Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CBE Classic - Durham Regional

Not surprisingly, Duke's advance out of the first two rounds of the CBE Classic was relatively easy. There's a lot to like about the team's performance, particularly on the defensive end. Any time you hold two opponents under 50 points and win by margins of 24 and 43, you've done well. Our defensive rating for the games was in the neighborhood of 65, which is ridiculous, even if it is what you'd expect against inferior foes. And Brian Zoubek's rebounding is still unreal - he's grabbing, by himself, 30% of all misses while he's on the court, and has 11 rebounds in around 25 minutes of PT. Also nice to see was his conversion from the FT line against Columbia - 10 out of 13 from a center is always a plus. However, there were still some evident concerns from the games (caveat - I was not able to watch either due to United Airlines - they cancelled a flight on Sunday which left me unable to watch Sunday's game and unable to set the TIVO for Monday's, as my Monday flight took me straight from the airport to work - boo, United Airlines! - so these observations are gleaned from the numbers only).

Offensive execution struggled a lot against G. Southern. Duke's efficiency was less than a point per possession, and they turned the ball over an astonishing 20 times in 77 possessions. Also, to trot out an old concern with the Devils, the rebounding is still problematic. Against smaller opponents, they were still giving up around 35% offensive rebounds to the other team - a number that isn't bad in and of itself, but doesn't bode well for games against bigger, tougher opponents. Also, I'll voice two early concerns about freshmen - Gerald Henderson is not scoring very efficiently, taking the lion's share of shots while he's on the court but not having that reflected in the scoring column, and Lance Thomas is still a turnover machine, losing the ball on 6-8% of Duke's offensive possessions (average is in the neighborhood of 3-3.5%). Hopefully, those things will all improve as the season goes along (and it's definitely small potatoes when the team is winning by 30+ points a game).

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