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TD: Ordinal Numbers (Plus Gameblog)

Date: 3/31/2013

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (proud)




TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
A REAL CARD EDITION/ELITE EIGHT (YES!!!!!) EDITION

#6 DUKE (30-5, 14-4) (2MW) v. #2 Louisville (32-5, 14-4 Big East) (1MW)  
Indianapolis, Indiana (New Hoosier Dome)  
March 31, 2013


For comic relief, we begin with UCLA pitifully and precipitously hiring Mr. Personality himself, Steve Alford.  Yes, although Alford was not a doosh when he first got started as a D-I coach with the artists formerly known as Southwest Missouri State (they lost their sense of direction since he left), he quickly became a quintessential asshat at Iowa, where he alienated everyone from his players to the fans to the Carver-Hawkeye popcorn vendors before leaving in a ridiculous, bridge-burning exit, setting the Iowa program back years.  (Of course, that was also partly because Iowa unfortunately hired Todd Lickliter, Brad Stevens' predecessor at Butler, to replace Sour Steve, and . . . well, let's just say that Lickliter's ability to run an already-reeling program into the ground are not in question.  The Hawkeyes are only now recovering, and nicely at that, under Fran McCaffery.)  So Alford laterals/downgrades to New Mexico, where he toils away in obscurity, until finally, in his sixth season, he gets everyone talking about the Loboids and even has people picking his team to be The Team That Beats Gonzaga in That Bracket, but instead, that honor went to another club now making reservations at Peachtree Street (pick one) restaurants. 

Alford's next move was to sign a ten-year extension of his contract at New Mexico, and one day later, he celebrated that fat new contract by engineering Harvard's first NCAA Tournament win since 1682.  Nice, but Stevie wasn't done: he was secretly campaigning for the UCLA job, probably before the Nonwizards of Westwood fired The Howler (owwwww-wooooooooooo!), because the writing on that wall was in pretty a pretty large-size version of Times New Roman.  And now got it.  Uh . . . congratulations?  What's amusing about this move is that UCLA AD/fool Dan Guerrero was so determined to sign a head ball coach (probably motivated by wanting to beat Southern Cal to the punch - - these are the varieties of idiocy in which Dan regularly deals) that he couldn't wait to talk to Buzz Williams or (most obviously) Gregg Marshall - - he just HAD to lock up the mediocre, arrogant Alford at once, you see, once Shaka Smart conned his way into his annual megaraise and Brad Stevens almost died laughing during his phone call with Guerrero.  Diligent search?  Thorough vetting of all candidates?  No, thanks!  Another hilarious aspect of this is that Alford has far worse credentials than they guy that UCLA (justifiably) just fired, and promises the potential of equaling his predecessor in d-baggery.  Bravo, UCLA; you guys are truly showing the rest of us how it's done.  I wonder what that New Mexico Rivals blogger who flamed out in a massive meltdown after the Harvard loss thinks about this?  You know, he probably knew what was up.  Tubby Smith probably feels this is all fair, since he was tainted enough just by beating UCLA in this year's tourney to get fired himself (I wanted Guerrero to talk to him for my entertainment, but he did enough.)  By the way, the media has greeted Alford's hiring with the proper (!!!!!) amount of skepticism, on display in about 100 articles much like this one, or this really funny one, both of which I chose at random.  Alford can stand the pressure?  He couldn't even stand the "pressure" in Iowa City, which features one of the classiest, nicest fanbases in college sports, but he's suddenly equipped to deal with slobbering UCLA boosters?  Yeah, no, he's not.  Meanwhile, let's see if Southern Cal gets Andy Enfield of FGCU, also signing his cute wife to run its Afro-American Studies Department (joke explainerbot: SHE'S WHITE) in the bargain.  Anyway, UCLA - - you're a trainwreck.                  

