Blog Entry

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:06 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 1:53 am
NASHVILLE -- Someday my grandchildren will ask where I was the night the reigning national champion and top-ranked Duke Blue Devils lost to a Florida State team that had previously lost to an Auburn team that had previously lost to pretty much everybody -- my grandchildren will probably never ask that, I know, but just play along -- and I'll look those precious little things in the eyes and mumble four words: Talking to Festus Ezeli.

That's life in this job, huh?

You drive through snow and sit in a gym with weird bench placement because a game at Memorial between Georgia and Vanderbilt figures to be among the night's best, and by the end of the night you're sitting in a gym with weird bench placement watching a TV showing Florida State fans storming the court after an improbable 66-61 victory over Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils. I mean, Florida State lost to Auburn earlier this month, and Auburn might not win another game this season unless Cecil Newton has another son who can A) really hoop, and B) get eligible by February.

Short of that, I'm not optimistic.

Auburn stinks this season.

But Auburn somehow beat Florida State.

And now Florida State has somehow beaten Duke.

So let me tell you what it means and what it doesn't mean.

It means:
  • Duke is vulnerable without Kyrie Irving.
  • Ohio State will likely be the new No. 1 on Monday afternoon.
  • Kansas and Syracuse fans will spend Monday afternoon complaining.
It does not mean:
  • Duke is seriously flawed.
  • Duke was overrated.
  • Duke can't repeat.
Just as people were over-the-top with the Duke-might-go-undefeated talking point from November until about 45 minutes ago, folks will now spend a few days picking the Blue Devils apart. It's how we do things in 2011, and it's inevitable. So let me go ahead and address the question many will ask.

Question: Does Duke have problems?

Answer: Yes.

But Duke's problems are still probably smaller than everybody else's problems.

Don't ever forget that.

Duke took a bad loss on the road late Wednesday, sure. It happens in this sport. But the Blue Devils still have two All-Americans, a terrific supporting cast and the nation's most accomplished coach. So though I understand why you might be concerned that Duke couldn't do Wednesday what Auburn did last week, focusing too much on that fun little fact is good way to skew reality and lose sight of the larger picture.

Bottom line, the Blue Devils are still really good.

They're just not perfect.

But neither is anybody else.

So my guess is that they'll be just fine.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 9, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:30 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...


-"Congrats to FSU fans, but they seriously need to stop storming the court.  That just shows how far about these 2 schools are in basketball.

It's a big win for FSU, so they deserve the oppurtunity to storm the court if they want to.   Besides if this were on the grid iron, I could easily see the pathetic Dookie fans storming the field and tearing down the goal posts in some weak celebration.  Okay so Duke, much like my beloved Jayhawks, is steeped in basketball tradition.  That is all fine and dandy.  Both schools handle themselves accordingly and expect to win the big games.  Florida St. is not exactly a College hoops juggernaut, so their fans deserve the oppurtunity to relish a big win over the number one team in the polls.  Just as our schools would deserve the chance to celebrate a win over the number one ranked team in college football.  Give the FSU kids and fans a break, they deserve it, and quite being such a sour loser!

The fact of the matter is Duke is equal to OSU, KU, and SU.  They play ten games against any of those school and I'd bet even money the leave 5-5.  The top of the polls right now are just too evenly balanced.  OSU grinds it out.  KU is quietly maturing and peaking.  I haven't seen SU much, when I had the chance to watch a BE game (Georgetown vs. West Virginia)  this weekend or watch Barefoot Contessa I choose The Barefoot Contessa)  but I don't really care for the Big East, I hear SU plays pretty discipline basketball.  The fact of the matter is each team has strenghts and each team has weaknesses.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:28 am


I wouldn't be too sure about that KU fans. But, I guess you are basing that on sqeaking by Iowa State and Michigan. SU is far superior to any team Kansas has faced this year.  Either team could win depending on who is hitting the outside shots, but SU is a legitimate one seed, with a lot of athletes and the size to match any team in the country. Bill Self has had better teams playing against the SU 2-3 zone and has come up on the losing end most recently in 2008.  

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:27 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Duke looked weak and small in this game, as physical teams always give them problems. Don't get me wrong though Coach K gets his kids to play physical, but they usually lack the meat of the other physical teams. I still would say Duke was given the road to the finals last year and what better team to meet in the finals was for them, than Butler.

