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View Full Version : What makes a good post-season?



dukelifer
03-15-2008, 08:07 PM
There have been a few posters that have pointed to Duke's "failure" of late in March. I am curious what do folks think make a good post season? Does winning the ACC tourney count or not? Does a final 8 mean a good post season or only making the final four? Clearly winning the ACC and a sweet sixteen has not been enough for most folks. If Duke had gone just one more step- would that have made people see Duke in a different "post season" light? Just curious. What is the bar for a "successful" March?

PatZorro
03-15-2008, 08:26 PM
It really depends. Obviously, a FF is a good post season. Losing there is dissappointing, because you are so close to the ultimate prize. But, in calmer moments, a ff is perfectly acceptable.

It always depends on the team. Last year's squad would have topped out in the Sweet 16. This year, the elite 8 seems like the wall.

The ACC tourney is well and good, but the NCAA tourney is the measuring stick. Elite programs, like Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, and a few others rarely celebrate such achievements anymore. Tourney titles rarely get their own banner anymore. There is a banner that says ACC tourney titles and a list of the years they were won.

For elite teams, like Duke, a good year does not involve losing to a lesser seeded team. The Sweet 16 is like a baseline of success. Without getting to that level, it is hard to classify a season as anything less than an unmitigated disaster.

PatZorro

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 08:35 PM
It really depends. Obviously, a FF is a good post season. Losing there is dissappointing, because you are so close to the ultimate prize. But, in calmer moments, a ff is perfectly acceptable.

It always depends on the team. Last year's squad would have topped out in the Sweet 16. This year, the elite 8 seems like the wall.

The ACC tourney is well and good, but the NCAA tourney is the measuring stick. Elite programs, like Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, and a few others rarely celebrate such achievements anymore. Tourney titles rarely get their own banner anymore. There is a banner that says ACC tourney titles and a list of the years they were won.

For elite teams, like Duke, a good year does not involve losing to a lesser seeded team. The Sweet 16 is like a baseline of success. Without getting to that level, it is hard to classify a season as anything less than an unmitigated disaster.

PatZorro

So if only winning in the NCAA tourney is important- is losing today actually good for Duke. That is, if Duke is really good enough to be a 1 seed (which they might have gotten if they won today and Sunday) but actually enter the NCAAs as a 3- is that ultimately better for Duke? That way they get to beat a higher seed earlier and hence would be deemed a success if they win. Or is not getting a 1 seed seen as a failure for elite program like Duke, UNC etc.

coastal1
03-15-2008, 08:44 PM
So if only winning in the NCAA tourney is important- is losing today actually good for Duke. That is, if Duke is really good enough to be a 1 seed (which they might have gotten if they won today and Sunday) but actually enter the NCAAs as a 3- is that ultimately better for Duke? That way they get to beat a higher seed earlier and hence would be deemed a success if they win. Or is not getting a 1 seed seen as a failure for elite program like Duke, UNC etc.

A 3 instead of a 1 seed is never good.

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 08:52 PM
A 3 instead of a 1 seed is never good.

Tell that to Florida in 2006.

PatZorro
03-15-2008, 08:53 PM
So if only winning in the NCAA tourney is important- is losing today actually good for Duke. That is, if Duke is really good enough to be a 1 seed (which they might have gotten if they won today and Sunday) but actually enter the NCAAs as a 3- is that ultimately better for Duke? That way they get to beat a higher seed earlier and hence would be deemed a success if they win. Or is not getting a 1 seed seen as a failure for elite program like Duke, UNC etc.

It doesn't matter if you win the NCAA as a 1 seed or a 6 seed. It is a success looking backwards, not forwards.

A: I don't think we were a 1 seed, even if we beat UNC tomorrow, unless we blow them off the court, and that would've been highly unlikely.

B: I think all the elite teams understand that not everyone can be a 1 seed. Too many things go into seeding. Non-Conf play, Non-Con SOS, Conf record, Conf SOS, Conf RPI, and tourney play. Some of those things are beyond a team's control, no matter how well they play.

No one starts out as a 1 seed, or a 3 seed for that matter. Suppose that Duke lost a couple of non-conf games, and a couple of conf games, spread over the whole season, not sandwiched together at the end. We finish 2nd in the ACC, and lose to a talented Clemson team. Had we played well today, and Clemson played better, or even if we beat Clemson and drop a tight game to UNC, we end up at approximately the same place.

Only, instead of appearing to be limping to the end of the season, as we appear now, we are on something of an uptick, or are at least playing at or near the level we played at all year.