*****

Saturday's Elite Eight action featured one snoozefest and one classic, in that order.  I don't understand how Marquette, which laid more bricks than the third little pig Saturday, beat Miffle in the previous round, but that's not important right now.  Dukies.com Command Center representatives were in constant contact with Official Syracuse Guy during this one, and it was agreed all around that Marquette's MVP was the mom of senior Junior Cadougan (did he forget to update his name for this season?), who was prevented by a stern-looking Phone Booth Security Goof from coming on to the court, performing athletic trainertasks, donning a yellow jersey, and attempting a few threes when her son was temporarily sent to the deck by a hard foul.  He was fine, but she didn't get to try any shots, which was a shame, since she couldn't have done any worse.  Then there's the Can't Broadcast Sports gang in the studio afterwards, with Gottlieb cuffing himself to the desk to prevent him from assaulting the Round Mound of Confound and "The Jet" (LOL, sure) Smith, who were just forcibly unimpressed with Syracuse's victory. 

Oh, by the way, there was a definite sense among mediotica of "hey, who let this four seed into the Final Four," and more of that WAAAAACKY tourney atmosphere backslapping (bracket destroyed yet??  Uh-huh, uh-huh), when the reality is that the college basketball media and the Selection Stiffs just suck and can't predict their way out of a wet paper bag.   #jaybias   #kthxbai 

That brings us to the eveningcap, brought to you by Thad Matta (*another* former Butler coach, if barely!  Am I going to get to them all in this piece?) and his general brand of jerkhood.  I can't stand this irascible tool, and really, really, really hope Chris hires Greg Paulus at Northwestern so I can stop feeling bad when I root against Matta's Buckeyes.  (While Matta fell apart yelling at zebraic antics, Greg looked smooth as silk at every camera opportunity.)  Yes, Matta, as usual, looked like he was about to blow a gasket about two minutes in, mostly because he unluckily drew two ACC candy-stripers in Luckie and Natili, which meant that Craft was unable to perform his ritual of undressing the opposing point guard without drawing a symphony of whistles, and several other fouls that do not exist in the Big Twenty-Seven were also detected.  Meanwhile, Wichita State started blowing the doors off until its two forwards had to leave the game, one for something that sure resembled a concussion and the other for an ankle sprain instantly diagnosed as an Achilles tendon rupture by Dr. Reggie Miller, Dr. Bill Frist, Dr. Kevin White, and other decorated doctors everywhere (both guys returned and it wasn't an Achilles tear, but I still like Dr. Reggie's commentary), leaving Marshall to mount a five-guard lineup with 6-3 Ron Baker as the tallest constituent.  Predictably, Ohio State woke up and mounted a furious comeback, but forwards Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early (name = awesome) came back, and Wichita State held its ground and sent the Buckeyes packing.  By the way, the post pairing of Amir Williams and Boston College castoff Evan Ravenel doesnít much resemble 38-year old Greg Oden, Kosta Koufos or B.J. (n/k/a Byron) Mullens in there, does it?  Maybe Matta needs to revive that one-and-done center pipeline he charmingly had going there for three straight seasons.  Name of the year, by the way?  6-9 Wichita State junior Chadrack Lufile.  Anyway . . . [musically] 'Shock-er!  Congrats to Marshall, a blitheringly fantastic coach, and his team. 

I totally neglected to congratulate Bobby Hurley on his head coaching job!!!!!!  This is awesome.  Bobby, who followed Danny to Rhode Island for this season instead of taking the Wagner job that he was offered, has now been announced as the head coach of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and that's just fantastic.  Perfect place for him to start, great chance to show what he's learned from his bro and (oh, yes) his dad, and I floved the reactions of the UB kids when they heard that they were going to be coached by arguably the best collegiate point guard in history.  Just awesome.  We're all going to have some new teams to watch and root for next season.  Massive congrats, Bobby!  :) 

