TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume VII, no. III - November 28, 2003
Welcome to this edition of the seventh (it *is* sort of getting ludicrous now) season of Two Dukies Pick the ACC. Rob and Matt invite you to sit back, relax, check with Andy Katz for some insight into Duke and Liberty, and then unwind with some really bizarre perspective on this matchup of biblical proportions.
The TWO DUKIES name and material are, for some outrageous reason, affiliated with http://www.dukies.com, and for even more abstruse motivations, copyright 2003 Rigel Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved, and even though you had reservations yourself, we're glad you showed up anyway.
Matt's comments in blue.
Rob Mac K's comments in green.
LIBERTY (1-2, 0-0 Big South) v. #2 DUKE (2-0, 0-0)
Rob, appearing below, completely nailed last nightís Duke performance. How can you shoot that well and yet allow a second-rate Big West team to hang with you? Well, partly by playing lousy defense on Miah Davis, who can now tell his friends and family that he would score 30 a night and be a first-teamer in the ACC. Also, I hate to sound like a broken record, but didnít you just know that as soon as Michael Thompson came in early and made a slightly boneheaded play, we were never going to see him again? Give yourself a cookie. Nick Horvath (not pictured) sure must be wondering what else he could be spending his time doing this season after taking that medical shirt, too. Lee Melchionni? Hey, who needs this guy, right? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! PLAY TEN GUYS!!!
Iím also wondering where this team would be without Luol Deng. I sure hope that we donít have to find out. Props, by the way, to Shavlik Randolph, who played what was most likely his career game Friday - - taking that charge from Pacificís Eurostiff (no doubt lured to the Stockton campus by the promise of beachside studying and gentle, swaying palm trees) was a thing of beauty. Ewing was also very good, and Redick was strong before finding himself trapped without egress from the locker room after halftime. Shelden grabbed some key rebounds and just generally looked good. Hey, I donít mean to break new ground, or revolutionize the sport here, but I thought it was cool when Shav and Shelden played at the same time. Neat! Why not try that again, or even regularly?
I canít move on to Liberty without ripping into ESPNís subhuman Carpenter/Dykes announcing team. As many who read this space know, I spend most Monday nights/early Tuesday mornings during January and February watching Mountain West basketball (hey - - Iím a diehard), and cringing at the recurrent nonsense these two spew forth, so itís good that everyone can share my pain for as long as Duke chooses to remain on TV at the Lesser Alaska Shootout. Dykes, as always, is the ultimate King of All That Is Obvious, and Carpenterís ability to break out of Earth orbit, while never faltering from his finely honed routine of utterly fake-sounding voice cadencing, was in full effect. What the %@$%# was he talking about when saying that playing pickup with the Deng family would really ďput a knot in your turkeyĒ? Hey, Bob - - put your turkey away before it gets any more knotted, will ya? No one needs to see that. It was also great to hear the Voice of the Saint Louis Cardinals demean the poor dude on press row taken out by Duhon on that sideline play with ďnice charge taken by the bald guy.Ē Funny, but ultimately sort of rude - - I wonder if Dan Shulman or Dick Vitale took any offense.
Speaking of Duhon, he played 40 minutes on Friday night. In the midst of a three-day tournament, is this a good idea? Oh, never mind. At least he looked competent on the court.
So now itís Liberty, and if I understood the rising and falling of Carpenterís mellifluous pipes correctly, Jerry Falwell himself will be in attendance tonight. Now, does mean that ESPN has to interview him during the game? I bet it does. Can Rush Limbaugh be quickly rehired to toss Mr. Morals some softball questions (racial subtext optional)? Or perhaps Jerryís intellectual soul mate, the Right Reverend Pat Robertson? If not, you just know that Carpenter and Dykes will be fawning all over Falwell, which may combine poorly with your Thanksgiving leftovers.