To make a deep tourney run, in either scenario, we would need strong perimeter shooting, quality D, and key contributions from several players. If we were on an uptick, that would seem more likely, both to us and to potential opponents. Athletes and coaches are like sharks. They can smell blood, and there is a definite sanguine odor about us right now.

And now for something completely different (and depressing). If we do not make the FF this year, it will be the second senior class since K came to Duke to not go to te FF. That class was Wojo's class, and the 99 year followed. I don't think next year is a 99 type year. Talk about trending.

PatZorro

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 08:54 PM
A 3 instead of a 1 seed is never good.

And Syracuse in 2003

PatZorro
03-15-2008, 08:59 PM
Tell that to Florida in 2006.

My point exactly. Florida was on an uptick. They had a good showing in the SEC tourney, and were on an uptick. They were a young, big, athletic team gelling at the right time. Their 3 seed was the result of some early season losses and a really weak SEC. People like to think they got hot and came out of nowhere, but they were playing good ball heading into March, and continued that play into the tourney.

Also, if you see any similarities between that aforementioned big, athletic, Floriday squad and this year's Blue Devils, please elaborate. I must have missed it.

PatZorro

coastal1
03-15-2008, 09:00 PM
And Syracuse in 2003

Obviously anyone could win it and often its not a #1 seed that does. But a #3 instead of a #1 is never good, even though the #3 may end up winning it all.

A #1 has NEVER lost in the first round, yet a #3 as lost several times. That doesnt speak to any particular team, but 1 vs. 3 is not a wash.

On the other hand, maybe you're right and all these top 4 teams competing down the stretch are wasting their energy and would be better off sandbagging.

devildownunder
03-15-2008, 09:07 PM
So if only winning in the NCAA tourney is important- is losing today actually good for Duke. That is, if Duke is really good enough to be a 1 seed (which they might have gotten if they won today and Sunday) but actually enter the NCAAs as a 3- is that ultimately better for Duke? That way they get to beat a higher seed earlier and hence would be deemed a success if they win. Or is not getting a 1 seed seen as a failure for elite program like Duke, UNC etc.

IMO, losses during the regular season, or even the acc tournament, are ultimately good for the team IF THEY LEAD TO IMPROVEMENTS/ADJUSTMENTS that bring greater success in the ncaa tournament. Even, dare I say it, a loss to the hated holes would be looked upon (only in hindsight) as a positive in the grand scheme of things if, say, it came because a very talented group was playing poorly due to complacency and served as a wake-up call that got the team to refocus and go on a tear during march madness.

So in that sense, I think a loss CAN be a good thing, if it serves such a purpose. But I disagree that it's a good thing for the team simply because it may lower their seeding and, therefore, the public's perception of any wins or losses they may have. That's just PR, to me, and I don't think it's very important. Now, if you are saying the team might actually perform better due to lower expectations, that's another question.

devildownunder
03-15-2008, 09:11 PM
Tell that to Florida in 2006.

3 seed Florida won because they were good, not because they were a 3 as opposed to a 1. A 1 seed's 1st 2 potential opponents will almost always be markedly easier tests than a 3 seeds. I think the number of 3s who have lost on the first weekend, relative to the number of 1s, bears this out. To this day, no 1 seed has ever lost a 1st-round game in a field of 64, if I'm not mistaken.

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 09:15 PM
It doesn't matter if you win the NCAA as a 1 seed or a 6 seed. It is a success looking backwards, not forwards.

A: I don't think we were a 1 seed, even if we beat UNC tomorrow, unless we blow them off the court, and that would've been highly unlikely.

B: I think all the elite teams understand that not everyone can be a 1 seed. Too many things go into seeding. Non-Conf play, Non-Con SOS, Conf record, Conf SOS, Conf RPI, and tourney play. Some of those things are beyond a team's control, no matter how well they play.

No one starts out as a 1 seed, or a 3 seed for that matter. Suppose that Duke lost a couple of non-conf games, and a couple of conf games, spread over the whole season, not sandwiched together at the end. We finish 2nd in the ACC, and lose to a talented Clemson team. Had we played well today, and Clemson played better, or even if we beat Clemson and drop a tight game to UNC, we end up at approximately the same place.

Only, instead of appearing to be limping to the end of the season, as we appear now, we are on something of an uptick, or are at least playing at or near the level we played at all year.

To make a deep tourney run, in either scenario, we would need strong perimeter shooting, quality D, and key contributions from several players. If we were on an uptick, that would seem more likely, both to us and to potential opponents. Athletes and coaches are like sharks. They can smell blood, and there is a definite sanguine odor about us right now.

