circle that doesn't exist. And then it becomes the narrative.

It's amazing, really. I don't think I've heard even one commentator say anything about Kentucky's colossal failure last year, nor anything about Duke's Elite Eight run in last year's NCAA tournament.

Because Kentucky has now gone to the Final Four in 2 of the last 3 years with freshmen laden teams. Add the deep runs in 2010 and 2011 and Calipari has had great success in the tournament with young teams and last year is being looked at as an outlier.

Wander
03-31-2014, 09:19 AM
I don't think it's selective memory in the case of Kentucky. Even if you include the NIT year, Kentucky has been (easily?) the most successful program since Calipari's been there. There's a small sample size issue there so I'm not claiming that Kentucky as a program is better off than Duke or Kansas or whoever nowadays, but in that time frame, they've been the best.

CameronBornAndBred
03-31-2014, 09:23 AM
Well to be fair, our early exits stand out to me a bit better than does Elite Eight run. (But neither stands out as well as 2010!) In our blissful late 80's through the early 2000's (excluding K free 1995), I remember us making yearly long tourney runs, and it's only when I actually look do I realize that we tanked against Eastern Michigan in the first round in '96 and against Providence in the second round in 1997. That's three straight years of us being not so hot, but I had totally forgotten two of them. My guess is the announcers back then forgot too. The overall pattern is remembered far more than the "abnormal" season. Hopefully we are working towards a better overall pattern than we have experienced in the last three years, which is the same length of time we were down in the mid 90's. So in 10 years from now, they will be once again talking about the great runs we had in the "teens". :D

Gthoma2a
03-31-2014, 09:59 AM
While it isn't a "sure-fire" recipe for success, youth isn't a guaranteed back-breaker for a talented team, either. That is what it proves. That, and it proves that there is not a reason, outside of recruiting violations, to refuse a one-and-done that can make your team better than your current 4-year player. We have, usually, one one-and-done every year, but we are still wildly inconsistent ourselves. The thing is that, with their deep runs, they are still probably getting enough return on their strategy to compensate the bad losses. Nobody remembers a regular season loss (unless it is to UNC), but we all remember what happens in the tournament. Even the loss to Robert Morris is only as memorable as our losses to Mercer and Lehigh to most people.

My big take-away from their success is that it should silence those that pretend that Duke getting one-and-done players is going to ruin the program, because a solid 4-year guy who has never been on a winning team is always preferred to the unknown of a player with a high ceiling that will only have a year to get it. If the young guy has the right frame of mind, he could, within a season, surpass the ceiling of that player with lesser skills and a conditioned mentality of accepting a loss as the expected way to end a season. Age doesn't mean you are willing to embrace the moment, but embracing the moment is all that matters in this time of year (want to succeed more than you are afraid to fail).

brevity
03-31-2014, 10:15 AM
I'm pleased that the early responses have been so even-handed.

If we're only looking at the past 3 seasons, I wouldn't fault a person for considering 2013 -- in which Kentucky made the NIT and Duke made the NCAA Elite Eight -- to be the anomaly. Majority rules and all.

Additionally, I don't put too much stock in the fact that Kentucky lost in the NIT first round that year. Sure, it's fun to remember, and certainly worthy of the occasional taunt, but NIT results are ultimately kind of irrelevant. The NIT doesn't determine the best team, or even the team that wants it the most. It determines the team that doesn't want it the least.

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 10:25 AM
As much as I dislike Kentucky and Calipari, I have to admit that they have been pretty solid since he's arrived.

However, since K and other coaches have been more open to accepting one and done players, Cal's recruiting success has waned a bit. I mean, he's lost guys to schools like SMU.

The pendulum will swing the other way eventually on Cal, but he may be long gone to the NBA before that ever happens.

Highlander
03-31-2014, 10:28 AM
I think it reflects the problems with using a single elimination tournament as your sole barometer to success/failure of a team. Prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, UK was seen as a talented team that had underachieved all year. Had they lost to Wichita St. in the second round as predicted, this would have been tied to last year as another example of Calipari underachieving with top flight talent.

Yet they win 3 more games than anticipated, and now Calipari is a genius. And we discount the results of the entire season just because a team got hot at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Calipari is now a better coach than Coach K.

Same is true for Duke. They played well throughout the season despite having a non-traditional lineup. Yet they lost first round to a nobody. So the season is now seen as a complete and utter failure due to the results of that one game. And we discount the results of the entire season just because the team had a bad game at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Coach K now an inferior coach compared to Calipari.

I'm being hyperbolic I know, but I think you get my point.

The NCAA tournament is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you peak at the right time, sometimes you get both. And sometimes you hit a team that plays out of their mind for one night, sometimes you get unlucky, and sometimes you just lay an egg. I think most teams need a little bit of luck to win it all, as at least one game comes down to a 50/50 play that needed to bounce your way. UK has definitely earned their FF, but I just find it amazing that the narratives on UK and Duke have switched so dramatically in the last 2 weeks.

Matches
03-31-2014, 10:29 AM
I think it's fair to point out that UK had a major injury (Noel) at the end of last season too. They probably get in the NCAAs at least if he doesn't get hurt. I realize they underwhelmed even with Noel last year, but then again they underwhelmed right up until the tournament this year too.

Agreed about the media always looking for narratives, and not being particularly intellectually honest about doing so, but UK has, by just about any measure, enjoyed tremendous success under Cal.

LobstersPinchPinch
03-31-2014, 10:48 AM
I think it reflects the problems with using a single elimination tournament as your sole barometer to success/failure of a team. Prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, UK was seen as a talented team that had underachieved all year. Had they lost to Wichita St. in the second round as predicted, this would have been tied to last year as another example of Calipari underachieving with top flight talent.

Yet they win 3 more games than anticipated, and now Calipari is a genius. And we discount the results of the entire season just because a team got hot at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Calipari is now a better coach than Coach K.

Same is true for Duke. They played well throughout the season despite having a non-traditional lineup. Yet they lost first round to a nobody. So the season is now seen as a complete and utter failure due to the results of that one game. And we discount the results of the entire season just because the team had a bad game at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Coach K now an inferior coach compared to Calipari.

I'm being hyperbolic I know, but I think you get my point.

The NCAA tournament is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you peak at the right time, sometimes you get both. And sometimes you hit a team that plays out of their mind for one night, sometimes you get unlucky, and sometimes you just lay an egg. I think most teams need a little bit of luck to win it all, as at least one game comes down to a 50/50 play that needed to bounce your way. UK has definitely earned their FF, but I just find it amazing that the narratives on UK and Duke have switched so dramatically in the last 2 weeks.

I'll take Coach Cal's last 5 years over anyone's. He appears able to win with any team - a very impressive ability to adapt his coaching to the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

I don't care for him personally, but professionally I don't think there's a better coach out there.

rsvman
03-31-2014, 11:02 AM
OK, but then it seems that, in the minds of most people, a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament is somehow a worse outcome than missing the tournament entirely, which I don't think is fair.

This is also a form of selective memory. People definitely notice the presence of unusual things more than they notice the absence of usual things. So of a blue-blood program like Kentucky or UNC misses the tournament entirely, that is not as noticeable as if a blue-blood program loses unexpectedly in the first round. My point is that it is intrinsically better to lose in the first round than it is to miss the tournament entirely; any story/narrative that ignores that basic fact essentially denigrates the entirety of a college basketball regular season in favor of the fickle results of a single game.

