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Udaman
12-21-2007, 07:12 AM
Before I comment on what DBR said about the game...let me state that I truly like this team. I said before the season began that I thought we would be much better than last year, and we are. We have depth, we have scorers, we will be fine.

But I didn't get the comments from DBR. They made it sound like Pittsburgh simply took us out of our game, and dominated with great defense and toughness. I'm not sure if they watched the same game. I kept saying, "Man, Pitt isn't even playing that great of defense. We just can't shoot." But it was more than that. Our 2nd half consisted of A TON OF ONE AND ONE GARBAGE. One guy come down, dribble, everyone else kind of stand there, then take your man one on one and put up a shot.

We certainly did act intimidated down the stretch - but I don't buy the theory of "we're young." You can only play that card for so long, and we played it all last year. We have a Senior in Nelson, a Junior in Paulus and three Sophs. Yes, we have a few freshmen, but we are not a young team, not in this day and age. I would call us average if not even a little old.

What bothered me the most was our timeout at the end of regulation when we were pushing down the ball (we NEVER do that, and Coach K and Wojo were livid at Paulus). Also, there were at least two other times we called timeouts with the shot clock running down, only to then inbound the ball and turn it over immediately.

Finally, in the 2nd half we shot 9 for 28. That's 32%, but the story is much worse. We started the half 2 for 3, but then from the 16:31 stretch to the 2:57 mark (a period of nearly 14 minutes), we went 3 for 18 which is a stunning 18%. For one ten minute stretch of that, we had a total of one basket. Then, for the 5 minute OT, we had a total of one basket.

Toss onto that our awful free throw shooting, and it is quite frankly a testament to this team's talent that we still should have won. Watching that game, Pitt was not the more talented team. Give them credit, they did what they had to do, but we played a horrible 2nd half, and again should have won.

I don't think we'll shoot that poorly again, but the two things that really worry me are our free throw shooting, and our complete lack of a half court game. Standing around and making a drive, or one pass to a guy who shoots a three pointer works some of the time, but when it goes cold and you start getting tight, you lose.

And please, stop calling this team young. Please.

whereinthehellami
12-21-2007, 07:29 AM
I think we're going to see this all year. Duke getting big leads and not being able to maintain them. You could see Duke tightning up at the end of the first half. I think Nelson leads the charge in this department and it trickles down to the rest of the team. The team looked like they were having fun in the first half and had Pitt sniping at each other. That was the time to step up with the killer instinct and finish them. It almost seemd like they didn't believe they could do it and stopped having fun. Shades of last year.

Exiled_Devil
12-21-2007, 07:33 AM
Young may be appropriate - think of this: for one of the first times in years, we have a team with no final four experience and a large portion of the tam have not been to a sweet sixteen game - the entire frosh and soph classes. So this team is not as tourney tested as many of our previous ones.

Spret42
12-21-2007, 07:41 AM
Duke played and shot poorly for sure. But don't underestimate how much Pitt has to do with that. As surely as Duke's tough in your chest defense clogged passing lanes and was a reason for Pitt shooting 3-21 from beyond the arc; Pitt's defense and rebounding was surely a reason for Duke's shooting legs failing them late, both from the floor and the line.

Duke's half court offense stood around and watched one player last night too often, much in the same way Duke stood around and watched Redick a few years ago against Georgetown. Big East basketball teams can make you do that when are big, strong and tough.

Duke will get better from this game for sure. They have a couple of absolutely supremely talented players in Henderson and Singler (there aren't but a few teams in the country that wouldn't jump at my two best for those two trade) and those two will have to learn how to work together to take over games. I am sure they are getting the lessons on a daily basis. In today's college basketball, to have two players that talented and skilled, no matter what class they are, should be enough to win a lot of games.

wiscodevil
12-21-2007, 07:45 AM
love this team. The "problem(s)" i see in recent years are:

When guys go one on one (Henderson, Nelson) the flow of the game gets disrupted. I much prefer it when we move the ball and get open looks and that opens up the floor.


Poor foul shooting


Easier to point these out than to solve I guess.

When things are clicking, this team has loads of potential.


Not sure if it was the overly physical nature of the game or poor officiating, but the game didn't have a good flow to it until the last 5 minutes or so. Too many calls!!

Kimist
12-21-2007, 08:18 AM
I tend to agree with Udaman.

No one should take anything away from Pitt, or a la "some other teams" make up sorry excuses for Duke losing the game.

But....there was entirely too much one-on-one stuff going on last night. Some shots were plain bad, some shots seemed to be of the "I can do it all" type, and others just appeared to be without any concept of team play.

As for the foul shots, at the end that may have been a sign of fatigue, but free-throw shooting has been a thorn in (many of) the players' heels for some time. The past dodging of that bullet finally caught up with us in MSG.

Losing the game in and of itself did not bother me. I had expected a tough nail-biter between two very good teams. I figured we would have a difficult time on the boards. Even though the final score was close, the team I saw in the second half barely resembled the team I've watched this season. It was almost embarassing.

This certainly is not the end of the season, and the sun will shine many more days. But whatever made the wheels come off of the wagon last night needs to be addressed. A Duke performance like the one of last night would get us absolutely destroyed in the Dean Dome.

Merry Christmas and comparable greetings to all!!!

k

AluminumDuke
12-21-2007, 07:28 PM
I certainly don't claim to be a basketball expert, but what I observed last night was a Duke team that was never able to get any significant momentum going. Yes, they did have the run in the first half that stretched the lead to 16, but even that run did not reflect the usual degree of dominance that a traditional Duke run has. Just as Duke missed many shots in the second half that they usually make, Pitt missed many during that run.

That being said, the type of game that Pitt plays contributed significantly to Duke's inability to build momentum. Their methodical half-court offense limits transition opportunities. Their physical style of play results in more foul calls on both teams, continually stopping the flow of the game. Their rebounding dominance also prevents fast-break opportunities. Together, all of this exposed our current difficulties in generating points in a half-court game. Without many easy transition baskets, our shooters never really got going. Knowing that rebounds are so hard to come by must also put additional pressure on our shooters.

I expect that the coaching staff will address these scoring difficulties over the holiday break and have a few new wrinkles in place before the start of the ACC season.

jma4life
12-21-2007, 07:46 PM
A lot of people seem to be criticizing Henderson for some of his shots. Maybe some were forced but the bottom line is that he created more opportunities than anyone else. I mean, when Scheyer is not hitting his shots, King is not hitting his shots and Paulus is not creating any open shots, someone has to do something.

One of the bigger problems in many ways with this team is that of our 4 best wing/guards, the two best guys at driving and getting to the basket are also the two guys with the worst vision and the two guys with the biggest trouble getting to the basket and penetrating are the two best passers.