Saturday, February 12, 2011

Duke-Miami Preview, and ACC Power Rankings

First, a very important order of business: is a fantastic site. I'm saying this partly because it's true, and partly because Jim, the dude who runs it, was kind enough to add me to his blog roll. Seriously, though, it's a perfect aggregator site for a Duke basketball junkie. You could spend an entire day browsing all the links, drooling over the heaps of knowledge and opinion, and when that day was over the site would be brand new and you could start all over. I don't recommend falling into this pattern.

Also, for those who haven't already been to these blogs, I should give a shout-out to my Duke bball blogging contemporaries.

1. CrazieTalk
2. DukeHoopBlog
3. DukeBluePlanet

Visit them only slightly less often than you visit this site.

Haha, just kidding!

(No, I'm not kidding, do not betray me. I will fucking know it, man.)

It is definitely necessary to revisit the greatness of that Carolina game as long as possible, so the first move today will be to put up a couple videos from #3 on that list, DBP. The first is a sweet highlight video of the comeback, and the second is the Top 5 plays feature from the game, with interviews of Nolan and Seth done by Kyrie Irving afterward.

God that first video gives me goosebumps. The way the Crazies are going apeshit after Kelly's 3 to give us the first Wow wow wow. And I'm going to re-post a photo Nick put up in yesterday's Pick Six. It shows the decibel level in Cameron during one of those insane moments:

According to this chart, that is the same sound level associated with really loud rock concerts and sandblasting, and just 3.7 decibels short of "where pain begins." Well done, Crazies.

Okay, let's move on. Even though I sort of just want to revel in the UNC win over and over until my money runs out and my girlfriend leaves. Hey, did you know it was Duke's largest comeback since 1959? Did you know Nolan Smith had 34 points and Seth Curry 22, both career highs? Did you know-


Focus. Focus, Shane. Duke-Miami. A road game in the ACC. Preview necessary.


The Miami Hurricanes, led by Reggie "Lady Bird" Johnson, will try to defeat the Duke Blue Devils in a basketball game.

No, that's a little generic. Not a good start. Excellent nickname, but otherwise boring. Maybe start instead with something about Duke's momentum coming off THE GREATEST FUCKING WIN EVER!!!!!

Enough. For real. It sucks to move on, but move on we must.

The one good thing about Duke playing a "normal" ACC game is that I can focus. During big games, the tension is so thick and I'm so high-strung that I sometimes miss the obvious. A great example is that in Thursday's post, I bashed Singler's shooting without recognizing the excellent job he did on Barnes at the defensive end. A couple commenters rightly slapped my wrist on that one, but it's a good example of the tunnel vision I'm prone to when things get intense. Now, against Miami, I can take the blinders off.

Here's the deal with the Canes: they can't play D. KenPom says they're 146th in the country in defensive efficiency, and pretty close to dead last in forcing turnovers. Their offense, though, is pretty solid with Johnson underneath and Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant up top.

Johnson grabs boards like a man possessed, and his offensive rebounding rate is actually third in the country. He wreaked a bit of havoc with 22 points and 9 boards at Cameron earlier this season during Miami's closer-than-it-seemed 74-63 loss. Scott and Grant both shoot the three fairly well, and Adrian Thomas and Garrius Adams (pronounced guh-RYE-us uh-DAMZ, no matter what anyone tells you) aren't afraid to chuck it up either. But the bigs are the real worry. You can't not get a little shiver of fear when you imagine what this dude might do to Mason Plumlee:

In some ways, it's kind of a mystery why Miami isn't better than 4-6 in conference. When I wrote about them in the ACC power rankings post a couple weeks ago, I said this: "They lose close games at home and on the road. A few points here and there and they could be middle of the pack, but it hasn't panned out."

That hasn't changed. This team couldn't blow out a D3 Kazakhstan. Since that post on January 27th, they've lost by 4 on the road to Virginia Tech (good showing), won by 2 at home against Georgia Tech (eh), won by 2 in overtime at home against Virginia (decent), and won by 1 on the road at Wake Forest (bleh).

In 10 ACC games, their margin of victory or defeat adds up to: 35. That's an average margin of 3.5 points per game. Over the last 8 games, the margin is 17, for an average of 2.125 per game. Read that stat again; it's really, really absurd. It may even be some kind of record.

Anyway, Miami's now middle of the pack and have won 3 straight, but the wins aren't exactly inspiring. The thing is, though, they match up pretty well with Duke. With two very big, muscular dudes in Julian Gamble (6'9") and Johnson (6'10"), one of whom can fill up the stat sheet, they're automatically dangerous. Add four guys who can get hot from 3 to the equation, and you have to feel a little anxious.

If they played better defense, they'd be legitimately scary. On the road, though, the Canes are scary enough. This is a team you probably will not run away from. Here's something else I wrote in that last post: "This has all the makings of a 4-12 in-conference team who makes a crazy run in the ACC tourney and loses to Duke in the last game." They're going to be way better than 4-12, but the fact remains that they can compete with anyone. It wouldn't shock me if this was a close game.

On the flip side, Nolan scored 28 when the Canes came to Durham. Dawkins, who can't seem to create his own shot in an empty gym, scored 16. The guards had a field day, and they're quite capable of doing it again. Plus, it's rare to see Singler have two bad shooting games in a row. He should be good for 15-20 tomorrow and close to 50% from the field.

