TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume X, Number V – November 21, 2006
Welcome to this edition of the tenth (it's crossed the line from generating wan smiles to causing outright grimaces of pain), yes, we said tenth, season of Two Dukies Pick the ACC. Rob and Matt invite you to sit back, check out the name of this uplifting municipal initiative, figure that it can't be any worse than Mr. Pibb, and try to stomach our analysis below. Charlotte wide receiver Steve Smith is standing by with a trash can as needed.
The TWO DUKIES name and material are, for some absurd reason, affiliated with http://www.dukies.com, and for even more preposterous purposes, copyright 2006-2007 Rigel Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved, including the right to offend as we see fit.
Matt's comments in blue.
Rob Mac K's selection in green.
#9 DUKE (4-0, 0-0) v. #13 MARQUETTE (5-0, 0-0 Big East)
I was once again genuinely impressed with Duke's attack on Monday night against Air Force. The lights-out shooting, of course, is welcome any time it wants to come on by. But the crisp passing, the ball movement, the movement *away* from the ball (Quick!! Visualize Melchionni and Dockery standing around!! Wasn't hard, was it?), the blinding defensive intensity, and the near-perfect rebound positioning were all superlative. Interestingly, the three-pointer made a bit of a comeback, because of AFA's matchup zone, and right as rain, Scheyer, Nelson, and Paulus came through.
On the other end of the floor, Duke played what looked to me like an "amoeba"-type matchup zone out of UNLV's 1989-1991 playbook (gold-plated, 24K, diamond-studded bookmark and hot tub pictures with nefarious fixers not included), as the Blue Devils switched between a 1-3-1 and a 1-2-2. Cool!! How long has everyone in Duke fandom been calling for this?? The Falcons were totally confused, and managed to be so thoroughly out of position that they snared exactly ten boards on the night. Ten. That's a stat we might expect if Winthrop were playing UNC-CH in the DumpDome - - not from a real opponent in a neutral court matchup against Duke. Very, very, very nice. Memo to Coach K: kindly continue this behavior.
Nelson now looks like the recruit who shot up the California prep circuit. Lance Thomas was outstanding. McRoberts is an official stat sheet stuffer, which is the only term I will ever borrow from Clark Kellogg. Greg showed signs of genuine life, Henderson couldn't quite get into the rhythm of the game but still acquitted himself well, while McClure and Zoubek had solid outings that won't show up in the boxscore. Scheyer was a rock as usual - - does he seem like a junior to anyone else? Marty got some face time while Boykin remained at the hotel, under the weather.
Apart from the shooting and the ultraintense defense, the most impressive aspect of this game was the way that Duke totally discombobulated a veteran team - - about as veteran as one gets these days, in fact - - and a solid coach, behind the play of one junior and a phalanx of youngsters. This was one of Krzyzewski's better single-game coaching jobs in recent years, and so far this season, it's hard to say that he's not functioning at the top of his game. The 2006-ish minutes distrbution was a little worrisome, but the fact that I didn't really notice it until consulting the boxscore was telling. Since Air Force didn't hike the tempo, the pace of the game wasn't draining by any means, and AFA's relative lack of depth, Zoubek's early fouls, and Boykin's illness all contributed as well. No cause to worry just yet.
Duke now moves on to face Marquette, a fairly young team that polished off Knight and Texas Tech in the late semifinal. The Golden Eagles/nées Warriors have prospered since joining the Big East, and Izzotégé Tom Crean is an excellent operational coach who can also recruit, so Marquette will typically be in the hunt.
Weirdly, Marquette opened its season by nearly losing to "Hillsdale" - - were Archie and Jughead suited up? - - then fought off some Vandals (the Idaho State kind) by a mere three points at the Bradley Center, before rediscovering themselves and beating the stuffing out of Detroit (Mercy! Mercy!) and Eastern Michigan.
The Eagliors' problem against Duke will be one of sheer size - - from 5-11 sophomore point guard Dominic James (16.6 ppg, 3.8 apg) to frontcourt dwellers Wesley Matthews (12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg), a 6-5 sophomore, and 6-6 freshman Lazar Hayward (7.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Quette is sort of petite. 6-9 junior Dan Fitzgerald (6.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg) is reed-thin, more of a wingman, and he got pretty banged up on Monday night and did not return despite the fairly close contest. 6-10 junior Ousmane Barro (6.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) had better bring his A-game, because the Quettiorgles will have few answers for McRoberts, Thomas, and Zoubek down low. Ballhandling is another issue, and one Duke will hope to exploit; Marquette also doesn't shoot particularly well from any angle, and 6-0 freshman David Cubillan (7.2 ppg, .600 3PFG) and Matthews are the only reliable outside snipers.
Marquette is very balanced and plays under control, and Crean seldom makes obvious mistakes. However, if Duke comes to play -- and to coach - - as well as it did against Air Force, this one will go the Blue Devils' way. Win or lose (as long as it's not some embarrassing blowout), I do like the way this season is shaping up.
Duke 80, Marquette 73.
Duke 74, Marquette 71.
Last Edition: Rob 1-0 (1.000) Matt 1-0 (1.000) Guests 0-0 (0.000) This Season: Rob 4-0 (1.000) Matt 4-0 (1.000) Guests 0-0 (0.000) TD in Guest Editions 0-0 (0.000)