PDA

View Full Version : A Day Later ... and a Brighter View



Jumbo
03-16-2008, 04:25 PM
Like many of you, I was bummed out after the loss to Clemson yesterday. That's why I decided not to comment on the game in the heat of the moment, and limited my remarks to the seeding thread. After a day to reflect, I feel a lot better. If anything, I'm just disappointed that we didn't get another crack at Carolina. C'est la vie. I'm not saying everything is perfect. I'm just saying that we shouldn't forget who we are, and what we've done, because of yesterday's result. So here are some things to remember:

-We beat the champions of the ACC (UNC), Big 10 (Wisconsin or Illinois), Southern Conference (undefeated Davidson), Ivy League (undefeated Cornell) and the Atlantic 10 (remember that ho-hum game against Temple?). That's pretty darn good. We almost added the WAC to that list, but NMSU fell to Boise State in two overtimes. And, of course, we all remember that last-second loss to the Big East champs, Pitt.

-Clemson is a really good team, especially when they hit their FTs at a reasonable rate. Of course, since they were playing UNC today, that wasn't possible. But it's amazing the way fans of any team (not just Duke) forget to give an opponent any credit. Clemson played quite well yesterday. They have good guard, athletic bigs, balance and an outstanding press. If I were a one-seed, they're the last team I'd want to see on the 4/5 line, because they can beat anyone on a good day. (Conversely, on one of their brick-laded FT days, they're a potential first-round upset victim. Such is the nature of March). Don't think for a second that losing to Clemson is a "bad loss."

-Plus, conference play is really weird, especially conference tourney play. You know your opponents so well. You play every day, meaning scouting and preparation is limited. Look at what has gone on around the country -- it's outrageous! Georgia could win for the third time in two days today and end up in the Dance. Illinois is playing for the Big 10 title. Pitt won the Big East. Things were even crazier in the smaller conferences. San Diego beat both St. Mary's AND Gonzaga to win the WCC. Xavier went down in the A-10 tourney. VCU lost to William & Mary. South Alabama went down in a ridiculous upset. Coppin State won the MEAC with 20 losses. The Southland had three outstanding teams -- neither of them even made the final! The list goes on. The point is that it is very difficult to extrapolate results from conference tournaments and apply them to the NCAA Tourney. They are two very different animals, and every year it gets proven by some hot team that wins its conference, then goes down in the first round. (See Iowa vs. Northwestern State, 2006).

-Before the year, we were comparing this group to some version similar to the 1996-97 and 2002-03 teams. When we started 22-1, some people got excited and mentioned 1997-98, but that team was just loaded. I think we're somewhere in between the preseason and midseason comparisions, which is good enough to make a run.

-I think people are still tremendously scarred by last year, and are letting that experience cloud their judgment of this team. Those experiences are night and day. We didn't lose eight of our last 12. We won six of our last 10. One of those losses was a tight one to the top team in the country. Another was to Clemson, and you know how I feel about them. Miami should be Tourney-bound. This team is infinitely tougher than last year, has so many more scoring options and is so much deeper and healthier that it's just a silly comparison.

-I'm not saying we don't have weaknesses. Of course we do. They're more glaring than the likely #1 seeds and most of the likely #2 seeds. Singler is shooting to many jumpers. Henderson's wrist has been a problem since the first UNC game. Both guys need to improve. And we have injuries. (To respond to a particularly snarky post yesterday, yup, there are some undisclosed ones too. Guys are playing through them. That doesn't mean they aren't affected, and when the info comes out in the spring like usual, it won't be an excuse. It'll be a fact.) But Duke's biggest issue, of late, has been shooting. And I'll take a shooter's chance in any game. The defense has been better of late. We actually out-rebounded Clemson. Previous teams have had weaknesses, too. Ours, by comparison, can be mild. In fact, even some of our great teams entering the tourney had more of a fatal flaw than this one. The 2006 team had two scoring options. This team still has five guys in double figures, plus a couple of other players capable of putting up big numbers on a given night.
But the idea that this is part of some trend of late-season collapses is a bit of a red herring. Of course our late-season record is worse. Why? The schedule gets so much tougher. Add in the fact that we constantly compare ourselves to Carolina and people lose perspective.

