Starting today, the ceasefire is ended. Smiles vanish, and we usher in a new era of:
BOOM. Here's how it works:
*A few Duke message boards and blogs across this wide, wide web will be entering NCAA bracket pools.
*The authors of the blogs will be forming a 25-person team to represent their site.
*Each of these 25 scores count. At the end of the tournament, the team with the most combined points will be voted the Champion's of the Duke-osphere. They'll have eternal glory for the temporal span of one year.
*The individual winner of the pool, and maybe some others, will get swag from each blog. There's no telling yet what that might be.
*Standings and trash talk will be updated on each site daily.
*So far, these sites are signed on:
1) Seth Curry Saves Duke! - OH NO DOUBT. We formed our 25-person squad at the end of this post.
2) The Devils Den. A thriving message board over at Scout.com.
3) Crazie-Talk. These dudes are real students, and they already have their 25 strong.
4) DukeHoopBlog. Good Duke writing on the regular.
Now that we've got it started, this is an invitation to any other site out there. If you talk and write about Duke basketball, you can get on board. As long as you think you can find 25 good men or women to get your back. And know that here at SCSD!, we like you all. Doesn't mean we're going to whoop your ass any less come the Madness, but we do like you.
Lots of big news today! First and foremost, as you all know by now, we have an ACC All-First Team:
Congrats to Nolan, who was the only unanimous vote for first team. Congrats also to Kyle Singler, who, let's face it, snuck on because writers are lazy and just look at points per game. Last, a big apology to Miles Plumlee, who for the FUCKING THIRD YEAR IN A ROW GOT JOBBED BECAUSE HE WON'T TOE THE LINE.
No Tar Heels were among the first team (Henson should have been), but they got 3 on the second team (Zeller, Henson, Barnes) and one (Marshall) on the third team.
Nolan and Henson made the all-defensive team, along with Shumpert from G. Tech, Singleton from FSU, and Grant from Clemson.
Today, the Nolan Smith Award- I mean ACC Player of the Year Award- will be announced, along with Coach of the Year (80% Roy, 15% Donahue, 5% Brownell) and Rookie of the Year (should be Marshall, will probably be Barnes).
Speaking of our boy Nolan, I decided to whip up a 3-point shooting chart. If you missed yesterday's Singler chart, please check it out; it took like 5 hours to make.
The Nolan chart was much quicker, but a little less interesting. Three-pointers are not as big a part of his game; his overall field goal percentage (47%) is as high as its ever been, and his assists (5.2) dwarf his previous totals. He's been a relentless, amazing point guard, and three-point shooting is only one cog in the Nolan machine. Still, I thought it'd be interesting. Some of the same caveats apply:
*On the year, Nolan is 51-141. After plotting all the three-pointers, my numbers came out to 53-140. This time, though, I followed along as I was plotting and discovered that the error belonged to the CBS shot charting people. They gave him an extra 3threelorida St. Unfortunately, it's impossible to know which zone in which the errors of inclusion or omission were made, so my best option is just to plot the 53-140. With a sample size that large, it's close enough.
*Again, these just show the zones in which the threes were shot. The individual plots don't represent the exact spot on the floor, just the zone.
*Because the Nolan chart doesn't tell us as much as the Singler chart, I knew I need an extra angle. Could it be a statistical insight that blew everyone away? Maybe a visualization trick that wowed the internet? I considered each of these, and then decided on unicorns.
*Like Singler, Nolan shoots very well from the right wing but poorly from the left wing.
*Unlike Singler, he's excellent from both corners, though he doesn't get down to the left corner very often.
*His percentage (36.2) is lower than last year (39.2) and his freshman year (38.6), and it's tempting to believe that his role as point guard somewhat explains the slight drop-off. However, up the Butler game, when Kyrie was running the point, Nolan was only 10-29 shooting, for 34.5%. His percentage has actually gone up since the injury.
