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  1. #41
    Game recap.

    Five observations.

    Player of the game for Duke.

    https://bluedevilstop.com/duke-fails...virginia-tech/

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    NC
    Definitely a good barometer for where we are. I thought we largely played even with VT overall, and that feels about right for where we are. Yes, they pulled away late, and yes they led big early. But I think the game was closer than the 7-point spread. Still, I agree with uh_no that this is relatively accurate reflection of where we are. And at the moment, that's a team that is on the bubble. We haven't played well so far this year, and our results are very much in line with that.

    That being said, I do think there are reasons for hope. First, it's still a young team, and we've suffered from lack of games to this point to work through things. Second, we've been missing our most talented player for almost the entire season. Finally, some of our key young players are starting to show signs of comfort.

    The positives:
    1. Jeremy Roach had a terrific game. He finally showed the downhill game that he was known for in high school. It was easily his strongest showing as a scorer. After looking very tentative for his first 3 games, he has strung together 5 games of double-digit scoring, with averages of 14.6 ppg and 52% from the field. I thought he did a decent job of driving and kicking, unfortunately the shooter was too often Goldwire. That deflated his assist total. But if anything I'd like to see Roach get even more aggressive.
    2. Hurt continued his dominant offensive play, and was strong on the defensive glass. I'll take 20 and 11 on 50% shooting any day. He's such a weapon on offense.
    3. Seeing Johnson return to the court, even briefly, is a great sign. Hopefully he's back to full go next week against Pitt.
    4. Goldwire continued to be an absolute menace on defense, with 4 steals. As Roach and Steward continue to assert themselves, he should settle into a nice role as a defensive playmaker.
    5. Moore played a much more controlled game, not forcing mistakes on offense, and contributed with some strong rebounding numbers for a second straight game.
    6. Baker really gave it his all on defense, with 3 blocks including a really nice chase-down block of a fast break layup attempt.
    7. The team didn't give up, and fought back to make it a tight game until the final minutes.

    The negatives:
    1. The defense still needs to improve, although it was at least a step in the right direction. Hopefully the return of Johnson will help on that end.
    2. The awful start yet again, which put us in a huge hole. You can't give a team an 18 point lead (down 36-18 at the nadir) and expect to win. That we clawed back to within 1 was impressive, but it was such an uphill battle from that awful start.
    3. After a really nice 4 game stretch from MSU through ND, Brakefield seems to have lost his shooting touch.
    4. After a sting of really solid games offensively, Goldwire had a clunker tonight. His 0-5 from the floor combined with the 0-4 from 3 for Brakefield and Moore was essentially the difference.
    5. A bit of a rough game for Steward as well. His 3pt shooting continues to be a bit of a concern. For a player noted as a shooter coming out of high school, he's at just 31.1% from 3. Overall he's still a clear plus for his rebounding and ability to score in traffic. But we really need him to be a shooter on this team. He went 2-8 from 3 last night, so not quite good enough. Especially when combined with the 0-6 from 3 from Goldwire/Moore/Brakefield.
    6. The biggest negative I had for Roach is that he was too 3pt happy. Unlike Steward, 3pt shooting was not a strength for him coming into college. I like that he's being more assertive, but 3pt shooting is not a strength for him. So taking 7 3s in a game is probably a losing strategy when you are a 30.8% shooter and not known as a shooter coming in.

    The other:
    1. Williams returned to the bench and a spot role. And, honestly, that's probably for the best for now. He doesn't appear to be quite ready to make an impact at the ACC level. Hopefully next year goes better for him as he gets a bit stronger and hopefully a bit more fluid.
    2. The lineup last night was a bit closer to what I'd expect moving forward, with the exception that Johnson will return to the starting lineup and Brakefield will drop to the ~15-20 mpg level, and one of Moore and Baker will drop to the 5-10 mpg level.

    We said a month or more ago that this team would be unlike typical Duke teams in that it would require a lot of development. Most of the time, we've had a clear identity and either enough experience or superior talent that we could make it work from day one. This team isn't stacked with talent and is light on experience. And to add to that, we've been playing without our best player for about half of the season. So the results to this point have been lackluster. But the good news is that there is room for growth, and there are reasons for optimism that growth can occur. It is unfortunate that COVID has robbed the team of so much of their development opportunity (both practice and games), but hopefully over the next several weeks they can find their form.

  3. #43
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    Feb 2007
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    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDevilStop View Post
    Duke shot 1/11 from three in the final 12:00 and the only make was a buzzer beater as time expired from Goldwire. Settling for jumpers down the stretch really hurt, that game was there for the taking.
    Minor quibble, but the buzzer beater was by Roach not Goldwire.

