Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Award Time

FIRST ANNUAL OMAC - One Man's All-Conference

First team, in reverse order:

#5 - Zabian Dowdell, Virginia Tech
This to me was an extremely close call between Dowdell and J.R. Reynolds - the profiles between the two are very similar. Reynolds scored 3 more points, playing 11 fewer minutes. They had the same number of offensive rebounds, and Reynolds had 5 more on the defensive glass. Dowdell shot better overall, and especially from 2 point range. He also got to the line a lot - 6th in conference in FT Rate. Reynolds had more assists, Dowdell fewer turnovers and a better A/TO. Dowdell also picked up more steals. The clincher for me was the intangible - Dowdell was the man for Virginia Tech, with the ball in his hands at the end game, while Reynolds (rightly or wrongly) had to defer to Singletary. Dowdell's signature game was his 33 point performance in the Dean Dome, where he hit 17 of 19 free throws and was involved in preventing Lawson from getting a clean look at the end of overtime. Dowdell also put up 30 against Miami, with 5 assists, 4 steals, and no turnovers, and posted 23 or more 5 other times. He shot 50% or better in half his games, and was the primary reason Virginia Tech will be playing on Friday in this year's tournament.

#4 - Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Hansbrough was the best post player hands down. He shot 54% from the floor and got to the line over 9 times a game (best in the conference) where he hit 79%. Hansbrough was also a beast on the glass - 6th in offensive rebounding and 7th in defensive. I've been critical of his style of play - I think he gets away with creating way too much contact - but it's his unique combination of strength, coordination, and soft hands and shooting touch that let's him play that style, and lets him be so successful doing it. He scored just under 20 a game in conference play, and his signature performance was the season-ender against Duke, where he had a personal ACC-season high in points (26) and rebounds (17, including 9 offensive).

#3 - Sean Singletary, Virginia
Singletary is the lowest scoring player on this list, at just over 18 a game in conference play, but he also dished out a healthy number of assists (27.79% of his teammate's hoops, good for 6th in conference). Reynolds scored more, shot more, and played more, but Singletary was the driving force behind this team. He set the tone and dictated the pace, and the ball was always in his hands at the end of the game. He was also a better shooter than Reynolds, particularly from 3, where his .398 shooting percentage was good for 12th in conference play. Signature game came against Duke - his numbers were just average (17 points on 16 shots, plus 4 assists), but he nailed the game tying bucket and the game winning hoop from basically flat on his back in midair.

#2 - Jared Dudley, Boston College
This is a really tough call for me. Dudley was the best all-around shooter in conference play, hitting 60% of his 2s, 48% of his 3s, good for a .632 EFG% and a 1.32 PPWS. He also played the most minutes by far, playing all 40 in 11 games, and sitting just 18 total. Dudley was also a fine rebounder in addition to his scoring, he posted 6 double-doubles, and finished 12th in conference in defensive rebounding. He was likely the most efficient player in the conference this year (helped by his excellent ability to get to the free throw line). And yet, there are two things that keep me from putting him number 1 - 1) he never asserted himself enough: both Tyrese Rice and Sean Marshall took a greater percentage of shots on the year, despite shooting substantially worse. 2) The end of the UNC game, where he missed 3 consecutive free throws and a three pointer in crucial situations.

Player of the Year - Al Thornton, Florida State
Thornton was the most highly used player on the season, and Florida State needed every ounce of it. I know it seems counter-intuitive to put a player from the 8th best team as the player of the year, but he truly was the ACC's best. He showed it with the absolute best game by anyone in the ACC all-season on the last weekend - 45 points on 16 of 24 from the field and 11 of 11 from the line, plus 8 boards and 4 blocks in a game FSU absolutely had to win. Thornton led the conference in scoring at 23.5 points per game, good for 36.93% of the Seminoles' points. He also hammered the glass on both ends, posting 5 double-doubles and finishing 2nd in the conference in offensive rebounding and 9th in defensive. Moreover, he never really had an off game - Dudley had 4 scoring games as low or lower than Thornton's lowest, and Thornton had more 20+ point games (11 to 9). Everyone knew Thornton was options 1, 2, and probably 3 for the Seminoles, but he always got his. Al, congrats - you've got my vote for POY.

