Thursday, February 7, 2008

Notes on a Victory

and maybe the sky isn't Carolina Blue after all

An e-mail I wrote just as the game was ending:

y'know how everyone says about Duke-UNC that they hate but respect the other side? well i always thought that was bs. but then i realized as i was in my apartment living and dying with every call and unable to sit down for the last ten minutes that i there were probably carolina fans doing the exact same thing and we were both living and dying in the same moments and we had some connection and I could respect that. I still hate them but I can respect that passion. It must be like what opposing sides in war feel- hate but mutual respect earned on a razor's edge.

Because it was so true-I am not able to watch a Duke game of any importance with my friends out here and so last night I didn’t even try. I just locked myself in my apartment, turned off the lights, so I could rock back and forth, curse and yell at the tv, scare my cats into the other room over whatever their crazy mommy was doing, hopping up and doing strange dancings after each big play-I’m sure if I had been filmed I would have looked totally Brit to the outside observer.
But I now I just know that every other Duke fan and every other Carolina was feeling it so intensely as well and they would be the only ones who could actually understand what it means to have, for a few hours a game mean more than breathing.
It’s fantastic, especially when you win.
To Hate Like This is To Be Happy Forever

Barry Jacobs’ Take
Convention And Carolina Take A Beating

This was no classic moment in a cherished series, no game to remember for its twists and turns, its suspense and drama. Then again, what emerged from Duke’s 89-78 victory over the homestanding Tar Heels, the most points scored against North Carolina this year, will likely shape the remainder of the 2008 ACC regular season race.

And, most assuredly, the first clash between the ACC’s reigning powers will bolster each team’s expectation of success when they re-engage a month from now at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke continues to emerge as what coach Mike Krzyzewski said is a “very unconventional team,” finding its strength where others might see weakness. Basketball is usually played from the inside out – getting high-percentage interior shots and earning trips to the foul line have been coaching staples for a century. But this Blue Devil squad has inverted the formula, its success indicated by a 20-1 record, eight wins and no losses in the ACC, and a No. 2 standing in the national polls.

Krzyzewski has been informed by his sojourn as head coach of the U.S. Olympic team, where he trades ideas and stratagems with professional colleagues Mike D’Antoni of the Phoenix Suns and Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers, among others.

Instead of trying to force his 2007-08 squad into a mold that did not readily fit, Krzyzewski altered the mold.

These Blue Devils attack from the outside in, either by shot or drive. Leave too much space and Duke begins firing from the perimeter. Guard too closely and the Devils take the ball to the basket, garnering layups and fouls or passing unselfishly to a dangerous cadre of shooters who lurk around the 3-point arc like buzzards circling a promising snack.

Duke employed its preferred approach from the outset at the Smith Center, unleashing a barrage of 3-pointers against the more conventionally configured Tar Heels.

North Carolina feeds the ball assiduously to the low post, where Tyler Hansbrough wreaks havoc on defenses and Deon Thompson provides stylish accompaniment. Against Duke, 17 of the Heels’ first 23 points came from that pair.

Clemson extended UNC to overtime a month ago by deploying its deep corps of powerful frontline players to stifle Hansbrough. The arrangement essentially dared other Heels to pick up the scoring slack. Wing Wayne Ellington responded to the tune of 36 points, a personal best, as UNC won by a basket.

Duke made a different choice. With limited options in the low post, it harassed Hansbrough but ceded sufficient room for him to contribute 28 points and 18 rebounds. “The kid’s a great player,” Krzyzewski said. “He takes competitiveness to the highest level.”

Aided greatly by the absence of injured UNC playmaker Ty Lawson, the Blue Devils’ aggressive perimeter defense kept the remainder of the Tar Heels off balance. Exclude Hansbrough, and the Heels made a third of their shots (16-of-48).

“We knew Tyler was going to score the ball, but one of the keys to the game was that really no one else scored points or really did much,” said Duke freshman Kyle Singler. He contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds matched against Hansbrough. “We stand by our defense with great ball pressure, contesting the wings, just force people to be uncomfortable.”

North Carolina’s chief outside threats, Ellington and Danny Green, were a combined 1-11 on threes. Neither scored enough to threaten the two-basket working margin the Blue Devils maintained for most of the second half.

“We weren’t patient,” Roy Williams said of his UNC squad. “I thought we rushed our shots. We didn’t make them play defense.”

Duke also forced 20 turnovers, one short of North Carolina’s season high, and thereby negated any disadvantage on the boards. UNC's young big men Thompson, who fouled out in 18 minutes, and Alex Stepheson, with five turnovers and no assists, were repeatedly caught in uncomfortable situations away from the basket on both offense and defense.

The Devils themselves appeared relatively at ease amid the Dean Dome din. They took the lead for good midway through the period by hitting four consecutive 3-pointers, part of an 8-for-16 onslaught in the period. On the night, Duke hit 13 of 29 from long range, 44.8 percent accuracy. Junior guard Greg Paulus was 6 of 8 on threes, the highest output of his career.