-And, we're adjusting. Constantly. That was one of the most amazing complaints I saw yesterday. This whole season has been about adjustments. K tweaked his typical four-out offense to fit one resembling the Suns' set, with a guy in the corner, more ball-screens, etc. Since then, changes have been constant. King was a major threat. King faded into the background. Zoubek worked his way back, got hurt, worked his way back again and now is getting big minutes. Paulus and Smith split minutes. Smith barely got off the bench. Smith came through a big game against Clemson. Scheyer stood in the corner for half the year, then finally got the ball more on the wing, and is now Duke's backup PG with Smith moving off the ball. We're running fewer side pick-and-rolls. We're dumping the ball to Zoubek on the block. Dave McClure all but disappeared, then responded with a fantastic ACC Tourney. We've pressed, trapped and even gone to a zone. We've changed our substitution pattern constantly, even going with a Blue/White look to open the game in the ACC Tourney. And i'm sure K has some more wrinkles planned.

-Plus, the field is somewhat weak. There are teams I want to avoid (Notre Dame, Louisville, UConn, USC as well as a few others that I mentioned yesterday). But there are plenty of other teams that will be seeded anywhere from 3-7 who don't scare me at all. And a number of dangerous mid-majors lost in their conference tourneys. Again, it's all about matchups.

-Most importantly, the team and coaching staff are confident. So why shouldn't we join them? I don't know how well Duke will do in the Tourney. I don't have "expecatations" (because that's a dirty word), except for the fact that I expect that Duke will be in every game with a chance to win. Could we lose earlier than we'd like? Sure. Do we have the potential to make a run? Absolutely.

Finally, I'm going to link a bunch of old threads (many started by me, I sheepishly confess) that make for interesting reading in retrospect. Take a look, get yourselves out of your funk, stop preparing for the worst, and enjoy whatever is left of the season. Good days are ahead, and hopefully that includes the next three weeks.
http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4292&highlight=different+experience

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3982&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4528&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4526&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6705&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6360&highlight=maui

Cameron
03-16-2008, 04:26 PM
I'm not sure why we should be throw out fatigue as a reasonable excuse for our recent down turn. After all, this is the deepest team we've had in years. I understand that we relied heavily upon our two stud freshman early in the year for production, especially Kyle, and that they may be hitting that proverbial first year wall, but I'm not sure fatigue should be a viable way of understanding what has gone wrong.

We simply haven't gotten better since the win in Chapel Hill, teams have taken advantage of our poor outside shooting when we have poor outside shooting, we can't stop any inside scoring on low block penetration, we are a genuinely terrible rebounding club, and we're making errant turnovers in late game situations at alarming rates. You aren't going to win very many games with that type of play. Just not going to happen.

I haven't given up on this season by any means, though. I still think we could get hot and make the regional finals. My guess right now would be Sweet 16 and out but I think we could do some damage if we get back to playing as offensively efficient as we were earlier in the year.

I really hope so because I don't want to watch my March dissolve before my eyes as sadly as it did last year. I would love to see this group play deep into the Tournament, or, if the great Lord above would be so gracious to allow it, on Monday Night. That would be Heaven.

RelativeWays
03-16-2008, 04:49 PM
We are susceptible to a 2nd round upset (maybe 1st...but thats unlikely) we also have the very real talent and ability to make the Elite 8 (and with a bit of luck, the final 4) This isn't last year. We have improved.

dukelifer
03-16-2008, 04:52 PM
After listening to the Coach K presser- I felt a little better. It is clear that he was trying a few things in this game. He was also trying to get a few of his bench guys some confidence and keep his starters from getting too worn out. He wanted to win and Duke was in a position to win- but shots didn't drop and Clemson played with confidence. The NCAA tourney has become an interesting event in the past decade. It was not always like this. A lot of players are auditioning for the next level- some teams are looking to get that signature win. So it is very competitive and the world wide attention (and again it has not always been like this) has made this a high stakes event. To win it all, a team needs to win in different ways. Duke is rounding into that kind of team and certainly can play with any team in the country. The main question is can they execute with the pressure on. Ultimately, that is what determines the champion. Most every team in the NCAAs plays at least one close one. The eventual winner does not have 6 consecutive 30 point blowouts. Execution in the last 3 minutes is key. As of late- Duke has struggled in that department. But it is not because they lack the players to do it. They have several who can make big plays when it counts. This is where confidence, experience and luck all come into play. And some players love that moment in the game. I would say for Duke, Demarcus loves that time in the game. I also think Singler does as well. But for Duke to win, they will need to minimize mistakes and execute as a team. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, you cannot practice the last 3 minutes of a big NCAA game. It all happens in the moment. It is what makes sports great. You either catch the ball on the top of your helmet falling down or you don't. I am looking to see if Duke can muster a few of those moments in the next few weeks-with all the attention on other teams. I do know one thing for sure, though- they will play very, very hard.