Second team, in regular order:

#6 - J.R. Reynolds, Virginia
I've already said most of Reynolds' pertinent stats in the discussions of Dowdell and Singletary above. What I haven't mentioned is that he had the season's best game until Thornton's one-man show last weekend. Reynolds put up 40 on Wake Forest at the JPJ, hitting 12 of 18 from the field (including 6 of 8 from 3) and 10 of 10 from the line. One other thing that kept Reynolds off the first team - he faded a bit down the stretch. He shot just 33% in his last 5 games, and scored under 16/game, well below his conference average of 20.

#7 - Brandan Wright, North Carolina
Wright posted the best field goal percentage in conference play (thanks to Ra'Sean Dickey's unwise decision to attempt a 3 pointer) hitting on 64.7% of his shots. He had a tendency to defer to Hansbrough at times, but still finished 2nd on the team in minutes played and points scored, and first in EFG% and PPWS. Wright also helped out on the defensive side, ending up 6th in the conference in Block Rate. His two best games were a 24 point (on 9 of 12 from the floor), 6 board, 3 steal performance in the win over NC State and 19 points (also on 9 of 12) and 9 rebounds in Cameron.

#8 - Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
Crittenton had a season that was up-and-down, but a lot more up than down. He did end up leading the conference in turnovers with 60 on the season, but he was also 3rd in assist rate, and 6th in steal percentage to help make up for it. Crittenton led Tech in minutes and scoring percentage, even though his shooting was only about average. He was lights out in a lot of the Jackets' home wins - 23 (on 8 of 11 shooting) and 5 assists against FSU; 26 (on 9 of 15) and 6 assists against Clemson; 21 (on 7 of 11) and 7 assists spurring a big comeback against NC State - and averaged a 17-10 points/assists double-double in the last three home wins, including big wins over UNC and BC that seemed to put the Jackets safely in the tourney.

#9 - James Gist, Maryland
While his teammates were turning in schizophrenic performances all year, Gist stayed very constant. He led the Terps in scoring and shooting (also 10th in conference), and was on the conference leaderboard in defensive rebounds (8th) and blocks (5th). Gist also posted a very low turnover rate for a big man, coughing it up on just 2.8% of Maryland's possessions. His best two games were earlier in the season - 26 on 10 of 11 shooting against Georgia Tech and 23 on 10 of 14 shooting at FSU.

#10 - Tyrese Rice, Boston College
I thought about a lot of people for this spot - Brandon Costner, Trevor Booker, Ty Lawson, Josh McRoberts, Thaddeus Young, Kyle Visser, Greivis Vasquez, etc. - but Rice clearly deserves it. He played the most minutes of anyone not named Jared Dudley, and finished 10th in the conference in scoring percentage and 4th in assist rate. Rice also hit over 60% of his twos (3rd in the conference) - 60% is great for a center; it's astounding for a 6'1" guard. However, Rice's overall shooting numbers were hurt by a tendency to bomb away from three, and a worse tendency to miss when he did (just 23 of 80 from outside). Rice was also turnover prone at 5.21%, but he made enough positive plays that his A/TO ratio was 12th overall. All in all, it was an excellent sophomore season for the Eagles' point guard.

OMAC Freshman Team, in order:

#1, Freshman of the Year - Brandan Wright, North Carolina
#2 - Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
#3 - Brandon Costner, North Carolina State
Costner is a redshirt freshman who sat out last season due to a stress fracture. This year he was NC State's leading scorer at over 16/game, and 7th in the conference in scoring percentage. Costner was also 6th in defensive rebounding percentage, and posted a team leading free throw rate. His rebounding faded down the stretch (never fewer than 7 in the first 8 games, never more than 6 in the last 8), but his scoring stayed strong throughout.
#4 - Trevor Booker, Clemson
Booker led the Tigers in field goal percentage (and was 11th in conference) at 56% and provided a much needed inside presence to the Clemson D. He was second in block rate and recorded the most blocks on the season of anyone in conference play. Booker also was 7th in offensive rebounding at 11.58% (a fact that likely contributed to his high FG%). After starting a little slow, he averaged 11 points and 6.5 rebounds over his last 8 games, shooting 64% over that span.
#5 - Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Lawson holds a clear edge over Thaddeus Young, Greivis Vasquez, and Jon Scheyer. He led the conference in assist rate as a freshman, and posted a .570 EFG% to boot, hitting on 54% of his twos and 42% of his threes. Lawson's turnover numbers were a little high, as to be expected of a freshman point playing a frenetic pace, but his A/TO ratio was a very good 2.00. Lawson's ability to play fast paced made Carolina as dangerous as they were on offense, and he'll likely be an instrumental part if they are to realize post-season success.

