I had written a post on this debacle in Cameron where I just lambasted and criticized and vented but what would really be the point of that? Duke lost, Duke got whupped we all saw it and as fans we were all embarrassed by it but where does this team go from here?
Firstly, all the credit to Miami I knew their guards would be trouble as per most Duke teams quick and athletic guards are our downfall, it has always been and will always be. One thing I will be critical of is what I saw on some occasions as a lack of effort. I saw plays where guys decided to question refs instead of running down the court to play defense. That isn’t what Duke is about and I hope Coach K addresses that in earnest.
As I said in the last post, winning hides a lot. Duke has been exposed and right now this team has it’s pants around it’s ankles. Nothing has improved since the N.C. State game and I’m not sure that anything will before the Louisville game. This team could conceivably lost 4 straight games. Some of this is a function of youth, in my opinion. These are players that have not been through the intensity of league play, I get that but at some point talent needs to meet up with hustle and desire and they have to push through. There really isn’t much excuse for the turnovers, there really isn’t much excuse for that many dunks, open layups and open shots in your own gym. This team has not played well since the holidays and perhaps it all came to easily before that. I’m not really sure but Coach K and the brain trust have not been able to reach this team.
Some parts of this game were just inexplicable. Shooting 50% from the free throw line? 10 of 20 means 10 points left at the table that makes this a competitive game. 15 turnovers, 12 off of Miami steals. There really isn’t anything that Duke did well in this game.
This team lacks fluidity on offense, there seems to be a lot of Jahlil watching much like there was Jabari watching last year. No one seems to want to take the reins and no one is shooting particularly well – which is fine, it happens but if you aren’t shooting well then players need to do the little things to assure more possessions and be strong with the ball. Duke is turning the ball over at a much higher rate.
Jahlil is a great talent but the coaches have to understand that teams are going to do whatever it takes to shut him down, now that there is a blue print I’m not sure why we saw the exact same issues in this game as we did in the N.C. State game.
If Duke was a half decent defensive team these glaring issues on offense wouldn’t be such a dire issue. There seems to be zero level of defensive skill being displayed it’s as if they are playing defense for the very first time. I’m not going to laud any players in this post because I’m not sure anyone deserves it.
I will say that there is talent on this team and a lot of it, this is a young team and unfortunately a team without a lot of depth. Unless Duke can develop consistent play from its bench but also get staunch defensive efforts from its starters we may see a lot of these losses. Every other team with Duke on the schedule is licking its chops and now that the blueprint has worked twice look for every other team to follow suit. I have faith that the ship will right but it’s going to take a lot of work.