If Kansas, Syracuse, and Ohio State hold up there is no way Duke stays on the floor physicaly with these teams period.

Since: Mar 27, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:23 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Duke lost because they lacked an inside presence. They are going to stay in the top 4 and get a No. 1 seed in the East or Southeast (likely East) Region of the tournament. With an inside presence, they will make the final 4. Their main weakness is inside where they have height, but not a lot of strength. A team like Florida State with a lot of inside strength will give them problems. Assuming Duke gets their usual preference from the refs (which last night was not always the case; refreshing!), Duke is likely to win 30+ and have a good shot at repeating.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:12 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

So who, Mlknva, are you looking at as #1s?  Kansas, who will likely win the Big 12.  EITHER Syracuse or Pitt, who will win the Big East.  OSU, or whomever pans out as Big 10 champ--Purdue, perhaps?--and then where are they going to go?  Are you seriously telling me that a Duke team that wins the ACC, likely with no more than 2 losses and having beaten a no-doubt-soon-to-be-ranked UNC twice, is going to be overlooked for a #1 in favor of either the Big 10, the Big 12, or the Big East runner-up?  This ain't the BCS!

Let's face it.  With the way league play is going to hammer the Big East and Big Ten teams, all Duke and Kansas have to do is maintain.  You will not convince me that the Big 12 has a team that can seriously compete with the Jayhawks.  Sure, someone, somewhere--probably on the road--will beat them.  Maybe two someones--I could see Mizzou pulling it off, and maybe, just maybe KSU.  But that still won't be enough to cost the regular-season and tournament champion a #1.  Same goes for the ACC.

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:11 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Why does anyone complain? Case in point, last year. Kansas lost and UK was #1...UK lost and Syracuse was #1...Syracuse lost and Kansas was #1. In the end Duke was #1.

I could give a rats butt if Ohio St. is #1 on monday, afterall it is January! As a Syracuse fan, yes I think CUSE has a legit claim to the #1 spot.....but then again so does Kansas and Ohio St. all three are undefeated, heck throw in SDSU, they're undefeated too (ok I wasn't serious there, but NICE win vs. UNLV).

I am going to further this by saying, I don't care if Duke only falls to #3 and Syracuse stays at #4...again it's January and what's important at this point is winning conference games and getting the best seed possible for the dance. I think there are several teams that are playing at a level above everyone else and positioning themselves for a good tourney seed and a chance at a deep run in March. In no particular order here's my contender list:

Syracuse, Kansas, Ohio St., Duke, Pitt, Nova, Purdue....and dare I say it....SDSU, they look to be the mid's bright light this year.

Here's my watch out list:

UCONN, Marquette, ND, G'Town, Illinois, Wisc, Minn, KY, Vandy, Kst., Texas, Baylor, Washington, Missouri, BYU, Memphis, L'Ville, Maryland, Mich St., this list can go for a little while.....

By my thinking, the top is heavy, and the middle can beat you on any given day...the bottom can sneak one in there every now and again.

So like many CBB fans, what matters is conference tourney champs and most of all, the FINAL ranking of the year. The early and middle season rankings are for nothing more than bragging rights and trash talk (but I will admit it is fun).  

GO CUSE!!!!!

Since: Nov 19, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:05 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

You're right, please don't group SU with KU, SU is not even in the same ballpark as KU.  KU would run circles around SU, but "favey" would never admit to that!  Roch Chalk, Baby!

Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:41 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Duke is still a one seed caliber team. 
At this point, the statement is not true. Duke shoulds at least temporarily moved to a 2 seed. Pitt has a stronger resume and even though their Tenn loss was at home, it was a while ago and to a much better team than FSU.
All of this is of course meaningless, because PITT is about to go through a meat grinder! Syracuse, ND, Cinci, two W Virginia and two NOVA games.
Duke plays no ranked teams. In the end I would be surprised if Duke was not a 1 seed and Pitt is better than a 3 seed. But for now, they are not.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:28 am


No complaining just laughing

With the lack of presence that Duke has inside, they better shoot 50% behind the arc or they will be a short lived one seed. Their defense, Coach K and the refs will keep them in most every game but I saw at least three teams that played last night (not including FSU) that have more than enough to beat them, Pitt, KU and SU.   

Since: Feb 20, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:13 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Don’t group SU in with Kansas. SU is the real deal and is on a collision course with Duke for the finals. I think that would be one of the best finals in years.

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