Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Triumvirate Delivers

Scheyer, Singler, Smith: three dudes whose last names begin with S, and who do most of the scoring for the Blue Devils. Anybody have any good ideas for a group nickname? I'm brainstorming, and so far my ideas are pretty lame:

The Three S-Keteers

Oh wait, that's my only idea. It's not going to catch on (too sophisticated), but you have to admit that the poster would be pretty awesome: taken from a low angle, all three dressed up like French Royal Guard soldiers, hands placed on top of each other over a basketball, and below in calligraphy it says "One for all...all for One." And in the background, there's a disturbing semi-transparent floating image of Coach K's smiling face.

Anyway, the S-Keteers did the job against Long Beach State last night, scoring a combined 55 points to lead the Devils to an easy victory. I don't have much analysis to offer, particularly since I didn't watch the game (wasn't on tv, too cold in the city to go to a bar), but it feels like we're at that point where the team has proved that they're going to be very good, and now it's time to find out just how good. We have to tolerate one more gimme game against Penn on Thursday, and then it's ACC play starting with Clemson on the 3rd.

Long Beach State, meanwhile, lost to their 4th straight top 10 team. That is what we call an ambitious schedule, and I particularly liked their coach's quote after the game:

"I think [Duke is] every bit as good [as those other Top 10 teams], but that's what everybody asks me when you're going on this Washington Generals tour," Monson said.

Gotta have a sense of humor!

By the way, Andre Dawkins is now 25-51 from 3, almost 50%, good for top 10 in the country. Nolan isn't far behind, though he's attempted fewer. And Scheyer is 13th nationally in assists at 6 per game. If these three, along with Singler, can keep up such a high level of play, Duke will be highly dangerous. Unlike past years, we have some fungible big bodies to throw at other teams, so we won't get dominated on the boards. It's very possible that we can dominate with strong guard play and not become overwhelmed by superior size or athleticism. EXXXCCCCITTTINGGGGGGG!

Around the rest of the country, a few undefeated teams barely survived; Syracuse, West Virginia, and Purdue all trailed late in their games before prevailing. For a while it looked like Duke might scoot up to the top 5 in a single night. Instead, we must bide our time. Friday's game between Purdue and West Virginia should be very interesting, and a nice point of conference comparison.

I suppose I can't avoid it any longer...


Miami couldn't quite get things moving on offense last night, despite an early boost from a long kickoff return, and Wisconsin Big-10'ed them to death. Slow drives, lots of runs, strong run defense, and precious few mistakes. It's sort of like fighting a land war with Russia; you feel like one side is better, but they're not making any inroads and eventually they're battered to pieces and just plain fatigued from a string of failed efforts. Wisconsin never budged, and they deserve credit. Meanwhile, UCLA used their superior athleticism to roar back from an early deficit and give me the straight-up win. I called that game pretty well, but unfortunately Temple made some mental mistakes toward the end that screwed up my spread pick. Not a great night for yours truly.

Laughable Goals:

25-9 Straight Up
20-14 Againt the Spread


6-7 Straight Up
3-10 Against the Spread

Almost mathematically eliminated from both goals, and it's not even New Year's Day!

Today's games: Bowling Green (-1.5) vs. Idaho, 4:30pm

Bowling Green scores a lot of points, Idaho concedes a awful lot. They've allowed more than 50 points three times this year, and have lost 4 of their last 5. Also, they're in the WAC; the best two teams from that conference looked like hell earlier in bowl season. Bowling Green's conference, the MAC, is also 0-2, but Temple looked semi-decent yesterday, and the Falcons have won 6 of 7 to end the season. Idaho's nickname is the Vandals, which is kinda cool, but I can't let that sway me.

I Like: Bowling Green every which way.

#20 Arizona (-1.5) vs. #22 Nebraska, 8pm

Love Nebraska's D, hate their O. Their offense almost literally makes me want to puke, and it's compounded by how conservative Pellini is as a playcaller. He deserved to be drawn and quartered after the Texas game, but since he's apparently still at the helm, I'm not on board. Seriously, look at their point totals in Big 12 games this year: 27, 10, 7, 20, 10, 31, 17, 28, 12. In the current era, those are some low numbers, even considering the aberrations. Arizona isn't exactly a bastion of defense, but they don't have to be. Suh will wreak his usual havoc, but eventually the Wildcats will break through.

I Like: Arizona both ways.

Another day, another chance to go over .500 for the bowl season. Keep your fingers (and swords) crossed.

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