Friday, March 25, 2011

The Night Everything Went Wrong

It's over. We've seen Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler in a Duke uniform for the last time. Probably ditto on Kyrie Irving. Maybe ditto on Andre Dawkins, in the off chance that he transfers.

Here are a few reasons we lost the game, briefly, in a haphazard but roughly diminishing order of importance:

1. Arizona's ungodly play
2. Nolan Smith's disappearance
3. Mason Plumlee reverting to Plumblefuck the Younger
4. Seth Curry's injury
5. Miserable defense
6. Poor rebounding
7. Coaching/Strategy
8. Refereeing
9. Kyrie Irving's least favorite science: Chemistry

Let's start at the top.

1. Arizona's ungodly play

In the first half, this was just Derrick Williams' ungodly play. He kept them in the game with 25 points and five threes. I think his last three, an awkward high-arcing loft over Ryan Kelly at the buzzer, might have been his biggest; it cut the Duke lead from 9 to 6 and gave Arizona a psychological boost going into the intermission.

After that, he didn't score much. He didn't have to; his teammates played the game of their lives. They finished 34-63 from the field, and 9-15 from three. That's an effective field goal % of 61.1% I mean...fuck.

Arizona's offensive efficiency: 134.7.

Let's look at that number again. 134.7. When Duke lost to St. John's, a game that felt really, really similar, their efficiency, which is "points scored per 100 possessions," was 125.7. Those of us who suffered through that game can attest tat 125.7 felt like a perfect score, like a team couldn't possibly play any better.

Let's put that 134.7 into context.

A) It's the best single-game offensive efficiency Duke has faced this season.

B) Wait, strike that. Ken Pomeroy keeps these stats going back to 2003. This is the best single-game offensive efficiency Duke has ever faced. (You know...at least since 2003.) UPDATE: Statsheet.com keeps stats back to 1997, and it's still the highest single-game offensive efficiency Duke has faced (thanks to anonymous commenter).

C) Half-credit to commenter Matt on this one: Duke, the 4th-most efficient offense in the country, cracked that number just twice: once against Colgate (318th in D-1), and once against UNC-Greensboro (268th).

D) Just for laughs, I looked at Ken Pomeroy's top 25. Exactly two of those teams has faced a team with better efficiency this season. It happened to Wisconsin, when Ohio State dropped a 159.3 efficiency rating on the last day of the season, and it happened to Purdue when VCU scored to the tune of 143.1 last weekend. Other than those two games, no top 10 team has faced a more powerful offense this season.

E) Arizona themselves have not played this well on offense since...the very first game of the season, when they defeated Idaho st. 90-42 at home. Seriously. Arizona's second-best offensive game of the season came against Duke, who you might remember has a top-5 ranked defense. They had more trouble at home against teams like Bethune Cookman (294th in Division 1) and Cal St. Fullerton (260th).

I mean, seriously guys...I'm heartbroken. This was a devastating loss I didn't expect. I'm going to feel down for a couple days, and I'll always wonder what might have been this season.

But, at the same time: holy shit. Holy unfortunate shit. What the hell are you supposed to do with a game like that? They played out of their goddamn heads. It's not really a reflection of either team; they just couldn't miss. If that game was played 100 more times, Arizona would literally never achieve that rate of offensive efficiency again. I can say that with almost absolute certainty. So what do you do? What do you do when absolutely everything goes against you, when a fluky game comes along in the Sweet 16?

You throw your hands in the air. That just happened, and there's nothing to be done. Sometimes life deals you a fucking lemon. I'm about to go into a bunch of other reasons for the loss, but with Arizona playing that well, we could not have won. No way, no how.

What a nightmare. And this is where we get into an element that's going to appear throughout this post: bad luck. We had it in spades yesterday.

2. Nolan Smith's Disappearance

I love Nolan Smith. That's not going to change. He's given us a wonderful four years, complete with ACC championships and a national title. He's been the man on the spot this year, and he's never let the team down.

Last night, he had his worst game of the season. I didn't expect it, and I still can't believe it. Was that Nolan out there? What could possibly have happened? It wasn't just his poor shooting (3-14, 0-3 from deep), and it wasn't just his 2 assists or his 6 turnovers. It was that he looked lost, and he never got found.

And now I'm going to bring something up that I'll explore later in greater depth. It's become a hugely controversial topic, and it's bound to make heads explode around Duke nation. But I'll ask it anyway: did the return of Kyrie Irving throw Nolan into a funk? Did it affect him not to have the ball in his hands at all times? Were we better off with Nolan at point guard for an entire game?

I thought Jay Bilas put it best: Duke was playing excellent basketball at the end of the ACC Tournament. Their best of the year, maybe. But to win a national title, they needed some form of Kyrie Irving. So that's fine. However, once they had Kyrie Irving, it became clear that it was a little too sudden. Nolan wasn't quite comfortable in his new role, and Kyrie wasn't dominant enough to overcome that problem.

On the other hand, Seth Davis, a guy I respect a lot, thinks it's a lazy talking point that can't come remotely close to explaining the loss.

But there was a real oddity at play last night. When things went bad, our style to that point dictated that we had to be rescued by one guy: Kyrie Irving. He was, suddenly, the man we were all counting on. How the hell did that happen? I'm never going to deny Kyrie's amazing talent, but frankly, this was Nolan's team. That changed in the tournament, and I have to say, at the risk of invoking the wrath of the Dukies, that it was a bad change.

Nobody really knows what this game would have looked like if the Duke team from two weeks ago played. It would have been different. I'm not saying we would have won, and I'm not saying we would have lost. It just would have been different, and the team would at least have had a solid sense of itself. I think a lot of fans really missed the point on that one. After the game, I kept hearing some variation of this comment: "Imagine how bad that would have been without Kyrie!" As if, to get an accurate picture of a Kyrie-less team, you just subtract his 28 points and Duke loses 93-49.

That's ridiculous. I will spend a lot of time wondering what might have happened if Kyrie never played, and I will never have a definitive answer. But I do know that we wouldn't have been looking at the same kind of game.

Back to the topic at hand. I felt awful for Nolan. Really, really awful. He came out of that game and you could see the hurt in his eyes. The moment when the game was lost even came down to him; with 6:04 to go and Duke down 11, he led a fast break off a defensive board, beat his man, and then missed an easy lay-up. That would have cut the deficit to 9 and given us a fighting chance, but it wasn't to be. Solomon Hill made a lay-up, Kevin Parrom hit a 3, and that was that.

He's a strong kid, so he'll get over this. He has a title to his name and a bright future. But he deserved a better ending. Again, I find myself saying the sentence above: "sometimes life deals you a fucking lemon."