SEASON BEST TEAM PERFORMANCES

Offensive Efficiency

Florida State against Maryland - 137.93. FSU hit 29 of 43 twos, 8 of 17 threes, and outrebounded Maryland 12-11 on FSU's own end of the court, finishing with 96 points in 70 possessions.

Defensive Efficiency
Duke against Wake Forest - Wake hit just 13 of 37 twos, 3 of 11 threes, and complicated matters for themselves by hitting just 5 of 12 free throws on their way to 40 points in 64 possessions. Duke also forced 21 turnovers, and picked up 26 of 37 Wake Forest misses to boot.

PPWS
Best - Duke vs. Miami - 1.552. Duke hit 21 of 28 twos, 7 of 13 threes, and 22 of 29 free throws, and scored 85 points in 64 possessions.
Worst - Clemson vs. UNC - .714. Clemson was 19 of 49 from two, 4 of 19 from 3, and a ghastly 5 of 19 from the line, on their way to just 55 points in 78 possessions.

EFG%
Best - NC State vs. Virginia Tech - .781. The Pack were 21 of 33 from two and an astounding 11 of 15 from 3, on their way to 81 points in just 59 possessions.
Worst - Maryland vs. Miami - .276. Maryland failed to hit double figures in both twos and threes - 7 of 35 inside, 6 of 23 outside - they scored only 32 points from the field in a 73 possession game. (Note - Miami's EFG% in this game was .336, which is the second worst shooting performance in conference play all year. Miami @ Maryland is hands down the worst conference game all year).

Free Throw Rate
Best - Boston College vs. Wake Forest - 100.00. BC shot 46 free throws and 46 field goals against Wake Forest on their way to a 95-85 win.
Worst - Georgia Tech vs. Duke - 6.78. Shot just 4 free throws in a loss at Duke (after out-shooting Duke at the line 29-11 in game 1).

Rebounding
Offensive - Georgia Tech vs. Clemson - 59.46%. Tech picked up 22 of their 37 misses, helping them put up 80 in 71 possessions in a mediocre shooting game.
Defensive - Virginia vs. NC State - 87.88%. Virginia got 29 of 33 available boards on the defensive end, helping the Cavaliers get a win despite being outshot from the field.

Assist Rate
Best - Maryland vs. Florida State - 85.19%. The Terps made 27 shots from the field and recorded assists on 23 of those (Vazquez had 7, Hayes had 8).
Worst - Georgia Tech vs. Maryland - 20.69%. Georgia Tech got just 6 assists on 29 made baskets. They also seriously struggled from outside in this game, hitting just 1 of 17 threes.

Turnover Rate
Best - Virginia Tech vs. NC State - 7.94%. The astounding thing about this game (which featured just 5 Hokie turnovers in 63 possessions) is that Virginia Tech actually lost - they were outshot .582 to .385 in the EFG department, and got outrebounded 37% to 27% on the offensive end.
Worst - Georgia Tech vs. Duke - 37.45%. The astounding thing about this game (which featured 28 Jacket turnovers in 75 possessions) is that Georgia Tech actually won - they outshot Duke .654 to .467 in the EFG department, and forced turnovers on 23.22% of possessions themselves.

Steal Rate
Best - Clemson vs. UNC - 25.29%. The astounding thing about this game (starting to be a pattern, huh), which featured 20 steals in 79 Tar Heel possessions, is that Clemson actually lost, because they shot just .368 in the EFG department and turned the ball over on 24.35% of their own possessions.
Worst - Wake Forest vs. Miami - 1.47%. Wake recorded just 1 steal and forced just 9 turnovers in a 68 possession game. Of course, in keeping with the pattern, Wake won 74-69, thanks to a .671 EFG% (and despite turning it over 27% of the time).

Block Rate
Best - Clemson vs. UNC - 20.00%. Clemson blocked 12 of UNC's 60 attempts, but as noted above, it was to no avail.
Worst - FSU vs. Miami - 0.00%. Actually, 5 teams had games where they didn't record a block, but Miami took the most attempts without getting a shot blocked against FSU. Amazingly, despite taking 62 shots without getting blocked once, Miami hit only 22 (including 8 of 30 from beyond the arc) - they needed no help missing shots that night.

DEVIANT PERFORMANCES
Here, we look at which teams had areas in which they really stood out (either for good or bad) as compared to the rest of the conference. I use standard deviation as the measure for determining excellence (or futility).

