Monday, March 7, 2011

Krzyzewski: 'Confidence is not our problem'

CHAPEL HILL – Following Duke’s 81-67 loss to North Carolina on Saturday night, a reporter asked coach Mike Krzyzewski about his team’s confidence.

The Blue Devils had been ranked No. 1 in the nation a week earlier, but lost two of their last three games to close out the regular season.

“We’re 27-4,” Krzyzewski said in a defensive but somewhat humorous tone. “I would think we’re fairly confident. Does it look like we’re not confident?”

“Some games,” the reporter replied.

“Some games?” Krzyzewski said. “The 27? When we were not ranked No. 1?

“We’re a confident team. Just because you miss shots, it’s not about confidence. Sometimes you miss shots. If you’re not confident, you don’t take the shots. Confidence is not our problem. We’re OK.”

The Blue Devils have been derailed by missed shots, particularly 3-point shots for forwards Kyle Singler and Ryan Kelly.

Singler has been a good 3-point shooter for most of his career. But he has made just six of his last 33 3-point attempts. In the recent losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina, Singler was a combined 1-for-12 from 3-point range.

Kelly has been a good 3-point shooter at times for the Blue Devils. He made eight 3-pointers in a row against ACC opponents during one stretch. But he shot a combined 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

When Singler and Kelly are hitting from the perimeter, Duke can be as good as anyone in the nation. If Singler and Kelly are cold, Duke might have difficulty getting past the regional semifinals in the NCAA tournament.

Without a strong low-post scorer, the Blue Devils depend on 3-pointers to win when they play opponents with formidable big men.

“We have to hit threes,” Krzyzewski said. “Because they [the Tar Heels] are bigger than we are. You’re not going to score on them inside. So you’ve got to hit threes.”

But in order to hit threes, you have to be confident. So it makes sense that Krzyzewski would say he has a confident team.

His best strategy is to continue showing his players that he believes in them, in hopes that they will break out of their slump at the perfect time.

“Look, we’re not starting over or anything,” Krzyzewski said. “Our kids have had a [heck] of a season. I’m OK with my team.”

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

You know your one of the best programs in the country when reporters start panicking over a 27-4 record. Yes theyve lost 2 out of 3 going into the ACC tournament. But theyve got the experience of hostile environments and close games. Not winning the national championship does not make it a wasted season. If that was the case every single basketball program would have quite a few wasted seasons. Duke is still a good team capable of winning it all.

Anonymous said...

Actually you are wrong Duke has no chance of winning it this year, outside of Nolan Smith their roster is unathletic and will not get by more athletic teams in tourney. Im not even a UNC fan but after watching both games this year they are easily the better team...

Anonymous said...

Well saying they wont win the championship is based on your version of fact. As of right now they have not been eliminated and are still potentially a #1 seed, if they can win the ACC tournament. Alot of people wrote them off last year about this time too. So actually, you are wrong sir. Also, the Plumlees are very athletic. However being athletic doesnt make you a great basketball player. And to the contrary, Nolan Smith isnt all that athletic compared to a Gerald Henderson or Vince Carter. He just shoots well and knows how to finish drives. So sir, please dont assume that Im saying Duke WILL win it all, because I know not. But they do have a chance. To say they have no chance would be statistically incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Anon's right, this season's record and season trajectory is more or less a carbon copy of last year's Duke championship season (even with Kyrie out).

Anonymous said...

I just want the Heels to have to face Kyrie Irving one time. One time....