I figured out the issue (well, one of them) with the Bud Light ad.  When Mr. I Can't Go Back to Cleveland Because I Am Clearly on Serious Medication makes the announcement that his friends (one of whom is played by a young Will Smith) are hitting on Ms. Pixiecut's friends, she starts to turn for a split second so she can see what he's looking at, but the inept director cut away immediately and some monkeyboy edited the spot so badly that you have to see it 473 times (I hit this on Saturday; thanks, CiBbiS) before you notice it, so it completely looks like her friends are making their "rapist alert, Captain!" faces to Mr. Flat Affect instead of her.  Also, what's with that UPS ad where the people are trumpeting how the former Mailboxes, Etc. franchises help people with their small businesses?  That's nice, and it's cute when the one guy says his only employee is an adorable dog ("Chester"), because our cats, like most, are organized in paramilitary fashion, but then the fat chick at the end gives an annoyed "easy, now" when the three UPSers behind her give a loud cheer in support of her achievements in what I am forced to assume is the jelly doughnut business.  Huh?  Someone tell Jabba the Pill here that the idea of the commercial IS THAT THESE PEOPLE, WHO DON'T WORK FOR YOU (in fact, they're all employees of franchisees anyway, but never mind), ARE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR STUPID WEIGHT GAIN FOR DUMMIES BOOK or whatever, so being a dick to them really doesn't make any sense, in life or any other context.  Another favorite of mine is the car commercial where the smug male model teleports to various scenes, showing how his vehicle's revolutionary entertainment system places him right in the midst of the action.  The problem?  The metaphor for "latest breaking news" is him standing in front of a rapidly burning house, and he's wearing the same halfwit grin that he has on for the whole commercial.  Inappropriate much?  Ugh. 

*****

Duke showed Michigan State on Friday night that defense wins championships, and that last year's Duke team need not have applied, but this year's edition is a little different.  I still have no idea if anyone ever found Branden Dawson.  Appling looked like he'd been hit by Russell Westbrook driving that ESPN bus, Gary Harris was armed with a *serious*, holster-drawn trowel, and Nix and vowel-buyer Yo Adreyouian Payne were totally stymied.  I particularly liked Tyler Thornton's energy and willingness to mix it up with the big guys in the lane, Kelly's casual defensive presence and communication, as he has resumed calling the signals out there and doing shout-and-response with Mason, and even Hairston looked completely competent.  No Amile, but what are you going to do?  Reward him for clowning the nation's second-leading scorer?  (We could use him in this one, though, as we'll see in a moment.)  Offensively, Seth Curry just dominated, schooling Harris on play after play (what was Izzo thinking?  I guess we donít care), and then Rasheed took over with a constant parade of nifty-awesome dribble drives and trips to the foul line in the second half to seal it up, assisted by Izzo losing well over a minute in clock because his guys weren't deliberately fouling.  Overplay?  Well, we weren't in a 2-3 zone, but no, not really too much overplay, which was welcome.  Pat Forde, of all people, recognized today that Duke is not as soft as it has been perceived to be in the past, and he's (amazingly) right.  (Not that Pat's not smart - - he is - - but he hates Duke with the fire of a thousand weak-ass white dwarf stars.)  I'm sure Michigan State agrees.  By the way, you probably heard that Duke was drug-tested by NCAA gumshoes right after the game, revealing the following trace elements in their systems: 


          Cook, Quinn                  Milk (w/Carton)
          Plumlee, Mason             Human Foul Hormone 
          Kelly, Ryan                   Okay, I Will Now Shoot Some Two-Pointers 
          Jefferson, Amile              [no result]


Enter Louisville.  Well, we don't have to speculate about whether or not Duke can beat this team, although, as you may have heard being whispered by some mediot convincingly dressed as the Easter Bunny, they were without 6-11 junior Gorgui Dieng in the first meeting, now more than four months (!) ago.  Of course, how his replacements fared (fine or better than fine) in the Battle for Atlantis title game (remember the impossibly cool, movie-set-like lighting system at that place?) has been ignored, but anyway, Dieng is a more mobile center than either Echenique or Nix, which means that he can travel to the bathroom unassisted by a team of handy hobbits.  Dieng is a shotblocker, with 2.5 bpg, and his minutes are greater than the species of centers that we have encountered in this year's NCAA-T thus far, and he's a better defender.  However, he is slight, and he does commit fouls at a healthy clip (2.4 pfpg).  He can be outmaneuvered by a motivated Mason Plumlee, and he should not be expected to take over the game unless this one just isn't going our way.  The last time he attempted a three, he was somewhere near a Holiday Inn Express in this location.  That's actually not entirely true; it was a Ramada.  And he has hit an occasional three in his college career, although not this season.  If he hits one on Sunday, grab an extra alcoholic beverage and/or IV drip, as needed.   