And now for something completely different (and depressing). If we do not make the FF this year, it will be the second senior class since K came to Duke to not go to te FF. That class was Wojo's class, and the 99 year followed. I don't think next year is a 99 type year. Talk about trending.

PatZorro

I wonder if Carolina fans and other teams see them on the uptick with their recent close wins against far weaker opponents. As for this being only the second senior class under K not to make the final four- well that says more about success than anything else. But I am sure that will be discussed as yet another example of how K has lost it. I wonder how things might have been different if the other 2004 recruit along with Demarcus, Shaun Livingston, would have come to campus.

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 09:24 PM
My point exactly. Florida was on an uptick. They had a good showing in the SEC tourney, and were on an uptick. They were a young, big, athletic team gelling at the right time. Their 3 seed was the result of some early season losses and a really weak SEC. People like to think they got hot and came out of nowhere, but they were playing good ball heading into March, and continued that play into the tourney.

Also, if you see any similarities between that aforementioned big, athletic, Floriday squad and this year's Blue Devils, please elaborate. I must have missed it.

PatZorro

Well this is a bit revisionist history. Florida lost THREE games in a row in late February. They beat Arkansas by 3 in the first round and South Carolina by 2 the SEC tourney. Not sure folks were trembling about playing Florida or folks thought they were on an uptick.

dukelifer
03-15-2008, 09:50 PM
IMO, losses during the regular season, or even the acc tournament, are ultimately good for the team IF THEY LEAD TO IMPROVEMENTS/ADJUSTMENTS that bring greater success in the ncaa tournament. Even, dare I say it, a loss to the hated holes would be looked upon (only in hindsight) as a positive in the grand scheme of things if, say, it came because a very talented group was playing poorly due to complacency and served as a wake-up call that got the team to refocus and go on a tear during march madness.

So in that sense, I think a loss CAN be a good thing, if it serves such a purpose. But I disagree that it's a good thing for the team simply because it may lower their seeding and, therefore, the public's perception of any wins or losses they may have. That's just PR, to me, and I don't think it's very important. Now, if you are saying the team might actually perform better due to lower expectations, that's another question.

Well everything in hindsight can be spun to justify any win or loss in the postseason. Duke's loss to Wake Forest in 1992 where Grant failed to hit Laettner for the game winner was the reason they beat Kentucky- but had they lost that game- it would have been because K went to the same play that failed before.

So Duke will just have to wait to see how their season is judged by history- since the regular season and ACC tourney means nothing except that it gets you a seed and the accompanying expectations that go with it.

Duke79UNLV77
03-15-2008, 10:08 PM
if we make the elite 8, and they don't win the national title, i'll be satisfied. if we make the final 4, but they win the title, i may be ill. i know i should just focus on our team, but that's just the way it is.

ForeverBlowingBubbles
03-15-2008, 10:11 PM
for duke as of late i'de say any thing under an elite 8 finish is underachieving no matter what the team make up.

devildownunder
03-15-2008, 10:48 PM
Well everything in hindsight can be spun to justify any win or loss in the postseason. Duke's loss to Wake Forest in 1992 where Grant failed to hit Laettner for the game winner was the reason they beat Kentucky- but had they lost that game- it would have been because K went to the same play that failed before.

So Duke will just have to wait to see how their season is judged by history- since the regular season and ACC tourney means nothing except that it gets you a seed and the accompanying expectations that go with it.


You're saying that about the wake lost in 1992, not me, and not anyone else I have ever heard. Yes, of course, how this season is judged will have to wait until after the tournament because until then the season is not over. But I think you deliberately paint with a broad, dismissive brush when you suggest that others have said the acc tourney and the regular season mean nothing. They mean plenty. To play 32 games and win 27 of them is something to be proud of and we certainly enjoy all the winning. I, for one, savour each game I even get a chance to watch, win or lose, because I no longer live in the US, where I can count on blanket duke coverage.

That said, we can look to none other than former K assistant and player Jay Bilas for the proper perspective on the subjet. Jay has said on national television that Krzyzewski's philosophy on the seaon -- that's the man himself -- is that the regular season and the acc tourney are the primary and the midterm. The ncaa tournament is the election and the final exam.

So while it's all well and good to celebrate what we have accomplished so far, I don't think any of us needs to apologise for looking at the way the team has performed recently and lamenting its (apparently) slim chances of a strong run through the field of 65. The NCAAs are next up for this team and there is no more glaring spotlight or greater chance for glory in this or any season. We wouldn't want the team going into the tournament with the mindset that an early loss in the ncaa is ok because we've already won 27 games this year, so why should the fans adopt such an attitude? Once the season is over, then you can step back and savour what was accomplished.

