Thursday, March 01, 2007

NCAA Tournament Banter 3

This season I have learned that if a team has athletic guards, they have a better than average shot at beating Duke.

If they have big athletic guards, it’s a lock.

Last nite’s sad game against Maryland conclusively proved that.

At one time or another Duke tried everyone on Mike James and he still scored 25 points.

The most disappointing thing about last nite was Duke’s inability to execute K’s in-game strategy.

On the radio broadcasts, Duke has an announcer a row behind the Duke bench who lets you know K’s time-out directions. Last nite his calls were correct 100% of the time…about 95% of the time the team failed to follow up. Part of that is the fact that they were overmatched and Maryland is really good.

At least three times K told them that someone had to get back on defense fast to counter Strawberry. Never once did they stop his run outs.

A real positive was the quality minute we got from Zoubek…only one foul and one turnover in eleven minutes. After an off-season in the weight room, his 2007-2008 season will be much improved.

Paulus is 6’1” and does not possess Roger Bannister speed. Hard for him to stop big guards for 40 minutes playing K’s man-to-man.

Duke’s best on ball defender, DeMarcus Nelson, is 6’4”---and while he can leap for ally-oops and rebounds, he is still 6’4’’ on the floor.

McClure is 6’6”, hustles and has a nose for the ball…but has average speed. He makes a difference overall on defense because of his basketball instincts and needs to be on the floor. On offense he is a liability…he is no shooter and a 61% free throw shooter. Quite often, you will notice he is not guarded by opponents.

My opinion: in the ACC Tournament and the NCAA, Duke will be eliminated by the first team they play with big (like the 6’5” guys from Maryland) athletic guards.

Overall, this season I see many good teams---very good teams---but no odds on favorite. Everyone has proven they can be beaten.

Therefore, I am looking for the teams that gave the best fight while losing…the ones who let you know you should be grateful to leave with all your body parts intact.

That makes me feel the winner will have to go thru the Big 12.

If there are no off nites in ACC games and they are wars…Big 12 games are hand-to-hand combat. The top half of that conference is battle tested.

Comments and thoughts appreciated.

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