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Jumbo
03-19-2008, 08:22 PM
Okay boys and girls, it's time to get serious. We'll call Phase VI the first weekend of the NCAA Tourney. What questions must be answered in this phase? Glad you asked.

Will the old Kyle Singler please stand up?
It would be great if his jumper returned and he started knocking down threes. But what would be even better is if Singler spent less time lurking beyond the arc and got back to the things that made him so good all year -- an inside/outside game that included post-ups, drives to the hoop and clever moves that got him to the foul line. Duke needs that variety in its offense. And I've got a feeling that once he starts doing these other things again, his stroke will return when we need it.

How is Gerald's wrist?
It doesn't sound like whatever he did to it against Clemson was that bad. If that's the case, I have confidence that, at the very least, he can return to the level at which he finished the regular season. He won't be the pre-injury Gerald, but he needs to avoid being the immediate-post-injury Gerald.

Did McClure, Smith and Zoubek really turn a corner?
All three played very well in the ACC Tourney. An effective McClure and Smith would do wonders for Duke's defense. An improved Zoubek gives Duke depth and a different look inside. If we know we can count on, say, a solid 40 minutes from those three guys, everyone else's work will be a lot easier.

Can DeMarcus Nelson hit free throws under pressure?
It's a simple question with only two answers.

What's Jon Scheyer's next trick?
We saw him adjust to being a sixth man. We saw him accept a subordinate role, doing all the "little things." Then we saw him handle the ball more. We saw him step up with an enormous scoring binge in the second half to lead a near-comeback against Miami. We saw him take over the backup point guard role. We've seen him step up his scoring, averaging 14.9 ppg over his last eight games. Coach K says Scheyer is playing as well as anyone on the team right now. He's right. But what's next for a kid who has just become better and better as the season has gone along? Could a star turn be in the cards? I wouldn't put it past him.

Will we get anything out of Lance Thomas?
For whatever reason (with the exception of the Georgia Tech game), Thomas is in a funk. Duke needs his versatile defense and a solid effort on the boards each night, especially with the way the team switches screens. Duke doesn't need him to be a star -- just fill a specific role. If that doesn't happen, you'll see a lot more of Brian Zoubek and Dave McClure.

Can Duke take care of the ball?
For most of the year, it's been no turnovers = no problem for Duke. We simply don't have a large enough margin of error to give the ball away. It's that simple.

If Duke is in a tight game, will Greg Paulus maintain a disciplined shot selection?
Greg has the nerve to take the big shot. Problem is, sometimes the shot he takes isn't the one Duke needs. I love any open look he gets. I just don't want to see him rush an off-balance three is Duke in a late, clutch situation.

There we go. Feel free to add more questions. Let's hope Duke has enough right answers that we'll have a Phase VII to discuss.

captmojo
03-19-2008, 08:42 PM
I'll take on the DeMarcus/free throw question.

If his shooting motion shows that he is getting his arm up high enough, ( I watch his right elbow for being at least up to the height of his chin at release) he will make probably 90% of his shots. He's dead on line-target that often. The great majority of his misses are distance category. (too long or too short)

If he weighs the same as a duck.......then he's made of wood.
And therefore..........

But seriously, it's not just Nelson. The whole team needs to be sharp at the line, and not allow any scoring chance to pass them by.

dukestheheat
03-19-2008, 09:31 PM
I'll take on the DeMarcus/free throw question.

If his shooting motion shows that he is getting his arm up high enough, ( I watch his right elbow for being at least up to the height of his chin at release) he will make probably 90% of his shots. He's dead on line-target that often. The great majority of his misses are distance category. (too long or too short)

If he weighs the same as a duck.......then he's made of wood.
And therefore..........

But seriously, it's not just Nelson. The whole team needs to be sharp at the line, and not allow any scoring chance to pass them by.

......on DeMarcus's form on the free throw. Man, I study free throws and it's so interesting to me the advantage a team can get just by really stroking those free shots (Clemson beat Duke b/c they 'hit their free throws', for example...).

dth.

captmojo
03-19-2008, 09:45 PM
......on DeMarcus's form on the free throw. Man, I study free throws and it's so interesting to me the advantage a team can get just by really stroking those free shots (Clemson beat Duke b/c they 'hit their free throws', for example...).

dth.

Thanks. I hope he reads this.

socaldukie
03-19-2008, 11:18 PM
How well we do v. belmont will speak volumes about our chances and the possibility of advancement. By that I mean we simply cannot struggle to put them away. We need a sharp, crisp, well communicated game on both ends of the floor. For confidence factors alone we need control of this game to know that as a young team, we belong in the same discussion as the other top 6-7 teams that can win it all.

