TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume VI, no. XLII - March 22, 2003
Welcome to this edition of the sixth (we can't believe it either) season of Two Dukies Pick the ACC. Rob and Matt invite you to ignore the rapidly depressing war coverage and peruse some truly outstanding commentary, after which maybe you can wander back and check out what we have to say.
The TWO DUKIES name and material are, for some obscure reason, affiliated with http://www.dukies.com, and for even weirder reasons, copyright 2003 Rigel Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved, to say nothing of your willingness to return after reading some of this Jerry Looby-generated crabgrass.
Matt's comments in blue.
Rob Mac K's comments in green.
(11W) CENTRAL MICHIGAN (25-6, 14-4 MAC) vs. (3W) # 7 DUKE (25-6, 11-5)
Well, since Rob expounded a bit on one of the annoying commercials airing during the NCAA Tournament, I'd like to do the same, before addressing the matchup between Duke and Central Michigan.
Yeah, the Viagra ad that Rob mentioned is really starting to irritate me as well. This ad has been aired before in different incarnations with different actors, including a black man strolling through his workplace while various coworkers peppered him with stupid questions that no one would really ask. This time, of course, it's a white guy who arrives at what purports to be a party, oddly being held in the blinding light of the sun on what is presumably a weekday, given our protagonist's just-completed visit to "the doctor." Nonetheless, our hero bravely runs the gauntlet of unemployed and naturally racially mixed partygoers, including Baffled, Bespectacled Japanese Guy ("BBJG"). All toss him softballs concerning what exactly is soooooo different about him, which he gamely swats over the fence with a clever series of "nopes."
Resisting the powerful urge to fend off BBJG, the final interrogator, with a witty "I can sport wood now, okay, shorty???", "Bob" finally approaches a woman with whom he is presumably engaged in a failing sexual relationship and, speaking in code, informs her of his rediscovered ability to rise to any occasion while BBJG, still looking clueless, lurks indiscreetly in the background.
So, what's so stupid about this commercial? Well - - I get the premise that Bob is supposed to be walking around with newfound confidence because of his reinvigorated unit. However, I really doubt that (a) this transforms him outwardly to such an evidently obvious extent; (b) such that everyone in his path would notice the difference - - except his partner, who has to ask him about it to be sure; (c) when he is a totally normal-looking guy. If anything, this asinine ad sends a contrary message: don't take the little blue pill, because if you do, nearsighted Asian acquaintances may make your life a living hell by suspending their own existences until you pop the secret and give them the thrust of your newfound joie de vivre.
I'm also tired of the Monte Carlo ad where the Ringo Starr lookalike keeps deliberately stopping and starting his car, about ten times, in a pathetic effort to cause his carpool companion to spill his morning coffee. Hey, does this commercial make you more or less likely to buy a Monte Carlo? Unreal. Isn't dealing with the usual assortment of untouchably smug tech ads, Gus Johnson, Tim Brando ("THE IRON UNKIIIIIIIIIIIIND!!!"), Dick Enberg and (you can imagine my reaction to this development) JAY FREAKING BILAS bad enough?
Um, guess not?
Anyway, Duke returns to Salt Lake City on Saturday after a less than inspiring performance against Colorado State on Thursday night. Now we learn that both J.J. and Ewing were sick during that contest, which is extremely unsurprising information, and that Redick is still under the weather today. Yikes. Well, that's probably okay, because post play is really more important against Central Michigan, but I bet Redick shows up and has a good game anyway, much the way that Ewing very impressively fought off his illness and helped gun Duke into the second round after DJ fouled out on a joke of a call.
CMU is an interesting team, one that won a load of games two seasons ago under coach Jay Smith, then saw the bottom drop out for no apparent reason in 2001-2002. This year, with the departure of star David Webber (Chris' little brother, who is not as talented, but also isn't under indictment), the Chippewas were supposed to be a MAC also-ran, but here they are, boasting a nice win-loss record and a stud in Chris Kaman, a 7-0 junior who was enough of a project that he didn't even start until two-thirds of the way through last season, but is now averaging 22.3 ppg, 12.2 rpg, and shooting at an amazing 62.9% clip. Whew. He also sends back 3.2 offerings a game, so he's no defensive slouch, either. Interestingly, Central beat Creighton without much participation from Kaman, who was saddled with early foul difficulty. You don't need us to tell you that limiting Kaman, who commits about as many fouls (3.2 per outing) as each of Sanders, Williams, and DJ, is a key to this game. In the alternative, Duke could try the "let him have his points" approach, either deliberately or otherwise, and make the rest of the Chippewas try to mount enough offense to beat them.
CMU's other two big scorers include 6-5 senior Mike Manciel (16.9 ppg, 54.3/76.6/39.2%), a fifth-year guy who just missed Bootsying the Bluejays on Thursday with excellent outside shooting. Manciel makes a zone dangerous, making Krzyzewski even less likely to use one here. The third double-figure scorer is 6-0 senior J.R. Wallace (14.3 ppg, 3.4 apg), one of three players that Smith uses to run the point. The only other players who get significant minutes are 5-11 senior gunner Whitney Robinson, 6-3 sophomore Tony Bowne, another quasipoint, and 6-3 junior T.J. Meerman. Watch out, parallel universe fans! There's also an Earl Boykins-type in 5-6 freshman Joe Carr (1.8 ppg). Anyone want to take odds that he'll hit the 12th three-pointer of his career in this one?