Year by year it seems that the collective "we" are valuing the tournament more, or perhaps devaluing the regular season more than we did in the past. It's akin to schools aiming all their teachings at passing standardized tests, as if their is no other value in education. The purpose of the regular season is what? To get a team into the tournament? And it has no other purpose or value?

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 11:07 AM
OK, but then it seems that, in the minds of most people, a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament is somehow a worse outcome than missing the tournament entirely, which I don't think is fair.

This is also a form of selective memory. People definitely notice the presence of unusual things more than they notice the absence of usual things. So of a blue-blood program like Kentucky or UNC misses the tournament entirely, that is not as noticeable as if a blue-blood program loses unexpectedly in the first round. My point is that it is intrinsically better to lose in the first round than it is to miss the tournament entirely; any story/narrative that ignores that basic fact essentially denigrates the entirety of a college basketball regular season in favor of the fickle results of a single game.

Year by year it seems that the collective "we" are valuing the tournament more, or perhaps devaluing the regular season more than we did in the past. It's akin to schools aiming all their teachings at passing standardized tests, as if their is no other value in education. The purpose of the regular season is what? To get a team into the tournament? And it has no other purpose or value?

I don't think that's what anyone is saying.

If you're looking at 3 years, which resume would you take?

First round exit to much lower seed
Elite 8
First round exit to much lower seed

National champs
NIT loss in first round
Final Four

Kentucky has had *one* bad year in the past 9 seasons. No first *weekend* tourny exits, much less first round exits.

2014 - Final Four
2013 - NIT
2012 - NCAA Champs
2011 - Final 4
2010 - Elite 8
2009 - Sw16
2008 - Final 2
2007 - Elite 8
2006 - Elite 8

I dislike them as much as the next guy, but I'd take that tournament performance. Their regular season success has been more hit or miss, but the season is about both wins and losses and tourny recors.

MCFinARL
03-31-2014, 11:13 AM
I'll take Coach Cal's last 5 years over anyone's. He appears able to win with any team - a very impressive ability to adapt his coaching to the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

I don't care for him personally, but professionally I don't think there's a better coach out there.

Obviously, Calipari has had a very strong 5 years. But I don't agree he is "able to win with any team"--he is able to win with any team made up of several future NBA players. It's really his recruiting ability, which is off the charts, that seals the deal, and his coaching ability is good enough not to mess things up. I'm not at all convinced Coach Cal could have, say, done what Jim Larranaga did with last year's Miami team, or with his 2006 George Mason team.

Admittedly, this is sort of a semantic argument--depends on whether you define best coach by results or break it up into the separate parts that go into those results.

rsvman
03-31-2014, 11:15 AM
I don't think that's what anyone is saying.

If you're looking at 3 years, which resume would you take?

First round exit to much lower seed
Elite 8
First round exit to much lower seed

National champs
NIT loss in first round
Final Four

Kentucky has had *one* bad year in the past 9 seasons. No first *weekend* tourny exits, much less first round exits.

2014 - Final Four
2013 - NIT
2012 - NCAA Champs
2011 - Final 4
2010 - Elite 8
2009 - Sw16
2008 - Final 2
2007 - Elite 8
2006 - Elite 8

I dislike them as much as the next guy, but I'd take that tournament performance. Their regular season success has been more hit or miss, but the season is about both wins and losses and tourny recors.

I hear you, but my premise is that an NIT appearance is a WORSE outcome than a first-round exit from the NCAA tournament. Your statement "No first-round tourney exits" just reiterates the bias that I was trying to point out: a first-round tourney exit is widely viewed as a worse outcome than a NCAA tournament no-show. I firmly believe that it is NOT. To believe otherwise either completely defies any rational form of thinking OR totally devalues the entire regular season. I'm not willing to do either.

(Kindly note that it has not been the point of ANY of my posts in this thread to say that Kentucky has a worse resume than Duke over the past X number of seasons, nor to say that I wouldn't trade Kentucky's resume over the past X number of years for ours.)

tbyers11
03-31-2014, 11:17 AM
I don't think that's what anyone is saying.

If you're looking at 3 years, which resume would you take?

First round exit to much lower seed
Elite 8
First round exit to much lower seed

National champs
NIT loss in first round
Final Four

Calipari has had *one* bad year in the past 9 seasons. No first *weekend* tourny exits, much less first round exits.

2014 - Final Four
2013 - NIT
2012 - NCAA Champs
2011 - Final 4
2010 - Elite 8
2009 - Sw16
2008 - Final 2
2007 - Elite 8
2006 - Elite 8

I dislike them as much as the next guy, but I'd take that tournament performance. Their regular season success has been more hit or miss, but the season is about both wins and losses and tourny recors.

I believe you are conflating Calipari (Memphis) and Kentucky from 2006-2009 in your list. Which I think is actually your point. UK went 2nd rd, 2nd rd, 1st rd, No tourney from 2006-2009

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 11:22 AM
I hear you, but my premise is that an NIT appearance is a WORSE outcome than a first-round exit from the NCAA tournament. Your statement "No first-round tourney exits" just reiterates the bias that I was trying to point out: a first-round tourney exit is widely viewed as a worse outcome than a NCAA tournament no-show. I firmly believe that it is NOT. To believe otherwise either completely defies any rational form of thinking OR totally devalues the entire regular season. I'm not willing to do either.

(Kindly note that it has not been the point of ANY of my posts in this thread to say that Kentucky has a worse resume than Duke over the past X number of seasons, nor to say that I wouldn't trade Kentucky's resume over the past X number of years for ours.)

I hear you, but I'd still take NIT appearance for a national championship and Elite 8. Losing in the first round of the tourny to a 14 and 15 seed stinks, any way you slice it. When you make the NIT, people just forget about you entirely. The spotlight is effectively off you as soon as the NCAAs start. When you lose in the first round, you get that whole weekend of scrutiny, as well as the week leading up to the next round.

I'm personally in the camp of "the NCAA doesn't really prove much at all unless you win it." Final Fours? Elite 8? They're still falling short of the title. No one really remembers who lost the tourny.

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 11:23 AM
I believe you are conflating Calipari (Memphis) and Kentucky from 2006-2009 in your list. Which I think is actually your point. UK went 2nd rd, 2nd rd, 1st rd, No tourney from 2006-2009

That's correct. My point was that Calipari, regardless of his methods, produces.

I hate the slimeball, but he wins. Personally, I'd take K any day, even with the recent tourny flame outs, because I know K is doing things on the up and up.

Wander
03-31-2014, 11:27 AM
Same is true for Duke. They played well throughout the season despite having a non-traditional lineup. Yet they lost first round to a nobody. So the season is now seen as a complete and utter failure due to the results of that one game. And we discount the results of the entire season just because the team had a bad game at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Coach K now an inferior coach compared to Calipari.


