Saturday, January 21, 2006

Duke Georgetown - The Naked Eye Recap

A brief prelude - I attended three sporting events this year which required a drive of at least 2 hours - 2 Michigan football games (vs. Notre Dame and Ohio State) and today's Duke-Georgetown game. I drove home disappointed from all three. I don't think this means anything, but it warranted mentioning for me.
The way to beat a team that tries to jump passing lanes and aggressively defend the perimeter is to back-door them to death. That's what we saw in the first half today as Georgetown jumped out to it's big lead. Their floor spacing was terrific - it took too long for weakside help to rotate over and the result was uncontested layup after uncontested layup. The other way to win games against aggressive defensive teams is to always attack weak links. I have no direct evidence of Georgetown doing this, but there is indirect statistical evidence (see the Geek Recap) to suggest that this happened. Another sign of this happening is the point distribution for the Hoyas - they put five guys in double figures, and with the exception of Bowman late, you never got the feeling that they were forcing it to anybody in the offense. They just took advantage of what the defense gave, and got the ball to whomever was in the best position to score.

For Duke, there were two stories. One was JJ Redick, who was phenomenal. His development as a player continues to astound, and his determination to win is unmatched. Story two is everybody else, who apparently decided to get their "bad game" out of their systems all at the same time. K in postgame talked about the offense shifting into "watch JJ" mode, and that was very obvious from the stands. Duke did exactly the opposite of Georgetown - rather than trying to find the hole in the defense and get points there, they forced the action to Redick. When Bowman started covering him late in the game, Redick wasn't getting the shots to fall anymore, and the team had no one else step up and help.

A couple closing comments - someone needs to teach McRoberts how to play defense before his confidence gets completely shot. He's a talented offensive player who gives the team more options when he's in there, but he's a big defensive liability right now. Also, say what you will about his decision-making, but throughout the whole game, Paulus was trying to make plays to help Duke win. His mistakes come from being too aggressive, rather than not aggressive enough, and I'll take that any day.

1 comment:

Mark Philpot said...

I still vividly remember going to see the Duke - Stanford game at the Oakland Coleseum (2001)... That was a tough loss. And it is always particuarly tough when you witness it on an opponent's "home court."