Boston College Free Throw Rate - 2.02 standard deviations better than the mean.
BC shot a lot of free throws - almost one for every two field goal attempts - and this helped propel the team to a very solid 109.33 O Rating.

Clemson Forcing Turnovers - 2.06 better than the mean.
Clemson loved to press and thrived off turning their opponent's over. Of course, when they didn't force turnovers, opponents scored to the tune of 53% from 2 and 35% from 3.

Maryland Denying Assists - 2.08 better than the mean.
The Terps were very stingy in allowing a pass to lead to a made basket. This stemmed from two factors - a very good block rate, and very good 3 point defense (most assists come on layups/dunks or 3s, and Maryland denied both off the pass, although they let a lot of interior scoring occur off the offensive glass).

Miami's Defensive Efficiency - 2.09 worse than the mean.
This gives you an idea of just how bad Miami's defense was this year (by contrast, UNC's conference-leading defense was 1.72 better). And a big part of the problem was...

Miami's Opponent EFG% - 2.10 worse than the mean.
ACC teams shot over 57% in terms of EFG against Miami. The difference between Miami's mark and 11th place Georgia Tech was bigger than the difference between the Jackets and 4th place Virginia Tech.

UNC's Efficiency Margin - 2.13 better than the mean.
UNC really was that much better in conference this year. An 11.29 point margin per 100 possessions separated UNC from 2nd place Maryland - just an 8.07 point margin separated Maryland from 9th place Clemson.

Clemson's Free Throw Scoring Ratio - 2.14 worse than the mean.
Clemson didn't go to the line a lot (11th in conference in free throw rate) and didn't score well when they got there (55.7%). Those two combined to give the Tigers substantially less scoring from the line than any other conference team. If you're looking for a reason behind the 4-9 swoon, the free throw line would be a good place to start - Clemson scored just 9.4 points/game from the line and shot 54.7% during that span.

UNC's Pace - 2.15 faster than the mean.
The Heels played fast-break basketball, led by speedy point Ty Lawson. Their 74.41 possessions a game were quite a bit more than the league average of 68.39.

And the winner for most deviant performance is...

Wake Forest's Offensive Efficiency - 2.23
worse than the mean.
In an offense-heavy league, Wake was the only team not to hit a point per possession, and they were substantially lower, with an O Rating of just 95.44. They were a full point of O Rating below the 2 standard deviation line. Wake was bad on offense across the board - 11th in shooting, 10th in rebounding, and 9th in turnovers. Making matters even worse, Wake pulled this off playing the second easiest schedule in terms of defensive efficiency in conference (more on this tomorrow). They truly were a bastion of offensive futility in a point-scoring league. Add in the typical predilection of a Prosser-led team for soft defense, and you can see why it was a long season in Winston.

11 comments:

mehmattski said...

Paul,
I just wanted to thank you for all the stats you've collected on ACC play this season. It's been really helpful for my own blog (mehmattski.blogspot.com).

Now that Ken Pomeroy has posted the log5 predictions for the ACC tournament, I was wondering if you were going to do a similar thing with the ACC-only stats that you have collected. I know that yours are unadjusted efficiencies, and in an unbalanced schedule, there should be some kind of adjustment for opponent strength.

If you'd like, I can run the numbers and I'll be sure to link to you as I have all season. I just wanted to check to see if you were planning on doing something similar.

Thanks again,
Matt

Paul Rugani said...

I am planning on doing a log5 based on the conference only stats, with a strength of schedule adjustmet (I'm not sure if it's the right adjustment, but it'll be an adjustment nonetheless). It'll be up by tomorrow morning.

Thanks for linking and being a consistent reader!

Brad said...

Some of this analysis makes me less sympathetic to Clemson's team. Yes they play exciting, fun to watch defense (compared to say any clutch and grab team from the SEC or Big Ten[11]). But to score that anemically, they probably don't deserve to get a bid.

Fundamentally, basketball should be a game of skill, not of athleticism.

Hypocrites said...

