2. Ineffective iso play
It’s almost as if the Duke basketball team figured in lieu of intense fullcourt defense that a lazier method to speed up the pace of play — to its liking, as the Blue Devils are averaging 82.4 points per game, the fourth most among 353 Division I teams — would work out just fine.
Think again. One possession after another, one Blue Devil would try to quickly make something happen on his own while the rest might as well have been standing in the corner munching on popcorn. And seemingly whenever any Duke basketball player with the ball did try to pass to a teammate, said teammate refused to step toward the ball, resulting in contested and picked-off passes galore.
Six assists for the game. SIX. Again, SIX. What is that? It’s not Duke basketball. Just ask the former Blue Devil who is nowadays renowned for providing his analysis on social media.
During the game, the 2010 national champ weighed in on Twitter with this:
“We look like a team that’s comfortably in the tournament playing a team that can possibly get in the tournament with a win tonight.”
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So while the Blue Devils appeared to look for the easy way out — highlighted by the incessant isolation drives from a group of guys who must rely on ball movement in order to be consistently effective — the Wolfpack played with a competitive fire and unselfishness that showed up all over the stat sheet. Heck, four NC State players finished with at least nine rebounds, three of which were guards.
“They weren’t hungry,” Duke basketball legend Jay Williams said Thursday morning on ESPN’s Get Up! about his younger fellow members of the #TheBrotherhood. “What happens is you read the press clippings, you start thinking, ‘Hey, we are on TV every single night, and everyone is telling us how great we are.’ Then you go out there on the road against a bubble team and Markell Johnson goes off.
“This is a time to draw a line in the sand and to find out more about their identity.”
So what’s the identity? Well, the Blue Devils will have to figure that out on their own, but they may want to think about crossing sharpshooting off the list…