Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No more calling Duke 'soft'

A different story line is emerging this week as No. 6-ranked Duke (6-0) prepares to visit Wisconsin at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The traditional take on Duke against a muscular team like Wisconsin in recent years would to examine whether the Blue Devils can use their speed and perimeter shooting to offset their opponent's physicality. But a look at the lineups for Wednesday's game shows that Duke is just as beefy as the Badgers.

Centers Miles Plumlee of Duke and Jon Leuer of Wisconsin both are listed at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Wisconsin does have an edge in girth at power forward with 6-8, 245-pound Keaton Nankivil against Duke's 6-8, 225-pound Lance Thomas.

But at small forward, Duke's Kyle Singler is 6-8 and 235 pounds and has an advantage of two inches and 27 pounds over Tim Jarmusz.

The Blue Devils also will have Brian Zoubek (7-1, 260) and probably Mason Plumlee (6-10, 230) coming off the bench.

"We're big," said Duke guard Nolan Smith. "So we have to be physical. Our big guys, they have a lot of fouls to give. With Zoubs, Lance, Miles, and whenever Mason comes back (from a fractured wrist), we have a lot of fouls to give with our big guys. So they can be as physical as they want and not worry about their playing time. We're going to take fouls and we're going to be physical against teams. So no more calling Duke 'soft.' "

Coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged before the season that Duke has not been a strong rebounding team in the past. But this season, the Blue Devils are outrebounding opponents by 9.8 rebounds per game after demolishing Connecticut on the boards in a win Friday in the NIT Season Tip-Off final.

Thomas, a senior, said Duke is prepared to establish a physical presence again at Wisconsin.

"I'm not backing down from any one of those guys," Thomas said, "and I'm not going to let my teammates (back down)."

In other words, Duke won't rely just on its skill, because it has the size to match even a physical team like Wisconsin.

Ken Tysiac


Sean said...

Finally, they are forced to play a game outside the friendly confines of Cameron and Cameron North (Madison Square Garden). I hope they get shellacked. Paper Tigers for most of a decade now. It's no wonder they disappear come tournament time...they almost never play on the road (and of course K isn't bright enough to realize you need a bench and starters that haven't played 38 minutes a game all season).

James said...

Wahhh, Sean. You must be a Tar Heel fan. I suppose I'd be a bit grouchy if I was looking at another loss tonight, especially in the Dean Dome. Hope your boys enjoy being 6-2 this early in the season and remember, those are only the first of many, many losses for a shockingly mediocre team this year.

Duke will roll against Wisconsin tomorrow night, winning by 10-15 points.

Sena said...

LOL, I'm not a Heel. That's kind of sad if that's the best response you've got.

But if I were, I would be looking at national championship banners instead of creampuff regular season schedules.

Enjoy another inflated regular season ranking on your road to a pre-Sweet 16 loss, Dookie.

J. Eric Elliott said...

Well, I'm a Tar Heel fan. And even I have to disagree with Sean. Any coach that wins three national championships and has stood toe-to-toe (or on our toes) with my Heels as often as Coach K certainly knows his stuff. A stronger Duke team is an annoyance when they beat us, and a source of pleasure when we return the favor. The Heels are looking mediocre only compared to last year's brilliance - they'll be humming by tourney time. Beef up, Devils; Beef up, Heels! Best of luck to you both and the ACC this week!

Sean said...

I'm not saying K is a bad coach. I'm saying he squanders his advantages. With the recruiting advantages he has, he should be 12 deep and getting to the Final Four every other year at least. But look at what he's done since around 2001 when the games get real. Paper tigers.

Wade said...

Carolina fans care about post-season success. Duke fans care about accumulating wins. A young inexperienced UNC team is going to be dangerous when it matters the most. Even if the final score is not in UNC's favor, they still win because what the team needs most is experience. The payoff will be in the NCAA tournament. That is where UNC will have experience against the elite.

A number on the W-L column is less important in December than it is in March.

Cliff-Baton Rouge said...

I'm guessing Sean and "Sena" are the same person? I'm not a heel or a Dookie. Looking from the outside in, Carolina looks very inexperienced and with less talent than recent years. But hey, I would love to have UNC's talent down here in Baton Rouge! I guess its all in prospective. UNC isnt as talented this year when comparing it to the elite (KANSAS, UK, DUKE, UCONN, UNC, MSU,etc, etc)and Duke seems to me to be rather loaded for the first time since the Duke teams that had Sheldon Williams, JJ Redick and Chris Duhon.

Anonymous said...

"Sean", you are calling K "not bright enough"? The man has won three national titles. While Duke hasn't won a title in years, to question a West Point grad's intelligence, especially one who's exhibited some serious smarts as a coach, kind of makes you look silly. Keep hating, internet smart guy! lol

James said...

Not a Tar Heel fan, eh? Who's your team, then?

I don't really think Duke's non-conference schedule has been that much easier than anyone else's. I doubt many would consider either Arizona State or UCONN much of a pushover.

I would prefer to see them play tougher opponents early on, but the majority of the top programs do start with rather easy schedules. I think Coach K realizes that the regular season ACC schedule is among the most difficult in the country and if that doesn't challenge his team, very little else will.

Like I said before, I foresee a Carolina loss tonight against an inspired MSU team and a 10-15 point Duke victory over Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

Go pack!!!

Anonymous said...

dook fans should be asking themselves how in world they are playing wisconsin to begin with. just another in a long line of gifts in the challenge. dook is the favorite or co-favorite in the acc and their are 6 teams in the big10 ranked ahead of wisky.

another pathetic display of dook favortism by the powers that be.

James said...

Well I'm ready to eat some crow. Carolina played like the team we all expected to see at the start of the season last night. If they can keep it up, they'll certainly do well. The only problem I foresee is that teams with gobs of freshman/sophomore talent are often inconsistent and I think that will be Roy's biggest challenge in coaching this team the remainder of the season.

Anonymous said...

So how'd that game turn out last night?

It's weird, when you play on the road, you don't seem to get all the calls. And you lose.

Paper Tigers.

Sean said...

So how'd that game turn out last night?

It's weird, when you play on the road, you don't seem to get all the calls. And you lose.

Paper Tigers.