    But yes, poor shot selection and poor shooting was what did us in. The game was there for the taking for most of the second half. We just didn't take it.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Minor quibble, but the buzzer beater was by Roach not Goldwire.

    But yes, poor shot selection and poor shooting was what did us in. The game was there for the taking for most of the second half. We just didn't take it.
    Duke's shooting is a significant concern. Duke takes too many 3s and far too many long 2s for a team that appears to lack shooters. In the past, I was surprised when Duke missed an open 3. For the past few seasons, I'm surprised when they go in. It's not what you want.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    I understand the want to put positive spin on it...but context is important. This isn't a team largely playing well that lost a tough ACC road game. This is a team that had been playing pretty poorly and muscling out wins against the bottom of the league, who couldn't similarly do it against a much stronger VT team.

    We worked hard and made it a game for a few minutes, and that's great, but we can't pretend this is some sort of aberration that often happens in big ACC road games. There's a reason we're #23KP and falling.

    People need to be prepared for a struggle of an ACC slate, and a struggle to make the tournament, because that's where we sit right now with our play.
    My comment wasn't meant to be a positive.


    Every team we have dragged into Cassell over the past decade or more has been more capable than this one currently is.


    We can play with anybody, but it seems we don't decide to do that until we are about ten minutes into the game and maybe a dozen or more points behind. This is the problem that most urgently needs to be addressed.

    And yes, those back-to-back horribly missed threes were a real turning point in the game last night. I was watching the game with my kitten. I yelled at the tv, "Oh, come on! I can shoot better than that!" but my kitten was incredulous.
    "We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world." --M. Proust

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by azzefkram View Post
    Duke's shooting is a significant concern. Duke takes too many 3s and far too many long 2s for a team that appears to lack shooters. In the past, I was surprised when Duke missed an open 3. For the past few seasons, I'm surprised when they go in. It's not what you want.
    1. Baker won't shoot, so not sure what's going on there. If we really wanted him to shoot, couldn't we run him off 3-4 screens in a row like we've done with JJ and other shooters in the past?

    2. Goldwire plays too prominent of a shooting role on this team, because we just don't have much firepower. He's not a solid shooter.

    3. Wendell Moore has lost all ability to shoot, amongst other basketball skills like dribbling. I mean, many of his shots don't touch the RIM! He has to be told to stop shooting outside of 6 feet. We can't afford to just give away possessions.

    4. #1 reminds me of how much I miss seeing JJ Redick shoot... man, that dude could SHOOT!!

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by dukebluesincebirth View Post
    1. Baker won't shoot, so not sure what's going on there. If we really wanted him to shoot, couldn't we run him off 3-4 screens in a row like we've done with JJ and other shooters in the past?

    2. Goldwire plays too prominent of a shooting role on this team, because we just don't have much firepower. He's not a solid shooter.

    3. Wendell Moore has lost all ability to shoot, amongst other basketball skills like dribbling. I mean, many of his shots don't touch the RIM! He has to be told to stop shooting outside of 6 feet. We can't afford to just give away possessions.

    4. #1 reminds me of how much I miss seeing JJ Redick shoot... man, that dude could SHOOT!!
    brakefield and hurt are really the only ones who should be regularly shooting threes. I'd even take 35%...but a spate of guards who are shooting 31% 31% 31% and 20% isn't going to get it done. At least not when you don't have zion williamson, RJ Barrett, and Tre jones in your lineup.
    basketball is back, baby!

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by kako View Post
    Duke’s early D wasn’t stellar, but Tech was on more fire early in the 1st half than Duke's D was bad.
    The problem with this take is our last five opponents have all been "on fire." For the season, Duke has given up a 52.6% opposing eFG%, that's the 60th highest in the country, and the 7th highest opposing eFG% in the Big Six conferences (76 total teams).

    If this opposing eFG rate continues for the entire season, it will be by far our worst opposing eFG% since at least 1987 (I didn't calculate before that). In comparison, our opposing eFG% last season was 45.7%, the season before that it was 45.0%, and the season before that it was 46.4%.

    At some point, we have to point the finger at the defense, rather than the aberrant heat of our opponents.
    Last edited by Kedsy; 01-13-2021 at 11:54 AM.

  9. #49
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    Dec 2007
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    Cary, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    brakefield and hurt are really the only ones who should be regularly shooting threes.
    I'm not sure I would even include Brakefield. Yes he is still averaging 44% on the season (8-18) but I think that was due to a hot couple of games early on. He doesn't look like a naturally great shooter to me, he's 0-5 the past three games and more importantly he is pretty good at finishing around the basket so I'd rather he look to do that rather than settling for the threes.

