In my post yesterday, I talked about how Duke was going into a trap game against Michigan. My fears were realized this afternoon as Duke was outworked by a tough Michigan team. No disrespect against Michigan, but Duke really shot themselves out of this game. They gave it away. Throughout the entire game, Duke was content throwing up three pointer after three pointer. Even though they continued to miss, that didn’t stop them. This has been the story in just about every game this season. Duke is very good at penetrating and making plays in the paint. However, even if they are cold from beyond the arc they won’t stop shooting. I really don’t understand why Coach K doesn’t pull the choke chain on his players. The entire game I was waiting for him to blow up on his players for continuing to shoot, but it never happened. He simple let them lose the game. Maybe he is teaching them a lesson, and it is a great time for these types of lessons. A lose in December, isn’t as bad as a lose in February or March. It is still frustrating to see this team get away from something they do so well, and try to do something that they aren’t very efficient in doing. Stop shooting, and slash to the damn basket.
Michigan’s attack on the offensive in really hurt Duke all game. That famous Princeton style offense, is the kryptonite to a strong pressure style defense. Duke wasn’t up to the task.
If you look at the score board, it is pretty even. However, for the first time in a long time Duke wasn’t able to get to the free throw line. That might be an understatement as Duke shot 6 free throws to Michigan’s 22. And of course the 3pt% was absolutely horrid. Duke was 7-33 from three point range.
Until Duke learns that their strength lies in penetrating, they will beat themselves. Scheyer, Smith, and Henderson should be driving every time they get a chance. And Singler should just let the offense come to him and continue crashing the boards. It isn’t complicated with this team.
Hopefully, Duke learned something from this game. They have a long break (11 days) before their next game, and then a quick turnaround to that all important game against Xavier.