3. Mason Plumlee Reverting to Plumblefuck the Younger

He couldn't even get a rebound. Arizona's offensive rebounding rate was 47%.

FORTY-SEVEN PERCENT.

And guys, they fucking HIT 50% of their shots. That means that on roughly 75% percent of their possessions, they either made a shot or got a second chance. How are you supposed to win a game under those circumstances?

Take a guess: when was the last time Duke gave up that high a percentage on the offensive glass?

Answer: March 14, 2009, against Maryland.

And the really sad part is that Arizona has one person on their roster over 6'8". That's Kyryl Natyazhko, and he played six minutes last night. After that, Williams is 6'8" and the rest of their starters are 6'6" or under.

Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly, all 6'10", grabbed a combined 12 rebounds for the game. Derrick Williams had 13. They out-boarded us 40-27. They had 16 offensive boars to our 9. AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE A SINGLE FUCKING PLAYER WITHIN 2 INCHES OF OUR BIGGEST GUY.

WE should have been owning the glass. And, to be fair for just a minute, it was one of those games where a ton of rebounds or loose balls found their way to Arizona. Sometimes life deals you a fucking lemon. But Mason was never in position. He has no basketball IQ. It's not like he was even overtly bad, beyond that hook shot in a critical moment. He just disappeared. He couldn't step up in a game he had a chance to dominate.

If you want to pinpoint a single reason that Duke wasn't a national title team this year, look no further than the Plumlees. It's been a long time since we recruited an effective big man, and we found ourselves stuck this season. If you don't like bad news, don't think about what that means for next season.

4. Seth Curry's Injury

He's been the second ingredient in our success so many times this season. I don't think there's a soul on the planet who thinks we would have won the home against UNC without him. And he's fantastic on defense.

In 8 minutes of game time, Seth was 1-2 from the field with a steal and an assist. After he left, we were stuck with Andre Dawkins and his awful perimeter defense. Make no mistake: losing Seth absolutely killed this team.

More bad luck. Sometimes life deals you a fucking lemon.

5. Miserable Defense

Arizona was on the attack all game. Dawkins got exposed, Ryan Kelly got exposed, and the Plumlees got exposed. Even Kyrie Irving got exposed; he's still not quick enough to guard effectively on the perimeter.

And when we played good defense, they still hit their shots. Who can forget Momo Jones hitting the fadeaway over Kyle and looking back at Sean Miller with a defiant glare while Miller angrily waved him back on defense.

I think we're looking at a chicken-egg scenario. What came first? The ridiculous shots falling, or the heart of our defense breaking? My gut says that the back-breaking desperation heaves that kept going in preceded the utter breakdown, but I suppose that's up for debate.

6. Poor Rebounding

We already did that one, didn't we? See #3.

Screw it, some more context:

Arizona's 47% offensive rebounding rate was the highest any of Ken Pomeroy's top 10 teams faced for the entire season barring two: Connecticut grabbed 48.4% against Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament, and Alabama grabbed 53.3% in a mid-season game against Kentucky.

Oh, and by the way, Arizona was 139th in offensive rebounding rate this season. Here are the teams Duke faced this season with superior numbers in that category, along with that team's offensive rebounding % against Duke: UNC (37.0, 31.9, 39.3), Miami (36.5, 38.6), Florida St. (30.6), NC St. (40.0, 24.3), Maryland (34.4, 30.9), Michigan St. (45.1), Georgia Tech (36.8), and Clemson (40.4).

Sometimes. Life. Deals. You. A. *collapses in anger, sobbing*

And what about our offensive boards? Well, Duke averages 35.1%. Yesterday, on a night when we shot slightly below our usual field goal %, we ended at 27.3% on the offensive glass. Not as glaringly awful as the other end of the floor, but still pretty poor.

7. Coaching/Strategy

What about another timeout during Arizona's 316-12 run? Would that have been too much to ask?

And what about the Kyrie situation?

And what about maybe staying big with Mason and Miles and not letting Andre Dawkins' weak perimeter defense kill you?

What about going to Singler in the post in the second half? I mean, it's rare enough for him to have a good game, and he was on fire in the first 20. What happened to that element?

What about putting the ball in Nolan's hands and forcing him to take over? Why couldn't we live and die with our best player?

Also, what was the plan on offense? Just give the ball to Kyrie and let him try to drive? Ditto for Nolan on 1 of every 4 possessions? Where was the fluidity, the motion, the organized sets? Couldn't that have helped us when we were overwhelmed?

I guess we'll never know.

8. Refereeing

This was so much like the St. John's game that I honestly wanted to puke. A team thoroughly out-played us, got a big lead, and the refs got swept up in the momentum of the crowd and ensured that Duke had no chance to come back. The crowning moment for me was when Kyle Singler played great defense on an inbound pass, Derrick Williams caught the ball and fell out of bounds, and they called a push on Singler.

Also, how many elbows is a team allowed to throw before they're called for a foul? And look, the refs were bad, but they were probably bad for both teams. We just got murdered in a 5-minute series in the second half when we really needed everything to go our way. That killed.

9. Kyrie Irving's least favorite science: Chemistry

I love when people say things like: "Don't you dare blame this on Kyrie!"

That was on twitter quite a bit last night. As though criticizing the strategy of bringing Kyrie back so soon is akin to actually getting mad at Kyrie.

Not a bit. Not even the slightest, token bit. Kyrie Irving is a great player, and I appreciate that he worked hard to get back on the team. I appreciate that he scored 28 points last night and was the best player wearing blue. I like his style, I like his spirit.

But his return did us no favors. How many assists do you think he had last night, without looking? It was 1. How many do you think he had against Michigan? 2.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I'll freely admit I kept the thoughts mostly to myself in the lead-up to Kyrie's return. I thought, as I mentioned before, that we needed another element to make us a national title contender. But now, seeing how it played out, I find myself wishing Coach K had danced with the ones that brung us. And I thought that after the Michigan game, too.

Here's my biggest regret, and the thing that'll stick in my craw for a long time: we should have won or lost that game on the back of Nolan Smith. Coach K, unwittingly, relegated him by bringing Kyrie back. That affected his game, and what we saw last night wasn't the Nolan Smith that made us burst with joy all year.

It's not fair, and it's not right. Losing stings, and we may well have lost one way or another. But this was Nolan's team.

**

Still, I can't be too upset.

Was it hard to lose. God, yes. I had my anger moments. I said some things to Derrick Williams that I wish I could take back. I kicked some cardboard boxes around the house when I couldn't bottle it up any more. My foot actually still kind of hurts from when I missed and kicked the wall. I even did one of those awkward slaps on the sliding glass door to the patio; the kind where you're mad enough to give it a full punch, but in the process you say to yourself, 'wait, am I really going to punch a piece of glass, risk ruining my hand and the glass itself, for this?' So you sort of stop halfway and slap it gingerly, and then get even more mad because you didn't actually let the anger out.

