Blog Entry

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:37 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:20 am
 


Posted by Matt Norlander

We've been spared the conversation, thankfully.

That cheap, made-for-talk-radio and easy-fodder-for-columns topic that would've flooded the airwaves and Internet and newspaper pages had Duke made it to February, flawless: Can the Blue Devils go undefeated?

No, they can't. And they never could. Especially after the team's chances dipped significantly in the wake of Kyrie Irving's toe injury, causing the phenomenal freshman point guard to sit out indefinitely. Tonight, his presence was sorely missed.

Tonight — the first evening college basketball really got to itself now that college football season is over — Florida State gave the general public something terrific: an upset over American's most well-known college basketball team. It was terrific. It was an ugly game (just how Florida State wanted it), but Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles ended the Blue Devils' undefeated campaign with 66-61 grinder of a game in Tallahassee.

It's the fourth win over a No. 1-ranked team in FSU history; three of those victories have come against Duke, at home; the 'Noles pulled off upsets in 2002 and 2006.

How'd it happen? Well, in a way, the Blue Devils sort of just showed up and accepted their fate. I'm not saying they didn't try, but they looked off all night. They lacked fire and certainly lacked toughness and hustle (gasp!) at times. There was a lot of sloppy play — 30 total turnovers — and amid that mess Duke tried to shoot the 3 in order to win.

Of course that's a tactic which has become a Duke staple for more than a decade now ... but against FSU, it wasn't the way to go. Mike Krzyzewksi's boys shot 11 for 35 from beyond the arc (accounting for 57 percent of the Devils' shot selection), attempting to win by playing around Florida State's biggest strength: interior defense. Nobody is better at swatting shots than the Seminoles, and few teams are better, all-around, from a defensive standpoint.

Down the stretch Duke kept it close but the Seminoles stood tall, which was refreshing to see from a team that recenty lost to Auburn, the worst BCS team, by a mile, out there. While Duke was heaving 23-footers, Florida State went 5 for 6 from the foul line in the final minute of play. Some issues for Duke have surfaced (Mason Plumlee, pick up that white courtesy phone, please), but those are things for another post. I am ashamed to say I hedged on the possibility of this happening when I wrote this piece on FSU a couple weeks back. But before the game tonight, I almost went there!

Finally, it's time to play "Let's! Get! Obvious!" by stating: Going undefeated is just so hard to do. Harder to do in college basketball than college or pro football. Duke was the latest elite team to show us why.

Now we wait on Ohio State, San Diego State, Kansas and Syracuse to give us their demonstrations as further proof.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

Norlander mails another column in by repeating an often reported story line. I wonder if he has a bag of "Top Rated's First Loss" Newspaper Headline clippings in a bag. If so he pulled the "Nobody goes undefeated" clip out this time. It's a good one in that it allows you to later mail in an "I told you so" column when your prediction comes true. It's not like anyone has ever gone undefeated in NCAAM BK (Although I seem to remember UCLA and a coach named Wooden having a streak, I must be getting senile).

Another clip in the bag is probably the "Nobody gets through this conference unscaithed" story line. I've seen that one being predicted for the Buckeyes, Jayhawks and Orange already.

Further there might be the "Upsetting team was playing unexpectedly ferociously, it was thier championship game" story line. This is only legit in Conference Tournament but often used when a Top 10 team is knocked off by an unranked team at any time.

Supporting story line is "Without injured star player, Ranked team was off thier game", Norlander and others used a little of this ironically today, after a week or two of we readers being fed "Duke still #1 and Unanimously Without Injured Player" columns.

I'm sure other readers can spot these cliche inspired columns and come up with as many examples as I am remembering but am too lazy to keep typng about.



Since: Mar 3, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

Auburn also lost to Presbyterian at home and even worse opponents. They are both really bad along with DePaul. Depaul may have lost to better teams but they also don't have any top 100 rpi wins. Order those the worst 3 in any order.

Ha, you gotta throw Oklahoma into the mix.



Since: Feb 5, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:51 am
 

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

Auburn? No, the worst Power Six team is Wake Forest, and it's not even close. Wake has managed to lose at home to
Presbyterian, Stetson and Winthrop.
Auburn also lost to Presbyterian at home and even worse opponents. They are both really bad along with DePaul. Depaul may have lost to better teams but they also don't have any top 100 rpi wins. Order those the worst 3 in any order.






Since: Jun 14, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:36 am
 

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

The Dukie fans should have known this was gonna happen.. They had a lil hangover from the last game, should have lost to Maryland.
Duke is a really good team but to repeat they're gonna have to play more inside ball.. They shot way too many 3's in this game tonight. Live by the 3, die by the 3!!



Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:28 am
 

Undefeated no more: Duke goes down

Auburn? No, the worst Power Six team is Wake Forest, and it's not even close. Wake has managed to lose at home to Presbyterian, Stetson and Winthrop.


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