    I still trust Baker to be shooting threes more than anyone else on the team except maybe Hurt. He's a pure shooter that has never been able to get into a rhythm this season. Seems to me that he knows that defense is the way to earn playing time so he's putting all of his focus on that end of the floor and his offense suffers. Reminds me of Matt Jones his first two seasons in that respect. He is too deferential and almost afraid to shoot, which makes me concerned that he has lost the confidence of his teammates.

  10. #50
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    Dec 2007
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    Cary, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    At some point, we have to point the finger at the defense, rather than the aberrant heat of our opponents.
    When you constantly give up wide open looks and your opponent shoots a high percentage, you can't just chalk that up to bad luck. And when your opponent jumps out of the gate hitting those wide open looks they build confidence and the effect magnifies. I can only imagine how wild the crowd would have been during those first 10 minutes when VT was having their way with us. The only reason they shot so few three pointers is that they knew they could get open layups instead.

    We're usually pretty good at defending the three, but this season that's not the case. Our defensive strategy seems to be "try to get a steal at all costs, and if you don't then oh well"

  11. #51
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    Nov 2007
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    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    When you constantly give up wide open looks and your opponent shoots a high percentage, you can't just chalk that up to bad luck. And when your opponent jumps out of the gate hitting those wide open looks they build confidence and the effect magnifies. I can only imagine how wild the crowd would have been during those first 10 minutes when VT was having their way with us. The only reason they shot so few three pointers is that they knew they could get open layups instead.

    We're usually pretty good at defending the three, but this season that's not the case. Our defensive strategy seems to be "try to get a steal at all costs, and if you don't then oh well"
    Yes, and we were giving up way too many uncontested point in the paint in the first half..

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Lewisville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    The other:
    1. Williams returned to the bench and a spot role. And, honestly, that's probably for the best for now. He doesn't appear to be quite ready to make an impact at the ACC level. Hopefully next year goes better for him as he gets a bit stronger and hopefully a bit more fluid.
    2. The lineup last night was a bit closer to what I'd expect moving forward, with the exception that Johnson will return to the starting lineup and Brakefield will drop to the ~15-20 mpg level, and one of Moore and Baker will drop to the 5-10 mpg level.

    We said a month or more ago that this team would be unlike typical Duke teams in that it would require a lot of development. Most of the time, we've had a clear identity and either enough experience or superior talent that we could make it work from day one. This team isn't stacked with talent and is light on experience. And to add to that, we've been playing without our best player for about half of the season. So the results to this point have been lackluster. But the good news is that there is room for growth, and there are reasons for optimism that growth can occur. It is unfortunate that COVID has robbed the team of so much of their development opportunity (both practice and games), but hopefully over the next several weeks they can find their form.
    Very good overall writeup.

    One area where my take is a little different -- the importance of Wendell Moore. We have seen what he can do, much of it last season and for one game (only one unfortunately) this year. His rebounding and defense are needed and he can be versatile and productive on offense. I rank him ahead of Brakefield in his ability and experience; Moore's relegation to 5-10 mpg would be a real disappointment.

    This all should sort itself out with Coach K's terrific experience in team building. We sure do need contributions from more players than we are currently getting.

  13. #53
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    Feb 2007
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    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by roywhite View Post
    Very good overall writeup.

    One area where my take is a little different -- the importance of Wendell Moore. We have seen what he can do, much of it last season and for one game (only one unfortunately) this year. His rebounding and defense are needed and he can be versatile and productive on offense. I rank him ahead of Brakefield in his ability and experience; Moore's relegation to 5-10 mpg would be a real disappointment.

    This all should sort itself out with Coach K's terrific experience in team building. We sure do need contributions from more players than we are currently getting.
    Yeah, I don't think it will be Moore that gets relegated to the 5-10 mpg role, and like you I think if he did it would be a real disappointment. I think he'll be like Brakefield in the 15-20 mpg role. He has the recruiting cache and potential to be a 25-30 mpg guy, but he's just been SO inconsistent.

    Your last paragraph is key. Coach K has quite a resume of team building, and he is no stranger to midseason adjustments. I have confidence he'll find the optimal grouping. But as you said, getting more than 2 good performances from our top-7 will be critical.

    Hopefully Johnson finds his comfort zone. If he can give us a third-team All-ACC level performance alongside Hurt's PoY-level play, that would give us a strong base to work from. Things look a lot brighter with two All-ACC level players than with just one.

