Daily Dribble: Pittsburgh/Duke Thoughts

December 21st, 2007

Last night was one of the best night's of the college basketball season.. hopefully setting up what should be an even more exciting weekend. Here are a bunch of scatter-brained thoughts on the biggest game of all, Duke/Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh 65 - Duke 64 (OT)

- Well, Pitt shut me up pretty good. I really didn't give the Panthers much of a chance before the game, and even less of a chance 15 minutes into the game. But I can't quibble about their schedule anymore, this is simply a great win.

- With that said, I feel like as much respect as I gained for Pitt, I lost more respect for Duke. I kept thinking Duke threw away the game on the offensive end as opposed to Pitt wining it. But maybe that's just a faulty perception.

- The shooting percentages were hideous for both teams:
Field Goals: Pitt 35%, Duke 38%
Free Throws: Pitt 68%, Duke 54%
3-Pointer: Pitt 16%, Duke 21%

- And those numbers were after Duke started 6 of 8 from the floor and looked like they'd have no problems shooting the ball

- There was a lot of talk about all that Coach K learned in the summer from the National Team and the Phoenix Suns.. but by the end of the game, Duke's offense evolved or really devolved into simply having Gerald Henderson try to beat guys off the dribble while everyone else just kind of stood there.

- DeJuan Blair is a freakin beast. He definitely has some short-comings in his game, but he gives Pitt a level legitimacy and toughness that very few teams can match.

- What is DeJuan Blair on? Whatever it is, I need some. (I'm referring to his non-stop smiling as opposed to his size)

- Greg Paulus, where were you? ESPN can show the little cut under his eye all they want, but the kid had an absolute dud of a game. 5 turnovers, 3 points, 1 assist in 34 minutes. I don't even mind the lack of assists because the kid is simply just physically limited, slow, and has no ability to get to the hole. But when you come in shooting 50% from three, you have to get more than 2 shots off.

- As useless as Paulus was, his back up, Nolan Smith looked even more tentative and passive. Eventually Coach K just gave up on playing with a point guard at all.

- Man, Gilbert Brown can get up. I want him in my dunk contest.

- Both teams came out with ridiculous amounts of energy, really trying to make a statement. At half-time something changed, particularly for Duke. From the first possession of the 2nd half, they looked bored, complacent.. willing to just move the ball around the 3-point line with no purpose or intensity. The entire second half, Pitt played with a desire and sense of urgency that Duke completely lacked.

- This game was a bit like an NBA Playoff game between the Spurs and the Suns. When the intensity gets pushed up, the advantage tends to go to the half-court team instead of the run and gun squad.

- The benches on both team were non-existent.. though I'm not sure how Scheyer managed 12 boards. Combined, both benches were 5 of 32 from the floor. That's 15%!

- Jay Bilas was only mildly annoying last night, not as bad as usual. They only mentioned Paulus being a quarterback 6 times as opposed to the usual 20, so not so bad considering.

- David Cutliffe, who said all the right things when interviewed at the game, really has no chance of success with Duke football.

- Seeing Mike Cook writhing in pain was hard to watch.. one of the few times I wished I wasn't watching on a big HD screen. Hopefully he'll be okay.