Since Paul and some of the other Duke people are hurling accusations about Carolina needing to take out their players, I thought that you might enjoy trying to explain the Wake Forest Box Score Play by Play from this year, where Duke took a time-out leading by twenty with less than 2 minutes and then had all its starters in and was dunking and making 3-pointers with 8 seconds left:

35-52 Josh McRoberts made Free Throw.
3:28 35-53 Josh McRoberts made Free Throw.
3:16 Ishmael Smith missed Two Point Layup. 35-53
3:16 35-53 Josh McRoberts Defensive Rebound.
2:59 35-55 Josh McRoberts made Two Point Dunk Shot.
2:53 Wake Forest Full Timeout. 35-55
2:44 Ishmael Smith made Two Point Layup. 37-55
2:10 37-57 David McClure made Two Point Jumper.
1:55 37-57 Foul on David McClure
1:55 37-57 Duke Full Timeout.
1:55 Ishmael Smith made Free Throw. 38-57
1:55 Ishmael Smith missed Free Throw. 38-57
1:55 38-57 Duke Defensive Rebound.
1:24 L.D. Williams missed Three Point Jumper. 38-57
1:24 38-57 Gerald Henderson Defensive Rebound.
0:49 38-59 Josh McRoberts made Two Point Dunk Shot.
0:34 Ishmael Smith missed Three Point Jumper. 38-59
0:34 38-59 Josh McRoberts Defensive Rebound.
0:08 38-62 Greg Paulus made Three Point Jumper.
0:05 Ishmael Smith missed Two Point Layup. 38-62
0:05 Ishmael Smith Offensive Rebound. 38-62
0:04 Ishmael Smith made Two Point Layup. 40-62

Paul Rugani said...

To a certain extent, there's no sense making rational arguments with someone predisposed to call you a hypocrite, but here goes anyway.

First, I never "hurled accusations" that Hansbrough shouldn't be on the floor. In fact, I said the following: "For me, the bigger issue yesterday was how the team was playing, not who was on the court. Starters need to know how to execute in those situations, and it's totally appropriate to leave them in."

Second, I criticized Carolina for not attempting to run clock at the end of the game, and for taking several shot attempts with only 6 seconds or fewer having run off the shot clock. I was also critical of the decision to attempt shots once they had 1) a double digit lead and 2) control of the ball with a chance to run out the clock. I never, however, suggested that Carolina should completely stop trying to score - in fact, I said that was "silly."

So, let's look at the play-by-play you've now provided. Duke left their starters on the floor. Again, consistent with what I said about UNC, this is fine - starters need to learn how to execute in end-game situations where the goal is to run the clock and still be able to score. And actually, I'd like to go back a little further, to the 6 minute mark, with Duke up 13. In the last six minutes, Duke had 9 possessions. The length of those possessions were: 28 seconds, 32 seconds, 30 seconds, 13 seconds, 18 seconds, 33 seconds, 27 seconds, 34 seconds, and 34 seconds. I'll note here that the play-by-play I have (off the official box score from the Duke website) has a slightly different time scenario at the end - the McRoberts rebound is listed at :42 seconds, and the Paulus 3 point basket at :8 seconds. This is precisely the end of game conduct I would like to see - Duke used up 4:09 of the last 5:57 on just 9 possessions (an average of 27.7 seconds per possession), and executed the slow-down offense well enough to score on 7 of those possessions.

I have no problem with that end of game scenario, and find it in no way inconsistent with the comments I made on Monday. Duke never took a shot with the ball in hand and the chance to run out the clock. In five of those possessions, there were 5 seconds or fewer on the shot clock when the shot went up. The shortest possession (13 seconds) was the result of a foul, and it's impossible to tell from the play-by-play whether it was shooting or off the ball. Yes, the starters were on the floor and scoring points. But they were doing so only after running clock - they weren't taking needless shots or running and gunning early in the shot clock.

I will say, merely for the record, that if your play-by-play were accurate, I would be critical of Paulus' 3 point attempt, as it would have come with ball-in-hand and ability to end the game. But I have found the official box scores to be more consistently accurate than ones from CBS or ESPN (not sure the source of your play-by-play). Also, I can't recall the last time I've seen a non-walk-on for Duke take a shot when they had possession and a chance to run out the clock. At that point, Duke almost always dribbles it out.

Look, maybe you don't agree with the distinction I'm drawing. Maybe you think it's a totally meaningless distinction. Maybe you think I just made it up to suit the particular circumstances of these two games. I can't really say. All I know is that I see a big difference between 1) sprinting down the court and taking quick shots with a big lead and 2) running clock, running clock, running clock, and then trying to get a good shot at the end of the shot clock, and I far prefer the second to the first.

mehmattski said...

I agree completely with Paul- the situation was different because the starters, though in the game, were attempting to end the game as fairly as possible- by running the clock down. Having the starters learn how to execute the stall-ball offense is crucial to winning games, as we've seen from the rest of Duke's season.

