It was one step back after two steps forward for a Blue Devil team where each win crucial. A win at Miami and the talk starts to trend toward a possible tournament birth a loss and thoughts start to ruminate about next season. In what was a very winnable game the young Devils regressed in a 2 point loss to a struggling Hurricane team. In his post game presser Coach K alluded to the softness of his team and while he took a good chunk of the blame for not being able to get his point across to his young team he also didn’t absolve them of responsibility. Yes they are a young team and prone to the mistakes of a young team – such as believing they are better than they are because they won two in a row. That type of short-sightedness is a hard lesson to teach a young squad clearly and the mistakes on the court Monday night showed it implicitly.
Duke after seemingly getting over the hump with double figure turnovers in their last game had 13 against the Hurricanes leading to 14 points. The Hurricanes had a 14 to 4 edge in fast break points as Duke defensively only showed up in spurts. While 13 turnovers isn’t a backbreaking amount a huge chunk of them were unforced turnovers and live ball turnovers leading directly to Miami points.
For their parts Wendell Moore Jr. and Matthew Hurt showed up – scoring 18 and 21 points respectively and between them only turning the ball over 3 times but it wasn’t enough to overcome the lack of intensity and the overall meh of there product that was on the court as a whole for the Blue Devils.
With very little time left to right the ship one wonders if this focus will turn to preparing the possible returnees for next season or if this team has the heart to fight for a spot in the tourney or at very least to save face. There is a lesson that Coach K has been struggling to impart to his younger players and he summed it up thusly, “I give them the example of, the game of basketball is a great game and had been great to me and I love it passionately, but the game that I’m talking about is the game, like tonight is the game. That single game is the most selfish thing in our game and it’s selfish because it does not care what you did in the previous game. It doesn’t care what you’re going to do in a future game and if you don’t come completely immersed in it, it will not reward you.”