Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Keys To The Game

Here's the checklist. I'll go over it after the game to see how we fared.


1. Can we stay with them man-to-man and not get killed by cuts and screens?

2. Their shooting: will Butler go off like he did against Kentucky? People forget, but that came could have been a first half romp if not for Da'Sean getting hot. If they hit contested shots against us, things get tough.

3. Can anyone stop Mazzulla from penetrating? If he gets into the lane, can we at least contain him there? If Nolan guards him, can he hold him like he's done against other quick opponents?

4. Do we start Singler off guarding Butler? A similar strategy in the last game, when he guarded Dunn, resulted in two quick fouls and threw him off his rhythm for the rest of the game.

5. Can Old Snowshoes and Lance and the Plumdogs keep WVU off the boards? They've been successful all year, but WVU will one of the best and most athletic rebounding teams we've faced so far. A key offensive board here and there could be quite demoralizing, especially if we're playing from behind.


1. Can Scheyer handle the heat? I still think Huggins would be crazy to come out in a 1-3-1 zone, but even if that's the case, the top man will probably extend out and put pressure on the point. We know Nolan is up to the task, but Scheyer is a step slower and will sometimes turn his back to the defender in the Paulus mode. If he gets stuck in a retreating mindset, it'll affect our entire offense. He needs to attack like he did in the second half against Baylor. If he doesn't, Coach K will have to have Nolan run the point.

2. Will our shooter knock down shots? This one is pretty simple. A cold night will send us home in a hurry. The open 3s have to fall.

3. Can all Earth, Wind, and Scheyer all produce points? We're past the point where having two of three show up will be good enough. I'm not saying they each need 20, but a repeat of Singler's Baylor performance won't fly.

4. Can we get at least a little point production from the bigs or Dawkins? Andre's 3s were huge in the Elite 8, and it'd be so nice to have him contribute a couple more. Down low, Zou, Lance and the Plumlees will have to be able to hit some short ones, especially if they zone up, and good interior passing is a must.

5. Boards. Same as #5 above. We'll need second chance points.


Foul trouble. Probably won't kill us with the bigs, but if any of the big 3 have to sit early, that's very bad news. Same for WVU with either Butler or Mazzulla. They don't have a second option at PG.

2. Coaching. Will the 1-3-1 blow up in Huggins' face? Will Coach K screw us with a late stall offense?

3. The crowd. Who will they be pulling for? No, strike that question. They'll be pulling for WVU. The question is, how hard? We've shown we can handle adversity in a hostile 'neutral' site game, but it'd be nice if the Duke contingent was strong.

4. Refs. If they call a tight game, advantage Duke. If they let a lot go, advantage WVU.

5. Heart. You would not expect either of these teams to get overly frustrated or to quit on their coach or themselves. But the most intense pressure can produce some strange results, and it's worth keeping an eye on.


1. My dream last night. In it, West Virginia ran us off the floor. The score was something absurd like 32-4 almost immediately. Is this a good omen (getting the demons out in dreamland) or a bad one (vision of the future)? Or was it maybe just a dream that won't have any affect at all on the game's outcome?

So hard to tell.




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