mgtr
03-16-2008, 04:58 PM
I have tried to avoid the "Coach K doesn't recruit the right guys" movement, which surfaces from time to time. I have absolutely no credentials to do that. However (isn't there always a however?), I am beginning to wonder if we have all thoroughbreds, when what we need is a plowhorse or two. Maybe Olek Czyz will be our plowhorse, I don't know. Maybe we don't really need such an animal. But it sure would be nice to have one when the threes aren't dropping.
Go Duke!

DukePA
03-16-2008, 04:58 PM
Thank you for your eloquent and uplifting post, Jumbo. You articulated many of the thoughts that have been running through my mind every time we hit a bump in the road. I love this team. They are a magnificent group of kids who exemplify Duke Basketball for me. I am so proud to be a Duke alum and a lifelong fan.

GO DUKE!!

wilson
03-16-2008, 07:02 PM
Our Blue Devils remain the last two-time defending national champion to be invited to the NCAA Tournament.;)

Jumbo
03-16-2008, 07:28 PM
Thank you for your eloquent and uplifting post, Jumbo. You articulated many of the thoughts that have been running through my mind every time we hit a bump in the road. I love this team. They are a magnificent group of kids who exemplify Duke Basketball for me. I am so proud to be a Duke alum and a lifelong fan.

GO DUKE!!

Thanks, DukePA.

dw0827
03-16-2008, 08:43 PM
Thanks, DukePA.

Jumbo, you make an important point when you admonish us to enjoy the rest of the season.

Exactly. Because in about a month, there will be no more (college) basketball, No more Duke basketball for many months to come.

Bummer.

So win or lose, enjoy the ride.

I've been a Duke fan for 45 years . . . and at the end of each year, without fail, I take a quiet moment and thank the team, the guys, for the ride they've given me for the year.

These kids (and thats what they are . . . kids) work their butts off to do the very best they can. They aren't perfect but they have hearts of lions. They give us everything they've got. The least we can do is appreciate them . . . and thank them . . . for yet another glorious ride.

gep
03-16-2008, 08:58 PM
If anything, I'm just disappointed that we didn't get another crack at Carolina. C'est la vie.

Thanks Jumbo... I really enjoy your insights and comments... especially since I'm a "novice" basketball fan. But, you must have posted before the seedings came out.

I think we now have 1 more crack at Carolina... assuming both of us get to the final:D

gep
03-16-2008, 09:06 PM
After listening to the Coach K presser- I felt a little better. It is clear that he was trying a few things in this game. He was also trying to get a few of his bench guys some confidence and keep his starters from getting too worn out.

I also got that feeling from his post-game presser. In fact, it sounded like he might have wanted all of his bench players to get significant experience in a tournament environment now... to prepare for the NCAA run. And, Duke almost won the game. In fact, I thought the bench players did very well when they went in the first time. Maybe this is yet another wrinkle in the evolution of Coach K. I think he's definitely changing with the times... looking for anything "new" that will help the program now and in the future. We're lucky to have him:)

mapei
03-16-2008, 09:27 PM
I also got that feeling from his post-game presser. In fact, it sounded like he might have wanted all of his bench players to get significant experience in a tournament environment now... to prepare for the NCAA run. And, Duke almost won the game. In fact, I thought the bench players did very well when they went in the first time. Maybe this is yet another wrinkle in the evolution of Coach K.

I can't believe K would willingly sacrifice an ACC tourney game in order to prepare for the NCAAs . . . I sure hope that's not what happened.

And I disagree about our bench players when he put all 5 in. I thought our ball-handling, in particular, was really shaky.

Jumbo
03-16-2008, 09:32 PM
I can't believe K would willingly sacrifice an ACC tourney game in order to prepare for the NCAAs . . . I sure hope that's not what happened.

And I disagree about our bench players when he put all 5 in. I thought our ball-handling, in particular, was really shaky.