And let's be honest: those Arizona kids were a bunch of bitches. I will literally spend only a paragraph talking about this, because I know I'm just being bitter. But fuck Momo Jones and his chest-pounding bullshit. Fuck the entire team for whining about every call while they were up 18 with 2 minutes left and had just benefited from awful refereeing for an entire half. Fuck Derrick Williams for raising the roof for the Zona fans at the exact moment when Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, heartbroken, were getting their sad curtain call. Seriously, I usually hate when people whine and cry about the other team after a loss, but I truly thought Arizona won poorly.

Still, if you want to prevent that kind of thing, you have to win. We can hypothesize all day long about what might have happened if they played this game 1,000 times over, but guess what? They ain't gonna. They play it once, and what happened happened. For some reason, Duke has a weird proclivity to take another team's best shot. We saw it against St. John's, we saw it against Virginia Tech, we saw it against Florida St. And those shots paled in comparison to the brutal haymaker the Wildcats delivered last night.

But like I said, I'm not too upset. Coach K put it best in the post-game: "The tournament is cruel. It's an abrupt end for everybody when you don't win."

And that's what makes it great. Historically, I've had trouble enjoying the tournament after Duke loses. Not this year. I'm determined to make the most of it. I'm rooting for Florida State first, and Butler second. (No joke: I will be severely disappointed if Brad Stevens doesn't take over for Coach K when he finally retires. The man is my hero.) I want to see Kentucky give Ohio State a game tonight. I hope Carolina loses before the Final Four, but I'll just be amused if they don't, because I know Duke is better. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of the rest of this sporting event. Why? Because I'm an adult. I'm a grown-up, and I can live with this loss. I can...I can... *wipes a tear away, gathers himself courageously*...I can make lemonade with all these fucking lemons.

Every team but one goes down. Winning a national championship is all but unthinkable. Sure, you'll always be disappointed when the season ends. But the difficulty involved in surviving til the end is the main reason why you have to appreciate the other moments. The tournament was a disaster; we played horribly against Michigan and got lucky to win, and then we got steamrolled by Arizona.

But the rest of the year, my friends, was beautiful. The Kyrie days, when all of us, in the back of our minds, started dreaming of an undefeated season. The comeback against Carolina in Cameron on the night Nolan Smith made it snow. The gorgeous efficiency of a team finding its stride against N.C. State. The domination of Maryland in their College Park house of horrors. The victory against Clemson, sealing a second straight perfect season at home. Revenge against a doomed Virginia Tech.

And finally, the perfect game. The day when everything came together and the legions of powder blue across this state were forced to acknowledge what the good guys knew all along: this is one hell of a team.

When I was very young, I'd sometimes go to my mom's office after school. She had a variety of cartoons and posters on her wall, and one has always stuck with me. It was a small, one-frame comic in black-and-white that she'd cut out from a newspaper. I'm going from memory here, but in the depths of my childhood mind I see a dragon in the middle, reclined against a tree. It looks beat-up and tired, and there are sad puffs of smoke coming from its nose. A castle may or may not be in the background. Cuts and bruises adorn the dragon hide, and he looks like the saddest creature alive. But that's the key word- alive. Because all around, bits and pieces of a knight's armor are scattered. And the one thing I remember with total clarity is the caption: "Sometimes the dragon wins."

I don't think I completely understood it then, but I like to think it registered in my developing mind as some kind of message reaching back from the future, a brief wisp of an idea I'd take to heart in the years to come. Because today, it's something we all understand. We may disagree on the name of the dragon. But once in a while, man, he wins. It's no fun, but I can live with it if you can.

Some notes for this blog while I have your attention: Typically, SCSD turns to the New York Yankees when the Duke season ends. I'm going to continue blogging about the tournament until it's over this time, and the rest of the offseason will be a little different. I'm not sure exactly how much I'll stay up on Duke basketball, but for now I'm planning a minimum of one day per week. Maybe more, and I'm open to suggestions on that front. So even if you hate baseball, stick around and check in. You won't go wanting.

Thanks to everyone here and in the wider internet world for sharing the season with me. I can't imagine a better way to spend three and a half months. We'll say it one last time until the new crop takes the floor in November: go Duke!

Always, always, always, go Duke.

77 comments:

  1. Fantastic post, my feelings match everything you said. This game reminded me of the Clemson game two years ago where Duke pretty much just gave up. It was quite surreal watching the complete collapse of the Duke team, but like you said, you'll never beat an opponent who is playing the best game of their lives.

    Oh well, there's always next year.

    I too will be hitching my wagon to FSU/Butler because those are the only likeable teams left in the tourney.

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  2. I know you put this ninth for a reason, but come on: Duke's offensive efficiency last night was BETTER than it was against UNC in the ACC title game, and BETTER than the UNC game in Cameron. Obviously this is Kyrie Irving's fault?

    Note that it would have meant exceeding Arizona's obscene efficiency to actually win the game, and Duke cracked 133.4 exactly once this year: at 268th ranked UNC-G. Subtracting Kyrie Irving would have not added rebounds, or defense, or someone to stop Derrick Williams. It would have also meant that Andre Dawkins would have been on the floor more, with, as you put it "terrible perimeter defense." How would that have helped Duke, considering Arizona actually had a higher turnover rate?

    The team that played Duke last night would have beaten any team in the country. Period.

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  3. Matt, I'm actually adding that bit about Duke to the post, with half credit to you. Only half because they also beat that number against Colgate. Good pick-up.

    Michael Kay, an announcer for the Yankees, loves to talk about the 'fallacy of the predetermined outcome.' If Kyrie wasn't on the floor, nothing says that Arizona necessarily would have played the same way. If our chemistry was off, couldn't that theoretically have screwed up our defense too?

    I realize we just ran up against horrible luck last night, and like you said, there's a reason I put the Kyrie issue 9th. But I stand by it: this wasn't the same team, and it's impossible to predict how things would have gone differently if we played with the team from the ACCT. And what it comes down to, for me, is living or dying with the team that earned the #1 seed. And more specifically, living or dying with Nolan Smith instead of Kyrie Irving.

    But again, there are a thousand reason why yesterday happened, and there are several that are more important.

    -Shane

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  4. Been reading and enjoying your writing. Always staying silent. But you answered every question in my head. As always I am so impressed with your passion to put into words the feelings I drown out with a couple drinks.

