Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blue Devils' exit wasn't a shock

Perhaps the most telling thing about Duke’s second-round NCAA tournament loss to West Virginia Saturday was that it wasn’t a shock.
There has been a sense in recent weeks that the Blue Devils, who were so good through the first two-thirds of the season, were trending the wrong way. They were and it caught up to them in the Verizon Center.

The Duke players felt it.

Kyle Singler said something was missing near the end and it showed when Duke couldn’t reverse the action in the second half when West Virginia took control.

DeMarcus Nelson couldn’t make anything good happen. He kept trying but nothing changed.

Without an interior scoring threat, Duke was limited. Gerald Henderson has turned into an outstanding player and can score off penetration, but with Nelson in a funk, Duke had no other options inside.

When West Virginia limited Duke’s success from behind the 3-point line, the Blue Devils were done.

Part of the secret to success in the NCAA is how teams are playing when they get there. West Virginia has been getting better in large part because forward Joe Alexander keeps getting better. The Mountaineers didn’t rattle when they fell behind early and they’ll be a handful next weekend in Phoenix.

Duke, however, couldn’t reverse the slide that started with its homecourt loss to North Carolina two weeks ago. The Blue Devils weren’t bad but they didn’t have the little extra that made them special earlier in the season.
It showed at the end.

- Ron Green Jr.


Anonymous said...

It proves DOOK was overrated and seeded way too high!

Anonymous said...

It proves that a team can be beat when they have poor shooting! REALLY!?!? By the way this is a UNC fan.