February 16, 2002

Steve Logan 41 - Southern Miss 37: You think all those NBA scouts still think he's too short? Also, is the best defense in the game (UC) the only hope anyone has against Duke come tourney time?

posted by mick to basketball at 08:15 AM - 4 comments

I'm still not convinced that UC ever deserves to be in the top 20. Their schedule is always weak. I wouldn't get too excited about beating Southern Miss. They are after all just Southern Miss. UC consistently gets ranked high year after year, when playing in one of the weakest conferences in the country, and then predictably fizzle in the tourney.

posted by ttrendel at 08:54 AM on February 16, 2002

As far as beating Duke... the way you beat great D is with great guards (Williams, Duhon) and mismatches (Dunleavy). Oh, and by playing good D of your own. No way Logan scores 40 against Dahntay Jones. So, Cinci doesn't scare me at all. Well, and what ttrendel said- they'll choke early in the tourney.
So, what can beat Duke? A team that is not afraid to run up and down with Duke. A team that has a pair of big guys to beat up Boozer, and that have a prayer of stopping Dunleavy. And a backcourt that is experienced enough not to turn the ball over against Williams and Duhon. That's Kansas, right there. They scare me. Like Cinci, though, Williams has a long and glorious history of extending the Smith-Fogler-Karl 'choke early, choke often' tradition, so... who knows. If they get that far, they scare me, a lot. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they beat Duke. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they fail to make it out of the 1-[4/5] game, though.
Other than that... well, Maryland also fills out the recipe above- good guards, big men. They've had problems with Dunleavy, though, and it remains to be seen if Dixon can score on Jones. [Dunleavy is who my KU friends are most afraid of as well, FWIW.] Sunday will be a huge test of that, of course. And outside of Kansas and Maryland? Duke would have to play very, very poorly (which of course can happen- see the Uconn game in '99) to lose to anyone else in the country. I don't think Williams will let that happen.

posted by tieguy at 11:11 AM on February 16, 2002

I'm about ready to call this season for Duke. That being said, Kansas really does look good, and it may just be the times I've seen them but they look a little lazy in the paint. Duke moves without the ball so well that I think they can handle them. Other teams that I've seen lately that have a puncher's chance against Duke: Arizona (Luke Walton has put it all together, and like always they have a really tall, really good freshman). UCLA, there's as much talent there as there is at Duke, without the requsite discipline, motivation and heart and Texas. The Longhorns play tremendous defense, when James Thomas is between the man and the basket, forget it. TJ Ford is going to be the first freshman to lead the nation in assists and they can juggle about a million lineups that feature good combinations of defense, shooting and penetration. Unfortunately, I think the real reason Duke would beat all these guys is Duke is always concentrating on being in the right place, and none of these other teams mentioned can maintain the same level of intensity on the task at hand for 40 minutes.

posted by pastepotpete at 12:15 PM on February 16, 2002

Well, just for the record: Maryland looked really good, and won with the recipe I predicted above. They used their big men to pound us inside, and their guards protected the ball well and harassed our shooters. I still think they and Kansas are the only teams that can do that to us. Luckily, it looks like they'll face each other on Saturday in the FF. If that's what Duke has to 'suffer' through for losing to Maryland... maybe Gary didn't win the coaching battle today :) (which otherwise he clearly did.)

posted by tieguy at 10:26 PM on February 17, 2002

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