A Few Thoughts Post-Debacle

Well, that sucked.

I wasn’t especially hopeful that Duke would win last night, but I was especially hopeful that we’d see a hotly contested game between two great teams.

It may very well be that OSU is a better team period and could beat Duke under any circumstances, but there is no question in my mind that the following two things are true beyond a doubt : 1) Duke is not nearly as bad as they looked and 2) OSU is not nearly as good as they looked. This is all by way of saying that, while the loss itself may be attributable to such factors as Duke’s lack of ability to defend wing players, lack of organization and ball movement on offense, and the lack of clear on-court leadership, the extremity of the loss is very much due , in my opinion, to the result of the incredibly demanding November schedule that Duke has played. I would love to see OSU again on a neutral court when Duke hasn’t just played 6 games in 12 days and traveled halfway across the world to do it ( and, frankly, with Teddy Valentine locked up in a prison in Ankara for being the world’s shittiest referee).

Some musings…

  • Ryan Kelly as a matchup problem works both ways. He, of course, can be a headache to guard provided he is matched up against another true big, but, while he is by no means a bad defensive player (particularly around the rim) he is simply not quick enough to guard athletic wing players (and Andre isn’t tall enough). This leaves the door open for Hairston ( sadly, also not fleet of foot) and potentially Gbinije ( or Murphy?) to pick up some minutes. This is going to be a problem all year.
  • Andre has become something of a one-trick pony. He catches, he shoots. He has not evidenced any ability to create his own shot or knowledge of a most useful tool to guys who exclusively sit outside and bomb; the shot fake. His inconsistency is becoming quite consistent.
  • Seth had a bad game, which was really his first of the year, so he gets a bit of pass. Coach K was clearly disgusted with the lack of positive contributions from him, Kelly and Dawkins ( try a combined 3-11 from the floor with 4 turnovers for a trio that averages nearly 36 ppg) and essentially threw in the towel at the 14 minute mark of the second half going with the hardly vaunted lineup of Hairston, Cook, Gbinije, Mason and Austin for the last third of the game.
  • Every Duke fan watching this game couldn’t help but be reminded of the Georgetown game two years ago where the Hoyas shot 71% and steamrolled the Devils ( OSU shot 60 %) and, of course, the second half of the Arizona game in the tournament last year. These are games where our collective toughness was challenged and we responded, for lack of a better word, ineffectually. I’m not especially worried long term after this game. Weaknesses were certainly, exposed which is never a bad thing unless it happens to you in March. What can be corrected will be. No one thought this team was a top 5 team coming in to the year, and if Tuesday proved nothing else it proved that. We were perhaps a little bit spoiled with our early success and this game served as a nice reality check for Duke Nation.

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