As for the Flames themselves - - get the eternal damnation metaphor?? Huh? Huh? Get it? - - they were totaled by Miami (OH) and William and Mary - - I heard that William kept running screens for Mary, who scored at will inside. Then they came to Alaska, and while Falwell ran around drilling for oil and eradicating endangered species in ANWR, his team managed to beat Canisius to set up this exciting matchup.
Look, if this Duke team isnít going to break out against the Flamers, then get ready for some sort of asskicking at the hands of a Big Ten team in the near future (which may happen anyway). Liberty has one guy (6-4 senior Gabe Martin, 14.0 ppg) scoring in double figures; the team tallies only 61.3 a game; they sport a 1/1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio; and theyíre shooting 39.2/69.6/23.7. 6-8 senior Jason Sarchet (6.0 ppg) and 6-8 junior Leo Lightbourne (3.3 ppg), each of whom is outweighed by Shav Randolph, provide the only interior size. Sound like a potential Duke blowout?
I sure, sure hope so! Stuff it, Falwell.
Duke 89, Liberty 57.
Okay, I have to admit that I just don't have a handle on this team yet. I wasn't too concerned with the fact that Duke trailed Pacific for the first ten minutes of the game, they simply went about their business and built a working margin at the half, and then came out after the break, extended the lead past 20 points and had everything under control. Game over, right?
Not quite. All of a sudden Duke got a little sloppy, let the Pacificans make a few shots in a row, and all of a sudden the margin was down to eight and the unthinkable beings to be at least a fleeting thought. Now, Dan Ewing and Luol Deng promptly stepped up and shut the door, knocking down back-to-back 3's to end the threat, but what the hell is going on here? Other than that stretch right after the half, Duke basically played even with a team that was an also ran in the Big West last season and is likely to be so again this year. The Big West! Not even the Wiggity-wiggity-WAC! Doesn't this strike anyone else as, er, kind of strange?
Even more worrisome, Duke shot 50% from the field, 77.8% from the line, and 52.9% from three-point territory. That's good. When you essentially shoot the lights out against a bad team, you should pretty much kick their ass. And it's not like Pacific did anything else statistically to make up for it - they shot a mediocre 41% from the field and 27% from beyond the arc. They did shoot an impressive 94.1% from the free throw line, but Duke still outscored them from the charity stripe, 21-16. The two teams were basically even on the boards, turnovers, and steals. Most worrisome stat: 12 assists on 26 field goals. (Pacific had 16 on 25.) Actually, more worrisome may be points in the paint: Pacific 34, Duke 20. The Devils still can't stop anyone inside. Their interior defense is oddly reminiscent of the security surrounding a Democratic Intelligence Committee memo on a Capitol Hill server.
Anyway, on to the Liberty Flamers. I mean the Flames. They'd probably be more interesting to write about if they were the Flamers. Imagine a starting five of the guys from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Are there five of them? I've never actually watched it.), with Will and Jack from "Will and Grace" coming off the bench, all coached by Jerry Falwell. Don't you pine for the days when college basketball coaches were colorful characters? When Huckleberry Hound from Chappaheeya passes for interesting, you know things have gone downhill faster than Matt Doherty's coaching career. (I already miss Doh.)
The Flamers advanced to the semifinals by knocking out Canisius, which was a bit of an upset since they'd prepared for the trip by getting slaughtered by Miami (OH) and William & Mary by 16 and 27 points respectively. I guess I could BS around and pretend I know something about them (damn you, Blue Ribbon College Yearbook), but I do have it on good authority that they suck. Perhaps this will finally be the game that Duke wins comfortably. One hopes so.
That Deng kid is pretty good, huh?
Duke 85, Liberty 68.
Last Edition: Rob 1-0 (1.000) Matt 1-0 (1.000) Guests 0-0 (.000) TD in Guest Editions: 0-0 (.000) This Season: Rob 2-0 (1.000) Matt 2-0 (1.000) Guests 0-0 (.000) TD in Guest Editions: 0-0 (.000)