Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brief update/recap

So I ran into the first hitch with the game tracking, since GoDuke doesn't have substitutions listed on the play-by-play from last night, and I think they won't for tonight's game, either. All that means is that I have to go back over the game tape to track subs, which probably won't get done until the weekend (complicated a little by the fact that I'm going out of town for the holiday). So new stats update is put off until after the Davidson game.

As for the brief recap, last night was a perfect illustrations of why tempo-free is essential for hoops understanding. Ordinarily, 71-56 wouldn't look like a model of offensive efficiency. However, in a game that was almost glacially slow, Duke's 71 points represented an ORating of 124.6, which is exceptional (even Air Force's 56 points came in just 57 possessions - at slightly under 100, their ORating was only slightly below average for the night, though obviously well below their previous averages). There were two primary reasons for this - first half shooting (a ridiculous .826 EFG%) and rebounding (52.9% of all Duke misses came back to the Devils for second chance opportunities). This was probably the best overall rebounding game Duke has had in years - they got 75% of all misses, including the aforementioned 52.9% offensive and an unreal 91.3% defensive. Duke played a very disciplined game against a very disciplined team, and executed well enough to win.

Tonight's game could look a lot different. Marquette has some very athletic guards who will want to push the pace a little. Watch to see if Duke tries to run with them - it would be a great sign if, on back-to-back nights, the Devils could play two opponents who play two different styles of basketball and win each game by adapting to the opponent's style. Those are the things that teams need to do to win championships.

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