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  5. Been reading and enjoying your writing. Always staying silent. But you answered every question in my head. As always I am so impressed with your passion to put into words the feelings I drown out with a couple drinks.

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  6. great post but lets think ahead.

    1. Kyrie will definitely turn pro because he (a) is that good and (b)learned painfully that you cannot win a title without a decent inside presence

    2. We will have absolutely no inside presence next year as currently situated. The current plumlees are an absolute joke, which was made glaringly apparent yesterday and their brother is meaningfully worse. To think that kelly can play the wing is humorous, he has no lateral quickness whatsoever.

    3. We will be a guard heavy time, albeit with excellent guards. You cannot win in the tournament with a configuration like that. You are destined to face a bad matchup like last night. we got lucky last year that we really faced only two teams that were athletic--baylor and west virginia and we happened to play great in those two.

    Don't mean to be negative but I am simply a realist. We need a better and more diverse recruiting effort. The irony is that Coach K is no recruiting one and done guards (Irving, Rivers) and no legitimate big men. If anything if you want to win championships we should actually do the opposite and build around four year players like curry, dawkins, thornton. Now we are so guard heavy one or more may transfer.

    I leave you with a sobering thought. If we were in the big east this year how do you think we would have fared. I would say not much better than marquette, who played us extraordinarily tough when Kyrie was full throttle.

    PAM 1989

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  7. Shane, great writeup, and it pretty much sums up exactly how I feel. 2006 was a pretty similar year, and when our best player had his worst game in the Sweet 16, I was devastated. This year though, even if Nolan shoots 50% and the rest of the team pitches in a bit more, we’re definitely not winning that game. Derrick Williams ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in our refrigerator; I’m too impressed to be mad.

    I have to say though that winning last year has really lifted some demons for me psychologically. Nolan and Kyle still have their rings, and we parlayed that championship into landing the best recruit on the board. The future is bright. Let the Austin Rivers era begin. - Nick E

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  8. Random thoughts:

    1) I knew things were bad when (while we still had the lead I believe) Nolan asked for the ball from Kyrie and Kyrie rather than passing to Nolan just dribbled the ball forcefully once, left the ball bouncing and left Nolan to go get it himself. Nolan never looked particularly happy giving Kyrie the ball coming up the floor. It really seemed like a problem to me from the beginning of the game.

    2) I think the moment that actually decided the game was when Mason Plumlee had that beautiful block of someone (maybe Derrick Williams?) and it was called a foul, leaving the would-be dunker to stomp around and amplify the crowd and extend arizona's lead to 8 maybe? I think if we get the no-foul call, all the momentum switches back to us

    3) The last 10 minutes of the game were ridiculous. Arizona couldn't miss. And, I'm pretty sure there was some point where we were just cheering them on while staying outside the lane watching guys dunk on 3 possessions in a row like it was the slam dunk contest ... my memory of this is clouded by drinks and I seem to remember a 360 through the legs dunk and a point where Deron Washington and Greg Paulus for some reason started playing just so that Deron Washington could jump over Greg Paulus to dunk. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-6fFGm5En4)

    ~Sean

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  9. Statsheet.com has efficiency numbers for Duke going back to 1997, and 134.7 is the best anyone has done against them in that time period. I can think of one tournament performance that was better though. Duke put up a 144.4(!) against West Virginia last year. To think it would have taken something approaching that last night.

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  10. As a Duke fan since I met my Dukie husband (class'82)26 years ago, I've had many seasons having to "make lemonade" and also having many seasons where I strutted with pride. The Michigan game stall brought back oh so many games yelling at Coach K on the tv. Been there done that over and over again!

    I've been following your blog for several weeks now and I have to say you do an excellent job. And this post just summed up last night and the season for me. You were spot on. I'm so glad I found your blog and I soooo look forward to the next season.

    We live in ATL now & while I've seen Duke play away games back in the days of Laettner/Ferry/Hurley/Hill, I have never attended a game in Cameron. It's a sin. So for our 25th anniversary next year I've asked my husband to take me to Cameron. When you are a Duke fan it's for life. Again kudos for being such an witty amazing writer and for loving our Blue Devils!

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  11. You are the man. Absolutely perfect summary. It stings to see Nolan and Kyle go out that way. It hurts for Seth, too, for him to helplessly have to sit and watch. Damn...

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  12. Shane, you said it perfectly. Great piece. It was a fucking Greek Tragedy. We will come back to win next year. I will miss Smith. It was his team. He is one of the all time great Dukies.

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  13. I am also appreciative of Nolan's season/career at Duke, but to blame Irving for his no-show tonight seems a bit ridiculous. Like I said, I LOVE NOLAN SMITH, but he generally makes at least 6 to 8 plays a game (either bad shots, boner passes or just dribbling off his knee) that make me scream at my TV. If giving up the PG spot to a far superior ball handler/decision maker really irks him that badly, well that sucks. I understand the chemistry issues with little time to prepare in the tourney, but if you're telling me that we make the game closer than 16 last night without Kyrie playing, you need to put the pipe down.

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  14. I'm beginning to get a little uncomfortable with how often Duke happens to take another team's best shot. Is there something in the makeup of the team or the coaching or the strategy that allows this to happen? But maybe that's seeing a half empty glass. Duke won 32 games and had the kind of season 99% of programs would kill for, but still.

    I'm pretty apprehensive about next year. How good is Austin Rivers really? How can we possibly replace Kyle? Nolan too, for that matter, although at least we have guys who play his position. Will the Plumlees ever, ever get better?

    But hope springs eternal. Duke national champs 2012 bandwagon starts now, toot toot.

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  15. Duke is an agressive team. Referrees did not allow Duke to be aggressive last night..thus the "poor defenisve effort". Think back to the ACC championship...Duke was allowed to be aggressive and...they won...last night fouls were called more closely and Duke lost. Don't underestimate how the game is called

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  16. Carolina fan here, so while I'm thrilled with last night's outcome, I feel SO BAD for Nolan Smith. He deserved so much better than what he was given in this tournament.

    Someone PLEASE explain to me why you take the keys away from the ACC Player of the Year. This was HIS team, he led Duke to the outstanding season they had, yet he gets casted aside for a kid - talented as he may be - who has played less total games in a Duke uni than Nolan had played NCAA TOURNAMENT GAMES as a Blue Devil. I'm totally with SCSD here: you win or lose the game with Smith in the driver's seat. This makes no sense to me whatsoever and if I were Nolan, I would see it as a slap in the face.

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  17. Thanks for writing what most Duke fans thought. The game last night was absurd. I remember in the 1st half during a TV timeout going to my wife and telling her how Duke had a nice lead despite the fact that Nolan Smith wasn’t playing well. Even at halftime, I thought there is no way Derrick Williams could keep that up and that Nolan would eventually find his game. I was at a high moment and was looking forward to revenge for 1999 and 2004 in the next round.