Well, they went on a 9-2 run. So I guess it wasn't that shaky.

devildeac
03-16-2008, 10:03 PM
Like many of you, I was bummed out after the loss to Clemson yesterday. That's why I decided not to comment on the game in the heat of the moment, and limited my remarks to the seeding thread. After a day to reflect, I feel a lot better. If anything, I'm just disappointed that we didn't get another crack at Carolina. C'est la vie. I'm not saying everything is perfect. I'm just saying that we shouldn't forget who we are, and what we've done, because of yesterday's result. So here are some things to remember:

-We beat the champions of the ACC (UNC), Big 10 (Wisconsin or Illinois), Southern Conference (undefeated Davidson), Ivy League (undefeated Cornell) and the Atlantic 10 (remember that ho-hum game against Temple?). That's pretty darn good. We almost added the WAC to that list, but NMSU fell to Boise State in two overtimes. And, of course, we all remember that last-second loss to the Big East champs, Pitt.

-Clemson is a really good team, especially when they hit their FTs at a reasonable rate. Of course, since they were playing UNC today, that wasn't possible. But it's amazing the way fans of any team (not just Duke) forget to give an opponent any credit. Clemson played quite well yesterday. They have good guard, athletic bigs, balance and an outstanding press. If I were a one-seed, they're the last team I'd want to see on the 4/5 line, because they can beat anyone on a good day. (Conversely, on one of their brick-laded FT days, they're a potential first-round upset victim. Such is the nature of March). Don't think for a second that losing to Clemson is a "bad loss."

-Plus, conference play is really weird, especially conference tourney play. You know your opponents so well. You play every day, meaning scouting and preparation is limited. Look at what has gone on around the country -- it's outrageous! Georgia could win for the third time in two days today and end up in the Dance. Illinois is playing for the Big 10 title. Pitt won the Big East. Things were even crazier in the smaller conferences. San Diego beat both St. Mary's AND Gonzaga to win the WCC. Xavier went down in the A-10 tourney. VCU lost to William & Mary. South Alabama went down in a ridiculous upset. Coppin State won the MEAC with 20 losses. The Southland had three outstanding teams -- neither of them even made the final! The list goes on. The point is that it is very difficult to extrapolate results from conference tournaments and apply them to the NCAA Tourney. They are two very different animals, and every year it gets proven by some hot team that wins its conference, then goes down in the first round. (See Iowa vs. Northwestern State, 2006).

-Before the year, we were comparing this group to some version similar to the 1996-97 and 2002-03 teams. When we started 22-1, some people got excited and mentioned 1997-98, but that team was just loaded. I think we're somewhere in between the preseason and midseason comparisions, which is good enough to make a run.

-I think people are still tremendously scarred by last year, and are letting that experience cloud their judgment of this team. Those experiences are night and day. We didn't lose eight of our last 12. We won six of our last 10. One of those losses was a tight one to the top team in the country. Another was to Clemson, and you know how I feel about them. Miami should be Tourney-bound. This team is infinitely tougher than last year, has so many more scoring options and is so much deeper and healthier that it's just a silly comparison.

-I'm not saying we don't have weaknesses. Of course we do. They're more glaring than the likely #1 seeds and most of the likely #2 seeds. Singler is shooting to many jumpers. Henderson's wrist has been a problem since the first UNC game. Both guys need to improve. And we have injuries. (To respond to a particularly snarky post yesterday, yup, there are some undisclosed ones too. Guys are playing through them. That doesn't mean they aren't affected, and when the info comes out in the spring like usual, it won't be an excuse. It'll be a fact.) But Duke's biggest issue, of late, has been shooting. And I'll take a shooter's chance in any game. The defense has been better of late. We actually out-rebounded Clemson. Previous teams have had weaknesses, too. Ours, by comparison, can be mild. In fact, even some of our great teams entering the tourney had more of a fatal flaw than this one. The 2006 team had two scoring options. This team still has five guys in double figures, plus a couple of other players capable of putting up big numbers on a given night.
But the idea that this is part of some trend of late-season collapses is a bit of a red herring. Of course our late-season record is worse. Why? The schedule gets so much tougher. Add in the fact that we constantly compare ourselves to Carolina and people lose perspective.