But we didn't have a great regular season either. We didn't win the ACC regular season, didn't win the ACC tournament, didn't sweep our rival, and lost our two biggest non-conference games, including our early season tournament. Taking a broader view, we didn't really improve on our biggest weaknesses - team defense and late game opponent runs - from the beginning of the season. Obviously, going 26-8 isn't by any means awful, and a lot of Division 1 teams would gladly take that record, and we did go undefeated at home which is always something to be proud of, but what results or accomplishments exactly are people discounting? I wouldn't call our season a "complete and utter failure," but I would say it wasn't a great season.

I do agree with your points about it being silly that first round upset losses get remembered as more embarrassing than missing the tournament entirely.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 11:37 AM
Year by year it seems that the collective "we" are valuing the tournament more, or perhaps devaluing the regular season more than we did in the past. It's akin to schools aiming all their teachings at passing standardized tests, as if their is no other value in education. The purpose of the regular season is what? To get a team into the tournament? And it has no other purpose or value?

I completely agree with you. There are so many factors beyond each teams' control that determine whether or not a team goes far in the NCAA tournament, and yet many people tend to look only at NCAAT results to judge a team's season. Ideally, you'd like to have success both during the season and during the post-season, but in my mind it's totally wrong to look only at tournament results.

Kentucky had an OK-to-poor season. They've had a great tournament. These are not the same things.


I think it reflects the problems with using a single elimination tournament as your sole barometer to success/failure of a team. Prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, UK was seen as a talented team that had underachieved all year. Had they lost to Wichita St. in the second round as predicted, this would have been tied to last year as another example of Calipari underachieving with top flight talent.

Yet they win 3 more games than anticipated, and now Calipari is a genius. And we discount the results of the entire season just because a team got hot at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Calipari is now a better coach than Coach K.

Same is true for Duke. They played well throughout the season despite having a non-traditional lineup. Yet they lost first round to a nobody. So the season is now seen as a complete and utter failure due to the results of that one game. And we discount the results of the entire season just because the team had a bad game at the end of the year, and make broad statements about how Coach K now an inferior coach compared to Calipari.

I'm being hyperbolic I know, but I think you get my point.

The NCAA tournament is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you peak at the right time, sometimes you get both. And sometimes you hit a team that plays out of their mind for one night, sometimes you get unlucky, and sometimes you just lay an egg. I think most teams need a little bit of luck to win it all, as at least one game comes down to a 50/50 play that needed to bounce your way. UK has definitely earned their FF, but I just find it amazing that the narratives on UK and Duke have switched so dramatically in the last 2 weeks.

Very well said. Kentucky has won their four games by a total of 15 points. Their biggest win was by 7 over Kansas State. They've won two one-possession games and a third that was a one point game with 14 seconds to play. If people don't think winning three toss-ups in a row doesn't involve a great deal of luck, they're kidding themselves.

My point is not to devalue Kentucky's NCAA tournament performance but instead to point out that when people now talk about what a great season Kentucky has had, they're essentially lauding a series of coin flips after a disappointing first 34 games.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 11:39 AM
But we didn't have a great regular season either. We didn't win the ACC regular season, didn't win the ACC tournament, didn't sweep our rival, and lost our two biggest non-conference games, including our early season tournament. Taking a broader view, we didn't really improve on our biggest weaknesses - team defense and late game opponent runs - from the beginning of the season. Obviously, going 26-8 isn't by any means awful, and a lot of Division 1 teams would gladly take that record, and we did go undefeated at home which is always something to be proud of, but what results or accomplishments exactly are people discounting? I wouldn't call our season a "complete and utter failure," but I would say it wasn't a great season.

I do agree with your points about it being silly that first round upset losses get remembered as more embarrassing than missing the tournament entirely.

I also agree with this. Duke had a somewhat disappointing season, considering all the talent Coach K had assembled. In some ways, we needed a strong NCAAT performance to redeem the disappointing season, just like Kentucky did. The fact that we failed to redeem our disappointing season and Kentucky did redeem itself does mean something. But it doesn't mean everything.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 11:43 AM
I'll take Coach Cal's last 5 years over anyone's. He appears able to win with any team - a very impressive ability to adapt his coaching to the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

I don't care for him personally, but professionally I don't think there's a better coach out there.

Of course you do. It must be the feedback that the AD gives Calipari at the end of every year. Something that, according to you, is lacking at Duke.

Matches
03-31-2014, 11:58 AM
I'm personally in the camp of "the NCAA doesn't really prove much at all unless you win it." Final Fours? Elite 8? They're still falling short of the title. No one really remembers who lost the tourny.

Eh - I don't know about this. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I've often been perfectly happy with our tournament performance in years where we didn't win. Last year's a great example - we had a deep run before losing to the eventual champ. I don't view the NCAAT as a win it all or don't bother proposition.

Also, I bet if you asked some casual bball fans who Florida Gulf Coast is, they'll remember their run in '13 - it's not diminished by the fact that they didn't win it all.

Olympic Fan
03-31-2014, 12:17 PM
Just one point about Kentucky's one-and-done model.

It is obviously working -- even with the 2013 meltdown (and to some degree that was due to Noel's injury).

But it's not like it's a model that everybody can follow. Can you imagine the new Wake Forest coach coming in and saying "Ah ha! I'm not going to build a team ... I'm going to go out and recruit five of the best 15 prospects in the country and every year and we'll win with them"

There are only so many freshmen with the talent to come in and win at that level ... Cal has been able to consistently get the number he needs. But how many more does that leave for the next guy?

I guess it's theoretically possible for two or maybe even three teams a year to get that one-and-done load. If Kansas could have kept Embid healthy to go with Selden and Wiggins, they'd have been close.

Duke has had an increasing number one-and-dones -- Irving, Rivers, probably Parker and likely Okafor next year, but even if we start three freshmen next year (Okafor, Jones, Winslow are possible) that's still a bit short of the Kentucky model.

Cal has assembled a successful system ... give him that. But it's not an easy one to follow.

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 12:19 PM
Just one point about Kentucky's one-and-done model.

It is obviously working -- even with the 2013 meltdown (and to some degree that was due to Noel's injury).

But it's not like it's a model that everybody can follow. Can you imagine the new Wake Forest coach coming in and saying "Ah ha! I'm not going to build a team ... I'm going to go out and recruit five of the best 15 prospects in the country and every year and we'll win with them"

There are only so many freshmen with the talent to come in and win at that level ... Cal has been able to consistently get the number he needs. But how many more does that leave for the next guy?

I guess it's theoretically possible for two or maybe even three teams a year to get that one-and-done load. If Kansas could have kept Embid healthy to go with Selden and Wiggins, they'd have been close.

Duke has had an increasing number one-and-dones -- Irving, Rivers, probably Parker and likely Okafor next year, but even if we start three freshmen next year (Okafor, Jones, Winslow are possible) that's still a bit short of the Kentucky model.

Cal has assembled a successful system ... give him that. But it's not an easy one to follow.

Agreed. And as we're starting to see in the past few years, Cal isn't getting every recruit he wants like he seemingly was early in his model.

The OADs are going to other schools now, as they see the benefit of starring on their own - Zona, Duke, etc.

This will continue to eat into Cal's stable and eventually he'll have to actually start *coaching* and not relying on superior talent to figure it out before the end of the season.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 12:23 PM
This will continue to eat into Cal's stable and eventually he'll have to actually start *coaching* and not relying on superior talent to figure it out before the end of the season.