Of course, Louisville's energy, scoring, drive, and sack comes mostly from its starting backcourt.  6-0 senior Seattleite Peyton Siva (9.7 ppg, 5.8 apg) is full of go, but he's also not a commanding distance specialist (30.9% 3PFG, 40.6% FG overall), and he can make mistakes if guarded competently.  Remember when we all discussed The Overplay just 48 hours ago?  And a few paragraphs ago?  This ain't the team against which to deploy the overplay, unless we really want to scrutizine the back of Siva's jersey for much of our Easter.  Similarly, 6-0 junior Russ Smith (18.8 ppg) is another guy, twenty pounds lighter than Siva but equally athletic, who really, really, really wants a close look at that overplay defense.  Spoiler alert!  We shouldn't give it to him.  Smith shoots better than Siva, at 33.9% from distance and 42.1% overall, but not incredibly so.  What he does do is go to the foul line a lot more than Siva does, attempting 6.7 FTAs/game at an 82.7% success clip.  Smith is Louisville's best wing defender and plays as though he is clinically unbalanced, which means that he can be the guy who gets in your head, or you can be the guy(s) who get(s) in his head.  Let's do the latter. 

The starting swingmen appear problematic at first glance, and maybe even at second glance, but are probably (honestly, the right word here is "definitely") within the realm of confinement capability.  6-5 sophomore Wayne Blackshear (7.9 ppg) has about the same shooting stats as Smith (with a much lower FT%), but isn't nearly as capable a defender, and he rebounds decently, but not with frightening abandon.  While I expect Cook (with relief by Thornton as needed) to guard Siva, because point guard assignment-switches are difficult to achieve unless the other team cooperates, and I'm sure that's the matchup Louisville will mount defensively, we could actually try something here, with Sulaimon operating against Smith and Curry on Blackshear.  Maybe this is foolish, but I don't know: keep Blackshear away from the rim, and he's not going to win the game singlehandedly.  Just an idea, and unlike most of the times I write that in this space when talking about Duke's tactics, I don't mean it sarcastically.  Krzyzewski seems (pound pound pound okay knock on wood) to be coaching at a highly elite level to this point in the NCAA-T, and may not need my customary assistance, except of course to REMIND HIM TO PLAY AMILE JEFFERSON.  This is a game where he could be of aid!  Like every game!  Anyway, the other starting wingdude is 6-6, 250-pound Chane Behanan, pronounced "key to the game."  Sometimes, Behanan just totally goes off, but for the most part, he stays anchored within the constraints of gravity, and scores 9.7 ppg and grabs 6.3 rpg, second on the team besides Dieng.  So what's this alleged criticality?  Well, as you've grokked over the course of the season, this Ryan Kelly character is important, and Behanan, with a significant size disadvantage, and actually even a bit of a footwork disadvantage, may not be able to stop Ryan the way that Louisville presumably desires.  What's more, Behanan is a guy who only garners 26.0 mpg, so he's not the stamina and conditioning poster child.  He rarely makes threes, but he's going to be pulled around guarding them, that's for sure, so this is an important matchup from a tactical perspective, and that's just about as vital as the strategic considerations that we'll get to in a jiff. 

The bench is four guys, and we'll start with 6-6 wing Luke Hancock, sort of Louisville's version of the soulless three-point gunner, tallying 7.4 ppg on 37.0% 3PFG, but 40.4% FG overall.  He transferred out of George Mason when Larranaga was replaced by Paul Freaking Hewitt, so we know Hancock's smart as a whip.  Defense and rebounding?  Enh; he's okay.  Nice player but shouldn't assume command.  Then there's 6-7 (media guide 6-8) freshman Montrezl Harrell, who is from (oh, good geez) Tarboro, so of course we'll hear during the game about how all he wanted to do since he was a fetus was to play for Duke, blah blah blah, when in reality he was living in a constantly attached Tool hat since age 0.05.  Anyway, this guy is about as consistent as the in-flight customer service at Southwest Airlines (insert obnoxious "come hither" head tilt); he's reached double figures in scoring seven times this season, including the Big East title game against Syracuse and the second-round NCAA game against Colorado State, but he has also pulled numerous disappearing acts with one basket or even no baskets, and he does not shoot threes, nor does he visit the line much, so I think we all get where his 5.8 ppg comes from.  So this is the dude who either does nothing, or . . . well, I don't want to talk about the other option.  Let's make him That Guy who does nothing, particularly since his most amazing skill set commodity, keeping that silent "z" ready to spring on Words With Friends opponents, is not really relevant here.  He is going to have to deal with the Kelly Problem when Behanan is off the court.  6-2 sophomore Kevin Ware (4.6 ppg) can hit the three but doesn't usually have the green light, and homestanding 6-9 junior Stephan Van Treese (1.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) is the designated relief dude for Dieng, which, if that becomes needed, means that things are going well for the Duke Blue and White.                   

