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Duke 79 – Miami (OH) 45

By November 17, 2010No Comments

That is what Coach K will tell you, and it’s very easy to get lost in the post nation championship hype and press. It’s almost better to just forget it ever happened…this is a new team, this is a new season. With that we have to really measure our expectations as fans…I am also in that category.

After a late night session with friends on Off the Boards on BlogTalkRadio, I found myself being perhaps a tad too critical of our bigs. It’s easy to want them to be something they are not, while not really giving them a chance to grow into what they are going to be. Mason Plumlee is a sophomore, still learning the game, still learning to use his body as well as learning a new offense and where he fits into it. We all seem to want to measure him against the past, want to make him into a Brian Zoubek and Carols Boozer hybrid, he may never be that. That’s Ok. I’ll take what he brings to the table..maybe that and a little more hustle ;).

That being said Mason did pull in a career high 15 rebounds and threw in 10 points in beating Miami (OH). It wasn’t the prettiest game but as per the last game, there are signs of what could be. Kyrie Irving got into early foul trouble and played sparingly in the first half, so Duke juggled some different lineups..most with Nolan Smith playing the point. While it was a serviceably line up, it wasn’t optimal but gave Duke some glimpses on what it needs to work on, especially in the half court.

Miami definitely has been watching tapes of Coach K teams, and employed a few strategies that have worked in the past. Trying to isolate and break Duke down off of the dribble. It’s a technique that in this game met with varying results. It kept them closer than if they had full on tried to run with Duke and kept Dukes point total down (that and a poor shooting night by Kyle Singler). It highlighted that Duke does need a good amount of work on the defensive end, but really what team doesn’t at this stage of the season. We know as fans and basketball pundits that we never judge Duke by other teams but it’s hard not to notice a lot of sloppy play out there in the early part of the year. Not team is in mid-season form, and Duke has a lot of things for the coaches to address, that is kind of what you want.

Kyrie having to deal with adversity is good for this team, its a learning experience and will happen again against better talent. He still finished with a flourish of 13 points in only 19 minutes.

Kyle Singler didn’t have the sharpest night going 3-11 and 0-4 from three. He managed to put in 8 points and pull down 5 rebounds, I think we can attribute this to how hard Kyle was working on defense, often covering the PG position and doing it admirably. Its hard to chart how hard Kyle works but scoring isn’t always the measure of his effectiveness. He’s a steady leader who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work.

Duke did not score at the clip that Coach K probably would like but he has to be thrilled at the balance scoring including 31 points from the bench, 17 from Seth Curry (leading scorer). Seth showed a little of what made him the leading freshman scorer 2 years ago going 3-4 from three point range, 4 out of 7 overall and going 6-6 from the line.

It was a game that Duke dominated, and in stretches looked unbeatable, but be happy there are things to address, teaching tools, ways this team can get better.