For those that have watched Duke basketball for many years realize that it is easily known at this time of year whether or not we are ready for the challenge ahead of us. Things don't simply turn around from one weekend to the next. And, that is what I mean by knowing pretty darn well how well we'll fare after tomorrow night's game. Not that one game makes or breaks a tournament. But, we will delve a little into the team psyche.

So my questions are:

a) Have we truly moved on past some difficult losses and are ready to move forward?

b) Do we have the confidence necessary to make a run?

c) Can we find the cohesiveness (mojo) we had earlier in the year?

I do not think Singler and his performance will be an issue. I expect he will let the game come to him and be more productive. That alone is HUGE and will help put the team at ease (they rely on him more than anyone of us realize). I also think our key is Markie. I feel good about that as well. His will is very strong. I also believe he will hit his FT in crunch time.

If these few items come together... Kyle gets confidence by driving and "playing a well rounded game." DeMarcus continues to lead ... Hendo is comfortable... etc.... will result in more confidence, and the rest will take care of itself. Whether that is enough for a final four run I don't know. But, at the least we will have a deep team that applies relentless ball pressure, has multiple offensive weapons, and gets back to the confidence level we had not long ago.

What I do know is we will play our hearts out and I have Faith!

jma4life
03-19-2008, 11:34 PM
For Lance, I'm expecting that we'll see the continued inconsistency. I wouldn't be surprised to see him put up a Shav-against-UCONN-2004 performance in some games but I also expect to see some Lance-against-Clemson-ACC-semifinal like games as well.

SlimSlowSlider
03-20-2008, 07:46 AM
I was talking to a budy of mine about this last night. He said he wanted to see Taylor King get at least 15 minutes. I disagreed, wanting a much more limited role.

HOWEVER, I do want to see him get his stroke back. Those games early in the year - where he would come in and get a couple of quick threes - were a thing of beauty. He would stretch the D, fire up the team, and all seemed well in the world.

OZZIE4DUKE
03-20-2008, 08:01 AM
How well we do v. belmont will speak volumes about our chances and the possibility of advancement.

Really? The 1986 team had quite a struggle against Mississippi Valley State in the first round of the tournament. I seem to remember that team doing fairly well in the tournament.

Now granted, I'd like us to blow them out by 30+ points, but I'll settle for a 1 point win. This weekend, and the entire tournament, is about survive and advance. And I think we will.

mehmattski
03-20-2008, 11:11 AM
Really? The 1986 team had quite a struggle against Mississippi Valley State in the first round of the tournament. I seem to remember that team doing fairly well in the tournament.

Now granted, I'd like us to blow them out by 30+ points, but I'll settle for a 1 point win. This weekend, and the entire tournament, is about survive and advance. And I think we will.

Agreed. Belmont is not the kind of team that gives Duke trouble- they shoot a lot of 3s and have no inside presence. While struggling against a 15 seed is never a good thing, dominating Belmont doesn't immediately inspire a ton of confidence in a deep Duke run. The range of teams Duke would likely face- WV, AZ, Xavier, Purdue are all much less reliant on the 3 and present entirely different sets of problems.

Reading too much into tonight's game would be a mistake.

socaldukie
03-20-2008, 11:33 AM
It's not the final score that matters. The telling signs will be their energy, their desire, how much confidence they play with. That will tell us how much they've been either refreshed and/or have moved on from some tough games.

Of course tonight's game will not indicate how far we go. All I'm saying is it will let us know more about the psyche of the team and their mental state.

greybeard
03-20-2008, 11:46 AM
I think that Lance needs to be utilized more on the offense for him to be effective all around. My theory of the game is that, with few exceptions, players need to be able to "hurt some folks" on the offensive end in order to be effective. Just the way it seems to work. You don't hurt the other guy, the other guy becomes emboldened, his confidence soars. You don't hurt the other guy, your whole feel for the game recedes.

If Lance does not get opportunities to hurt some people on offense in the flow of the game--I am not a fan of calling a play for someone like him because, if he does not finish, he is usually done--his game on the boards, on defense, and creating space on offense will suffer.

Think the first UNC game here, folks; I'd like to see that kind of play; if the opportunities are there, Lance will deliver, if he is allowed to fail once or twice just like everybody else.

I'm psyched.

Lance is most effective from the games that I have seen offensively when Singler catches it around foul-line istance from the basket and finds a passing angle to Lance, often while Lance is on the move. So, Jumbo's point about Singler finding more inside game might have benefits here.

OZZIE4DUKE
03-20-2008, 08:27 PM
but I'll settle for a 1 point win. This weekend, and the entire tournament, is about survive and advance. And I think we will.

Is that prophetic or what?

Whew!

Survive and advance. Thank goodness!

appzter
03-20-2008, 08:49 PM
Really? The 1986 team had quite a struggle against Mississippi Valley State in the first round of the tournament. I seem to remember that team doing fairly well in the tournament.

