Wednesday, January 17, 2007

And I'm Back

Back to the grind after a (much-needed) break. Duke had two polar opposite shooting performances in my absence. Against Georgia Tech, the Devils lost despite forcing 28 turnovers (an unbelievable 37% of possessions) because they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from beyond the arc - 4 of 20 from three on their way to 26 of 60 overall from the field. Still, the game was in reach when Duke had the ball down 55-53. The next 6 possessions went turnover, turnover, miss, turnover, turnover, miss, and Tech's lead was back to 9, and the game was all but over. Georgia Tech displayed lights out shooting, a signature of their conference play to date. In 4 conference games, the Jackets have a .608 EFG% and a 1.29 PPWS. When they don't turn the ball over, their production is exceptional - 1.55 PPNTOP (that's points per non-turnover possession), which is light years ahead of the rest of the conference.

After starting conference play 0-2, Duke got back on the horse with a Georgia Tech-like display of marksmanship against Miami. Duke put up a ridiculous .768 EFG% against Miami, hitting on 75% of 2s and 53.8% of 3s. Duke's 85 points came in just 64 possessions, and in just 48 non-turnover possessions, for an astronomical 1.77 PPNTOP, which equates to 3 made baskets and a made free throw every 4 trips down the court. Duke's defense has been extremely consistent so far in conference, letting each opponent score almost exactly one point per possession - Virginia Tech had 69 in 70, Georgia Tech had 74 in 75, and Miami had 63 in 64.

Tomorrow night's contest pits the Devils against Wake Forest in Cameron. Ishmael Smith has struggled to make the adjustment to ACC play - he turns the ball over on 9.5% of possessions and his shot has gone completely cold - 0.66 PPWS and a .333 EFG% in conference. Smith has taken 21.2% of Wake's shots but scored just 11.6% of the points in conference play. Other freshmen like LD Williams and Jamie Skeen have started to step up, and Visser's still a horse inside, but unless Smith settles down, Wake's chances are precisely nil. After two solid defensive games on the road, Wake's D has been shredded in back-to-back home contests - 95 points in 77 possessions scored by BC, 88 points in 76 possessions scored by NC State. Look for Duke to build on its success against Miami and pull the ACC record back up to .500.

Finally, as you might imagine, a week away put me a little behind on all the stats. The ACC leaderboard will be conference only starting this weekend, and the first ACC team tempo-stats will be appearing as well. Duke stats will be updated as soon as possible - I just need to do the Miami game to be caught up on that front. And as you'll no doubt notice (unless you're a first-timer, in which case, Welcome!), the site has had a bit of a makeover, which hopefully will improve the ease of readibility (I always have you the reader foremost in my thoughts).


Anonymous said...

Welcome back. Missed your insightful commentary.

Anonymous said...

good to have you back. now let's take care of those pesky deacs!