Thursday, February 01, 2007

Virginia 68, Duke 66

Brief thoughts on the game in bullet point form:

Duke went 10 for 30 from the field in the 2nd half and overtime, including 2 of 9 from 3.

Sean Singletary is fun to watch - he threw some "how'd he do that" passes, and the horizontal fadeaway winner was, well, wow.

But for all Singletary's flash, the substance was about JR Reynolds, who scored 13 of the last 15 in regulation, including clutch free throw shots with cramped legs.

Scheyer was unfortunately at less than full health, and it was obvious he was a step slow.

Greg Paulus played 45 minutes and turned the ball over twice. Just thought I'd point that out.

Then again, Greg Paulus played 45 minutes. Against the best backcourt in the ACC, Duke's worst perimeter defender in the main rotation never sat a minute. Warrants mentioning.

McRoberts had a double-take worthy 2 rebounds.

Duke opponents have now shot 17 more free throws than the Devils in conference play. The Devils shot a whopping 5 in regulation tonight.

Finally, the play set up for Josh to take Cain off the dribble was perfect - he beat him into the lane, got precisely the shot he wanted, had essentially an unobstructed look at the hoop, and it just rolled off. To paraphrase the Stranger,
sometimes you eat the ball, and sometimes, well, he eats you.

Here's tonight's table:

O Poss. Points OPPP D Poss. Points DPPP
McRoberts ON 62 62 1.000 62 67 1.081

OFF 4 4 1.000 4 1 0.250
Scheyer ON 42 44 1.048 41 48 1.171

OFF 24 22 0.917 25 20 0.800
Nelson ON 59 59 1.000 58 64 1.103

OFF 7 7 1.000 8 4 0.500
Paulus ON 66 66 1.000 66 68 1.030

OFF 0 0 0.000 0 0 0.000
Henderson ON 30 26 0.867 31 22 0.710

OFF 36 40 1.111 35 46 1.314
McClure ON 39 34 0.872 40 40 1.000

OFF 27 32 1.185 26 28 1.077
Thomas ON 29 36 1.241 29 28 0.966

OFF 37 30 0.811 37 40 1.081
Pocius ON 2 3 1.500 2 2 1.000

OFF 64 63 0.984 64 66 1.031
Zoubek ON 1 0 0.000 1 1 1.000

OFF 65 66 1.015 65 67 1.031

Duke Overall
66 66 1.000 66 68 1.030

When Henderson and Thomas were on the floor together, Duke had an 11-3 advantage (in 7 possessions). Both are just ever-so-close - you feel like they could make a huge jump and elevate their play at almost any time. Tonight could have been that night for Thomas but for the fouls. As these two come along (and if Scheyer/Nelson can be a little more reliable with ball-in-hand), a lineup of Scheyer, Nelson, Henderson, Thomas, and McRoberts could be Duke's best (on the season, this precise lineup has outscored opponents 100-73). These five just so happen to be Duke's top 5 in terms of efficiency margin (not counting Zoubek, whose numbers are now skewed by lack of playing time in close ACC games).


Unknown said...

I agree with you. The improbable deciding event of that game wasn't the remarkable one-handed floater that Singletary hit to win it in OT, but rather the fact that McRoberts got as good a shot as he did to win it and the ball just rolled off.

Only getting to watch the second half and OT of that game, during which Duke got outscored by nearly 10 points total, I really don't think Duke played all that badly. We obviously didn't score a field goal for almost the last nine minutes, which will almost never get it done on the road. But during that span, we had several good looks that just didn't go in.

There are teams we've played this year against whom the team looked a bit out of control and that I would much prefer not to see again (e.g., VA Tech and Clemson). UVA does not fall into that category.

Paul Rugani said...

I'd actually prefer to play Clemson than UVA - Hamilton, Hammonds, and Rivers, while certainly dangerous, are much less so than Singletary, Reynolds, and Diane (who was huge last night for the 'Hoos). Many of the plays that Duke looked out of control against Clemson were more our own fault than anything else, and that includes the several end game turnovers by McRoberts. But you're right that we didn't really play that badly - just a game of bounces.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Paul. I think UVA is a potentially dangerous post-season team. They have a talented, experienced backcourt, which gets you far in tournament play. They also have enough 3 point shooting that they're never out of the game. I still feel that they lack a certain mental toughness, as Singletary still seems to drift in and out of the game at times. Also, fortunately UVA has played much better at home than on the road.

Virginia Tech is scary for the same reason as UVA - talented, experienced backcourt that we have trouble matching up with.