So, we all know what Louisville's deal is.  They have to make you play the way they want you to, and don't really like it when you do the reverse.  They have not lost since February 9, which was that five-overtime affair in the Land of Touchdown Jesus, and that means that Krzyzewski probably called Brey for some intel.  But except for that game, every other Louisville loss, including the one that was dealt out by, well, us, involved the other team sloooooooowing things down.  Against us, they still scored 71, but we didn't really let them play their game.  Against Syracuse at home, they scored 68 points, against Villanova on the road, they notched 64 points, and at Georgetown, they tallied 51.  Intriguingly, you might remember that those three losses took place consecutively.  So they've got this interesting histogram of losses going, with one early, three in the middle, and the last one just a little later.  You know, call me crazy, but doesn't it seem like theyíre due for a bad game, or even a loss?  Not having lost in what is getting within hailing distance of two months would make me nervous if I were them. 

So they're going to press and press and press and our job, as a low-turnover team, is to live up to that billing and beat that pressure (with Kelly again a huge part of that, as he was in the Bahamas) and force them to play a halfcourt game, which they do not want to do.  They want this to be a jailbreak game with craaaaaaaaaaazy transition points and Siva and Smith stealing the ball all over the place and getting simple looks, while Dieng limits Mason and their activity and energy disrupts us (and they'll be aiming at Curry in particular) from shooting open threes.  Now, does Duke usually lose to teams who play like that?  No, not really, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible.  I love being the underdog here, I love not having the expectations (Las Vegas has us a 3.5-point dog!!), and as Friend-o-Site Josh pointed out in last edition's comments, we haven't suited up as the lower-seeded team in a loooooong time, ten years in fact, in the Nick Collison Submits His NBA Resume Game at the Pond in Anaheim.  Shoot, that was back when Rrhoid knew which players from Iowa to recruit, so no one needs to fact-check that it was a decade ago.  Not only that, but Josh also firmly introduced the nail to the head by claiming, with 100% accuracy, that this is the first time that we have not worn white in an NCAA Tournament game in the same span: ten years.  (There's always that coin flip nonsense in the Final Four, instead of using the Stiffs' overall rankings to determine who wears home jerseys in the case of two like seeds playing each other, but that didn't happen to us in either 2004 or 2010, when all three teams we played were seeded lower than we, a #1 seed in both cases, were.)  So huge hat tip to Josh, and who wants to see the blue uniforms here?  Whichever for me, but black or blue, play like badasses with something to prove, Duke.  There is no, no, NOOOOO reason to cooperate with this pressing and trapping garbage, and we're fine getting into a foul shooting contest with them, since, while Smith and Siva are deadeyes, Behanan and Harrell are brutal, and Blackshear, Dieng, Ware and Van Treese are 70-percent-or-worse-neighborhood-dwellers.  Hancock is a three-quarter man. 

Amile time!!!!  Yes, he can help you in this one, Coach.  The press will tire them out, but it will tire us out as well, and that's why we need to be up in their base killing lots their doodz.  Amile can help with this, and provide excellent defense to boot, as this affidavit I have by one Douglas McDermott of Omaha avers.   

