Another ugly game for the Duke Blue Devils. The Devils played some awful ball losing to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Tournament Semi-finals. Let’s just jump right into it, shall we?
- Has Singler hit the freshman wall? It is fair to start asking this question. The ACC freshman of the year has struggled the past few weeks and against Clemson, he hit a new low; 1-9 from the field, including 0-5 from three. He twice had open looks at the end of the game that would have been HUGE and he missed them both. He has now gone eight games shooting .500 or below (32-93 from the floor, 10-44 from three). If he can’t get it together, Duke won’t be playing in the second weekend of the tournament.
What does Singler need to do? It appears he is attempting to throw up threes to break the slump, but he can’t just do that. This past week, he has been standing at the three line, refusing to get dirty in the paint. I don’t think Duke ran a single pick and roll with him. The best way to break a slump is by hitting a handful of 3-5 footers.
- Duke’s February/March collapse continues. They are only 5-4 in their last nine games. The five wins…they all came against teams with losing records. The four loses…against four teams with winning records.
- Gerald Henderson jammed his injured wrist and missed the last five minutes of the game. This is a huge blow if he can’t play at the level he’s been playing at recently. I just don’t see how Duke can win without him.
- Why does Paulus always play good in one half and not the other? This is starting to become a pattern. Just like in the UNC game, it was Paulus’ scoring that kept Duke in the game in the first half. Against Clemson, Greg had 14 points. In the second though, he scored only one late three pointer.
- Lance Thomas took zero shots and pulled down zero rebounds (he had two fouls). Against Clemson, Coach K decide to run with Zoubek. The 7-footer played 20 minutes, while Lance was reduced to only 14 minutes. Zoubek finished a decent 8 points (3-4 from the floor) and six rebounds.
- During the last three minutes, why did coach play McClure instead of Nolan Smith? Down by a handful, Duke was in need of some points, so I’m not sure why McClure was on the floor. Putting in Smith would have given us a 4th scoring option. Defense shouldn’t have been a concern since we were fouling the Tigers.
- The turnovers were pathetic. One would expect the turnovers to go up when facing a full-pressing Tigers team, but Duke’s 16 turnovers weren’t the result of the press. Almost all of the turnovers happened in the half court offense. Also, what was up with all the forced passes inside to the big guys? Duke’s big guess already are not offensive weapons, when we do go them, they damn well better be open, with a clean passing lane to deliver the ball. This was a classic example of a Blue Devil team not running their offense. If they wanted to get them the ball, drive and hand off when the second defender comes to help. There was NONE of this against Clemson.
- The game really did come down to shooting. The two teams both had 29 rebounds, 8 offensive and they both turned it over 16 times. Until Duke started fouling on purpose, Clemson only shot one more free throw for the game. The difference; one team shot 50%, the other didn’t.
- Right now Duke doesn’t look like a great team. They’ll probably land a #2 seed, but they probably only deserve a three. Personally, I’m hoping they don’t get shipped out west. The last thing you want is to have the play a UCLA team in their backyard. Personally, I’d be happier going south where Memphis should be.
If Duke is going to advance deep into this tournament, they’re probably going to need to catch a break, something that has been missing over the years (I’ll hit on this subject later this week).
STATE LINE THAT MATTERS - Duke from three: 6-26. Duke from two: 20-36. You live by the three, you die by the three.
PLAYER OF THE GAME – Trevor Booker. It was a tough call since three different Tigers scored over 16 points. However, besides leading the team with 18 points, Booker also grabbed a team high seven rebounds, including six offensive.
PROPS GO TO - DeMarcus Nelson. He struggled again with turnovers (four against Clemson, four against State), but he scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.