Posted On: March 24, 2011 By: Cliff Comments: (3)
Well this isn’t the way that everyone thought the season would end. Not the players, coaches or us fans. Arizona pulled off the upset win 93-77 behind a spectacular performance by Derrick Williams. Williams carried the Wildcats in the first half with 25 points and then it was his teammates who stepped up in the second half when they pretty much knocked out the Blue Devils with their 19-2 run that Duke had no answer for.
Gotta feel bad for Nolan and Kyle as they didn’t want their Duke careers to end like this. Kyle played well as he found his shooting touch but Nolan never really got into rhythm like we have seen him do this season. I’d have to say that it was Nolan’s worst game this season.
One bright spot was Kyrie Irving who finished with 28 points. Irving played a great game but now the question is “Was it his last in a Duke uniform?” Kryie said after the game that he would have to sit down with the coaching staff and his family and would then make his decision but could definitely see himself wearing a Duke uniform again.
Overall I was upset with the loss but not pissed off like a lot of times I am with losses. Arizona flat out outplayed Duke in the second half and Duke did not have an answer. Zona seemed to making everything they shot and forced Duke into bad turnovers. It just wasn’t Duke’s night.
- Cliff @justdukecom
Posted On: March 23, 2011 By: Cliff Comments: (0)
It’s been a few days since Duke defeated Michigan 73-71 and I can honestly say that my heart is finally done trying to jump out of my chest. They always say “Survive and Advance” and that was surely the case on Sunday for the Blue Devils. A last second wide open shot by Michigan missed and Duke “survived” an upset bid by the Wolverine and moved on to the Sweet 16 out in Anaheim.
Some quick thoughts on the game against Michigan. Duke does not win this game if Nolan Smith does not score 10 straight points in the second half. He basically lifted the team on his shoulders for two minutes and completely took over the game by knocking down wide open shots and sending Tim Hardaway Jr. to his butt on a nasty cross over. Without that 10 point swing, I really believe Duke’s season would be over.
I never ever want to see that 1-3-1 defense again. At least not until Duke has some big guys that can pass the ball without giving it away to the opposing team. There was a reason you didn’t see the Plumlee’s in the game as much in the second half…
Also, can we please not go to the stall game being up so early? I know the thought behind it, but when you are not scoring and being rushed to force up a shot with under five seconds left it’s not the correct move in my opinion.
Ok, so enough about the Michigan game. It’s time to start looking ahead at the Arizona match up on Thursday night out in Anaheim. It’s the late game but the team arrive out on the West Coach Tuesday so hopefully they will have time to adjust to the time change. Earlier Coach K actually told his team to try and stay up later so they can get accustomed to the late game. Expect to see a big Pac10 / West Coast fan base for the games with Arizona and San Diego State both still playing.
Duke is currently favored by 8-9 points depending where you look. That spread is right where the Michigan game was on Sunday so I’m not sure how to take that. Arizona brings a 29-7 record into the game. One thing is for sure, if Duke wants to advance they are going to have to slow down Derick Williams who is average 19 points and eight boards a game. This is going to be a tough match up for Duke I think and I really hope that Kyle Singler has the ability to shut Williams down without getting into foul trouble.
It’s Sweet 16 time and I cannot wait for Thursday night. I think the guys pull out a win and move onto the Great 8.
Posted On: March 18, 2011 By: Cliff Comments: (1)
Freshman guard Kyrie Irving played in his first game since December and led the Duke with 14 points as the Blue Devils opened up the NCAA Tournament with a 87-45 victory over Hampton. The Blue Devils took control from the very beginning as Seth Curry knocked down an open three to put Duke up 3-0 and it was a route from there. Getting control of the game early is the key to these tournament games. Hampton never had a shot after Duke raced out to a 7-0 lead. You can’t let the high seeded teams hang around because that is when the crowd starts to get into it pulling for the underdog and that’s when upsets happen.
Andre Dawkins added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, Kyle Singler finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils. I loved how Miles was rebounding the ball. He almost looked like a different player out there. Could we have another rebounding performance like we seen last year with Brian Zoubek?
Coach K moved one win from joining Bob Knight as the only Division I men’s coaches with 900 career victories. He can tie his mentor and former coach at 902 wins if the Blue Devils win the West regional final and clinch their 12th Final Four berth under him.
Up next is a game against Michigan. Yep, a game against the Wolverines right after the “Fab 5″ show aired. I want to see the current players come out with a little bit of fire and play for the older guys that put on the Duke uniform and beat Michigan. Do it again and knock em out of the tournament!
Posted On: March 13, 2011 By: Cliff Comments: (1)
It was a good weekend for Duke as they won all three of their games at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Maryland, Virginia Tech and North Carolina all tried to beat the Blue Devils but Duke would have none of it and came away as the 2011 ACC Tournament Champions!
On Sunday in the rubber match against North Carolina, it was all Duke from the get go as they beat the Tarheels 75-58. The defense stepped up and really gave Carolina fits in the first half. Carolina could not knock down an open shot while the Blue Devils were making their shots.
The bench came up huge for Dke as Curry had 11 points and Kelly with nine. It seemed like any time Carolina would go on a little mini run, Curry, Kelly or Andre Dawkins would knock down a big three pointer. Hell of a job by the bench to step up.
Nolan Smith once again had a great game. Twenty points and ten assists in the championship game pretty much wrapped up the ACC Tournament MVP for Nolan. Love how the Senior has played this season. It’s time for the Blue Devils to jump on Nolan’s back all the way to the Final 4!
The bracket will be released in a couple of hours and it will be interesting to see how things come out. I have to think that Duke will get a #1 seed out in the West. Expect first and second round games to be played in Charlotte so Duke fans get ready and go support the guys in Charlotte!
- Cliff @justdukecom
Posted On: March 8, 2011 By: Cliff Comments: (2)
It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site as I’ve been very busy with work, the little kid and trying to get things done around the house. Just haven’t had time to update the blog but have still watched the games of course. Nice win on Senior night for the three Seniors but then a lackadaisical game on Saturday against North Carolina. It’s always tough to play at the Dean Dome but it was kind of embarrassing watching the guys play that game and be down by 10 points for pretty much the entire game.
North Carolina may have won the regular season ACC crown, but the tournament is a whole another ball game. Things get started today and Duke will play the winner of the NC State vs Maryland game. I expect Maryland to come away with a victory over NC State and then face Duke on Thursday. We may just see another Duke vs Carolina rematch in the tournament which will settle the 1-1 series tie for this season.
I’m really looking forward towards the tournament and will try keeping up with it as much as I can here at work and then at home in the evenings. Expect to see some upsets but they won’t be as “big” of ones as the conference is down this season. Should be an interesting tournament and hopefully the Blue Devils can get back on track and win the tournament crown and head to the NCAA Tournament on a high note.
- Cliff @justdukecom