KandG
03-15-2008, 11:20 PM
for duke as of late i'de say any thing under an elite 8 finish is underachieving no matter what the team make up.


My expectations are considerably lower. If the team makes the sweet 16, they'll have met, maybe even exceeded, my expectations. Injuries, one dimensional play, and no inside presence make it tough for me to project an Elite Eight finish...and I love our team.

But unless something changes, any team with reasonable quickness on the perimeter and size underneath, that is willing to switch on all ball screens and contest our threes, seems able to give us a game. So I don't even think a sweet 16 is a given at this point.

Sir Stealth
03-16-2008, 02:34 AM
It seems ridiculous to me to say the Sweet 16 is good. We have more talent on this team than anyone in the country. You can say McDonalds AA's don't mean anything, but when you have so many, they really do. There are a lot of great players on this team, and there are a lot of tough players on this team. I differ from a lot of posters here because I haven't given up on this team at all, but I also don't want to let them off the hook either. They should go to the tournament and win, no matter what seed they are. They should play better, because we've seen that they have it in them. I agree with anyone that says that losing to a lower seed again is a disappointment. Losing to a higher seed isn't really a failure, but we shouldn't give up on the expectations for this team, because they've shown that they can be a great team as long as they keep attacking. More than anything, I'm tired of those who are pleased with themselves for predicting failure earlier and seeing struggle now, or those who are pleased with themselves for predicting failure in the future so it doesn't hurt them as much if it actually happens. Of course they'll celebrate if things turn out better.

The1Bluedevil
03-16-2008, 04:43 AM
Everyone has a different view but a Sweet 16 is a must every year in my eyes. Losing to a better team from that point this year would not leave a sour taste in my mouth. However if a double digit seeded team beat Duke in the 16 or beyond then I would be dissapointed. If Duke blows a big 2nd have lead in the 16 or beyond then I will be dissapointed regardless of who the opponent is.

heyman25
03-16-2008, 07:09 AM
I like Coach Knight's comment seeds don't matter.If Duke can play good basketball for 40 minutes,( that is not 10 minutes or 20 minutes or 30 minutes) but the whole gd game, we will win 3 games. A Final 8 would be a very good post season. We don't have the right personnel to go all the way. Recruiting needs to get better starting with class of 09. We need more athletic stronger physical players.

BobbyFan
03-16-2008, 07:35 AM
Obviously, it depends on the team and this year it also depends on Gerald's health.

Assuming Gerald can at least play at the level he's been at the past few weeks, I would be pleased with the Elite Eight and be somewhat disappointed with only the Sweet 16.

coastal1
03-16-2008, 08:20 AM
I wonder how things might have been different if the other 2004 recruit along with Demarcus, Shaun Livingston, would have come to campus.

Thats a little rediculous, and Livingston would've only stayed one year anyways. Every major team in the country has had kids jump straight to the NBA and/or leave early. You can't give Duke the benefit and assume everything else would've remained the same. UNC has 'lost' Marivn Williams and Brandan Wright in that same period

JasonEvans
03-16-2008, 08:38 AM
Hey folks, help me out-- which of the following is a "crazier" answer to the question about defining Duke's post-season success?


if we make the elite 8, and they don't win the national title, i'll be satisfied. if we make the final 4, but they win the title, i may be ill. i know i should just focus on our team, but that's just the way it is.


for duke as of late i'de say any thing under an elite 8 finish is underachieving no matter what the team make up.

--Jason "some folks just have a hard time enjoying the season, I guess" Evans

JasonEvans
03-16-2008, 08:46 AM
Thats a little rediculous, and Livingston would've only stayed one year anyways. Every major team in the country has had kids jump straight to the NBA and/or leave early. You can't give Duke the benefit and assume everything else would've remained the same. UNC has 'lost' Marivn Williams and Brandan Wright in that same period

Additionally, in the very same draft that Duke "lost" Livingston, Carolina lost a freshman-to-be named JR Smith to the NBA Draft. Smith was a truly dynamic outside shooter who went on to average more than 10 ppg as an NBA Rookie. He would have had a big impact had he been at Carolina (though they could not do any better in 2004-05 than they already did).

--Jason "losing Livingston and Deng has really hurt Duke though-- no question about it" Evans

slower
03-16-2008, 08:49 AM
Hey folks, help me out-- which of the following is a "crazier" answer to the question about defining Duke's post-season success?





