Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Duke - UNC: ESPN un-Classic

Burn the tapes. Duke is an average team this year and they played their worst game of the year. They shot 32% from the field and 61% from the line. Until garbage time minutes they had shot fewer free throws than UNC. Most of the game they looked like they wanted to see how many 2 point shots they could either miss or get blocked. It was as if they were trying to set a record for how badly a team could shoot. And they won...on the double digits.

The final score 64-54 has to tell you how far things have fallen for UNC. They are terrible. Make no mistake about it they are one of the worst basketball teams on Duke's schedule this year. They might have been good back in the 1960s when teams couldn't shoot 3 pointers, but this year's team is not set up to succeed in the current college basketball environment. All it takes is two decent guards and a some outside shooting and you will beat UNC. They have no perimeter defense and rely on opponents taking the ball inside so that they can challenge (foul?) and block (goaltend?) their shots. It will be a surprise if they make it out of the first the NIT.

That isn't to say UNC won't get better and won't beat Duke next year. They have a great recruiting class coming in and will have enough talent coming back. They will be motivated and probably pretty good. That combined with the fact that Duke is losing Jon Scheyer makes me worried about next year. This year's Duke team might be in the same situation as UNC if they didn't have Scheyer. He played every minute tonight and led UNC with 24 points including some clutch baskets at the end. This is not an anomaly as he is clearly the best player on the team. Nolan Smith is a good complimentary player, but there is a reason why he is no longer the point guard. Kyle Singler shows bursts of greatness, but he also seems to be a volume shooter who just doesn't make a high enough percentage of shots. Scheyer is the "straw who stirs the drink" even though he would never make that Reggie Jackson type of statement. Next year's Duke team will be at a lost (with many losses) if they can't figure out some way of replacing Scheyer.

Am I happy that Duke won? Yes. However, the better answer would be that I am relieved and glad that I never have to watch that game again. Duke won and I still want ESPN to burn the tapes. What would have I have written if Duke would have lost?

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