    Then the 2nd half happened. It is still hard to believe how well Arizona played and how poorly Duke played. I pulled the ESPN play by play and I can’t say with 100% certainty I got the stats right, but by my calculation Arizona scored 55 points on 36 possessions. That averages out to 1.52 points per possession. Duke could have given a 76% free throw shooter two foul shots every possession and it would have been approximately the same outcome. Part of their incredible efficiency (as you pointed out) was the rebounding. By my count Arizona had 11 offensive rebounds in the 2nd half. Do you know how many defensive rebounds Duke had over that same time period? 7. When a shot was missed there was a better chance Arizona would end up with the ball. It was almost like Duke was surprised when Arizona missed in the 2nd half.

    I know the timing isn’t now, but can this game (as well as the Uconn game in 2004 and many UNC-Duke games) finally put to rest the “Duke gets all the calls” argument. That is something that lazy members of the media say to the point that people who don’t watch the games come to believe. There is no way any objective person could watch the game last night and make the case that Duke got all the calls. Not that stats on this tell the whole story, but Duke is 182nd in FTA/FGA on kenpom on offense and 31st on defense. (UNC is 142nd and 2nd respectively.)

    Anyway, I know this is a rant, but I thought when it came to stats, rants and Duke you were the expert.

    Go Marquette.

    Kevin

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  18. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA! Duke sucks! Seth Curry saved his baby nuts from playing defense. See you next year. Yankees are gonna suck too, believe that. Nice photoshopping. You forgot to draw the referee bent over in front of him. You guys are gay as fuck.

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  19. Very well written Shane, though I can't say I experienced the same depth of emotion that you felt when the game started getting out of hand. I was too busy thinking about how Momo Jones got his nickname and making fun of the Plumlees for being unable to rebound or get a stop.

    I am glad you will be following the rest of the tourney, we still have a cyber-battle to win and SCSD is holding the lead in our bracket challenge.

    Speaking of Brad Stevens, Im pretty sure he has guys on his team that might be his age.

    -Craig J.

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  20. I have been reading your blog with a certain degree of interest. Although I realize how jarring it is for you to see the Blue Devils exit, I think the reasons you attribute their loss to are slightly off the mark.

    For starters:

    Duke always had difficulty with athletic teams that played a physical game. It was apparent against St. John's and it was apparent last night. This being the Sweet Sixteen, no team will fold its tent and leave just because they were down one half. Derrick Williams pretty much single-handedly kept Arizona in the game in the first half, and his play reminded me a lot of other versatile big men that have given a fit to Duke (Emeka Okafor?).

    In the second half, Duke fell prey to the one weakness that has always bothered them: penetrating point guards. It's here that I found their lack of defense to be quite baffling. With both Smith and Irving on their roster, one would think that Duke knows how to prevent a PG from going Ty Lawson on them. Seemingly not, because Lamont Jones just had his way with the Duke defense.

    The other thing that Duke did not do, and frankly at this point I think are incapable of doing, is take advantage of their superior height in the paint. Duke has three big men, each of them have at least 2 inches or more than the tallest Arizona big man. Yet, the Plumlee brothers have not developed any post moves to become consistent scoring threats, and Kelly is only effective as a perimeter/jump shooter. Any other team would have have used the height advantage all evening. Mason Plumlee is a very athletic big man, but his only two memorable moments last night were his ally-oop dunk, and his block/foul. Seemingly his primary use has been to set screens, commit fouls, and get rebounds.

    Eventually last night the more athletic team won. Arizona came to play, Duke just hoped that they would go away. I would not blame the refereeing because the had been equally bad/good for both teams.

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  21. Aside from the only sicko above who climbed out from under his rock to comment, I have one concern about the game. I don't care about the Kyrie issue, lack of improvement of our big guys over the season, referees, etc. Mine is a math problem. Would it have been better to have lost by more than we did if we missed all the three point shots we should have been taking once we found ourselves down by 13 with 5 minutes to play, or was it a good idea to drive, drive, drive and hope for a foul or a 2pt. layup when Arizona was kicking in threes at the other end? Let's see, if we are down by double digits and we exchange 2's for 3's, will we catch up? That was the issue I had trouble with. No threes, other than Kyrie's with a minute to go??? Tom

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  22. Lmfao!DOOK SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!

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  23. Have you seen Kyrie's up close...

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  24. This is pretty much like the pot calling the kettle black. duke does a lot of these things on a daily basis. Example A Wojo and Collins freaking out after a good play/ a big win, ie exactly what the Zona players were doing. I don't see how you can call that bad winning when duke does it on the reg nd with grown men. You could go on and on about the hypocrisy of your post for hours. funny how you comment of the officials. sorry that duke has been benefiting from ACC officials all year. when they finally face ones who are not in coach K's jock the real fouls are call

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  25. Didn't see too much floor slapping last night. just sayin

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  26. Dribble penetration is always the key to beating dook. Arizona did it all night.

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  27. Except 60% from 3 was the reason that Arizona beat Duke.

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  28. 28 points on 15 shots. You take that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

    It's not Kyrie's fault Nolan airballed jumpers and missed wide-open layups. If bringing your lotto pick back messes with the head of your senior, captain, All-American POY candidate, that's on him. Not on Kyrie and not on K.

    Besides, it's not like Kyrie was playing point exclusively. Nolan brought it up plenty of times. He took 14 shots and turned it over 5 times. Kyrie didn't even start and probably would have played 25 minutes if Seth doesn't get hurt.

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  29. Thanks Shane, I'm (a little) sorry for NSmith and the team. I was dreaming of a UNC/Duke/UF/FSU Final Four! Now is the time to support your ACC brethren: FSU and UNC! I'll be elated if one of them can make the FF. Looking forward to Pick Six! -John

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  30. ColoradoWildCat here...

    Suck it up guys...

    Your coach..you know, the one that is supposed to walk on water???...like a god...

    Sank last night...like the devil he is.. :-)

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  31. Great post and great comments, even the UNC & Zona Homers are entertaining.

    With Kyrie out, I thought "elite eight would be great" and when he came back it was so late that EE was still my hope. To get knocked out in the round of 16 by a team playing out of its mind was not surprising. Congrats to Williams, who is a stud. Son posted on FB - "hope you enjoy the NBA next year."

    Glad to hear you'll do Duke once a week in the basketball offseason, Shane - that'll be fun. As to the Yankees... this season that means you'll be talking a lot about the Red Sox too, so I'll be here. Looking forward to it.