“They got any shot they wanted,” Williams groused. “I don’t know very many times tonight that our defense dictated what shots they got.”

The North Carolina coach did pronounce himself “very impressed” with Duke, however. “They’ve got great chemistry,” he said. “The most disciplined team won the game tonight. The team that did most of the little things well won the game tonight.”

Clearly, though, the absence of Lawson, North Carolina fleet point guard, altered the equation. “You want everybody” able to play, Krzyzewski said. “And certainly you want the quickest point guard in the country to be playing. That has to hurt, no question about it.”

So Duke emerged with a victory, a two-game lead in the ACC race, and the confidence it can defeat UNC even on its home court. The Tar Heels came away from the game knowing that, with the return of Lawson, their catalytic agent, they will be a different and probably better team the next time they face the Blue Devils.

No doubt,but then it’ll be in The Greatest Place on Earth, Cameron Indoor. I can't hardly wait

This may interest only me but, then again most of the stuff on this site probably only interests me.
Here are some game notes from

No. 2 Duke defeated No. 3 North Carolina, 89-78, on February 6, 2008, at the Dean Smith Center. Duke improves to 20-1 overall and 8-0 in the ACC while the Tar Heels fall to 21-2 and 6-2, respectively.

Series Notes

  • Duke snaps a three-game win streak by UNC in the series, including a one-game streak in the Smith Center, and Duke now trails 127-97 overall and 13-10 in Smith Center all-time In ACC regular season play, Duke trails 85-76 in regular season conference play, including trailing 58-30 in Chapel Hill
  • Coach Mike Krzyzewski improves to an even 32-32 against North Carolina. [Ed. Note: Yay K!]
  • Duke’s 10 wins at the Smith Center are the most by any opponent in UNC history. In the ACC, Maryland has eight wins here, N.C. State five, Wake Forest four, Florida State and Georgia Tech three, Virginia two, Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech one apiece and Clemson has not won at the Smith Center.
  • Wednesday marked the 125th straight game that at least one team was ranked in the AP poll and 143 of the 159 match-ups since the inception of the AP poll in 1947-48. When both teams are ranked, Duke leads the series 32-31, including a 25-18 mark under Coach K. Duke is 20-18 when both teams are ranked in the Top 10 and now 3-3 when both teams are ranked in the Top 3.


  • Duke’s 20-1 record through 20 games matches the best start in school history.
  • Duke now has 43 seasons with 20 or more wins, including 23 under Coach K and a streak of 12 straight seasons.
  • Duke now has 33 wins against teams ranked in the Top 3 of the AP poll.

Win Streaks & Records

  • Duke has won 10 straight games overall and all eight of its ACC games at the mid-point of the conference season.
  • Duke is 8-0 in the ACC this season and now has a two-game lead in the ACC standings with North Carolina holding onto second place at 6-2.
  • Duke has now played in front of a sold out venue in 225 of its last 263 games.
  • Duke has won 24 of its last 34 games when both teams ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll.
  • Duke is now 19-11 in 30 games under Coach K when both teams are ranked in the Top 5 of the AP poll.

Duke In February

  • Duke is now 488-258 all-time in February, including 161-60 under Coach K. Duke has won six of its last seven and is 65-20 since 1997-98.
  • Duke is 3-1 vs. UNC on Feb. 6, including 3-0 all-time in Chapel Hill. The last Duke-UNC game on Feb. 6 was 48 years ago. Overall on Feb. 6, Duke is 16-13 on this date, including 4-2 under Coach K.

Team Highs & Lows

  • Duke scored a UNC opponent season high 89 points.
  • With 27 free throws, Duke matched UNC’s opponent high for the season.
  • Duke’s 47 points matched the most given up by North Carolina in a half this season.

Duke Offense

  • Duke was 13-of-29 from long distance against North Carolina, marking the ninth time this season the Blue Devils have connected on 10 or more from behind the arc and Duke is 9-0 in those games.
  • Duke had six players score in double figures including all five starters and Jon Scheyer off the bench. It was just the second game all season that six Blue Devils scored in double figures along with seven players in the season opener against N.C. Central.
  • Duke’s bench outscored North Carolina’s bench 22-4, including 17 points from Scheyer.

Duke Defense

  • Duke held North Carolina to just 3-of-17 from behind the arc, extending its streak to all eight ACC games holding opponents to four or less three-pointers. In ACC games, Duke’s opponents have connected on 28-of-101 (.277) from behind the arc.
  • Duke forced 20 turnovers from the Blue Devils while allowing 17 assists. It marked the 11th time this season Duke’s opponent has had 20 or more turnovers and is the 18th time in 21 games that Duke’s opponent has had more turnovers than assists.
  • Duke had 11 steals against North Carolina, marking the sixth time in eight ACC games Duke has had 10 or more steals. Duke is averaging 10.4 steals per game in ACC action.
  • Duke held North Carolina to 28-of-69 (.406) from the field, marking the 18th time this season Duke has held its opponent under 50 percent. Under Coach K, Duke has accomplished that feat 693 times in 925 games and is 613-80 in those game.
  • Duke was outrebounded by North Carolina by nine but were down 10 in the category at halftime. Duke outrebounded North Carolina 22-21 in the second half.

