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  1. #1
    scottdude8's Avatar
    scottdude8 is offline Contributor, Zoubek disciple, and resident Wolverine
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    How would we feel about this team if we were 8-3, not 5-3?

    In today's ACC roundup on the front page, I found this segment very interesting (emphasis added):
    Weíre all going to have to accept that Covid-19 has made this a very strange season and deeply unpredictable.

    So while Virginia just killed Clemson the other night, it did so after Clemson had to take a Covid pause. Syracuse has had some major problems. NC State has too. Duke hasnít had any cases yet, other than Coach K being exposed to the virus and going into quarantine, but Duke decided to cancel three non-conference games in response to the pandemic and to allow its players to spend time with family over the holidays.

    Duke is now 5-3 instead of a likely 8-3 as a result.
    Spurred by that, here's my question to the board: how would we all be feeling right now if our record was 8-3 instead of 5-3? Assume nothing about how those games would've helped the team improve, just add those three wins to our resume.

    My thoughts: if you add 3 more non-conference wins to our tally, even if they're "quadrant 3" caliber wins, this likely feels much more like a "regular" Duke team than one that is historically at risk. We've had plenty of seasons where we've lost two challenging non-conference games but beat who we were supposed to, and no matter the competition a 3-1 ACC start is always worth something. I'd posit that we'd still be in the Top 25, deservedly or not, if we simply had played the same number of "cupcake" games as many of our bretheren.

    Discuss!
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    In today's ACC roundup on the front page, I found this segment very interesting (emphasis added):


    Spurred by that, here's my question to the board: how would we all be feeling right now if our record was 8-3 instead of 5-3? Assume nothing about how those games would've helped the team improve, just add those three wins to our resume.

    My thoughts: if you add 3 more non-conference wins to our tally, even if they're "quadrant 3" caliber wins, this likely feels much more like a "regular" Duke team than one that is historically at risk. We've had plenty of seasons where we've lost two challenging non-conference games but beat who we were supposed to, and no matter the competition a 3-1 ACC start is always worth something. I'd posit that we'd still be in the Top 25, deservedly or not, if we simply had played the same number of "cupcake" games as many of our bretheren.

    Discuss!
    If "ifs" were "fifths" we'd all be drunk.

  3. #3
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    It sorta depends on how those non-con games had gone. We only beat Coppin St. by 10 and we had less than a 10 point lead for much of the second half. We beat Bellarmine by 22, but it is not like we were utterly dominant.

    Gardner Webb and Elon aren't great, but at 207 and 225, they are higher ranked in KenPom than either CSt (329) or Bellarmine (230). Charleston Southern is #341 in KenPom... whew.

    Anyway, I can't say how we would feel about the team as we don't know how those games would have turned out. Even if we assume wins, the quality of those wins would have at least somewhat impacted our view of the team.
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    Spurred by that, here's my question to the board: how would we all be feeling right now if our record was 8-3 instead of 5-3
    My takeaway from the pandemic is a lot of these early season patsy games should be permanently removed from the schedule. The team is measured by wins and losses against quality teams so why play meaningless games.

    My take probably will not be popular but the season is too long and the 20-21 season is demonstrating how to reduce games played.
    Bob Green
    DBR Survivor Football Champion
    2010 & 2016

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    It sorta depends on how those non-con games had gone. We only beat Coppin St. by 10 and we had less than a 10 point lead for much of the second half. We beat Bellarmine by 22, but it is not like we were utterly dominant.

    Gardner Webb and Elon aren't great, but at 207 and 225, they are higher ranked in KenPom than either CSt (329) or Bellarmine (230). Charleston Southern is #341 in KenPom... whew.

    Anyway, I can't say how we would feel about the team as we don't know how those games would have turned out. Even if we assume wins, the quality of those wins would have at least somewhat impacted our view of the team.
    I appreciate the thought experiment but I don't think it would make much of a difference - the team would still have no quality wins. Another thought is what if this team played its original schedule - it might likely have a couple more losses from the Battle 4 Atlantis (of course then there is the counter thought that maybe the team would have had more time together this summer - it's the multiverse).

