Saturday, March 17, 2007

More on Duke's exit

Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times here on the glee surrounding Duke's first-round exit....

and Frank Dascenzo of the Herald-Sun on why we shouldn't be surprised at Duke's exit...and what went wrong as the season came to a close.

Maryland gets tired...Amaker gets fired

Thanks to all those Terp fans out there who bashed Duke after their loss to VCU, especially those who went on the Duke Chronicle's comment section. I'm sure they're feeling spunky after their team's inexplicable loss to Butler. What does Butler do? Shoot 3's. What did they do all day against Maryland? Shoot 3's. Nice planning and defense, Terps. Reminded me of Duke's revolving-door defense against its last 4 opponents.

Tommy Amaker was fired today as head coach at Michigan. Make that two programs he couldn't get off the floor (Seton Hall, remember?).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Duke slows, State keeps going

Earlier, we told you that Duke would struggle this season, with 9 to 11 losses. That came true - Duke is 22-10 heading into postseason play. The only issue is whether it's NCAA or NIT. Just kidding. We haven't seen any serious discussion of bubble teams that mention Duke, so that means they're in. Of course, that's strictly on reputation. A win by State today against Carolina wouldn't jeopardize Duke's NCAA chances. Instead, it would mean Duke lost to a good team on a roll. On the other hand...

Duke just can't play defense right now. As John Feinstein notes in the Washington Post,

The change though isn't so much about numbers but about aura. In past years, Duke would have beaten State on Thursday night. Someone would have hit a big shot; someone would have taken a charge that would have left opposing fans screaming that the Duke kid flopped. An N.C. State shot would have rimmed out the way Greg Paulus's three-point attempt did in overtime for Duke. Fans
would have left the building grumbling about Duke getting all the
calls. Not anymore. These days Duke is symbolized by Josh McRoberts, who simply couldn't defend State's Brandon Costner (career-high 30 points) and spent much of the evening pulling the ball out of the net and screaming at teammates as if it were their fault that he couldn't -- as Bob Knight once eloquently put it -- guard the floor.

So it's obvious - Duke doesn't have any "motherfuckers" - as Feinstein once wrote about in A Season Inside. Players like David Henderson. Or Danny Meagher. Guys who the other team just do not want to deal with. And of course, there's none of the defensive intensity that marked most of their early-season games. Now, there's still a lot of people who hate Duke, don't get us wrong. The St. Pete Times wrote a customary article on the subject heading into the ACC tourney (including a quote from Michael Hemmerich, who we remember back from Prodigy's Duke message board, and from the Duke Basketball Report.

Don't look for Duke to go past the second round - assuming they even make it out of the first.