Someday, someway, someone will have to explain to me how Duke missed 17 -straight three point shots. Tired legs? No reason for them to be tired. Great West Virginia defense? Nope. Almost all those missed 3s were wide open looks.
As the nation rejoices at another early exit by Duke, look for all the experts to come out tonight and play the ‘told you so’ game, “If Duke doesn’t hit their threes, they won’t win.” Of course, if any team doesn’t hit their shots, they won’t win their game, but what do I know? Against West Virginia, threes weren’t the only problem. After starting 13-13 at the free throw line, Duke missed eight free throws in the second half. Huge.
You want the real reason for this defeat? Rebounding. West Virginia out-rebounded Duke 45-19 for the game. Let that number stick in your head for a moment. West Virginia had 26 more rebounds! They had an 18-4 advantage in offensive rebounds. Because of this, they took 12 more shots, which is pretty important when they only made six more shots for the game. Oh, and before everyone says, this is because Duke is too small…West Virginia’s top three guards out-rebounded Duke by themselves 20-19.
The only reason Duke was able to stay in the game was their ability to get to the line. Duke shot ten more free throws (which doesn’t really tell you the whole story, since Duke was fouling on purpose down the stretch).
Let’s do the final hits for the year.
ANGRY QUICK HITS:
– There is just so little you can say about this. Duke brought nothing to the second half. For the Blue Devils, every loss this season can be traced back to one bad half in that game. Today, it appeared West Virginia made all the right adjustments at half time, while I couldn’t see any adjustments Duke made to answer it.
– Duke’s three pointing shooting in their last three games: 16-68 (23.5%)
– Oh Singler, what happened to you brother? Foul troubled killed him today. He took only three shots for the game, making one. There is no doubt he lost his confidence in the long ball. He didn’t attempt a single three.
– All season long we kept hearing about King’s shooting ability; how he was making them from the half-court line during warm ups. That is all wonderful, but he had three wide open looks today from behind the strip and he clanked all three.
– As for DeMarcus Nelson, what an awful way to end a career. I can’t rip this guy too much. Without him, we don’t have the year we had and we certainly don’t earn a #2 seed. He was the captain of an overachieving team, but I can’t remember a team captain have this bad of a tournament EVER. He shot 3-17 from the floor in the two games.
– Next year, this is Gerald Henderson’s team. He needs to work on his outside shot just a little bit, but he should be one of the top-five players in the ACC, if not the NCAA. Paulus will probably be the only captain. I don’t see Singler skipping his final three years to go pro. He should also step up big time in ’08. I’m assuming Scheyer gets put back into the starting lineup, but again I haven’t seen what Elliot Williams can do. If he is as good as advertised, it might be hard to not have him replacing Nelson.
– Because Duke has no size coming in the ’08 class, it is going to remain an issue. Barring a sudden improvement from either Thomas, Zoubek or King, this team will still have a big hole in the middle and will again struggle with big men or big teams. I still say not landing Patrick Patterson in the ’07 class was huge. He would have been the difference maker for Duke this season.
STAT OF THE DAY: This is only the second graduating class since Coach K took over at Duke, not to make at least one appearance in the final four.