    A more salient early season point for me is that MSU and Illinois have turned out to be...not that great yet they won at Duke with ease.

  6. #6
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    Is this a trick question? Better!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    My takeaway from the pandemic is a lot of these early season patsy games should be permanently removed from the schedule. The team is measured by wins and losses against quality teams so why play meaningless games.

    My take probably will not be popular but the season is too long and the 20-21 season is demonstrating how to reduce games played.
    I don't think that's an unreasonable take. My preference would be for those sorts of games to be more evenly distributed throughout the season. It would help give us a better idea of conference strength and would make the early season more meaningful.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    In today's ACC roundup on the front page, I found this segment very interesting (emphasis added):


    Spurred by that, here's my question to the board: how would we all be feeling right now if our record was 8-3 instead of 5-3? Assume nothing about how those games would've helped the team improve, just add those three wins to our resume.

    My thoughts: if you add 3 more non-conference wins to our tally, even if they're "quadrant 3" caliber wins, this likely feels much more like a "regular" Duke team than one that is historically at risk. We've had plenty of seasons where we've lost two challenging non-conference games but beat who we were supposed to, and no matter the competition a 3-1 ACC start is always worth something. I'd posit that we'd still be in the Top 25, deservedly or not, if we simply had played the same number of "cupcake" games as many of our bretheren.

    Discuss!
    Hard to know. Those early games may have helped the team get better and they may be playing better. But assuming nothing changed- I would still feel this team has many weaknesses but has potential. So I think I would feel the same- which is - I am not enjoying college basketball this year.
    dukelifer

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natty_B View Post
    I appreciate the thought experiment but I don't think it would make much of a difference - the team would still have no quality wins.
    Right. I think DBR starts to feel better about Duke once we start getting Ws against good teams.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Right. I think DBR starts to feel better about Duke once we start getting Ws against good teams.
    And while I don't know how one would define "good teams," I think Pitt qualifies. They are a tourney bubble team with a pretty decent record so far. Still, this is the kind of game a top 25 team should win. If Duke is truly a top 25 team, we need to start showing it.

    -Jason "I'd love for our outside shots to fall... haven't seen much of that at all this season" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    My takeaway from the pandemic is a lot of these early season patsy games should be permanently removed from the schedule. The team is measured by wins and losses against quality teams so why play meaningless games.

    My take probably will not be popular but the season is too long and the 20-21 season is demonstrating how to reduce games played.
    Understandable take, but Iíd say mine is the opposite to be honest. To me, Dukeís struggles can be at least partly attributed to a lack of tune-up games. Granted, itís amplified by the fact that theyíre playing teams who, in some cases, have played 5 or 6 more games. But Iím guessing that the lack of those tune up games is causing Duke to struggle to work out some things that otherwise would have been addressed.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Right. I think DBR starts to feel better about Duke once we start getting Ws against good teams.
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    And while I don't know how one would define "good teams," I think Pitt qualifies. They are a tourney bubble team with a pretty decent record so far. Still, this is the kind of game a top 25 team should win. If Duke is truly a top 25 team, we need to start showing it.

    -Jason "I'd love for our outside shots to fall... haven't seen much of that at all this season" Evans
    Iíd guess Trouble was referring to the fact that Duke has 0 Quad 1 or 2 wins in the year, and somewhere between 0 and 2 top-100 wins, depending on the metric.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    And while I don't know how one would define "good teams," I think Pitt qualifies. They are a tourney bubble team with a pretty decent record so far. Still, this is the kind of game a top 25 team should win. If Duke is truly a top 25 team, we need to start showing it.
    Exactly. If Duke can win tonight at Pitt, I'll personally feel better about the team finishing 2 to 3 games above .500 in the ACC. Right now I'm only thinking of them as a .500 team in Conference.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by DukieTiger View Post
    Understandable take, but Iíd say mine is the opposite to be honest. To me, Dukeís struggles can be at least partly attributed to a lack of tune-up games. Granted, itís amplified by the fact that theyíre playing teams who, in some cases, have played 5 or 6 more games. But Iím guessing that the lack of those tune up games is causing Duke to struggle to work out some things that otherwise would have been addressed.
    It's possible Duke's "struggles" are due to a lack of pre-season work (summer, practices, exhibition games). But when it comes to missing regular season games, I don't buy it. For example, for the first three games, every year we have the same number of "tune up games." This season, however, we've performed decidedly worse in those games than in recent previous years.