--Jason "some folks just have a hard time enjoying the season, I guess" Evans

What's your definition of "crazy"? Neither of them seems like a clinically crazy answer. But I guess I'd say the first seems a little "crazier", if I try to guess your definition of "crazy".

dukelifer
03-16-2008, 08:59 AM
Thats a little rediculous, and Livingston would've only stayed one year anyways. Every major team in the country has had kids jump straight to the NBA and/or leave early. You can't give Duke the benefit and assume everything else would've remained the same. UNC has 'lost' Marivn Williams and Brandan Wright in that same period

This was in response to a comment that this will be his second senior class that did not go to the final four. Few programs have had that kind of success over 25+ years. The main reason it will likely not continue is because since 1999 Duke has (like other programs) started to lose players early to the NBA. This class in particular was hit hard since this was the first time Duke lost one straight out of high school- also with Deng leaving early. I am not saying it would have been a lock but it certainly would have given them a better shot.

coastal1
03-16-2008, 09:08 AM
This was in response to a comment that this will be his second senior class that did not go to the final four. Few programs have had that kind of success over 25+ years. The main reason it will likely not continue is because since 1999 Duke has (like other programs) started to lose players early to the NBA. This class in particular was hit hard since this was the first time Duke lost one straight out of high school- also with Deng leaving early. I am not saying it would have been a lock but it certainly would have given them a better shot.

Would Duke be better if Deng didnt leave early and Livingston came to school and stayed 4 years? Of course. But kids going pro has been part of the game for 15+ years now. Its not some fluke or unfortunate, unforeseen event thats hurt Duke more, or even as much, as other major programs. UNC would be better w/ JR Smith, Williams, Wright. Ohio State would be better w/ Oden and Conley.

Because it so common, its a little rediculous to play what if. Likewise, everyone else would be better too so it may not have made it more likely for Duke to be one of the top 4 teams

Saratoga2
03-16-2008, 09:22 AM
I wonder if Carolina fans and other teams see them on the uptick with their recent close wins against far weaker opponents. As for this being only the second senior class under K not to make the final four- well that says more about success than anything else. But I am sure that will be discussed as yet another example of how K has lost it. I wonder how things might have been different if the other 2004 recruit along with Demarcus, Shaun Livingston, would have come to campus.

No team is perfect or this year even dominant. Carolina just eked out a win, Georgetown got beat by Pitt, we lost. It just shows there is more balance in college ball than there has been in recent memory.

No player is perfect either. Hanborough and Beasley are very good but all have strengths and weaknesses. Our kids are very very good but not perfect and we shouldn't expect them to be.

Our kids are superbly conditioned athletes. Georgia, who is no better conditioned, won two games in one day, both were very worthy opponents. It is hard to say we weren't fresh enough or aren't fresh enough when you see that happening.

So what can we expect going forward. The coaches need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the team as they are today, not as they may have been in the past. I believe they need to make adjustments with the players and lineups so that we put the best mix of players against the team we face. That will probably be different depending on the quality of the opponent. I also believe they need to coach each player to optimize strengths and avoids situations where they are weak, or perhaps not performing at this time. So what can the players and coaches do to optimize our chances going forward? Looking at each player.

DeMarcus is one of the finest defensive players in the country and he is a big rebounding asset. He is our best at slashing to the basket, provided he has an advantage to exploit. His outside shot can be very good. Its hard to say when he feels it, but he knows and should take shots accordingly. DeMarcus is not very good at handling the ball and play making. He needs to realize that, and not try to do much with it when heavily guarded nor drive into a crowd. He turns the ball over too much when doing that.

Greg has really stepped up his game of late and is our best 3 point shooter at the present time. He is a good ball handler and a decent passer. His entry passes to Gerald and DeMarcus on the alley-oop are really well done. Still, Jon is smarter with the ball, so he should defer to Jon when they play together. Greg's defense is way better than earlier in the season. He harrasses people and makes it hard for them to move. Only the quickest guards are hard for him or for anyone else to guard.

Jon is an excellent overall player with the best ball handling and play making on the team. His 3 point shot is decent and he can get it off easier than Greg due to his 4 inch height advantage. His foul shooting is excellent and by handling the ball more he will get more trips to the line. Jon's defense is also very good and he has a nose for rebounding. The adjustment coach K has made in giving him more point responsibility has worked out well.