Now granted, I'd like us to blow them out by 30+ points, but I'll settle for a 1 point win. This weekend, and the entire tournament, is about survive and advance. And I think we will.

jinx?

mehmattski
03-20-2008, 08:57 PM
The following #2 seeds escaped with single-digit victories this decade:

2006: Ohio State beats Davidson 70-62, loses to G-Town in R32
2006: Tennessee beats Winthrop 63-61, loses to Witchita St in R32
2005: Connecticut beats UCF 77-71, loses to NC State in R32
2003: Wake Forest beats E Tennessee St 73-71, loses to Auburn in R32
2003: Kansas beats Utah St 64-61, loses to Syracuse in National Final.
2002: Alabama beats Florida Atlantic 86-78, loses to Kent St in R32
2002: Oklahoma beats UIC 71-63, loses to Indiana in Final Four
2001: Kentucky beats Holy Cross 72-68, loses to USC in Sweet Sixteen

battierfan
03-20-2008, 09:03 PM
My theory is this: K has recruited players that are very talented. good students, and good kids, but let's face it - they cannot RELAX at all. Granted, the pressure is tremendous. But, all the conventional explanations don't work.

Good big man, ACC tourney performance. Wrong. We win the ACC T in 2005 and 2006 and get NO.1 seeds, everyone's excited, then JJ flames out in tournament and we lose in the Sweet 16. We have Shelden, a super all-ACC inside player to go along with JJ, and we still lose early (he can't carry the team by himself).

Tired legs, no depth, rely too much on 3pt shot: wrong. See Duke, 2001 edition with 7-man rotation (Battier is ultra-marathoner playing all-out all the time) and heavy reliance on 3 pt shot. Boozer out from MD game until UCLA game in Sweet 16 but we still crush NC in ACC T and beat MD in ACC T. Win NC.

Too many young players, one senior leader, no experince. Wrong. See Duke, 2004 edition with Deng and Duhon, Redick and Williams (along with other sophs e.g. Dockery and Shav).

So, I say none of these explanations works.

2008:

K is a master psychologist and great motivator, but I don't believe what I'm hearing in the press conferences or reading on DBR regarding how "great" this team feels about itself.

They need to just relax and play basketball for THEMSELVES and not for us, or for the past, or the future, or certainly not to prove wrong all the people out there who hate Duke for all the misguided, misanthropic reasons they conjure up in their heads.

Go Duke. Win the next game for YOURSELVES and try to enjoy it.

-Battierfan

devildeac
03-20-2008, 09:04 PM
This ALMOST became the shortest thread/phase of the year. Whew!

Rich
03-20-2008, 09:19 PM
I'll settle for a 1 point win.

Well, you got it!

Saratoga2
03-20-2008, 09:29 PM
Okay boys and girls, it's time to get serious. We'll call Phase VI the first weekend of the NCAA Tourney. What questions must be answered in this phase? Glad you asked.

Will the old Kyle Singler please stand up?
Well, he didn't get to the free throw line against Belmont and he made a couple of silly fouls which sat him down when he was really needed. His offense was better tonight but maybe instructions to him are not appropriate or being followed.

How is Gerald's wrist?
Just fine, the best player on the floor against Belmont.

Did McClure, Smith and Zoubek really turn a corner?
I think they have improved a lot and may really need to be used more when we have DeMarcus and Lance having poor all around games.

Can DeMarcus Nelson hit free throws under pressure?
NO confidence.

What's Jon Scheyer's next trick?
Needs to be willing to take the shot more often

Will we get anything out of Lance Thomas?
He not only hasn't been a star, he hasn't shown up offensively or defensively. His game against Belmont fit the same description as DeMarcus game. Not contributing much and doing negative things.

Can Duke take care of the ball?
NCAA games will include a lot of intense defense. Our best ball handlers need to handle and make plays. DeMarcus tends to turn the ball over a lot and of course guys like Zoubek do as well. Even Henderson should not be dribbling the ball into a position to score against a crowd. Let our play makers get people the ball in scoring positions. We will probably see 15 turnovers a game in the tourney.

If Duke is in a tight game, will Greg Paulus maintain a disciplined shot selection?
I wondered about slowing the ball down tonight near the end of the game and then winding up having to take a last second shot off balance. We need to pass the ball around and work for a shot and then take it when it appears. I don't think slowing the ball down and wasting part of the clock makes sense unless of course we have a sizable lead. Paulus is one of the best shooters, so I have no trouble with him taking the shot if he is open.

There we go. Feel free to add more questions. Let's hope Duke has enough right answers that we'll have a Phase VII to discuss.

Another question: Should we use a little less pressure on defense and instead keep our man in front of us? Overrunning the ball, falling down when going for a steal, jumping at a shooter and other things are an indication of overaggressiveness hurting us against solid ball handling teams like Belmont.