    PS - regarding chemistry - Austin Rivers may be the biggest challenge K has had in a long time. I hope he still likes coaching by the time next season is done.

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  32. Amazing article. I think you brought up every feeling and notion that I felt after the game.

    You really hit it on head.

    DUKE GRAD 2006

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  33. Good post Shane, it was more relaxed than I expected.


    Arizona's 2nd half Offensive Rebound % was 73.3%

    They missed 15 shots and got 11 offensive rebounds. That's insane.

    In the second half Duke attempted 24 shots. That is only 3 more than Arizona made.

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  34. My God, you UNC homers are hilarious. Here's the text of my entire post, according to the comments:

    REFS COST DUKE THE GAME AND ARIZONA PLAYERS ARE THUGS! END OF POST!

    Everyone else, thanks for the comments and the overall reading comprehension. The general ability of my readers to grasp subtlety is highly appreciated.

    UNC anon above - good post, but I disagree with you on one point; other than Derrick Williams, who is an athletic specimen in a league of his own, I don't think Arizona was more athletic than Duke. And they're certainly not as athletic as a team like UNC. I don't group this in with the '04-'09 losses at all. We just get burned by a team playing incredibly hot. And it was their shooting, not their penetration, that changed the game.

    -Shane

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  35. Very entertaining post. Thanks for an enjoyable read.

    I know you guys aren't used to calls like the one on the Plumlee block, but for other teams when the bodies of an offensive player and a defensive player are moving toward each other during a shot attempt and collide, it's a foul on the defender...

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  36. Oh the irony of a Duke fan complaining about chest slapping and crying for fouls.

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  37. Coach K has a few weeks here to figure out how to get out of the scholarship offered to the last Plumlee

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  38. Thanks Shane. I think I've enjoyed this season even more for having SCSD. Hot Potato, the crazy photoshop images, you flipping off a fairly accomplished radio personality...all golden. It's become my daily routine after I've worked through my email and am ready to start procrastinating. The community you've built here with all the moody blues is awesome. And I'll continue to read about your Yankees in the offseason, taking pity on them because my team just won the WS last year...

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  39. The last 15 minutes of the 2nd half looked like a Globetrotter game and guess what... Duke wasn't the Globetrotters -- that's why you lost. I did feel bad for Duke it was like watching a mean bully beat up on a disabled kid.

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  40. Great post, you really summed it up nicely.

    The officiating, while called fairly on both sides, was horrible during Arizona's huge run in the second half. The refs just tucked the whistle and refused to call fouls. Nolan and Kyrie got bumped several times taking shots with no calls, despite obvious contact. Likewise though, Singler should have fouled out on that play when he got dunked on by someone with a few minutes left(can't remember who it was). Several obvious charge calls missed, especially one where Kyrie got absolutely trucked in the lane with no call.

    Having fouls called would have helped Duke out but Arizona just smoked them, and it probably would not have made much of a difference anyways.

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  41. When Kyle went sliding across the floor we were still in rather good control of the game. He was stuck getting the gash on his elbow glued up for a full 2 minutes. During this 2 minutes we had absolutely no one willing to step up and keep attacking. It was lost from then on due to silly fouls.

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  42. Hey, Shane, just so you know how bad it is when people whine and cry after their team loses ...

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  43. Great post. Gave me a little more closure. By the way, to that anonymous fellow, go take a look at the Plumlee block again. Totally clean. His hand only hit the ball, any collision only happened long after the ball was out of the other guy's hands.

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  44. Great post. I, too, believe that bringing Kyrie back upset the rhythm of a team that, together, stepped up without him. It was awful last night and I can't wait for Duke to bring in a new leader who is innovative and not afraid to take chances. So much of last night's play made no sense to me - especially when a team that can shoot 3s, chooses to go inside for the 2 against a team that is sinking every 3 point shot they take. I'm not a math whiz but isn't 3 points more than 2? Go Heels!

    KF

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  45. Shane, I've read your blog since your post-championship article last year. That was, in my humble opinion, the best piece you've had... until now.

    I think every factor you listed (and your comments about the Arizona showboating) were absolutely, 100% dead on. But there were another couple that I think are worth mentioning.

    1. Coach K HATES Halftime interviews (http://bit.ly/i3UPmL). Why, in the biggest game of the season—every tournament game is the biggest of the season—would he start doing them? I don't think that made the difference, but it was one of a million little things that didn't go Duke's way last night and frustrated the hell out of me and epitomized our night

    2. A lot of teams and players start slacking on defense when their shots aren't falling. This is one of those rare times I've seen offensive effort fall apart when the other team's shots are falling.

    3. Thornton has a scholarship too. He's hardly our most talented guy, but when he played he always gave 100% effort, particularly on defense. Why didn't he get put in earlier in the 19-2 run? When he entered the game in what basically amounted to garbage time, he made what I thought could've been a huge momentum-shifting play by drawing a charge that wasn't called. Why wait until the game is over to put in a run-stopper? At least TRY it after first part of the run (the 13-0 part that gave 'zona a 7 point lead). Give him a chance to make some plays and maybe he'll come through (a la the first Maryland game)

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  46. Great post shane. I am signing out, see you next October.

    Red Sox ftw

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  47. Umm..The Refs? A Duke fan complaining about calls going against them? That's like a fish complaining that water caused it to drown.

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  48. I didn't read all 42 comments so someone might have already said something to this effect. When Coach K started entertaining the possibility of Kyrie's return, my elation was restricted by him saying something along the lines of "We're not going to change our offense back for him, he's going to have to fit into this new style." That just FEELS wrong. And true to his word, thats what we saw in this tournament. Where were those halfcourt outlet passes Mason used to zip to Kyrie and Nolan? The transition offense? I feel like we saw that once (excluding Hampton) when Mason caught that alleyoop on the break last night. Instead what we saw was a team that had lost it's offensive identity.

    I think this was more of the issue than "chemistry." I hate the use of that word because these guys were brothers. You could see the love all year between Nolan and Kyrie on the bench and it's just not the right way to describe what happened. Don't take this the wrong way, I was 100% behind the return of Kyrie. I just wish we had made some more offensive adjustments. I firmly believe this team could have "re-learned" the up-tempo style on the fly. Fast break basketball is damn near in every players' blood and we could have done it.

    Couple the offensive identity crisis with the loss to injury of our 2nd best (behind Nolan) perimeter defender and the ungodly play of the Cats and you have a recipe for pure disaster.

    I don't fault Coach K's decision. Can you imagine the talk if we had lost in this tournament and Kyrie had stayed on the bench? He honestly had little to no choice. When you have the option to play a number 1 draft pick, you do it. I just wish we had reworked the offense.