You're the one who listed his achievements including his Memphis years, right? Do you think he relied on superior talent then? Yeah, he had Derrick Rose that one year, but the rest of those guys weren't particularly highly rated recruits. And he succeeded at UMass, too, with even less talent. Putting aside Cal's seemingly shady recruiting practices (which he reputedly practiced all the way back to Lou Roe at UMass), he does appear to be a pretty good coach.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 12:25 PM
Eh - I don't know about this. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I've often been perfectly happy with our tournament performance in years where we didn't win. Last year's a great example - we had a deep run before losing to the eventual champ. I don't view the NCAAT as a win it all or don't bother proposition.

Also, I bet if you asked some casual bball fans who Florida Gulf Coast is, they'll remember their run in '13 - it's not diminished by the fact that they didn't win it all.

I totally agree with this entire post. If the only thing that mattered was winning the championship, I don't think I'd even bother to watch.

SoCalDukeFan
03-31-2014, 12:30 PM
Just one point about Kentucky's one-and-done model.

It is obviously working -- even with the 2013 meltdown (and to some degree that was due to Noel's injury).

But it's not like it's a model that everybody can follow. Can you imagine the new Wake Forest coach coming in and saying "Ah ha! I'm not going to build a team ... I'm going to go out and recruit five of the best 15 prospects in the country and every year and we'll win with them"

There are only so many freshmen with the talent to come in and win at that level ... Cal has been able to consistently get the number he needs. But how many more does that leave for the next guy?

I guess it's theoretically possible for two or maybe even three teams a year to get that one-and-done load. If Kansas could have kept Embid healthy to go with Selden and Wiggins, they'd have been close.

Duke has had an increasing number one-and-dones -- Irving, Rivers, probably Parker and likely Okafor next year, but even if we start three freshmen next year (Okafor, Jones, Winslow are possible) that's still a bit short of the Kentucky model.

Cal has assembled a successful system ... give him that. But it's not an easy one to follow.

Cal's system is not going to work every year however when it does work it works very well. It depends on getting top talent and also having a system that not overly sophisticated so that frosh can excel in it. I don't think he gets enough credit for figuring out how to maximize the strengths of each team, which is essentially new every year.

There are not that many schools and coaches that can attract the one and dones each and every year. Cal at KY can.

This is the world that the NBA and NCAA have created. Few places to play after high school and no real accountability on academics. I can not fault him for taking advantage of it.

SoCal

Kfanarmy
03-31-2014, 12:42 PM
You're the one who listed his achievements including his Memphis years, right? Do you think he relied on superior talent then? Yeah, he had Derrick Rose that one year, but the rest of those guys weren't particularly highly rated recruits. And he succeeded at UMass, too, with even less talent. Putting aside Cal's seemingly shady recruiting practices (which he reputedly practiced all the way back to Lou Roe at UMass), he does appear to be a pretty good coach. Unfortunately, I have to agree. I don't like it when cheaters win, but it has taken some coaching to get this team where it is.

LobstersPinchPinch
03-31-2014, 12:49 PM
Of course you do. It must be the feedback that the AD gives Calipari at the end of every year. Something that, according to you, is lacking at Duke.

Maybe Calipari is just a damn good recruiter, motivator, and has strategies that better ensure consistent success in the tournament.

kybluedevil
03-31-2014, 12:54 PM
UK has been to THREE final fours in 4 years.
Duke has been to ONE final four in the past decade.[/B][/B]

No question which program is on the decline, and which one is back on top.

Bigger question is what will it take for Duke to get to FINAL FOUR again.

For all the excuses on blaming YOUTH for this team's failures, the bottom line is that Slimy Calimari has won with freshmen at UK.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 12:57 PM
UK has been to THREE final fours in 4 years.
Duke has been to ONE final four in the past decade.[/B][/B]

No question which program is on the decline, and which one is back on top.

Bigger question is what will it take for Duke to get to FINAL FOUR again.

For all the excuses on blaming YOUTH for this team's failures, the bottom line is that Slimy Calimari has won with freshmen at UK.

FACT:

In the last 5 years both schools have 1 national title.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 01:02 PM
Maybe Calipari is just a damn good recruiter, motivator, and has strategies that better ensure consistent success in the tournament.

Maybe. More likely there is no "strateg[y] that better ensure[s] consistent success in the tournament." Kentucky came a whisker away from losing each of his last three games in this tournament (and didn't win the first one by much, either). You think that last shot by Wichita State missed because of some super secret Calipari strategy, or because good shots sometimes miss? If it had gone in instead of missing, would it have made Cal any worse of a coach, or made his strategies any less reliable?

Sometimes people look for connections that simply aren't there. If they look hard enough, though, they're sure they see the connections. But they're probably just deluding themselves.

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 01:17 PM
You're the one who listed his achievements including his Memphis years, right? Do you think he relied on superior talent then? Yeah, he had Derrick Rose that one year, but the rest of those guys weren't particularly highly rated recruits. And he succeeded at UMass, too, with even less talent. Putting aside Cal's seemingly shady recruiting practices (which he reputedly practiced all the way back to Lou Roe at UMass), he does appear to be a pretty good coach.

I did cite his Memphis years. And I still think he was more of a talent collector than a coach.

Cal coached at Memphis for 9 seasons. He was able to collect talent there:

2001 - Dajuan Wagner from Camden (NJ) (#3 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/dajuan-wagner
2003 - Sean Banks (#33 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/sean-banks
2005 - Shawne Williams from Memphis (TN) (#27 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/shawne-williams
2005 - Chris Douglas-Roberts from Detroit (MI) (#41 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/chris-douglas-roberts
2005 - Antonio Anderson from Lynn (MA) (#66 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/antonio-anderson
2007 - Derrick Rose from Chicago (IL) (#5 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/derrick-rose
2008 - Tyreke Evans from Aston (PA) (#3 RSCI) http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/tyreke-evans

Let's take a look at his record at Memphis...

He inherited a Memphis team that had gone 15-16 the previous year and went 21-15. That team featured a sophomore Earl Barron (future NBA big), Kelly Wise and #68 RSCI PG Scooter McFadgon. Went to the NIT.

That very next year, he recruited DeJuan Wagner, the #3 player in the country, out of NJ. How did a 2nd year guy at a Conference USA school end up with the #3 recruit in the country? Oh wait... it's John Calipari.

As a freshman, Wagner averaged 21 ppg. Left for the NBA after one season. Memphis finished 27-9 with an NIT championship.

In 2002-2003, Memphis went 23-7 and lost in the first round of the NCAA. That team featured a senior NBA big Earl Barron and got pretty lucky in finding unranked Rodney Carney, who stayed 4 years and became an NBA quality player - he'd be key in the future Memphis tourny runs.

In 2003-2004, Memphis went 22-8 and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. They were led by #33 freshman Sean Banks (17ppg as a freshman), Rodney Carney, and Antonio Burks (who was not recruited by Cal).

In 2004-2005, Memphis went 22-16 and missed the NCAAs, lost in the NIT, despite returning Sean Banks, Rodney Carney and landing Darius Washington (15.4 ppg, #23 in the nation) and Joey Dorsey (who was another unranked recruit that turned into a NBA big). Only guy they lost was Antonio Burks. You could argue that Memphis underachieved that season.