-And, we're adjusting. Constantly. That was one of the most amazing complaints I saw yesterday. This whole season has been about adjustments. K tweaked his typical four-out offense to fit one resembling the Suns' set, with a guy in the corner, more ball-screens, etc. Since then, changes have been constant. King was a major threat. King faded into the background. Zoubek worked his way back, got hurt, worked his way back again and now is getting big minutes. Paulus and Smith split minutes. Smith barely got off the bench. Smith came through a big game against Clemson. Scheyer stood in the corner for half the year, then finally got the ball more on the wing, and is now Duke's backup PG with Smith moving off the ball. We're running fewer side pick-and-rolls. We're dumping the ball to Zoubek on the block. Dave McClure all but disappeared, then responded with a fantastic ACC Tourney. We've pressed, trapped and even gone to a zone. We've changed our substitution pattern constantly, even going with a Blue/White look to open the game in the ACC Tourney. And i'm sure K has some more wrinkles planned.

-Plus, the field is somewhat weak. There are teams I want to avoid (Notre Dame, Louisville, UConn, USC as well as a few others that I mentioned yesterday). But there are plenty of other teams that will be seeded anywhere from 3-7 who don't scare me at all. And a number of dangerous mid-majors lost in their conference tourneys. Again, it's all about matchups.

-Most importantly, the team and coaching staff are confident. So why shouldn't we join them? I don't know how well Duke will do in the Tourney. I don't have "expecatations" (because that's a dirty word), except for the fact that I expect that Duke will be in every game with a chance to win. Could we lose earlier than we'd like? Sure. Do we have the potential to make a run? Absolutely.

Finally, I'm going to link a bunch of old threads (many started by me, I sheepishly confess) that make for interesting reading in retrospect. Take a look, get yourselves out of your funk, stop preparing for the worst, and enjoy whatever is left of the season. Good days are ahead, and hopefully that includes the next three weeks.
http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4292&highlight=different+experience

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3982&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4528&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4526&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6705&highlight=predict

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6360&highlight=maui

D@mn good analysis Jumbo-you been talking to OZZIE:D ? Sure makes a fan of 35+ years a whole lot more at ease than I felt yesterday. Lace 'em on and toss it up-I think we will be ready for a nice run...

weezie
03-16-2008, 10:57 PM
I feel better already. Heck, I'm even getting a bit fuzzy on that ACC tea party this past weekend. What was all the fuss about anyway? Lot's of people sporting odd, unfashionable color combinations and bellowing insults and threats at each other. Once again, our classic deep royal blue was the best looking attire worn by the most attractive people behaving like true scholars and enthusiasts.
Tally ho, or Allons-y Diables!!

zingit
03-16-2008, 11:49 PM
Thanks, Jumbo. I was really depressed after losing to Carolina, then I got all excited for the ACC tournament, then I was even more depressed when that ended . . . and then I started watching the selection show and getting totally psyched again. It's MARCH! Everyone's 0-0 now!!! And your post even confirms that I am right to feel psyched now.

TwoDukeTattoos
03-17-2008, 08:00 AM
I can't believe K would willingly sacrifice an ACC tourney game in order to prepare for the NCAAs . . . I sure hope that's not what happened.

And I disagree about our bench players when he put all 5 in. I thought our ball-handling, in particular, was really shaky.

I certainly don't think that K was intentionally trying to lose the ACC tourney. I think he was focused on winning it as always. However, I do feel that more important than winning was preparing his team (including the bench) for the Big Dance. I think he made excellent decisions during the ACC tourney and I am excited to see this team during the Big.

rtnorthrup
03-17-2008, 09:20 AM
As I was watching the Clemson-UNC game, I was thinking about Jumbo's post a couple of weeks ago on Duke defense. One of the biggest differences between the way Duke and UNC defended Clemson is that UNC had a couple of guys that were able to challenge/block shots. I think Jumbo hit it out of the park on his post about defense, we really miss having a guy who can defend the rim.

I didnt like Coach K's press break. Having both Singler and Thomas on the baseline to inbound the ball meant that we were essentially playing 3 on 5. Carolina, opted to throw over the press, which turned out to be much more effective. I wonder if we will change the way we approach this as we are likely to see teams try and press Duke.

Great games by Zoubek and McClure. Bad result, but entertaining game. Good luck to Clemson against Villanova, if they defend the 3-point line against Villanova as well as they did against us they should have no trouble.

Show no mercy against Belmont. Lets get it started.

dukelifer
03-17-2008, 09:31 AM
I can't believe K would willingly sacrifice an ACC tourney game in order to prepare for the NCAAs . . . I sure hope that's not what happened.

And I disagree about our bench players when he put all 5 in. I thought our ball-handling, in particular, was really shaky.