We all know the familiar storylines: Coach K's Elite Eight record, the last time he faced Pitino and what happened then, and all of that, but this really comes down to a battle of wills.  Force Louisville to play our game, and we're in really good shape for making some of those Atlanta restaurant reservations ourselves.  Do the opposite, particularly in light of the pro-Louisville crowd (thanks to Friend-o-Site Matt Mikhail, my Russian alter ego, for the on-site humint), and this is going to be a touch problematic.  Ironically, it may actually be good that Quinn took Friday night off, because he was the issue for the Cards when we beat Louisville in November; they were going full tilt to stop Curry and Sulaimon too, and then Cook just started toasting them on every possession at the end of the game.  Repeat, please, except let's do that earlier.  Another thing: we donít mind road games in this particular building; we played one such affair, which was even more of a road game (just about as much as one could be, in fact) just three seasons ago, to great effect.  Remember?  That was when we had that cushy bracket.  #byetools!    

This is a winnable, winnable game.  Of course, it's wonderful beyond words, and I really, really mean that, to have reached the Elite Eight in another season, the third straight featuring The Duke Foot Injury, in which expectations fluttered and at times, much to all seemed lost.  I'm proud of this team and our guys.  Still, we're here, and that trip to Atlanta would be very nice.  Last sentences of true content before the exhortation: this is a game against a gimmick team that we've already beaten once this season, and we have comfortable advantages against them in many statistical categories.  Coach and play to control the flow of the game and dictate the action, and we've got this.  Come on, now. 

Duke 76, Louisville 71.  

  

 

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Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/19/2014 4:03:51 PM  
What a weird season. Hopefully the talent on this team is not wasted via an early exit...but they have not looked very solid at all recently. The Wake loss was inexcusable.


Posted by: blueflame Date: 4/23/2013 10:20:30 PM  
Marshall out with... oh yeah foot surgery for 3-4 months. Is it my imagination or does Duke have more foot injuries/surgeries than any other NCAA basketball team?


Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 4/9/2013 5:13:31 PM  
AAAnd Kelly goes under the knife again. Jeez Louise!

http://sports.chronicleblogs.com/2013/04/09/ryan-kelly-undergoes-surgery-on-his-right-foot/



Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 4/8/2013 4:35:42 PM  
The Duke women are doomed to lose in the tourney if I tune in, in my experience. My jinx even transferred to the one live tourney game we attended here in Philly.

Thanks for resurrecting the site, even if for a little bit. If you go all twittery, I promise to even try to learn to use that thing.

Here's to next year, with plenty of wins, high expectations, and lots of promise riding the bench again!



Posted by: Matt Date: 4/2/2013 9:45:11 PM  
Ah, crap. Coach P would probably have preferred for me to keep my trap shut there. So the men's and women's teams ended up with similar tournament performances (and also dealt with a significant, course-altering injury during the course of the season), and for the women, they're returning everyone except Vernerey, a 3.0 ppg scorer. Good times ahead next season for Elizabeth Williams and company. No shame in losing to Skylar and the Muffets, either.


Posted by: Matt Date: 4/2/2013 8:55:05 PM  
. . . aaaaand my post got cut off. Weird; I must have attacked myself.

Anyway, I also wanted to wish the Duke women well in their Final Eight tilt. Pretty tough matchup (geez).



Posted by: Matt Date: 4/2/2013 2:18:09 PM  
Mark, thanks. It was a pleasure, and the team's Elite Eight run was the usual mix of awesome and unsatisfying, but the awesome outweighed the latter. We don't often have, as everyone knows, an "Elite Eight" season, meaning a season that can't be called something even better - - the only other one in the modern era is 1998. But it feels hella good to have gotten that Sweet Sixteen monkey off of our backs.

Everyone, please root for Iowa against the Twerps tonight if you're near a TV. McDonald's game is Wednesday night.



Posted by: Matt Date: 4/2/2013 1:18:12 PM  
This is a reminder that at Dukies.com, I operate a drama-free comments section. If you want to disagree with another commenter, that's fine, but please do so respectfully. Personal attacks on other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted. Thanks.


Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/31/2013 10:05:39 PM  
Matt, thank you for returning for the tournaments. Look forward to next year, brother.



Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 8:12:19 PM  
I am sorry to say that the Ware injury is currently the "click magnet" on the AOL home page, complete with the tag "Warning: Video is difficult to watch."

