TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume X, Number VIII – December 2, 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, wonder if it's unusual to fall asleep outside while on scaffolding that high up, prepare to beat the living crap out of that guy who plays the Mac in the "Mac/PC" Apple commercials, and be sure to test your reaction to the following material before operating dangerous machinery, driving, attempting to distribute minutes, or other activities.
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.
#18 GEORGETOWN (4-2, 0-0 Big East) @ #10 DUKE (6-1, 0-0)
I would automatically pick this game as a loss if it were on a neutral court, or at the scary Hoya homecourt of the Phone Booth in Washington. Duke couldn't beat much the same team last season, as you'll recall, so . . . yeah. However, the Hoyas were not without their losses as well - - career starters Brandon Bowman and Ashanti Cook, and top sub Darrel Owens. That's a loss of about 30 points per game, and Georgetown has struggled to replace it so far, losing to Old Dominion and to Oregon in relatively embarrassing setbacks.
That loss to the Rubber Duckies was on Wednesday night, a night after Duke was, uh, "polishing off" Indiana at Cameron. Let's examine that game for a second. So, seven games into this young season, we have the statutory health-related loss of a player for an indefinite period, another buried beneath various Nike-branded items on the bench (Pocius), and three playing about 34-35+ minutes per (McRoberts, Scheyer, and Nelson). Nelson is doing something with those minutes. A lot of somethings, actually. He's been such a breath of fresh air. Scheyer is learning, and is certainly more of a capable defender than Paulus, who now appears firmly out of the starting lineup while a new arms race begins: can Jon learn court vision before Greg learns defense? McRoberts has just been a huge disappointment. THAT was the best effort he could put together on offense against his home-state team? (His defense against White was excellent and is to be commended.) It's as though he's still waiting for Williams and Redick to do something - - except there's one small problem with that. Man. If he could just grab the brass ring here, and assert himself a bit, Duke might be able to kick its offense into a gear of some variety.
McClure continues to play well - - it was no surprise that he made, in essence, the game-sealing defensive play. Incidentally, why can Gerald Henderson and DeMarcus not shoot free throws? DeMarcus' errancy at the stripe is particularly puzzling, given what a deadeye he's been from the floor. Hm.
Did you think Zoubek might have been useful out there? I did. Forget it. Ain't happening. Now, against a load like Hibbert, complemented by the 6-9 Green - - I think he has to be employed liberally in this contest. Who CARES if he commits a couple of silly fouls??? He gets five. Play the kid!!!!!!!!!!! I swear, if you're not a Duke fan who follows every minute of every game (when you're not on the phone with your cable or satellite provider), it must be hard to understand frustrations with a three-time national championship coach, but I'll say what I've said before - - this guy isn't the same individual who won in 1991 and 1992 (I still credit 2001 more to the astounding play of Shane Battier than any coaching genius, although K definitely did a very good job that season, without question). His tactics are different, his philosophy is different, and he will not make adjustments unless forced to do so by factors beyond his control. Not playing Zoubek, who looked like he could really do well in early action, is just the latest baffling headscratcher that Coach K has perpetrated.
No one here needs to be told that penetrating guards continue to confound Duke, especially when Paulus is on the floor. (Note: it was no conicidence that Duke's suffocating defense on the last three Indiana possessions came with Paulus having earned a DQ. I fould myself wondering what would have happened if he had not fouled out - - would he have been on the hardwood? I doubt it. But having McClure in won the game.) Luckily, John Thompson's offense runs through Jeff Green, who has been playing a point forward-type of role, albeit less effectively than McRoberts has for Duke - - Green sports 3.8 boners per game to go with his 3.7 apg. The guards, 6-3 sophomore Jessie Sapp and 6-1 junior Jonathan Wallace (who has started every game since he arrived on campus), are quick, but not devastating offensive forces. Wallace was the beacon in the night for the Doggies against the Ducks (who had never beaten a Top 25 team in the Eastern time zone before in their history), scoring 17 points, However, it took him 13 shots to get there, and he is not a force on the perimeter - - he's hit 44.4% from distance so far this season, but he's not consistent. Wallace also struggles to draw fouls - - he's only been to the line seven times all season. Sapp's shooting line is .385/.688/.273; hardly the stuff of legend.
Of course, the biggest problem Duke will have, and one that could open up room to move in the backcourt for Georgetown, is how to guard the 7-2, 283-pound Hibbert. He didn't do much in last year's game, and on Wednesday, he was nicely shelved by 6-9, 215-pound Scandostiff Maarty Leuenen (not really - - kid's from Seattle). He can certainly disappear, and as you probably know, he can be a real carnival at the free throw line, limiting his scoring potential. Does this scream Zoubek to anyone else? After all, I don't expect that we want McRoberts on Hibbert and, say, Nelson on the much taller (and this season, oddly passive) Green. However, I have a feeling that Duke's HALL OF FAME COACH may indeed dally with just such a scenario.
If Hibbert and Green can be contained, the Hoyas will lose - - it's that simple. Wallace, Sapp, and the surrounders, such as 6-8 freshman DaJuan Summers and 6-3 freshman Jeremiah Rivers, are not strong enough to carry the load.
Georgetown is scoring about two fewer points a game than Duke is, which is good news, and the Hoyoids haven't played anyone as difficult as Marquette or Air Force (who, amusingly, absolutely blew out the Dorcons this week without once looking in the rearview mirror), and maybe not even as good as Indiana. So, I don't expect a blue-and-gray scoring explosion, even if there is a Patrick Ewing on the roster (he's barely played). I will grudgingly pick Duke under the assumption that someone, somewhere, has been working on improving this team's offensive conversion.
Duke 68, Georgetown 62.
Duke 65, Georgetown 60.
Last Edition: Rob 1-0 (1.000) Matt 1-0 (1.000) Guests 1-0 (1.000) This Season: Rob 6-1 (0.857) Matt 6-1 (0.857) Guests 1-0 (1.000) TD in Guest Editions 2-0 (1.000)