Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coaches vs. Cancer MSG Preview

For may of us, Thursday represents the first time we'll be able to watch Duke play this season (outside of the students and Iron Dukes lucky enough to get into Cameron or those with Comcast and no access to ESPNU. I actually don't think ESPNU exists... it's just a tease. Damn you Comcast with your "no ESPNU or ESPN360!"). However, most years the early games that weren't nationally televised were blow outs. Not so this year, with what must have been a superb game to watch against URI. I think that will lead to a closer analysis of Thursday's performance against Southern Illinois.

Since I wasn't able to watch the URI game, here are a few things I'm going to be looking for --

  • Defensive Intensity -- From all accounts it sounds like URI had simply an incredible offensive night. I saw the highlight bombs Jimmy Baron dropped (Did I mention I miss JJ?). The kicker Thursday will be can Duke lock down Southern Illinois for a full two halfs, especially since it looks like they have as efficient an offense as URI does. How is the communication and rotation this early in the season given new roles in the low post and at point guard.
  • Point Guard Play -- I'm probably not the only one who was slightly suprised at the swap between Greg and Nolan. I'm curious how Coach K is planing to manage that rotation. Can Nolan step up offensively, and what role does Greg now play?
  • Post Play -- I'm excited to see LT's improvement. Based on the handful of writers that have seen him, it sounds like it should be significant. My concern is LT's free throw shooting, which at least at the outset doesn't seem to have improved as much. Free throws from the 4 and 5 I think are one of the most undervalued traits in the game. I think it completely reshapes the game when the ball doesn't have to stay outside in close game situations because that's where your free throw strength is.
Thanks to Paul for the chance to post a few thoughts here and there. I'm going to try out a few things to see what best complements Paul's fantastic analysis. I'm giddy for the season to start already (at least for those of us stuck with Comcast).


Paul Rugani said...

Welcome aboard. Any status update on the data entry site?

Mark Philpot said...

Currently shooting for a Sunday rollout. I still need the equations for the new stats.

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