Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bonner: Don't count Duke out just yet ...

Duke’s four-game losing streak and fall from The Associated Press’ top 25 can be attributed to two problems, veteran TV analyst Dan Bonner said Tuesday.

Bonner said the Blue Devils are defending well enough to win, with a .403 opponents’ field goal percentage that’s third-lowest in the ACC. But because Duke has trouble scoring, opposing coaches know they could have a chance to win at the end if they don’t allow Duke’s defense to frustrate them.

The two problems Bonner cites both are short-circuiting Duke’s offense. The Blue Devils don’t have a reliable low-post scorer or a player capable of penetrating and creating his own shot.
“Those are exactly the two things they do not have,” Bonner said. “If they just had one of them, they’d be OK.”

Bonner said Virginia and Virginia Tech, which are contending for first place in the ACC, are examples of teams that have just one of those qualities – guards who can penetrate – and have been successful.

Duke (18-7, 5-6 ACC) does have one of the better perimeter shooting teams in the ACC, with a 3-point percentage of .373 that’s third-best in the conference. But without a post scorer or penetrating guard to collapse the defense, Duke doesn’t get many open 3-point attempts.
Among ACC teams, only Virginia Tech has attempted fewer 3-pointers than the Blue Devils.
But Bonner said Duke is just a few plays away from having a much better record, as evidenced by an overtime loss at Virginia and a one-point defeat against Florida State.

“I don’t think it’s a disaster for Duke,” Bonner said. “I don’t think we’ve heard the last of them.”

– Ken Tysiac