  14. #54
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    Nov 2007
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    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Yeah, I don't think it will be Moore that gets relegated to the 5-10 mpg role, and like you I think if he did it would be a real disappointment. I think he'll be like Brakefield in the 15-20 mpg role. He has the recruiting cache and potential to be a 25-30 mpg guy, but he's just been SO inconsistent.

    Your last paragraph is key. Coach K has quite a resume of team building, and he is no stranger to midseason adjustments. I have confidence he'll find the optimal grouping. But as you said, getting more than 2 good performances from our top-7 will be critical.

    Hopefully Johnson finds his comfort zone. If he can give us a third-team All-ACC level performance alongside Hurt's PoY-level play, that would give us a strong base to work from. Things look a lot brighter with two All-ACC level players than with just one.
    Here's the thing. I'm not sure this team's optimal grouping is necessarily going to be very good. Early in the season I said this team reminded me of DeMarcus Nelson's senior year, I'm starting to think the ceiling might actually be quite a bit lower.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    Here's the thing. I'm not sure this team's optimal grouping is necessarily going to be very good. Early in the season I said this team reminded me of DeMarcus Nelson's senior year, I'm starting to think the ceiling might actually be quite a bit lower.
    we only lost a single home game that year, to UNC. I think that ship has sailed.
    basketball is back, baby!

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    we only lost a single home game that year, to UNC. I think that ship has sailed.
    Looking at the schedule/record/rankings from that year, it is apparently not the year I had in mind. Give me a minute and I'll get back to you

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    we only lost a single home game that year, to UNC. I think that ship has sailed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    Looking at the schedule/record/rankings from that year, it is apparently not the year I had in mind. Give me a minute and I'll get back to you
    I believe I was thinking of Nelson's junior year (2006-2007, the first year post JJ and Williams).

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    Here's the thing. I'm not sure this team's optimal grouping is necessarily going to be very good. Early in the season I said this team reminded me of DeMarcus Nelson's senior year, I'm starting to think the ceiling might actually be quite a bit lower.
    I mean, in terms of ceiling? I think this team is fine. In terms of floor? It's a bubble team. In terms of what they'll actually accomplish? Who knows.

    The full-season results are not going to be great. But hopefully they are good enough to get us into the tournament (if one happens), and then hopefully we're playing well enough at the end of the year to be a second-weekend team. I think that's entirely possible.

    It's also possible that we miss the tournament altogether, although I hope that the team has enough improvement to avoid that possibility.

    If we keep playing the way we currently are playing, there's a good chance we miss the tournament. I'm optimistic that we won't keep playing the way we are currently playing, though.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I mean, in terms of ceiling? I think this team is fine. In terms of floor? It's a bubble team. In terms of what they'll actually accomplish? Who knows.

    The full-season results are not going to be great. But hopefully they are good enough to get us into the tournament (if one happens), and then hopefully we're playing well enough at the end of the year to be a second-weekend team. I think that's entirely possible.

    It's also possible that we miss the tournament altogether, although I hope that the team has enough improvement to avoid that possibility.

    If we keep playing the way we currently are playing, there's a good chance we miss the tournament. I'm optimistic that we won't keep playing the way we are currently playing, though.
    I think he means that the pieces donít fit well together as far as roster construction is concerned. One of our problems is that we donít really have a 3 or a 5. But Hurt, Moore, and Johnson are all best suited to play the 4.

    Itís hard to come up with a lineup that meshes well and I donít know that the answer is on our roster. Now, some people may say but look at how well we did with the 3 guard lineup. Well, we best 3 winless ACC teams. Iím not convinced.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by kshepinthehouse View Post
    I think he means that the pieces donít fit well together as far as roster construction is concerned. One of our problems is that we donít really have a 3 or a 5. But Hurt, Moore, and Johnson are all best suited to play the 4.

    Itís hard to come up with a lineup that meshes well and I donít know that the answer is on our roster. Now, some people may say but look at how well we did with the 3 guard lineup. Well, we best 3 winless ACC teams. Iím not convinced.
    I donít view the lack of a 5 as a big problem once Johnson returns. At that point, we will have two guys capable of defending most college 5s and exploiting those same 5s defensively. Put another way, I donít think anyone has beaten us due to their play at center.

    Where we lost early in the season was largely in turnovers and inability to create good shots, which are areas we seem to be improving upon. Where we have struggled more recently is in allowing teams to get too many open looks. None of those seem to be an issue of not having a 3 or a 5. They are an issue of inexperience and lack of cohesion. Both of those should improve some with more games. How much is an open question of course.

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