Nolan is a good ball handler but not yet a good playmaker. He has shown flashes of brilliance and I expect him to continue to develop into a top notch college player. He has a decent outside shot and can also slash and elevate. His speed and length give him the chance to be a very solid defender. Most of what Nolan needs is additional experience. His best use right now appears to be either with Greg or Jon as the primary ball handler

Gerald is an excellent athlete who can elevate and get his shot off over most defenders. Let's hope his wrist (leg) are okay going into the tourney. Like DeMarcus, he does best when he gets the ball passed to him when he has an advantage. When he tries to dribble through defenders he tends to have troubles with turnovers. His defense has come a long way this year, as has his court awareness.

Brian has really come along very well this year. At 7'1" and 260, he is our only player who is big enough to change the inside game of people like Clemson. True that he is not very mobile and he is still learning how to post up effectively. If the Clemson game is any indication, he has arrived. He alters shots, blocks shots, blocks out for rebounds, is an outlet on the inbounds pass and showed some ability to score inside. The team needs to learn to feed him not by passing to his knee area, but high up where he can catch and control.

Kyle is a very mobile forward with excellent ball handling skills and quickness to go along with it all. He has been playing out of position all year, but had to due to the team makeup. For quite a while now, his three point shot has not been falling. Too bad, since he can get open just about any time he wants. His inside game against mobile athletic big men is not a big asset. His best is when he can beat a slower big man off the dribble or is given a pass inside where finishes very well. His defense is good but he can be overpowered by big forwards and centers. He seemed to work better with Brian who took some of the defense burden from him.

Lance is mobile and works hard on defense. He is a little too light to handle the big power players inside and also his offense is not well enough developed to score against big mobile forwards and centers. Right now, he provides a solid backup to Kyle but the combination of those two together was not working against Clemson. It appears the coach needs to change the defensive scheme or not play Kyle and Lance together as much.

David has been a recent bright spot. He is a smart mobile defender and seems to be in the right place for rebounds. Against Clemson, he appeared to be willing to try to score, which he really needs to do to add to the team. His size makes him a liability inside against the bigger players, but he still is an asset to have on the team.

Taylor has had kind of a tough year as far as PT goes. He is a strong kid and can give some good minutes inside defensively. His is a little slow, but so are many good defensive players like Jon Brockman, for instance. He seemed to lose his scoring touch this season but will get more time through better shot selection. If Taylor could start hitting 3's at a 50% clip, he would see a lot more PT

Constantstrain 81
03-16-2008, 10:21 AM
As a fan, of course I want it all. I'm hopeless at brackets - I pick us to win it all every year, every time. There will always be a little disappointment when we finally lose the final game (And three times in my lifetime - the ultimate basketball happiness). In the end, I want to be proud of my team and of my coach.

The JJ/Shelden years were tough in that we played at a high level, but we were susceptible to a loss. It didn't happen often, but when it did, it was painful. Those teams, for the most part, did not have the balance or the defense to cope with poor shooting on our part or hot shooting on "their" part.

Last year's team was too young and too offensively challenged. I think K actually did a very good job to get them as far as he did - particularly with other teams looking to even the score of years of "beat-downs" from the Dukies.

This year's team - lots of fun. It has been an enjoyable ride. We started with a lot of question marks and we have finished the regular season as a contender. Not the top contender, but a contender. That is great. I have enjoyed this season as much as any. Even more than seasons where I was a nervous wreck if we didn't win a game by 20 points because we were so much better than other teams.

Coach K has a talented bunch of young scappers. They have already over-achieved (in my book, anyway), and I look forward to a long tournament run.

How long? Well, I admit, I would be disappointed in not making the Sweet Sixteen. The Elite Eight or the Final Four? That is all about situations and match-ups and focus, etc. Too hard to call - probably too hard for any team in the country this year. Final game or National Championship? Stranger things have happened.

Let's enjoy it - Go Duke (and .... Go Tigers).

Classof06
03-16-2008, 11:28 AM
Personally, I think Duke needs to get to the Sweet 16. I think they should win in the Sweet 16 and get to the Elite 8 and an Elite 8 apprearance is the least I'll be satisfied with. We've been in the top 10 pretty much the whole year, I see no reason why Duke shouldn't make it to the Elite 8. Obviously its easier said than done but we're more than capable of it. At least I think we are.

dukelifer
03-16-2008, 12:21 PM
Would Duke be better if Deng didnt leave early and Livingston came to school and stayed 4 years? Of course. But kids going pro has been part of the game for 15+ years now. Its not some fluke or unfortunate, unforeseen event thats hurt Duke more, or even as much, as other major programs. UNC would be better w/ JR Smith, Williams, Wright. Ohio State would be better w/ Oden and Conley.

