First, let me state, although I got to watch the whole game, my eyes and mind weren’t always focused. I had my fantasy baseball draft Thursday night. Obvi0usly when it got late and Duke was unable to put Belmont away, I was focused enough to realize how pathetic this game was. The Blue Devils got outplayed, it really is that simple. If it wasn’t for the late-game heroics of Gerald Henderson, then Duke would be the laughing stock of college basketball. I did feel a little better today when I watch #2 Tennessee struggle in their first round game. Let’s not waste anymore time and move to the quick hits.
– Thank God for Gerald Henderson. He took over at the end, singlehandedly winning this game. Like we talked about before, last year’s team struggle because no one was willing to be ‘the guy’. Last year, Henderson would have passed on that drive and someone else would have been stuck throwing up a desperation three. Although this team may not be the most talented in the field, they do have guys who are not afraid to make a play when it is needed and that’s what Gerald did.
– It made me sick to watch how successful Belmont was at running the back door passes. Since Duke plays the passing lanes so aggressively, the back door will almost always be open. However, if a team finds success with it, Duke can usually adjust to it. Last night, they didn’t. You have to hand it to Belmont, they had a game plan and stuck with it.
– What the hell DeMarcus? Nelson’s career nearly came to an end with a 1-6 night. Not good. He has struggled in the three most important games down the stretch; against UNC, Clemson and against Belmont.
– On the offensive end, Singler had a decent game, which is good news. He finished 5-9 from the floor scoring 11 points. In fact, you could argue he had a great game considering his recent struggles. The key was he wasn’t forcing 3s, instead taking the ball inside.
– Lance Thomas only managed two points, but he was a man against a small Belmont team, pulling down six boards. Six rebounds may not sound like a lot but hey, this is Lance we’re talking about. Let’s see him do it against West Virginia on Saturday.
– It appeared Coach K cut the bench down some. Take away Scheyer’s 30 minutes, the other four bench players only played 25 minutes (Smith 10, Zoubek 8, McClure 3, King 4).
Anyhoo, we’re not going to dwell too much on this. Take a trip back to past final four teams and champions and you’ll see games like this littered throughout the tournament (UCLA ’95, anyone?). Hell, if Duke ends up going deep into the tournament, Henderson’s drive will be all over the CBS highlight reels for years to come.
You’ll probably find plenty of articles talking about the near-demise of Duke basketball and how they WILL LOSE to West Virginia. Personally, I’m still not worried. If we can find our stroke from three, UWV won’t have a shot.