The next season (2005-2006) is when Cal finally had a worthwhile season. Is it any coincidence that was the year Chris Douglas Roberts and Shawne Williams arrived? Memphis went 33-4 and featured a senior Rodney Carney (17ppg), Joey Dorsey, Shawne Williams (#27), Antonio Anderson (#66), Robert Dozier (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4233718) (#83), CDR (#41)... that was the first "major" recruiting class at Memphis with 4 top 100 players - http://statsheet.com/bhsb/recruiting_class/2005. They made the Elite 8 as the 1 seed.

2006-2007 was more success. Memphis went 33-4 again, but didn't bring in many top recruits. They relied on the guys that stuck around. Made the Elite 8 again as a 1 seed.

2007-2008 was the bread and butter year - that's when he had Derrick Rose *and* senior and junior contributions from Joey Dorsey, CDR, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier. Went 38-2 and lost in the finals. However, two of those players were known later to have some SAT "issues." So, technically, Calipari's best season didn't actually exist. ;)

2008-2009 was another 1 seed, but also another early exit. Lost in the sweet 16. 33-4 record, #3 recruit.

Then Cal bolted before the sketchiness of the OAD model caught up with him.

So in his 9 years at Memphis:

- 3 NIT appearances
- at least 9 top 100 recruits, with 3 top 5 recruits (at a school without much tradition/success at recruiting)
- 1 Final Four/Championship appearance
- Two Elite 8s (as a 1 seed, which can be considered as coming up short)
- One sweet 16 as a 1 seed, which is definitely coming up short
- two first weekend exits in the NCAA

Not a terrible job at Memphis, but when you factor in the vacated wins, shady recruiting tactics, no national championships etc... then I'd call it a wash.

Cal's biggest success at UMass didn't come until Lou Roe and Marcus Camby showed up. But those successes? Poof. Vacated. Before that, yea, he was a decent coach who worked with what he had. But then he learned along the way that you don't win big unless you get the best guys.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 01:19 PM
UK has been to THREE final fours in 4 years.
Duke has been to ONE final four in the past decade.

No question which program is on the decline, and which one is back on top.

Your facts don't show anything about either program's decline or being back anywhere. Not too long ago, Butler went to two straight national championship games. Did that mean the Butler "program" was "on top" while UK had only been to one Final Four in its previous 13 season? In the same four year span you mention, Kentucky lost 9 or more games three times, amassing a record of 116-33 (.779 winning pct). In the final AP polls during that period, UK was ranked #1 once, #15 once, and unranked twice -- the past two years, as a matter of fact. Does that sound like a program that's "on top"?

In comparison, Duke lost 9 or more games just one time, for a record of 115-22 (.839 winning pct). In the final AP poll, Duke has ranked in the top 7 all four years (#2, #5, #6, #7). So why do you think the advance or decline of a program hinges on short-term NCAA tournament success rather than those other facts?

NCAA tournament success is fun and everyone wants to do it, but it doesn't say much if anything about a program. That's especially true given Calipari's system relies so heavily on newcomers each year. He's not really building a program, he's merely fielding a new team every season.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 01:27 PM
Cal's biggest success at UMass didn't come until Lou Roe and Marcus Camby showed up. But those successes? Poof. Vacated. Before that, yea, he was a decent coach who worked with what he had. But then he learned along the way that you don't win big unless you get the best guys.

I think you're confusing shady recruiting tactics with coaching ability. And you also seem to be confusing successful recruiting with a one-and-done strategy. In all his years at Memphis, he had three OADs, right? And by your count, he had 9 top 100 recruits in 9 years. That's nothing, lots of people have done that or way better but haven't been as successful at winning as Calipari was at Memphis or UMass. I mean, Lou Roe and Marcus Camby certainly put UMass on the map, but they weren't top five recruits or anything and they weren't one-and-done. You're not arguing that the only way to show you're a good coach is to win with no talent at all, right? Coach K hasn't had any success without great recruits either.

FerryFor50
03-31-2014, 01:38 PM
I think you're confusing shady recruiting tactics with coaching ability. And you also seem to be confusing successful recruiting with a one-and-done strategy. In all his years at Memphis, he had three OADs, right? And by your count, he had 9 top 100 recruits in 9 years. That's nothing, lots of people have done that or way better but haven't been as successful at winning as Calipari was at Memphis or UMass. I mean, Lou Roe and Marcus Camby certainly put UMass on the map, but they weren't top five recruits or anything and they weren't one-and-done. You're not arguing that the only way to show you're a good coach is to win with no talent at all, right? Coach K hasn't had any success without great recruits either.

Cal's *real* success didn't come until Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Before that, he was on the same level as many mid-major coaches - relatively successful in weaker conferences, little tournament success.

My argument is this: Cal couldn't win meaningful games without elite OADs (no Final Fours at Memphis until Derrick Rose). He couldn't get OADs at Memphis until he started using shady recruiting tactics. Thus, Cal only became an "elite" coach when he started recruiting OAD players, which took a shady and NCAA-violating method. That's what separates him from guys like K, Izzo, etc. He can win, but only after he's done things the "wrong" way.

SoCalDukeFan
03-31-2014, 01:49 PM
FACT:

In the last 5 years both schools have 1 national title.

views his teams in 5 year increments.

SoCal

Saratoga2
03-31-2014, 01:56 PM
Last time I checked, there were 4 teams still in the tournament and all have a reasonable chance of winning. Only UK is going the one and done route while UCONN is going with two point guards and a tough interior defense, Florida seems to be the most complete team while Wisconsin is using its size very well. It is my view that Duke just didn't have the players to compete with this group of 4. Jabari was clearly a star but we were slightly built at center and small forwards and our guards were good but not in the mold of Napier or Wilbekin. Did we fail to develop some of our players? Maybe. Did we fail to recruit a lineup that could compete at this level? Probably. Since our defense was the main culprit, could we have adapted to a pack line or some other method that would have worked better? Doubtful with our roster.

I grudgingly give Calipari his due even though I dislike him and his approach. His teams are very competitive.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 02:25 PM
Cal's *real* success didn't come until Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Before that, he was on the same level as many mid-major coaches - relatively successful in weaker conferences, little tournament success.

My argument is this: Cal couldn't win meaningful games without elite OADs (no Final Fours at Memphis until Derrick Rose). He couldn't get OADs at Memphis until he started using shady recruiting tactics. Thus, Cal only became an "elite" coach when he started recruiting OAD players, which took a shady and NCAA-violating method. That's what separates him from guys like K, Izzo, etc. He can win, but only after he's done things the "wrong" way.

First of all, from what I hear Cal has *always* used shady recruiting tactics, he didn't start doing it with Derrick Rose.

More importantly, in the two years before Derrick Rose came to Memphis, Calipari went 66-8 and made the Elite Eight both years. The idea that he could do that without winning any "meaningful games" is kind of silly.

I understand getting to the Final Four is better than "only" getting to the Elite Eight, but in 2006 he lost in the Elite Eight by 5 points to 2-seed UCLA. In that game, Memphis -- a team that shot over 35% from three-range over the course of the season -- shot 2 for 17 from three-point-land. If Cal's team had shot 4 for 17 (still an awful 23.5%) they might have won the game. In 2007, Memphis got clobbered by a really good Ohio State team in the Elite Eight, but Ohio State only beat a mediocre Tennessee team by a point in the previous round. If Tennessee had pulled the upset and then Memphis had beaten them (which was likely) and gone to the Final Four, would that have made Cal a better coach?