I don't think K was sacrificing the ACC. The team was in a position to win the game. But I do think he planned to play a lot of guys over the weekend and that was as much a priority as winning. He balanced the two. I don't think playing the bench more caused Duke to lose- and he certainly could have played them less and he chose not to. I think he was definitely looking at the bigger picture. That is, if he did not beat Clemson (because shots did not fall) he did get something very valuable from the two day experience. K was happy with the effort and with the contributions from all. The interesting question is how would he have approached the championship had a few of the those threes had dropped at the end.

Saratoga2
03-17-2008, 11:45 AM
I don't think K was sacrificing the ACC. The team was in a position to win the game. But I do think he planned to play a lot of guys over the weekend and that was as much a priority as winning. He balanced the two. I don't think playing the bench more caused Duke to lose- and he certainly could have played them less and he chose not to. I think he was definitely looking at the bigger picture. That is, if he did not beat Clemson (because shots did not fall) he did get something very valuable from the two day experience. K was happy with the effort and with the contributions from all. The interesting question is how would he have approached the championship had a few of the those threes had dropped at the end.

Hard to know what the staff was thinking during the Clemson game, but I would say that weren't trying to lose. The kids would know if that was the case and how would it impact guys like DeMarcus and Greg? It seemed all the players gave their all, however, they didn't have their best games result from the effort. I do question whether the coaching staff understood the way the game was going to the extent Jumbo's point total indicates. If they realized that, I can't believe Zoubek would have sat on he bench so long in the second half.

greybeard
03-17-2008, 12:33 PM
Can't believe that I misssed the whole thing, the tournament that is, but was involved in a 10-day training. Was bummed when I heard that Duke lost. This thread really hit the spot. Terrific lead story Jumbo. Some terrific add ons as well. Go Duke!

RepoMan
03-17-2008, 06:24 PM
Frankly, I think we have more good news than bad. The good:

Nelson is playing the best basketball of his career.

Paulus is playing the best basketball of his career.

Scheyer (at least arguably) is playing the best basketball of his career.

Zoubek is playing the best basketball of his career.

McClure is playing the best he has played this season.

Smith is rounding back into form and is trending upwards.

We have the best coach in the country.


The not so good news:

Thomas has disappeared, but, when combined with Zoubek's emergence, this is not particularly alarming for this season. After UNC 1, I thought Lance really had turned the corner, but, at this point, that has to be viewed as a bit of an aberration.

King can't get off the pine. I have to say that, while I am not in the King-fetish crowd, I can't quite understand why K hasn't tried giving him a few more minutes, especially during the tournament as he dipped into the bench. Sometimes the team seems to miss a spark, and King has both the personality and the game to provide a spark. Still, we are going 9 deep and King certainly has shown that he can play, so having him ride the pine doesn't seem to impact negatively post-season prospects.

The bad:

If Singler doesn't return to form (or heck, at least get back to 75% of the level at which he had been playing earlier), we could struggle as early as the second game. As Jumbo has pointed out all season, we play in such a way that Kyle constantly gets open looks. If he keeps missing almost ALL of them, its a real problem. Likewise, we need him to more aggressively attack the basket, as he has done at times. The only good thing here is that he has kept shooting, despite the lack of results. He has to take those open shots.

Henderson had been steadily improving and adjusting to the wrist injury. It took him about 2 weeks to start playing better after the injury first happened in UNC 1. We don't have 2 weeks to wait here. Gerald brings a unique dimension to our offense, and this team has too small a margin for error to lose that. Again, I think we could struggle as early as the second game if Gerald is back to his immediately-post-UNC 1 form.



In all though, we have enjoyed a great season that surpassed pre-season expectations. We have perhaps the best tournament coach of all time, and lots of talented, hard-working, players, all of whom are great representatives of the school. We are one of about 10 teams that have a chance at winning this thing, and, as with any team, with a little luck, we could be right there at the end, which, really, is all you can hope for. (Well, in '99 I hoped for a little more.)

RockyMtDevil
03-17-2008, 10:15 PM
Jumbo,
Thanks for the insight and thanks for the personal message, I just got too involved in the Clemson loss. Move on, and let's see what this team can do.

What a great, great year for our boys. 27-5 with a great win at Chapel Hill and a championship in Maui. We're building a foundation for what could be a special year next year. We have great, great kids, the BEST coach in America and there's nothing like duke being the dark horse in the west.

Let's see what the next several days have in store. Cheering like Crazy in Colorado!