Okey doke, it's Hot Potato time! Here's the current leaderboard:

Jill kept her slim lead over Carrie, and there are a few others lingering in the sub-100 region.

The Hot Potatoes for Duke-Miami are:

The Heroes

How many points will Seth and Nolan combine for? They were good for 56 last game, and that was a season high. Get your picks in by tomorrow night's tip-off.

We'll close this out with some ACC Power Rankings. Today's theme is:

The Beatles

Let's take a look-see at how the conference pans out.

John Lennon

Duke (9-1)

No doubt. The Dukies are on top until proven otherwise.

Paul McCartney

UNC (7-2)

Slightly less legendary, but (arguably) equally talented.

George Harrison

Florida St. (7-3)

Highly talented in their own right, but not nearly at the level of the Big Two.

Ringo Starr

Clemson (6-4), Virginia Tech (5-4), Maryland (5-4)

In the inner circle, for sure, but nobody knows exactly how serious to take them. And, let's be honest, the actual talent is very much in question.

Screaming Female Fans

B.C. (5-5), Miami (4-6), Virginia (3-6), G. Tech (3-7)

Definitely kinda hot in the right light, but also a little pathetic. Still, there wouldn't be the ACC without them.

Yoko Ono

N.C. State (2-7)

Pretty bad for the ACC.

Mark David Chapman

Wake Forest (1-8)

Really, really bad for the ACC.


Here are a couple other games I'm looking forward to this weekend.


UNC-Clemson, 1pm - possible double let-down game for the Heels
Ohio State-Wisconsin, 2pm - last good chance for OSU to lose before March
Pitt-Villanova, 9pm - Pitt can assert themselves as Big East #1
Syracuse-Louisville, 12pm - must-win for both to be considered top tier in the BE


N.C. State - Wake Forest, 1pm - like watching crippled zebras fight. Wait, not fight- play basketball.

Have a great weekend.


  1. I for one am ecstatic that added you to their blog roll. I just discovered this blog through them and I cannot believe I have been missing it this whole time. I was going through some of the archives and it is just a great read. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks Eric, good to have you on board. Duke Report is awesome, I can't believe it wasn't on my radar before like a week ago.


  3. 37 for President/Boyfriend Smith and the man who saved Duke.

  4. 42 points for seth and nolan!

  5. Only you could pull off thematically connecting the ACC to the Beatles, Shane. And you totally got the order right. While Paul came up with "you've got admit it's getting better, getting better all the time," it was John who took it from bubblegum to iconic by tossing in "can't get no worse!"

    Yes UNC, your first half bubbly Paul got slammed with the kind of devastating irony that only the Blue Devils, channeling John, could produce in the second half.

    As to the hot pota(toe!), we may have met our match in this cruel selection of yours. There are going to some huge moves in the standings. No more of this "should it be 3 or 9?" crap that I have been feasting on. No more investing all of 5 to 15 seconds in making my pick. Instead I will have to abstain till tomorrow, while finding and consulting experts and sages (what will "T Fab P" have to say and will it even relate?; how about "daggumRoy"'s tweets?). This is burdensome, and if not for the HUGE EFFING WIN! the other night, wherein SethCurrySavedDuke, I would be resentful.

  6. I'm feeling 37 for the duo, Sling Blade Singler ought to have a nice bounce-back game. And then eat some french fried taters and mustard.

    Dr K

  7. Jacob "The Destroyer"February 12, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    34 for the two

  8. Great call on Lennon's contribution to that line, Dan, I never thought about that. That's the perfect 5-second distillation of their respective talents, and the perfect showcase of why Lennon will always be just a bit more interesting.

    As for Hot Potato, I would say I'm opening it up for my own benefit, but the truth is I'm already too far gone to be competitive.


  9. 32 for the god complex.


  10. 38 for the pair.

  11. 37 points for Smith and Curry. Go Devils!

  12. Screw it, T Fab P hasn't checked in and "daggumroy" keeps complainin' 'bout "Pepsa" so he's no help. I'm going with 15 secs of deep thought... no way Curry repeats - he has 10. Nolan for 22 on too many shots. 32 plus gut says I'm low, not high, so sfsf says 34 after the guy who saved Duke plus the site's namesake. If Nolan scores more on the same number of shots (I.e., not too many), and Duke wins, I will happily accept my drop in hot pota(toe) standings.

  13. "are you kidding me?" (dickie v voice) they will get 45. They had 56 last game.

  14. Crash and Burn: 25


  15. 36 for Jesus and Peter (the rock)

  16. I am saying...49.


  17. 34 for the (toe)tally talented Nolan and Seth

  18. 36 for smith and curry

  19. Dylan says 35, crheery says 43, mark9hill says 45.


  20. Whoa, well thought out, Dan.

  21. The girlfriend said 28.


  22. Shane... one need only look at my analysis to see that there was no thinking involved on my part that matched anything that actually happened on the court. Without the benefit of a telecast (grrr, FSN, you suck on the west coast), I have to say there is something going on with Mr. SethCurrySavedDuke, and I hope it continues!