Well it’s been a very strange road for Duke to get to the title game, a run that started with no one, and I mean no one expecting this Duke team to get to this point. I think even fans had their doubts, so did I. I wasn’t thrilled at how Duke was ambushed and run out or the gym against Georgetown, and against NC State. On re-examining some of Dukes games, I had to try to separate myself from the situation, stop thinking as a fan for a bit. I had to realize that those losses built character, they were lessons this team needed to go through to get to this point. Sometimes the matchups just aren’t in your favor, and sometimes they are perfect. Against West Virginia we knew guard play would rule the day, we thought that Coach K would go a little different route and use the bigs more…mistakenly thought that, but really it was never necessary. Duke got any shot it wanted, whenever it wanted, they never seemed to struggle in this game. They seemed to ease into this win.
The big 3 found their mark in this game, early and often. Nolan was hitting on all cylinders, Kyle seemed to find his shot, and Jon led the team and really stepped into his shot well. It seemed to be a moment Jon has been waiting for his freshman year. Completely making amends and putting to bed the nightmares of tournaments past. This may be an unconventional team as far as Duke goes, but it’s team where the role players embrace their roles, and leaders who are willing to go out and lead, vocally and by example.
No one knows how the national championship is going to end, people need to stop calling Butler an underdog, that title should have been dropped the minute the tournament started. As far as basketball history perhaps Duke has an advantage but when that ball is tipped its 5 on 5 and the team who is hungriest, the team who used this journey to learn and teach is the team that will win. It’s only an upset on paper, this tournament has shown us. Just ask Kansas, Kansas State, Syracuse…there are no more mid-majors, there is no cinderella. I’m sure the sports writers want to call them that, that sells newspapers and magazines and such. Real basketball fans, ones that follow the sport top to bottom were watching this team from the get-go.
We have to admit the stage is set for Butler, game in Indiana, underdog status…Duke will really have to come out strong and stay strong.
|DUKE BLUE DEVILS|
|Kyle Singler, F||39||8-16||3-5||2-2||2||9||5||0||0||3||1||21|
|Lance Thomas, F||32||1-2||0-0||0-0||2||2||0||1||0||1||3||2|
|Brian Zoubek, C||27||3-4||0-0||0-0||5||10||3||0||0||0||4||6|
|Nolan Smith, G||34||7-16||4-9||1-2||0||1||6||0||0||0||3||19|
|Jon Scheyer, G||38||7-13||5-9||4-5||1||2||6||2||0||0||2||23|
|Mason Plumlee, F||8||1-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||1||1||0||2||2|
|Andre Dawkins, G||7||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Miles Plumlee, F||13||1-1||0-0||0-0||1||2||0||1||0||1||1||2|
|Ryan Kelly, F||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Davidson, G||1||1-1||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|