Measuring coaches or teams by Final Fours or even championships without looking at the entire resume is shortsighted.

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 02:36 PM
It is my view that Duke just didn't have the players to compete with this group of 4.

Clearly Duke had some issues with defense, communication, losing focus, etc. But Duke had one of the most talented rosters in the country. In other words, whatever problems we had, "not hav the players to compete" wasn't one of them.


Did we fail to recruit a lineup that could compete at this level? Probably.

You're kidding, right? You think the problem was Duke didn't recruit well enough?

In the four years leading to this season, Duke recruited four (4) top ten classes (according to RSCI) -- that's a top 10 class in every applicable season. In the same four year period, Florida, Connecticut, and Wisconsin [i]combined to bring in one (1) top ten class among them. Please explain to me exactly how Duke didn't recruit well enough?


Since our defense was the main culprit, could we have adapted to a pack line or some other method that would have worked better? Doubtful with our roster.

Why do you think our team would have performed any better implementing the packline than we did implementing Coach K's pressure man-to-man?

LobstersPinchPinch
03-31-2014, 02:48 PM
Maybe. More likely there is no "strateg[y] that better ensure[s] consistent success in the tournament." Kentucky came a whisker away from losing each of his last three games in this tournament (and didn't win the first one by much, either). You think that last shot by Wichita State missed because of some super secret Calipari strategy, or because good shots sometimes miss? If it had gone in instead of missing, would it have made Cal any worse of a coach, or made his strategies any less reliable?

Sometimes people look for connections that simply aren't there. If they look hard enough, though, they're sure they see the connections. But they're probably just deluding themselves.

I think we can all agree that Cal's tournament performance has exceeded K's over the past 10 years. Now I'd bet their regular season winning percentages are very similar.

So if the outlier is post-season, why might that be? Apparently no one on this board believes Cal could possibly be the better coach over that time period (I do). And talent levels are pretty similar. So either K has had just really bad postseason luck (and vice versa for Cal), or there's something about the systems that explains the differences. Unless you have another reason?

jipops
03-31-2014, 02:48 PM
Measuring coaches or teams by Final Fours or even championships without looking at the entire resume is shortsighted.

Yet this is exactly what the sports media clings to this time of year. Probably because it provides such easy and simple consumption. 4+ wins in mid-late March simply resonate more than 25+ wins (or whatever occurred) in Nov-March.

kybluedevil
03-31-2014, 02:57 PM
Yet this is exactly what the sports media clings to this time of year. Probably because it provides such easy and simple consumption. 4+ wins in mid-late March simply resonate more than 25+ wins (or whatever occurred) in Nov-March.

Let's be honest here. It doesn't matter what you do from Nov-Feb. The only time that counts is winning time in MARCH. Growing up among UK fans, I heard umpteen times:
"We don't count Final Fours. We only count Titles"...

As short-sighted as that is, it's really true. To be considered a premiere program, we have to consistently win 3-4 games in the NCAAT. We simply haven't done that in a decade.

kybluedevil
03-31-2014, 03:00 PM
I think we can all agree that Cal's tournament performance has exceeded K's over the past 10 years. Now I'd bet their regular season winning percentages are very similar.

So if the outlier is post-season, why might that be? Apparently no one on this board believes Cal could possibly be the better coach over that time period (I do). And talent levels are pretty similar. So either K has had just really bad postseason luck (and vice versa for Cal), or there's something about the systems that explains the differences. Unless you have another reason?

Agreed. Very good point. No doubt Coach K enjoyed tremendous success earlier in his career. What has happened since then? (Yes, injuries, early exits, etc. But every program has to manage these). How did we go from 7 Final Fours in 9 years..... to 1 Final Four in 10?

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 03:04 PM
I think we can all agree that Cal's tournament performance has exceeded K's over the past 10 years. Now I'd bet their regular season winning percentages are very similar.

So if the outlier is post-season, why might that be? Apparently no one on this board believes Cal could possibly be the better coach over that time period (I do). And talent levels are pretty similar. So either K has had just really bad postseason luck (and vice versa for Cal), or there's something about the systems that explains the differences. Unless you have another reason?

Well, since Cal has been at Kentucky, Duke has had a higher winning percentage than Kentucky (85% for Duke, 81% for UK). Measuring Cal's win/loss record in a mid-major conference the previous five years against Duke's record in the ACC doesn't sound like apples-to-apples. Also, since Cal has been at Kentucky, his final AP rank has been: 2, 15, 1, unranked, unranked, while K's at Duke has been: 4, 5, 6, 2, 7 -- so big advantage to K on that one in my opinion. As for the difference in postseason performance, I will once again state I think you're putting way, way too much stock in NCAA tournament results over a relatively short period -- it's just not even close to enough to make sweeping generalizations like Cal is the better coach or his system is better.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 03:05 PM
I think we can all agree that Cal's tournament performance has exceeded K's over the past 10 years. Now I'd bet their regular season winning percentages are very similar.

So if the outlier is post-season, why might that be? Apparently no one on this board believes Cal could possibly be the better coach over that time period (I do). And talent levels are pretty similar. So either K has had just really bad postseason luck (and vice versa for Cal), or there's something about the systems that explains the differences. Unless you have another reason?

You also think that the game has passed Coach K by, that a failure to reach the Elite Eight next year means all bets are off and that the AD needs to get involved in a program that in the last half decade has won a title and been to the Elite Eight.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 03:09 PM
Agreed. Very good point. No doubt Coach K enjoyed tremendous success earlier in his career. What has happened since then? (Yes, injuries, early exits, etc. But every program has to manage these). How did we go from 7 Final Fours in 9 years..... to 1 Final Four in 10?

Duke has been to the Final Four twice, 04 and 10. There is a reason Duke went from 7 in 9 to 2 in 10 and that is because 7 Final Fours in 9 years is historic and will most likely not be matched.

LobstersPinchPinch
03-31-2014, 04:44 PM
Well, since Cal has been at Kentucky, Duke has had a higher winning percentage than Kentucky (85% for Duke, 81% for UK). Measuring Cal's win/loss record in a mid-major conference the previous five years against Duke's record in the ACC doesn't sound like apples-to-apples. Also, since Cal has been at Kentucky, his final AP rank has been: 2, 15, 1, unranked, unranked, while K's at Duke has been: 4, 5, 6, 2, 7 -- so big advantage to K on that one in my opinion. As for the difference in postseason performance, I will once again state I think you're putting way, way too much stock in NCAA tournament results over a relatively short period -- it's just not even close to enough to make sweeping generalizations like Cal is the better coach or his system is better.

Thanks for the data, it does seem to show that the difference the past 10 years is the postseason. Now I don't have the expertise than you (and many folks on this board) have, but don't you think our approach to O (heavy reliance on 3 pointers) and D (susceptibility to penetration, leading to easier shots) may be part of the issue in the post-season? Doesn't a consistent presence in the post, both on O and D (and which we don't often have), lead to more stable performances? Now why those differences would be magnified in the post-season (teams can better prepare for us? or our legs get tired with more frequent games and we lose our shooting touch?), I don't know.