    All that being said, I can't freaking wait for next year. I put the chance at <10% that K1 comes back, but if he does, watch out world. And even if he doesn't we're going to be really solid, except down low (COME ON MILES). Rivers is going to be an absolute beast. Until next year everyone and GTHC.... Thanks for all your work Shane.

    -Mitch

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  49. I can't say I disagree with a lot of what you posted, other than the officiating. I think the margin of victory sort of wipes that out of the picture. I did not see the St John's game, so I cannot comment on what you mentioned there. But, I couldn't help but notice that it, too, was an away game without ACC officials. K was talking to the refs a lot last night, instead of talking to his team. Dick Vitale used to call that working the officials, when Dean Smith did it. I've never heard him say that when K obviously does the exact same thing. Personally, I have no problem with it. Refs should call it as they see it and not listen to coaches in their ears anyway.

    AZ would have beaten anybody last night. Kyrie or Nolan as the dominant role makes little to no difference, IMO. Duke ran into a steam roll last night. Period.

    Your best point is regarding the Plumlees. Duke has not had a decent big since Sheldon Williams. K won the national title last year with sharp shooters and a very untalented Zoubec (sp), who rebounded and turned down 2 footers only to throw it back to the guards. I think Duke played who was in front of them last season and won the title. I will always wonder if they were good enough to beat any other #1 seeds in the tourney. We'll never know. Duke will not be Duke again until they get a good big man, an Elton Brandish type of guy.

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  50. ^wonder if it's because we have a former point guard coaching the big guys.

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  51. You are really an idiot and don't understand basketball if you really think Kyrie's return hurt the team. It's not even worth debating.

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  52. Shane, thanks for the beautiful summary of the disaster. Pretty much nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately it feels like it is a eulogy. I just watched the 2nd half of the game for the third time (wouldn't recommend).

    I personally feel Kyrie did not hurt us on offense that much, just possibly hurt Nolan's rhythm a bit. If anything he was the only one attacking and trying to make things happen. However, Kyrie crushed us on defense. He repeatedly and routinely got burned, screened and often flat out walked away and left his man wide open. I thought Dre Dawk played terrible D, but Kyrie last night was a joke.

    When your big men are constantly trying to play help defense and are left out of position to recover to their own man while covering for Kyrie, of course it is going to be hard for them to position themselves for rebounds. Our bigs were forced to either leave their men open for easy dishes and put-back rebounds to cover for KI or stayed with their men and we gave up layups. I hope whatever NBA coach he has will work on his D. Maybe he should come back and have Wojo teach him a thing or two. *sigh*

    I HATE to see Nolan go out like that. In a one and done tourney though anything can happen. You catch a team on fire or suddenly have a bunch of calls or every bounce go the other way and the season is over. The best team doesn't always win. This will always be the season I'll remember as the one that a Toe cost us a spectacular year. Austin Rivers, Curry, Gbinji/Kelly, Mason and Miles. I think we can win the ACC with that. Looking forward to trying.

    See you next year.

    -JD

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  53. I can't believe you blamed the refs at any point. I have no horse in the race as they say and it simply looked to me like Duke got the most favorable calls from the refs. Especially in the second half.

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  54. Duke just gave up. You could see it in their body language once Arizona made their come back run. Coach K should have addressed it immediately and didn't. I'd have rather fouled the entire team out trying to stop Zona from scoring than go down like that. Elbows, holding, hacking hard. If they are gonna drive to the basket make em pay for it in blood. Not like they weren't doing it to Duke on the other end of the floor.

    It was a game of momentum and they just let it slip away. Arizona was playing on pure momentum and Duke should have put a stop to that shit. Kyrie wasn't the reason Duke quit playing D. Curry getting hurt didn't help on D but he wasn't the reason they quit playing D. No way in hell Zoubs would have let that happen without fouling out. He understood sometimes you can't finesse it sometimes you just have to make em bleed, and he gave his own teammates the stitches to prove it.

    -GB

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  55. Wait wait wait....This is too good.

    Duke fans always give crap to fans of teams they beat for having "excuses".

    And what's this? Excuses?

    Here are the facts.

    Duke got outplayed. Plain and simple. Leave it at that. Don't blame the refs (Duke blaming the refs is comedy gold). Don't blame

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  56. If you didn't hear Shane saying Duke got outplayed last night, you didn't actually read the post he made. Or maybe you just can't read very well. Go back and reread it.

    As for the officiating, it was terrible, and it helped Arizona. But it didn't cost Duke the game. They got badly outplayed. Still, I love how Duke fans can't complain about the most obvious terrible calls because "Duke gets all the calls." Too bad the stats say they don't, but in fact get fewer calls than most other highly successful teams--no doubt because of the deafening non-stop roar of a whine (is that possible) from the haters. Compare Duke fouls and FTAs vs. UNC or UConn. Anyway, my favorite atrocious call, and I'm sure others feel the same way, was Mason Plumlee's clean block of Derrick Williams' attempt. If you go up straight from good defensive position and block it clean, that isn't a defensive foul. Everyone knows that. The officials just made a bad call on a great defensive play.

    Oh well. It is a great day to be a hater. Enjoy it while you can. Go Butler and FSU!

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  57. Why are trolls so fucking stupid? Seriously, none of you read the post. Admit it.

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  58. This game was lost in the preseason. Arizona was way too fast, way too strong, and way too conditioned for our boys to keep up with. While we were grabbing our shorts, they were kicking it into another gear. They came in waves and waves with their depth and this was just a horrible match-up across the board.

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  59. Shane, stop blaming the refs and accusing Kyrie of throwing the game and please address the real issue: If Coach K would have just shot a Duke cheerleader in the face with about 10 minutes left in the game it would have refocused the team and they would have won handily. Ten years ago Coach K wouldn't have hesitated to shoot a cheerleader in the face, he has clearly lost his edge.

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  60. It seems very un-Coack K like for him to bail on Nolan like that. Put the ball in his hands. He earned it.

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  61. I agree completely, but I would add that after Kyle was given his fourth foul (and after a good number of elbows to the face), he seemed to become a defensive liability. There would be times when he was the last Duke player between Zona and the goal and it looked like he held back and didn't contest because he didn't want to pick up foul number five.

    Also, maybe I'm just imagining this, but I remember very few 3-point attempts in the second half. I seem to remember a good solid stretch of 10 to 15 minutes before Kyrie took a three and hit it near the end.

    One thousand times yes, that should have been Nolan's team out there and it wasn't and that wasn't fair.

    I'm also with you on FSU and Butler and one day, hopefully Brad Stevens on the Duke sideline. And on that note, now that Duke's out of it this year, it's nice to see Butler through the eyes of everyone but Duke fans last year. I'd be thrilled if they won it all.