*Still, those strong numbers at the corners make you wonder what might have happened as the year went along if Kyrie had stayed healthy. Could he have taken even more than 23 threes from the right corner? Would the top of the key threes, where he seems to struggle, have been reduced? Also, why do he and Singler both struggle in the spot that's right in front of Coach K for 20 minutes each home game and most road games? Are they scared of him? Is there a subtle, psychological fear about shooting in front of their coach? I smell a conspiracy.
As for Singler, reader NastyEmu compiled a few career stats and sent them my way:
|Field Goals||3-Point FGs||Free Throws||Rebounds|
"After your post today I decided to take a look at how this season looks compared to Singler's previous years. He's taking about the same number of shots and 3s as last year, but is getting to the line a lot less. (FTA are down about 18%)
His assists are down too, but his turnovers are about the same. I have the feeling that he's handling the ball less than last year though, which would mean that he's actually turning it over at a higher rate than before.
The other stat that stands out are his blocks. He's way down on blocks this year. Do all of their opponents have tall quick players that weren't around for him to deal with last year?
Here's my new theory(which may or may not be new to you): Singler misses Lance Thomas. With no Lance Thomas-type player around that can guard tall and mobile opponents, Singler now pretty much exclusively defends guys his own size, which wears him down. While Thomas wasn't a huge offensive threat, he did move a lot better on the offensive end than the Plumlees or Kelly, and needed to be accounted for. I think Singler is now seeing the type of guys that used to be tied up guarding Thomas.
Does that make sense, or am I crazy?"
Great work by Nasty. The fact that he's taking more field goals per game and getting to the line much less says all we need to know about Kyle's offensive style. And the lower assists and rebounds pretty much confirms what most of us have thought all along; he's not in the flow. Not even a little. He's a novelty act at this point, a guy who receives passes and takes jump shots 15-20 times per game. The lower block and rebound numbers hint, without really proving, that maybe his defense has been a bit overrated too.
The only place I disagree with Nasty is the Lance Thomas angle. Granted, he's better than the Plumlees, but I really don't think teams were committing a good, tall defender to him over Singler. I think this is partly an issue of better defenders, but I think it owes an awful lot to Singler's confidence, and how that affects his style. You don't see him attacking the rim like he used to, and without that element, he'll get fouled less. It's like he's realized his physical limitations and let them push him ever farther from the basket. Even if he forced it once in a while on a drive, it might get him back in the habit. Instead, he's trying to make himself the Reggie Miller of college basketball, or something. It doesn't take a detective to see he's not suited for that style.
One more reader contribution: Kevin sends in this comparison of the 2002 and 2011 Devils:
*Returning National Champion – check
*Preseason ranked #1 – check
*Lost talented seniors – (Scheyer/Zoubek/Thomas compared to Battier/James) – check
*Returned talented players that should/did play in the NBA – (Smith, Singler, Mason Plumlee compared to Williams, Boozer, Dunleavy) – check
*Talented transfer – (Seth Curry, Dahntay Jones) - check
*Freshmen point guard – (Daniel Ewing, Kyrie Irving)
*13-3 record in the ACC – check
*4 losses overall – check (so far)
Interesting stuff. We all know the 2002 squad was far more talented than this year's team, and Kevin concedes that himself. And I'd have to pause for several pregnant moments before letting myself believe that Mason Plumlee could have an NBA career. Still, the similarities are at least a little eerie, right? Funny thing is, that great 2002 team got knocked off in the Sweet 16, and I'd be surprised if this year's Dukies didn't at least make the Elite 8. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: of all the Duke disappointments I've witnessed, that Indiana loss is by far the most bitter.
Okay, that will about wrap it up here. We had five ticket punchers last night: Gonzaga, North Texas, Old Dominion (badass school name), St. Peter's, and Wofford. The Big East tourney starts today with some so-so games, but tomorrow and Thursday's action in MSG will be burning. Also: I managed to finagle myself an ACC Tournament pass through school, so I'm hoping to do some kind of live updating thing from Greensboro on Thursday and Friday. More on that later. Have a great day.