Disgusting.



Posted by: blueflame Date: 3/31/2013 7:44:38 PM  
This game wasn't lost on the court. it was lost on the recruiting trail. Better athletes, with better skill sets won this thing.What happened to Cook in the last part of this season? And watching Kelly throw up brick, after brick, after brick... nauseating.


Posted by: blueflame Date: 3/31/2013 7:39:18 PM  


Posted by: London Dukie Date: 3/31/2013 7:38:00 PM  
Well, that sucked, but Louisville were the better team so I can't begrudge them the victory. And we were playing with house money this round so there's that. And I do hope Ware is OK; I didn't see the injury but a friend e-mailed me that it was as bad as Theismann (yes, showing our age) and hearing Coach Pitino talk about it in the post-game interview it sounded grim.

Thanks to the seniors for a great 4 years. I hope Jefferson stays as I think there is significant potential there. And I think K has to start considering either recruiting an actual perimeter on the ball defender or playing zone (my sources say he knows a guy in upstate NY who may have some thoughts on that); for several years now guards who can penetrate have torn us apart, and tonight was that taken to another level.



Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 7:35:30 PM  
It's too bad it ended this way, but it was a fun ride in the tournament. The team never quite got all its mojo back after Kelly's foot injury and just ran into a better squad today. Thanks to the whole team and especially the seniors. It will be exciting to watch Suliamon, Cook, and (hopefully) Jefferson next year. You can bet that Rasheed and Quinn will use today's game as motivation for the future.

Thanks to Matt for bringing the site back down the stretch! This is still my favorite Duke site around by a wide margin. And thanks to all who comment here too for making it an enjoyable place. Take care, and Go Duke!



Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/31/2013 7:30:04 PM  
Thanks, Mase, Curry son-of-Mrs.-Curry, and Kelly. Fun while it lasted (except when it wasn't).


Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/31/2013 7:25:22 PM  
Now THAAAAT is the TT I know....fouling the 3 point shooter!

Coach K will never convince me, not that cares, that he puts the best 5 on the floor.

Marty Pocius sits watching...



Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/31/2013 7:25:07 PM  
Worst E8 experience for me, ever. Sure, Duke didn't cough up an 18 pt lead, but the Ware injury plus my two kids alternately and simultaneously sobbing throughout makes it tops. Or bottoms. Whatever.


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 7:18:07 PM  
The little bit I saw of Jefferson in that one game was enough to see that he is a Player. I just hope he is still in a Duke uniform next year.


Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/31/2013 7:12:45 PM  
Good D Plumlee!


Posted by: Mark Buckner Date: 3/31/2013 7:11:22 PM  
I'll never understand why Plumlee allows 6 foot guards to shoot layups straight in his face?

I stepped away from the television, how did Amile do?



Posted by: London Dukie Date: 3/31/2013 7:06:32 PM  
I came home from a night out in London and it was 42-42. Logged on to espnplayer and immediately they went on a 7-0 run. I stopped watching at that point but I fear the damage is done; the score updates tell me that it is all running away from us. A shame, but at least we stuck with them for 25 minutes. And maybe there is a Michigan-type comeback in us yet!!

OK, probably not.

Oh, and my fellow Duke classmates have told me the Ware injury was horrible. I hope he's OK.



Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 7:00:10 PM  
This is painful.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 6:58:35 PM  
Sorry, everyone. I ceded the television to a very sad two-year-old to watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and things have gone downhill ever since I started watching on the tablet. Alas, Daniel's advice of "Keep trying, you'll get better" does not seem to apply to the Blue Devils right now.


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 6:58:19 PM  
It's getting away from us now.


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 6:48:32 PM  
Since when have you been able to roll across the pine with the ball and it not be a travel?


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 6:43:41 PM  
Curry is doing it all out there! If we can get a few more guys to lend a hand, that'd be even better.


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 6:41:07 PM  
I hope the young man is able to fully recover eventually. It sure was ugly.

Kelly's presence seems to be helping with advancing against the press.



Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 6:32:05 PM  
Agreed Josh, and I think they only showed it the first time because they didn't realize how bad it actually was until they showed it. My heart goes out to the kid.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 6:13:14 PM  
Goodness! Trying to be pretty on the perimeter isn't going to work! It's fairly obvious Louisville is double teaming ball screens. Lots of dumb mistakes in that first half, and of course, the inevitable Duke Field Goal Drought.

Still, a three-point game after getting nothing from Curry and Suliamon, and a gaggle of mistakes from Cook isn't the worst thing in the world. The pacing, by and large, is what Duke wants. Need to take care of the ball in the second half.

And kudos to CBS for only showing the replay of Ware's injury once. ESPN would have had slo-mo from every conceivable angle by now.



Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/31/2013 6:13:11 PM  
Wow, the most traumatic injury I've ever seen in a basketball game.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 5:58:38 PM  
For the love of everything sacred, take care of the basketball!


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 5:58:23 PM  
Wow. Incredible no-calls.


Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 5:49:09 PM  
Kellogg, you're a moron.


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 5:26:56 PM  
I like the interior passing. Plumlee is working hard on the boards.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 5:23:40 PM  
Ohhh....no more Plumlee to Hairston fast breaks...


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 5:15:37 PM  
Can't complain too much about the pace so far. But any carelessness is going to give them a run out. Nice to see Kelly connect from downtown. If the next wide open look doesn't fall for Rasheed, he needs to start putting it on the deck.


Posted by: Andrew Hicks Date: 3/31/2013 4:57:06 PM  
I haven't been able to watch any of the Duke games this season until the NCAAs, and even then only by replays (thank you, March Madness on Demand!), which is good because one can mostly skip the commercials. Finally, here is a game where I can actually sit down and watch it in real time.

Being thoroughly out of the flow, I have not much to say, other than really liking the defensive intensity in these three games. And it sure is great to be this deep in the tournament. Go Duke!!!!



Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 3/31/2013 4:51:53 PM  
Nice win by the Duke women today, even if it did seem like another Syracusian-Marquettian stallfest. Of course now that means a Tuesday night encounter with the Muffet Show, which unfortunately has employed the same uniform designers as the South Bend male counterparts.


Posted by: Josh Date: 3/31/2013 4:48:44 PM  
All the amens to this. Everyone plays Louisville saying, "We've got to make them play our game," but in Duke's case, there's a relatively simple step to take that will go a long way towards making that happen: Back off the overplay! I've been pleasantly surprised at how Duke has done this in the tournament so far, and hope it continues today. I also hope R. Kelly avoids trying to be Duke's soulless three-point gunner today. I loved that little mid-range shot against MSU, and hopefully, so did he. If the threes aren't falling, there's enough other guys on the team that can knock them down; he doesn't need to feel the pressure to keep firing. I REALLY hope Quinn Cook shows the same form he showed in the Bahamas and not Friday night. That's the other big contributing factor in who dictates is game. Next play, Quinn. And finally, I hope Amile gets some burn, not only because I like the kid, but because I think his defensive effort may be needed today.

As I mentioned during the Creighton's game, I thought the blue and white road jerseys worn through '05 were perfection. If it came down to those unis versus the black alts, I'd take those in a heartbeat. Since the black side panels have been added? No big difference to me. (For my part, I'm wearing the same blue Langdon/Duhon #21 jersey I've worn for the last two games. Oh, and I wore the same tie this morning as John Beilein did during his game today. That's got to count for something, right?) But it's nice to be the underdog. It's always cool to play in a regional final. Looking forward to this one!



Posted by: CDG Date: 3/31/2013 4:47:40 PM  
Wow. The CBS studio gets called out for completely disregarding Duke and promptly responds (rather hurt) with the same "Duke sucks" crap that was the source of the call-out in the first case!!!


Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/31/2013 3:36:51 PM  
Hopeful sign from the Creighton game: when a less-than-deadeye Curry loaded up for a three ... and fired it in to Mason for a relatively easy lay-in.


Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 3/31/2013 3:32:56 PM  
My least favorite commercial this March Madness season, by a large margin, is the Enterprise we-hire-college-graduates commercial. Wow, I'm 150,000$ in debt, and now I get to be a cashier? Bargain!



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