The Good, The Bad and the Necessary
Yes, on the surface it was a blowout victory by the Duke Blue Devils against Cal Poly, but a closer look at the numbers show that Duke struggled mightily in this game. The score at the half only had Duke up by 6. There were many reasons why this was so, firstly poor shooting from beyond the arc. This team is going to have games where it falls in love with the 3, and that can be dangerous, especially when you consider that there is no Bryan Zoubek suiting up to retrieve those rebounds. This team is going to have to A) learn to rebound as a group, B) utilize other methods of scoring, we have enough drivers and slashers that we can get to the bucket when needed, sometimes one opens up the other, and when you have Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Seth Curry and Kyle Singler creating shots should not be an issue. There is life inside of the arc. Rebounding is going to have to be at a premium for this team, it is going to have to be emphasized over and over, the Plumlees, Kelly and Hairston all have to crash the boards. The guards are also going have to make reads and know when to hit the boards and when to lay back on D. The good think is that no one was satisfied with the teams play, now the coaching staff has things to work on, there is game film to study, mistakes to be called out, and effort to be discussed.
Duke is going to have to really become hungry and play better together and we know that will come, time is going to become the Blue Devils friend, it’s early and there is a lot of learning and coaching to do. Communication is going to need to also improve, it’s what Coach K stresses in practice and what the team lacked in this exhibition. Some bright spots were Ryan Kelly’s defense, and Kyrie Irving being the unstoppable force that he is. Duke will need the veterans to step up at times, and at times let the young bucks do their thing, it’s going to be an adjustment period to really get this team rolling. Some things are clear, every player on this team can get it done on any given night. That is going to make this year so interesting to watch.
Obviously there are pundits that will read too much into a single game, truth is Cal Poly is no slouch, they are winners, and who’s to say they couldn’t beat an ACC team. I wouldn’t discount that at all, but this team will learn a lot from this game and that is why you play them. Anyone expecting this team to always blow everyone out is going to be disappointed. This team is young and will only get better, last nights game takes them one step closer.
Gliding through the pre-season without a challenge is great on paper but, this team needs trials and tribulations in order to get better. Struggles are how they will learn.
Duke Wears Down Broncos, 81-60
Battle of champions: Duke men win pull away in exhibition
Cal Poly Pomona students pile into student center to watch Broncos play Duke
Duke recovers from lackluster start for 81-60 win
Second Half Surge Propels Duke in Exhibition Tune Up
Boxscore: Duke 81, Cal Poly Pomona 60
Photos: Duke 81, Cal Poly Pomona 60
Quotes: Duke 81, Cal Poly Pomona 60
AP Photos: Duke 81, Cal Poly Pomona 60