Because it so common, its a little rediculous to play what if. Likewise, everyone else would be better too so it may not have made it more likely for Duke to be one of the top 4 teams
I am not disagreeing and I am not playing what if. The point is that K had a run of having every group of players he recruited play in at least one final four during their time at Duke. One class failed to get there- Wojo's. This year's could be another. The reason for that consistency was that Duke did not start losing players until 1999- unlike many other teams- UNC included. Duke benefited as well from other teams having players go pro as well. So to expect that Duke will continue to do have every recruiting class play in a final four- is perhaps a bit unreasonable- as it the case with most top programs (see Kentucky of late). Duke was not as well prepared for the 1994 departures in my opinion (as other elite programs)- and the program has been adjusting ever since.

_Gary
03-16-2008, 01:04 PM
Add me to Jason's crazy list (nothing new there) because I think anything less than an Elite Eight showing is a major disappointment, and I'll be mildy disappointed if we don't pick it up and make the Final Four. This NCAA post-season will determine for me if there really is a "trending" issue or not. This is the make or break year in regards to legitimizing that issue or just calling the last 3 years a hiccup. Should we lose before reaching the Elite Eight I'm going to consider us "trending" down, i.e. peaking in January and slumping in February and March.

Not only that, but if we lose early and look in any way "tired" in the process I'm going to say that's a trend as well. Clearly we've had the bench to eliminate that issue as far as man power goes. So if it's in any way an issue again we have to look at mental fatigue or intense practices. And I believe Coach K is never satisfied with Sweet 16 performances and frankly I'm glad the bar he sets for the team is a bit higher than some here. Some of you here talk about unrealistic standards, but I'd turn that around on a few of you and talk about complacency. And that's all I'll say about that.

Ultimately this season may end prematurely in large part because of Gerald's injury. We were a very, very good team before his injury but we needed everyone clicking on all cylinders in order to make us that very good team. When one piece of the puzzle comes up gimpy, we've got problems. And especially when that piece was doing things others couldn't do, such as hit mid ranger pull up jumpers and make something out of nothing. What his athleticism does for this offense cannot be overstated. And I'm afraid his injury may be our undoing when it's all said and done.


Gary

P.S. Oh, and if UNC wins a title this year (even if we make the FF), count me in as those that will be greatly distressed. It will demonstrate that the tide has absolutely turned in Chapel Hill's favor. We are firmly entrenched in second place in the ACC if they win again this year. And Roy Williams becomes the top coach in the conference too. I know that will drive some of you crazy to read, but it's definitely how I will see things. Yep, this tournament is going to be big on many levels, IMHO.

mapei
03-16-2008, 04:07 PM
For me, what makes a good post-season varies year to year, depending on how good the team is compared to other teams. This year, I think we overachieved early, then regressed. We should make the final 16. If we don't, that will be another NCAA with underperforming. Will I be happy with making the 16? Maybe not, but I won't feel despondent, either.

The ACC post-season was also underperforming, but just slightly. Losing to the #3 team isn't horrible, though it's disappointing; losing in the quarters would have been very disappointing. I would have felt good about making it to the finals. UNC is, IMO, a much better team than Duke this year; I wouldn't expect to beat them more than, say, one of every 3-4 games.

Now, the question of what makes a good season is, for me, a different question than what makes a good post-season. If we make the 16, after the regular season we had, I think that's decent. Not great, but good enough to remain proud of the program. I weight the post-season more heavily than the regular, but I don't discount the regular season. To me, sustained excellence is more impressive than winning one-and-dones.

As for what makes a good program, I think we are much better than good, we're very good. For quite a while we were not just good or very good but great. Lately, the competition has caught up to us.

DevilCastDownfromDurham
03-16-2008, 05:00 PM
My answer to the general question is that a good post-season is one where we meet or exceed expectations. As several others have noted, these expectations change from year to year based on our play in the regular season, but seeding often gives us a good shorthand. A 1 seed winning in the first round does not make a good post-season, 1 over 16 is expected and failure to do so would represent a failure of historic proportion. OTOH, a 14 seed winning in the first round has already had a GREAT post-season; they've exceeded expectations. In short, losing games to a team seeded lower (worse) than you makes a post-season bad, beating a team seeded higher (better) makes it good.

