Monday, November 17, 2008

Duke Fights Back

(Photo courtesy

Duke Fights Back To Down Rhode Island 82-79

Analysis from DukeFanB:

Some things became apparent during the Duke versus Rhode Island game yesterday. Duke was not ready to play at the level which Rhode Island brought to Cameron. They played with determination throughout, and the Rams certainly did not look like a team that will finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Jimmy Baron, who apparently idolized J. J. Redick, brought back memories of some memorable Duke games during Redick’s tenure at Duke during his second half explosion in Cameron.

It is obvious why Greg Paulus is not starting and playing as many minutes as in the past. His defense is still lacking. Most duke fans had hoped by now that Paulus would have improved his technique to become a better defender. Nolan Smith has to get the lion’s share of minutes for Duke not to break down on defense. What many people fail to realize about Duke’s defense is that the pressure on the ball out front is an absolute. If this does not occur then wing players and post players appear to be weak on defense even when they are in proper position. This is why Duke looks so bad at times against people with better than average point guards.

Secondly, Gerald Henderson must assert himself more. Yesterday, he got in foul trouble. However, he must use his slashing and leaping ability to apply relentless pressure to opposing defenses. He also can be a lock down defender with his athleticism and quickness.

Additionally, Coach “K” should not revert to his often failure to properly utilize his bench which fails to develop experience and confidence for reserves that pays dividends in the future (March). It also leads to team stalwarts burning out both physically as well as emotionally.

Now for some positives: Kyle Singler appears to be on the road to becoming another special player. He is certainly the most versatile player Duke has had since Shane Battier. This is not a comparison; it is a fact. Save Luol Deng whose brief stay left fans depressed and Duke in a lurch, Singler could make this team rise to great heights.

Furthermore, John Scheyer played a great game and is rounding into what Duke has needed for quite some time. He along with Singler willed Duke to win on Sunday. That may be the most important key coming out of the Rhode Island game. In the past few years, Duke would have solely relied on the “three” and lost. This week should give more possible answers with a possible match up with UCLA.