But you seem to shut that theory down without proposing an alternative other than chance...

Des Esseintes
03-31-2014, 05:21 PM
Thanks for the data, it does seem to show that the difference the past 10 years is the postseason. Now I don't have the expertise than you (and many folks on this board) have, but don't you think our approach to O (heavy reliance on 3 pointers) and D (susceptibility to penetration, leading to easier shots) may be part of the issue in the post-season? Doesn't a consistent presence in the post, both on O and D (and which we don't often have), lead to more stable performances? Now why those differences would be magnified in the post-season (teams can better prepare for us? or our legs get tired with more frequent games and we lose our shooting touch?), I don't know.

But you seem to shut that theory down without proposing an alternative other than chance...

Our defense was bad this year. That definitely contributed to an early ouster, as it did two years ago. But I don't know what you're talking about regarding "consistent post presence." JJ and Shelden's final two years, we had a terrific post presence on O and D, and we got bounced in the Sweet 16 both seasons. The following year, in which McRoberts anchored the team, the Duke team had many faults and went out in Round 1. Thing is, offensive and defensive post presence were not in the top ten things wrong with that team. The following two seasons, 2008 and 2009, we did not have traditional posts, so if they were the only data points, I could see where you were coming from. But in 2010, we won the title, with very little post offense. Zoubek was a mountain on D, and he was great at offensive rebounds and screening, but neither he nor Lance Thomas had any kind of reliable post game. That team was dominant from the perimeter in. (As was our previous title team in 2001, which had the second-highest percentage of points from 3s-taken in Duke history. That team, we should also note, went without Carlos Boozer through the early rounds of the tournament.) The next three years, we had Mason at center. He was criticized for a wooden post game a lot, but he was definitely a consistent presence, especially when you added in Ryan's contributions and, for two of those seasons, his brother Miles's. Last year, no one could say Mason was anything other than a terrific post. And as for this season, our post D was lacking, but Jabari definitely had a strong post game. We took a ton of threes, yes, but OFFENSE WAS NOT THE ISSUE WHAT DID IN THIS DUKE TEAM WAS AN INABILITY TO STOP THE OPPOSITION WE DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE MOST EFFICIENT OFFENSE IN THE COUNTRY WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT THE 100TH MOST EFFICIENT DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY PLEASE PLEASE. Ahem. All of which is to say, Duke has had post presence when we've gone out early, and we've lacked it sometimes when we went deep. It has very little explanatory power regarding Duke's postseason performance.

gus
03-31-2014, 05:28 PM
Thanks for the data, it does seem to show that the difference the past 10 years is the postseason. Now I don't have the expertise than you (and many folks on this board) have, but don't you think our approach to O (heavy reliance on 3 pointers) and D (susceptibility to penetration, leading to easier shots) may be part of the issue in the post-season? Doesn't a consistent presence in the post, both on O and D (and which we don't often have), lead to more stable performances? Now why those differences would be magnified in the post-season (teams can better prepare for us? or our legs get tired with more frequent games and we lose our shooting touch?), I don't know.

But you seem to shut that theory down without proposing an alternative other than chance...

Our heavy reliance on threes isn't going away any time soon. A few people here have done some analysis (e.g. uh oh's "Offensive efficiency based on shot type" (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?29730-Offensive-efficiency-based-on-shot-type) or Niveklaen's "Are 3's more variable than 2s?" (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?33334-Are-3-s-more-variable-than-2s). These are just fan analysis and not what is influencing the coaches, but it's clear that the coaching staff firmly believe that 3 point shooting with the current rules and court configuration make the most sense.

Our defense has to improve though -- that much is clear. Coach K alluded to that in his press conference.

NashvilleDevil
03-31-2014, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the data, it does seem to show that the difference the past 10 years is the postseason. Now I don't have the expertise than you (and many folks on this board) have, but don't you think our approach to O (heavy reliance on 3 pointers) and D (susceptibility to penetration, leading to easier shots) may be part of the issue in the post-season? Doesn't a consistent presence in the post, both on O and D (and which we don't often have), lead to more stable performances? Now why those differences would be magnified in the post-season (teams can better prepare for us? or our legs get tired with more frequent games and we lose our shooting touch?), I don't know.

But you seem to shut that theory down without proposing an alternative other than chance...

What are you proposing other than the AD conducting exit interviews to get to the bottom of a "struggling" program?

Kedsy
03-31-2014, 07:21 PM
Now I don't have the expertise than you (and many folks on this board) have, but don't you think our approach to O (heavy reliance on 3 pointers) and D (susceptibility to penetration, leading to easier shots) may be part of the issue in the post-season?

Thing is, we've been relying on the three at approximately the same rate since 1996, and we've been susceptible to penetration probably since 1981, because that's what Coach K's type of defense gives up -- maybe only since 1987, because that's when the three-point shot began, but still, those time periods cover a lot of post-season success for Coach K's system. And I'm not saying chance covers the entire difference, but it does cover a lot of it.

Troublemaker
03-31-2014, 08:02 PM
Re: Coach K vs Calipari

It's quite possible that Calipari is better than Coach K at taking a roster with a bunch of one-and-dones and developing them to reach their potential by the end of the season.

I would be perfectly fine with that assessment if it's true. Calipari built his entire program around performing that task, and he's gotten truckloads of talent as a result (more than Duke), so I would hope for his sake he IS very good at it.

Coach K's wade into 1-and-done territory was never about that, though. And, as a fan, I would not even WANT Duke to emulate what Kentucky's doing. Duke should only have one, maybe two, 1-and-dones at most per season, ably supported by returning talent. THAT is how Duke is supposed to compete for championships in the 1-and-done era. This season, however, Jabari and Rodney just weren't able to receive consistent support from the returning players throughout the season, and then in the final game of the season when the support WAS there, those two didn't play well. A cruel, ironic end.

I don't anticipate the support from the returning players to be inconsistent next season. If it's true that we're going to build around Jahlil and that Tyus could start at PG, those two freshmen are going to receive a lot of support from Amile, Sheed, Quinn, and Marshall. Those four returning players will comprise an upperclassmen spine for the team that is stronger than what Quinn, Tyler, Dre, and Josh provided this season. If Quinn doesn't start, he should at least be the 6th man. Marshall should be the 7th man. Amile and Sheed are going to be starters. I just think the team is clearly going to be better as a result of that support and the tweaks that Coach K mentioned in his postseason press conference.

I think Duke is going to be better than Kentucky next season and the season after that. Hard to say Duke is a "declining" program if I'm right.

LobstersPinchPinch
03-31-2014, 08:15 PM
Thing is, we've been relying on the three at approximately the same rate since 1996, and we've been susceptible to penetration probably since 1981, because that's what Coach K's type of defense gives up -- maybe only since 1987, because that's when the three-point shot began, but still, those time periods cover a lot of post-season success for Coach K's system. And I'm not saying chance covers the entire difference, but it does cover a lot of it.