    Anyway, it's nice to read someone else saying many of the exact same things I was thinking and feeling last night and this morning. It's tough, but I'm excited about the team we'll have next year. Still, it's not going to be the same without Kyle Singler and by far one of my favorite Duke players of all time (if not my favorite) Nolan Smith.

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  62. Again: Nolan took 14 shots and turned it over 5 times. He had his opportunities, he just failed at them. Of course Kyrie was going to get the ball.

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  63. amazing post. well done.

    tough lost and i'll be looking forward to next season

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  64. Guys, thanks for all the comments. Especially everyone who correctly ascertained from the post that I blame the refs for this loss 100% (seriously, though, grateful as usual for all the smart comments).

    JD, I'm with you, it does feel like a eulogy. With Nolan on the way out, I unfortunately think that's unavoidable.

    Nasty, typical sports media; nobody even confronted Coach K about it in the press conference.

    -Shane

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  65. No matter how hard you work,
    No matter how right you are,
    Sometimes the dragon wins.

    Found the picture.
    http://apothegms.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/9sometimes-the-dragon-wins-lr.jpg?w=736&h=882

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  66. Just when I wanted to give Duke fans the benefit of the doubt for being classy individuals I came across this terrible rant. *Sigh*

    Luck did not win this game for Arizona. Neither did the refs. What won this game for Arizona was the fact that Duke let them penetrate inside like Duke was a dirty porn star. If that did not happen, things like this would not have happened so often:

    http://www.pointguardu.com/content/jamelle-postering-singler-705/

    As for Arizona, I'm guessing you haven't watched much of them this year? Not uncommon (I'm from the East Coast and realize that everyone is asleep by the time UofA games begin typically). That said, it's not always a good thing to underestimate your opponent, especially when your opponent has the best player on the floor. It's also not good to just call the team that smacked you around "lucky." It makes you look worse, similar to any team that chants "overrated" to a ranked opponent they defeat. It just lessens your team.

    This is not the first time Arizona has shot 60% from 3 in game (they rank 11th in the nation in3-pt %). It's not the first time D-Will has manhandled an opponent. It's not the first time he's hit 5 of 6 three pointers (he's about to break Steve Kerr's UofA record for 3 point % at over 60%). He is unguardable, kind of like an Amare Stoudemire with killer instinct and incredible range. As a cause of that, Arizona's 10-deep rotation and multiple weapons (you never know who it's going to be until it's too late) will kill you as long as they shoot decently from the outside.

    Do you really take yourself seriously in blaming the refs? This game wasn't even close. Derrick WAS pushed out of bounds, and your defense was deplorable during Arizona's 19-2 run. Overall, Duke took 22 free throws to Arizona's 21 and Arizona committed 21 fouls to Duke's 20. That's not exactly a disparity I would consider favoring Arizona (it actually favors Duke).

    Bottom line is you lost because Arizona was the better team in this game. It wasn't luck and it wasn't officiating. It was an Arizona team that is far better than it was in November and December peaking against a team that didn't know what hit them. Luck didn't make shots and luck didn't break down the defense. Hopefully you can come to realize that, even though it doesn't really matter, does it?

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  67. "It wasn't luck and it wasn't officiating."

    Again: WHY are you trolls so fucking stupid???

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  68. Shane, I usually like your posts, but this one is just too much. As a long time scientist, I find it laughable that a DUKE FAN is blaming CHEMISTRY 100% for this loss.

    First of all, chemistry is not even Kyrie's least favorite science. I know Duke fans like to think that, but it's PHYSICS, ok?

    Secondly, did you see a single science experiment out on the floor? I didn't think so. There was no test tube, bunson burner, or chemical that would have won or lost this game for duke, Arizona played the better game and that's that. Of course you didn't even acknowledge that fact in this post, because you were too busy blaming this on science once again.

    And do you take yourself seriously blaming CHEMISTRY? Derrick Williams, it is well known, gets well above 60% on science exams on a regular basis. He's like Einstein with a fade away and he dropped another atomic bomb on Duke.

    But really, what can you expect from an ENGLISH major.

    ~Sean

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  69. I really enjoyed the site. It’s always nice when you read something that is not only informative but entertaining. Greet.

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  70. I thought this was a fantastic blog, not only great writing but it has a great layout, well done.

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  71. Totusi nu cred nici ca “prea personalul” face blogul sa fie de mana a doua. Pot fi si cuvinte abil manuite, pot fi si idei atragatoare, cu toate ca de cele mai multe ori exista o singura idee, a iubirii ideale, exprimata cu ajutorul “floricelelor si funditelor”

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  72. Sean, serious LOLs here. Well done.

    I also like how blogger now has a spam filter, and it catches a ton of normal comments while letting the 3 above go through. You know it's spam when someone says this blog has "a great layout."

    -Shane

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  73. What was the score at half time? Az. upgraded their game second half and the Dukies did not. I agree with your point of a lack of inside game. I think K recruits height and not ability. He needs to send his bigs to summer bigs camps and get a qualifies bigs coach. JH

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  74. Hahaha... what a delusional low-IQ rant! Arizona dominated Dook in EVERY major category! We manhandled, humiliated and destroyed your sorry team until Nolan Smith sobbed himself to sleep. Cry a river to someone who cares!

    Btw., your photo editing is as amateurish as your writing. Check out what a decent job looks like:

    -> http://tinyurl.com/645bhhw

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  75. It will be interesting to see if AZ plays like Super AZ against UConn too or if they revert back to plain old AZ.

    It's hilarious the trolls here are pretending this was a typical game for AZ. It was your star player's FREAKING CAREER HIGH. Your team couldn't miss and every loose ball and rebound magically bounced to them for 20 straight minutes. Count your blessings, but don't pretend it wasn't an upset. Get back to reality and admit Duke is the better team, you just played a great half of a game. Saying anything else just makes you look foolish.

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  76. I am an Arizona fan and have to reply to the "classless" comment. They are kids who played by far the best half of basketball not only of the year but probably in the last five years. They were almost double digit dogs to the former champion and although the history might be gone for you the players understand what it means to win again and get some revenge for 2001. They responded to pressure and brought Arizona back after they missed the tourey for the first time in 25 years. I think some floor slapping is warranted. As for the calls the block and push out could be no calls but there more calls on Arizona and during the second half there was a time every duke poss. came with a whistle. I think just the ungodly play won the game and not much Duke could have done. The lemon was the absurd offensive display.

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  77. This was dead on and hilarious to boot. I've been referring to everyone as Plumblefuck the younger. It is the only thing that has made me laugh since Thursday.
    KK

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