Further, from a rhetorical point of view, calling any Duke fan a hypocrite in this situation is just laughable. Being a hypocrite here would imply that the same Duke fan who blasts Roy Williams for running up the score would also find it okay for Coach K to do the same thing. I think that a great many Duke fans would also be embarrassed to run up the score, even against Carolina. Even, as Paul says above, Paulus taking a 3 with 8 seconds left in a 20 point game is questionable.

If the illustration is "hey, Coach K leaves his starters in too!" then fine, but it makes any Duke fan that says otherwise simply incorrect, not a hypocrite.

Paul Rugani said...

By the way, Joe Lunardi has the following teams ahead of FSU on the bracket:

Purdue
Syracuse
Illinois
Old Dominion
Missouri State
Kansas State
West Virginia
Massachusetts (give me a break)
Drexel

All those teams, plus the following 3 (at least) are ahead of Clemson:
Michigan
Mississippi State (lost to Clemson)
Mississippi

I would take FSU and Clemson over any of those teams on a neutral court in any game.

Douglas said...

Hence the caution in my cautious optimism.

I'm not impartial in this, but it's hard not to feel either a bit persecuted or a bit paranoid as an ACC fan on Selection Sunday. Year after year, ACC teams that rank in the top-40/45 of the objective rankings (RPI, Sagarin's, KenPom) are passed over in favor of the likes of UMass, Old Dominion, or Mississippi State.

The justification of the talking heads is usually something along the lines of "they had a losing record in their conference" and "they didn't finish the season well" (which follows naturally from having a losing record in-conference because they finished the season with their conference schedule).

If we're to buy this line, and having a losing record in conference is now an indicator of tournament unworthiness, then I propose it just be made a hard and fast rule. The NCAA already has a minimum number of wins needed to qualify for the tournament (for what it's worth, I believe Clemson was the first, or one of the first, teams in the country to reach that mark this year). Add another rule that you must be at least .500 in conference play. It'll at least expose the criteria for what it is and keep the rest of us from getting our hopes up that FSU might make it.

Douglas said...

As a reference point, here are what the objective indicators say about Clemson and FSU this year (prior to the ACC tournament):

KenPom:
Clemson - 23
Florida St. - 37

RPI (the most pathetic and asinine objective ranking, but nevertheless one that apparently has some sway):
Clemson - 36
Florida St. - 47

Sagarin ELO Chess (only winning and losing matter):
Clemson - 23
Florida St. - 42

Sagarin Predictor (considers margin of victory in addition to winning):
Clemson - 29
Florida St. - 38

There are 34 at-large bids to the tournament, and of course many of the automatic bids will go to schools that would have received at-large bids had they not won their conference tournaments. In other words, the top 40 (and likely the top 45) teams in the country should all make the tournament.

Just to throw it out there... Drexel is #83 on KenPom, #63 in Sagarin's ELO Chess, and #80 in Sagarin's Predictor.

Converted said...

Given the fact that your team virtually always needs the entire 35 seconds to score, I find that somewhat self-serving. It also ignores what your coach said about his not keeping his starters in at the end of the game. Apparently, this was another game where he forgot to take them out.

Carolina's problem is that their 2nd five might still be better than Duke's starters, so I guess they would need to go straight to Dewey Burke in any game in which they have a ten point lead or more in the last 2 minutes.

Too bad nobody on Wake Forest fouled Paulus really hard to send a message, because then it would have been o.k., since the starters were in for Duke at the end with a 20 point lead.

Just wait, I bet it is coming. And then I will say, what was Paulus doing in the game at that point anyway. I have become convinced of the rightness of Coach K's approach. His arguments have carried the day. Nobody better have any good players in at the end of games that have a double-digit lead or you get what you deserve.

Anonymous said...

The other thing Paul is that this is an athletic event. People pay money to come watch it and while I can see some logic behind what you are saying, at the same time you are telling a team that they cannot play "their" game for the last tenth of the half, but that it is alright if they play half court sets(which just happens to be Duke's game. As an aside, when did Duke basketball get so slow and ugly. 1999 seems like a long time ago).

The fallacy with your logic is that the half court sets may very well result in a greater piling on of points than just running and shooting and having some fun.

Ultimately, it is Duke's and Carolina's and Wake's and State's duty to show up and play hard. Quit whining about the score unless you bet on the under, and play some defense. I remember a couple of 30 point shellackings in the Guthridge and Doherty years and nobody at Carolina cried about Duke running up the score. It was our fault and nobody else's.