Coach K

  • Coach K is now 795-262 as a head coach, ranking sixth on the NCAA wins chart and second among active coaches. Only Eddie Sutton, who is fifth overall and tops among active coaches with 800 wins is ahead of him while first overall is Coach K’s college coach the recently retired Bob Knight, with 902 wins.
  • With 795 career wins in his first 33 seasons, Coach K is currently second on the NCAA’s list of most victories in a coaches’ first 33 season. He trails Dean Smith, who had 802 wins through 33 seasons.
  • Coach K now has 795 wins in 1,057 career games and is looking to become the third-fastest coach to 800 wins based on number of games. Adolph Rupp (972) and Dean Smith (1,029) are already out of reach and Bob Knight is currently third, accomplishing the feat in (1,102 games).
  • Coach K now has 722 wins at Duke and ranks seventh on the NCAA’s chart for most wins at one school. In sixth place is DePaul’s Ray Meyer with 724. Coach K is also second among active coaches behind Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (765).

DeMarcus Nelson

  • The senior scored 13 points, shooting 6-of-7 from the line with the majority of those down the stretch, and added five assists, four rebounds and a steal in just 23 minutes with foul trouple.
  • Nelson now has 1,160 career points and surpassed Carroll Youngkin (1959-71 – 1,154) to move into 39th on Duke’s career scoring chart. Immediately ahead is Tommy Amaker (1984-87 – 1,168).
  • Nelson now has 18 games in double figures this season including six straight and 13 of his last 14, and in 61 career games.

Greg Paulus

  • The junior led Duke with 18 points, connecting on 6-of-9 from the field and was 6-of-8 from behind the arc. He recorded a season-high tying four steals and added three assists and three rebounds, as well.
  • He now has 11 games in double figures this season, including five straight (and 10 straight games with nine-plus points). He now has 43 career games in double figures.
  • Paulus now has six games with three or more steals this season and 16 such games in his career.
  • Paulus now has eight games this season with three or more three-pointers and 21 such games in his career.

Jon Scheyer

  • The sophomore scored 17 points, including 7-of-8 from the line and 2-of-4 from behind the arc. He added six rebounds, three assist and three steals in 33 minutes off the bench.
  • Scheyer now has 12 games in double figures, including his first in the last five games, and 34 double figure scoring games in his career.
  • Scheyer’s three steals is a season high and the fifth time in his career he’s had three or more steals.

Kyle Singler

  • The freshman had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes while shooting 5-of-11 from the field, 3-of-6 from long range, and 1-of-2 from the line. He added two assists, two blocks and two rebounds.
  • Singler has 15 games scoring in double figures, including three straight and seven of his last eight.
  • Singler now has three games with 10 or more rebounds and three double-doubles, as well.
  • Singler now has four games with three or more threes on the season and he has hit at least one three in nine straight games, the third longest streak in the ACC.
  • Singler matched his season best with two steals.

Gerald Henderson

  • The sophomore scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out three assists and had two steals against the Tar Heels.
  • Henderson now has 17 games scoring in double figures this season, including seven of the last eight, and 24 in his career.
  • Henderson was just one rebound shy of his career high of eight.

Lance Thomas

  • The sophomore scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two blocks in 25 minutes while shooting 5-of-7 from the field against North Carolina.
  • Thomas matched his season high for points and now has two games in double figures and five in his career.
  • Thomas recorded a new career high with two blocks.
  • Thomas matched his season high with five rebounds.

With The Win, Duke Improved To...

  • 1,841-805 all-time, including 722-203 under Coach K
  • 504-270 all-time in ACC regular season play, including 280-123 under Coach K and 149-35 since 1996-97
  • 830-470 all-time against current members of the ACC
  • Duke is 171-43 outside of Cameron since 1997-98 and 80-24 in road contests and 85-24 in ACC road play since 1997-98
  • 240-240 all-time vs. ranked teams, including 160-110 under Coach K and 44-18 against ACC ranked teams since 1997-98
  • Duke improves to 12-21 vs. the No. 3 ranked team in the AP poll all time.
  • 253-47 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA
  • 899-227 all-time as a ranked team all-time, including 104-15 as the No. 2 team, 391-73 as a Top 3 team, 481-89 as a Top 5 and 757-170 as a Top 10 team

Oh and that's a 2 game lead in the ACC, most practically.
And with that this should be my first and only Carolina post of the day…unless of course

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