Thanks (and also to the poster above who articulated our post presence). I suppose there's another factor that might explain performance and that's our recruiting success at key positions. It seems like, by and large, we generally get the PGs & SGs that we want, but more recently, we missed on some of the bigs we targeted and either settled or didn't get any bigs in some of those years. Calipari, by contrast, has gotten pretty much everyone he wanted, with the exception of 2014.

I'm curious if you guys think out post-seasons have been impacted by not getting some of the bigs the coaches were counting on...

Buckeye Devil
03-31-2014, 08:27 PM
Have the past 5 years been so bad? Duke has a National Championship in 10, Sweet 16 in 11, and an Elite 8 in 13 losing to the eventual national champion. I realize that losing to Lehigh and Mercer was just awful and degrading. But it isn't like Duke has dropped off the map.

With that said, maybe the D has been subject to penetration for a long time but it sure seems like the past couple of years have been worse than usual. I don't recall guards getting beat to the extent of the past few years. I posted at the end of last year that we couldn't expect that aspect of the defense to be better this season with essentially the same personnel. It wasn't a popular comment at the time and I was rebuked by a couple of different posters. But it was true. I just hope it isn't the same situation again next season. And it still seems to me that it is helpful if your guards are beat to have a big stud waiting there to make the opposing player think twice about it.

pfrduke
03-31-2014, 08:37 PM
Thanks (and also to the poster above who articulated our post presence). I suppose there's another factor that might explain performance and that's our recruiting success at key positions. It seems like, by and large, we generally get the PGs & SGs that we want, but more recently, we missed on some of the bigs we targeted and either settled or didn't get any bigs in some of those years. Calipari, by contrast, has gotten pretty much everyone he wanted, with the exception of 2014.

I'm curious if you guys think out post-seasons have been impacted by not getting some of the bigs the coaches were counting on...

In some years, yes; in others, no. I don't think the 2012 exit, for example, was in any way impacted by not having a particular big man recruit that year (I don't know how far down the road we got with our top big target that year or the year before. A center would have helped this year, probably, but I actually think better perimeter defense, particularly from the point guard position, could have been close to equally valuable. In 2008 and 2009, definitely we were hurt by being small. Getting Patterson or Monroe - both of whom we thought we were pretty close to - could have made a huge difference in either of those years.

ICP
03-31-2014, 11:39 PM
I can see the logic of the arguments focusing on the whole season versus the tournament, but as a big fan of a number of different sports this argument seems very odd to me. Would any NBA fans feel any better about getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs if they had had a good winning percentage in the regular season? Does a great record in the NFL regular season make up in any way for losing in the divisional round? In soccer, does winning all your qualifying round games do any good if you get knocked off early in the World Cup? Why is college basketball any different?

Wander
03-31-2014, 11:58 PM
Coach K's wade into 1-and-done territory was never about that, though. And, as a fan, I would not even WANT Duke to emulate what Kentucky's doing. Duke should only have one, maybe two, 1-and-dones at most per season, ably supported by returning talent. THAT is how Duke is supposed to compete for championships in the 1-and-done era.


And yet, in the past ten NCAA tournaments, the one that won a national championship (2010) was the one that didn't have any OADs. Neither is the one that came the next closest (2013). Meanwhile, two of the three teams that got upset in the first round centered on OADs. Maybe a small sample size, but still. I guess in a perfect world, our freshman starts wouldn't be ably supported by returning talent, but would be ably supporting the returning talent.

Anyway (not speaking to you specifically anymore), I think the premise of the conversation here is a little silly. I fully recognize this season was disappointing. Not "get upset in the first round of the NIT by Robert Morris" awful or Indiana Pacers meltdown awful or HIMYM finale awful, but disappointing. And we should take a look at why our defense was so bad this year, but I don't see a reason to specifically compare with Calipari and Kentucky in a greater program sense.

jv001
04-01-2014, 06:31 AM
Our heavy reliance on threes isn't going away any time soon. A few people here have done some analysis (e.g. uh oh's "Offensive efficiency based on shot type" (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?29730-Offensive-efficiency-based-on-shot-type) or Niveklaen's "Are 3's more variable than 2s?" (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?33334-Are-3-s-more-variable-than-2s). These are just fan analysis and not what is influencing the coaches, but it's clear that the coaching staff firmly believe that 3 point shooting with the current rules and court configuration make the most sense.

Our defense has to improve though -- that much is clear. Coach K alluded to that in his press conference.

If there is ever a time Duke is an inside outside offensive team, it should be next season. We should have the inside player(Oak) and the outside player(Tyus) to get the ball inside. However the 2nd bolded sentence is the most important weakness(defense) to correct and I think the coaches will work hard on getting the job done. GoDuke!

MCFinARL
04-01-2014, 08:16 AM
I can see the logic of the arguments focusing on the whole season versus the tournament, but as a big fan of a number of different sports this argument seems very odd to me. Would any NBA fans feel any better about getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs if they had had a good winning percentage in the regular season? Does a great record in the NFL regular season make up in any way for losing in the divisional round? In soccer, does winning all your qualifying round games do any good if you get knocked off early in the World Cup? Why is college basketball any different?

In one sense, of course, you are right--the postseason competition is the prize. But I would still argue that college basketball, and college sports generally, are different from the pros because, well, they are college sports. Professional sports teams are just that--organizations that are in the business of providing a sports product with the goal of making money; they have no other purpose. Postseason success makes more money and usually attracts more fans, and you are right that a good regular season record doesn't offer much consolation to fans of a team that loses early in the playoffs (think, say, Washington Capitals).

College sports, at least in principle, exist as part of larger institutions with many goals and purposes beyond running sports teams. And those sports teams have goals, at least in principle, beyond winning and making money--providing a fun activity and a sense of cohesion for students who follow the team (and alums), and providing some sort of educational experience beyond the classroom (in the category of "life lessons") for the participating athletes. Obviously, an unexpectedly early departure from the tournament is disappointing, as we well know. But a team that has performed solidly during the regular season may still be accomplishing those other goals quite well, while also winning a lot on the court. So a season could, in balance, be a moderately good one even if the ending is not so good.

Edit: I want to make clear that I am speaking in general terms and not expressing an opinion about whether this particular season has been "good."

rsvman
04-01-2014, 09:26 AM
I can see the logic of the arguments focusing on the whole season versus the tournament, but as a big fan of a number of different sports this argument seems very odd to me. Would any NBA fans feel any better about getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs if they had had a good winning percentage in the regular season? Does a great record in the NFL regular season make up in any way for losing in the divisional round? In soccer, does winning all your qualifying round games do any good if you get knocked off early in the World Cup? Why is college basketball any different?

I disagree that it's odd. I think, rather, that it's odd that an entire season could be relegated to the "bad" pile because of what happened in one game. That's what's odd to me. The NBA example is not applicable, because an NBA team doesn't get booted when they lose their first game. I think that if we had played a best-of-5 series against Mercer, we would have moved on.

The NFL example is applicable. But I want to be clear that what I have been contending in this thread is not that it would be good for an NFL team to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs, but rather that it is BETTER to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs than to miss the playoffs entirely. And that it would make absolutely no sense for a person to argue that it would have been preferable to MISS the playoffs entirely rather than to lose in the first round of those playoffs.

In all the posts in this thread I have yet to hear a logical argument as to how or why it could possibly be better to fail completely than to fail partially.