This does have the somewhat perverse effect of assuring that 1 seeds almost always have a "bad" post-season, which is where the sense that Duke has "underperformed" comes from. Winning 2 games in the NCAAs sounds great and most teams would love to have that kind of post-season, but as a 1 seed we're beating a 16 and an 8 seed, i.e. basically "gimme" games. For a 1 seed, the S16 game is basically the first serious challenge you face. As such, our string of losing those games represents both an "underperforming" loss to a lower-seeded team AND a loss in our first and only "real" test in the NCAAs. Thus the frustration with a performance that sounds, on the surface, like a great 2-1 record in the NCAAs.

For this season, we'll have to see how our seeding plays out and what the match-ups look like. I'm generally taking a low-expectations approach in order to lessen my pain at a potential loss and enjoy whatever success we do have.

As a 2-3 seed I expect our first round game to be a gimme. Our 15 will probably be a mid-major champion and I'm mainly hoping for a chance to get confidence back, work on any new wrinkles K adds, and avoid any further injury. We should also be heavily favored in our 7/10 game, and a loss here will still make our post-season a disappointment. If we do win here, especially convincingly, I'll consider this post-season a success. We will have essentially righted the post-season ship from last season, won our first-weekend "mini-championship" (as K sometimes calls them), and begun to build the experience and confidence of a young team. We'll still have underperformed relative to our seed, still be vulnerable to legit criticism from the wider basketball world, and still have than darn S16 monkey on our back. But given our injuries, our youth, and my shaken confidence, 2 wins would be wonderful. Anything more is gravy.

trinity92
03-17-2008, 01:34 PM
Given that I entered and graduted school with Christian Laettner, during my time in Durham we went to the Final Four every year, the Championship game three times and won the whole thing twice, I am about as spoiled as a Duke fan can get.

Having said all that, I take each team, each year, on its own. The '98-'99 team was a disaster because it lost the championship game, which among the teams I've personally seen, I rank second only to the '90-
'91 UNLV team in talent. I think this team has overacheived, and I've enjoyed this year immensely. I'd consider this season to be a success right now. However, given K's professed goals in everypost season, I think we definitely need to make it to the second weekend of the tournament, and perhaps the regional final, to consider this year a success. In general, we should beat the teams we're supposed to beat (those seeded more than 4 below us), and we should beat double digit seeded teams handily.

BlueintheFace
03-17-2008, 02:15 PM
Success for me is-

1) We shoot well
2) We don't turnover the ball
3) We play with heart

If we do those three things, a loss will come because of a superior team or an opposing team having a spectacular game, and those are losses I can live with... maybe.

devil84
03-17-2008, 03:05 PM
I've been a Duke fan since '76, and I was at Duke as a team manager for Coach K's first four years (which includes the 10-17 and 11-17 years with NO post season). For me, these are the criteria for a successful post season:

* There IS a post season. Don't take it for granted! (See Duke '95, '83, and '82, or UNC '02)
* We play as a team, and win or lose with class, dignity, and heart.
* We graduate our seniors, and underclassmen remain academically eligible. (Not generally a problem)
* No surprise transfers or draft entries.

The rest is gravy. Enjoy the ride. This is a fun team to watch.

-jk
03-17-2008, 03:33 PM
I've been a Duke fan since '76, and I was at Duke as a team manager for Coach K's first four years (which includes the 10-17 and 11-17 years with NO post season). For me, these are the criteria for a successful post season:

* There IS a post season. Don't take it for granted! (See Duke '95, '83, and '82, or UNC '02)
* We play as a team, and win or lose with class, dignity, and heart.
* We graduate our seniors, and underclassmen remain academically eligible. (Not generally a problem)
* No surprise transfers or draft entries.

The rest is gravy. Enjoy the ride. This is a fun team to watch.

Thanks for that reality check.

For all of you who don't remember - or weren't alive - pre-Krzyzewski, we're not entitled to anything.

Duke basketball has never really endured the sort of relentless misery football has over the last 20 or 40 years, but there have been many mediocre - or worse - years.

Enjoy what we have while we have K. Appreciate that he's sustained the most successful program for a quarter century. He'll be a hard act to follow, regardless of who it may be.

-jk

devildownunder
03-17-2008, 06:15 PM
Thanks for that reality check.

For all of you who don't remember - or weren't alive - pre-Krzyzewski, we're not entitled to anything.

Duke basketball has never really endured the sort of relentless misery football has over the last 20 or 40 years, but there have been many mediocre - or worse - years.

Enjoy what we have while we have K. Appreciate that he's sustained the most successful program for a quarter century. He'll be a hard act to follow, regardless of who it may be.

-jk



K and the team aren't satisfied with just any old performance in the postseason, so I don't see why we should have to be. Just because you have some standard in your mind that connotes success does not mean you don't appreciate what has been done so far.