    Below is a table of the last 10 seasons. The first column is our "unadjusted" average margin of victory in our first three games (adjusted only for home/away/neutral). The second column is our average "adjusted" margin, using Pomeroy's end-of-season ratings (latest ratings in the case of 2021). For both unadjusted and adjusted, I assumed a 4.5 point home advantage in previous seasons and a 1.5 home advantage this season (0 point advantage at neutral sites). Each sample includes two home games against "lesser" non-conference competition, and one game on a neutral court* against a "top shelf" opponent.

    * (except this season against Michigan State, which was at home)

    Code:
    Year	unadj	adj 
    2015	42.00	37.58
    2019	30.33	35.38
    2020	28.00	35.27
    2017	25.00	27.93
    2018	21.00	27.52
    2012	14.67	25.07
    2014	17.67	23.13
    2013	14.67	18.73
    2016	14.00	14.37
    2021	7.17	5.49
    As you can see, this year's team was significantly worse than any of the previous year's teams (in fact, it's significantly worse than any Duke team since Pomeroy's ratings were invented). As I said, some of that difference may be due to a lack of pre-season work, but I expect a lot (most?) of the difference is due to this year's model simply not being as good a team as previous Duke teams.

  15. #15
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    I don't think it would change my opinion very much. I guess it would depend some on how we played during those three wins, but the fact that we've been beaten badly by all three of our legitimate opponents is what has me down and that wouldn't be any different in your scenario. I disagree with your definition of a "typical" season, I feel like we usually start off with one or at most two losses before January.

  16. #16
    Iíd feel the same as they arenít passing the eye test for me.

  17. #17
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    Hmmm...

    Being 8-3 would change my opinion of where we are, but that would mean that we had actually played three more games. Tonight is when we can show improvement, maturity!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by DukieTiger View Post
    Understandable take, but I’d say mine is the opposite to be honest. To me, Duke’s struggles can be at least partly attributed to a lack of tune-up games. Granted, it’s amplified by the fact that they’re playing teams who, in some cases, have played 5 or 6 more games. But I’m guessing that the lack of those tune up games is causing Duke to struggle to work out some things that otherwise would have been addressed.
    THIS. Especially younger / OAD-laden teams (ours at least qualifies as younger w 3 FR, a SOPH Hurt and a SNR Goldwire probably starting tonight) are really hurt by the lack of games - and truly need those easy games to learn cohesion and ACC-level play. Look at us and UK for proof. I think if we had one more soph or junior "good" player (average to above average ACC player) we would be in an entirely different place right now - aSophomore Luke Kinnard or whomever...

    And now we have to address the learning curve vs ACC teams instead of Charleston Southern... This year has proven to me the value of those games

  19. #19
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    I thought about this some more, and being 8-3 might actually make me feel WORSE about this team. Because right now I can at least blame some of our poor play on lack of game experience. Had we actually had three more games against easy opponents to develop and then still had the same losses, then I don't think I would see as much room for improvement as I currently do.

    EDIT: basically what DukieTiger said

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    ...how would we all be feeling right now if our record was 8-3 instead of 5-3?...
    I'd feel a bit less annoyed by the 9pm start.
    Nothing incites bodily violence quicker than a Duke fan turning in your direction and saying 'scoreboard.'

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