As you can see, outside of Kaman, there isn't a lot of size, which is why Duke is actually a far better rebounding team than the Chips. Duke will have a decided height advantage at every position except center - - it looks like DJ will guard Manciel almost by default, which could be good news for the Blue Devils, since Manciel has probably not been guarded by anyone with Jones' athleticism very often this season, despite the underrated caliber of MAC competition.
CMU also turns the ball over one hell of a lot, stemming from their lack of a dedicated point guard - - 17.9 tpg is an absolute load, and Duke should take advantage of that by pressing whenever possible. In fact, some sort of press after makes would also reduce Kaman's opportunities in the set offense, making it even more of a good idea. Then there's the fatigue factor - - Kaman admitted in a postgame interview Thursday that he was dragging, and once again, Smith really has only one battle-tested sub available to him at any time.
I was actually more worried about Colorado State than Creighton (mostly because of the road game factor - - thanks again, Spetznaz bastards!), and I feel the same way about Central Michigan following their upset win. Sure, Kaman is a beast, and Manciel and Wallace are very good complementary players, but the lack of height, rebounding, depth, and ballhandling collectively signify that Duke will really, really have to cooperate to lose this one. Finally, Central, which was blown out by DePaul in a horrible early-season loss and beat no one of note OOC except Michigan (before the Wolverines turned things around), is no slowdown team, scoring 80.4 ppg, and Duke isn't usually as threatened by teams that like to run up the score.
It wouldn't be the most shocking result ever if Duke lost this one, particularly if Redick is hampered, but the Blue Devils should have learned from Thursday, acclimated to the altitude, and will hopefully come back strong in this one. As the man says down below, we can ask no more this season.
Duke 85, Central Michigan 72.
Well, Duke will do their best to get the Chips down and send them back to Saginaw in the Bearmobile ("We take care of the Bearmobile, and the Bearmobile takes care of us" - I'm going insane trying to figure out who the white guy in the "Bears" jersey is. I recognize him from something else, but can't for the life of me figure out what it is.) on Saturday night. Depending on where you live and the progress of the other big contest going on at the same time - that between the #1 seed in the Middle East regional, the United States, and #16 Iraq - you may even get to watch some of it.
Of course, assuming Enberg and company are still in Salt Lake calling the games, if you don't get to watch you might not be missing as much as you think. I'm firmly convinced Duke's improved execution down the stretch was a result of the massive positive karma generated when thousands of Duke fans nationwide reached their maximum annoyance quota with Enberg at the exact same time and all simultaneously muted their televisions. It worked in my house, anyway. Incidentally, I think most people got the same treatment I got, where CBS switched away from the Duke game early in the second half and came back just in time for the Rams to mount their rally. Do you think that CBS could have possibly figured out some way to show a few more commercials during that time? I mean, with just a couple of more showings, perhaps I would be able to figure out exactly what it is that's different about the guy in the Viagra commercial... The good news for CBS is that all the commercials they didn't get to show during the entire afternoon of War they managed to fit in during the second half of the basketball game. So they didn't actually lose any money.
(Apropos of nothing, I want to point something out - my prediction the other day: Cal 75, State 74. Actual score: Cal 76, State 74.)
You know, if "Survivor" can have naked chicks, don't you think Les Moonves could bring the idea to the NCAA Tournament? Can somebody call Duke alum Sean McManus about this? I mean, I know CBS is concerned because first round ratings were down 62 percent with the War stuff (incidentally, why is it always "the War"? Shouldn't what's going on be more properly termed "the Invasion"?). What do you think the ratings would have looked like with shots of naked cheerleaders during breaks in the action, instead of the requisite shots of worried-looking coaches' wives? Can you say "bonanza"? Weapons of Mass Distraction, baby!
Just to show how seriously I take all this prognosticating business (I'm winning! Muhahahahaha!), even though I picked Wake to win in Two Dukies yesterday, I picked ETSU in my "official" bracket. How annoyed am I that the Bucs made so many great plays down the stretch to get into position to have a game-winning shot at the end, only to take a truly crummy shot that didn't even draw iron? I suppose I shouldn't bitch, as three-fourths of the way through the first round I still had all of my Sweet Sixteen teams alive (things rapidly went south from there).
Why is the Wake Forest mascot in Birmingham cheering for Ausin Peay? Why isn't Austin Peay in Texas? All my life - since the Fly Williams days - I thought Austin Peay was in Texas. Turns out it isn't. I guess that makes the fact that they are in the Ohio Valley Conference slightly less random, doesn't it?
Anyway, back to Duke and Central Michigan (finally). I don't really have anything particularly insightful to add about it. Could Duke lose? Sure. Will this be another pseudo-road game? Probably (thank you again, Selection Gestapo, you bunch of incompetent jackasses). If Duke plays defense the way they did against Colorado State, they should be in this one to the end. If they play offense the way they did against Colorado State, then so will the Chippewas. Still, the smart money says to go with Duke, so I'll pick them to pull this one out. Any more than that will be gravy.
Duke 76, Central Michigan 71.
Last Edition: Rob 2-0 (1.000) Matt 1-1 (0.500) Guests 0-0 (0.000) This Season: Rob 77-28 (.733) Matt 76-29 (.724) Guests 5-0 (1.000) TD in Guest Editions: 10-0 (1.000)