It’ sometimes hard to look at a team you are a fan of with an eye that isn’t biased. When they lose it’s hard not to be a fatalist, when they win it’s difficult to not think they are world beaters…but I shall try.
Last nights debacle really shouldn’t surprise anyone, Duke has been less than stellar in road games, and honestly every team that has believed that they can beat Duke on the road has beaten Duke on the road or gotten within a possession of it. Duke is a very difficult team to assess when it comes to post season play because they are so erratic. I’m not a KenPom type of guy. I could give a rats ass about that stuff (no offense). To me the best indicator of how a team plays is watching them, numbers are just numbers. Looking at how a team handles adversity, to me, is a much better judge and indicator of future success and failure. Duke has had a mixed bag of it, prone to losing leads on the road to me shows a lack of a leader out on the floor and a lack of fortitude. Duke has captains but I’m not sure how vocal those captains are, most of us are on the outside looking in, all we see is what happens on the floor. Sure you want your captain to grab a guy buy the jersey and pull him into the huddle or get in his face and explain things, but you also want your captain to lead by what he does on the floor – to make smart plays and be tough. It’s easy to mean mug and slap high-fives and show emotion when things are going well. I want to see a guy show that same emotion when things aren’t going well. Too many heads were down, too much standing around and not enough FIGHT. Duke has lacked that on occasion, and last night Wake as just quicker to the ball, they made shots, but more over they fought, they fought for loose balls, they muscled Duke and they TOOK the game.
Duke didn’t seem to understand or be able to execute for long stretches against the Wake zone…which makes me shake my head because they’ve seen it a million times this year. It should be old hat at this point. If you are a team that doesn’t play defense for 40 minutes then you cannot be a team that doesn’t play offense for 40 minutes. @TheDevilsDen pointed out on twitter that Duke has had leads of 6 on Kansas, 7 on Arizona, double digits on Clemson, ND, and UNC and 7 on Wake Forest in the second half. If you are going to try to out-score rather than stop then the offensive droughts that Duke has had of late are signals that this could be a 3 game season for the Devils. Hell, if they play like last night they will have plenty of time off to reflect on that lack of toughness and leadership.
I haven’t written this team off but I also have to come to terms with the fact that as high as the ceiling is for this team, the floor can go just as low in the opposite direction.