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: Jan 8, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:58 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

You are right about how people argue on here and the things they argue about.  But in the case of strength of scedule between the Big XII and the Big East, I do not believe there is much of an arguement with the Big East having 7 to 8 teams in the top 25 and 5 within the top 10. 

Since: Sep 8, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:52 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

I was very surprised that FSU could even line up against Duke last night. Since the holiday break, FSU looked totally unmotivated in their losses to Auburn and Virgina Tech. They shot poorly, didn't execute offensively and at times couldn't buy a basket if they tried. However , it does show that FSU has some talent that was capable of beating a great team like Duke , who had an off night. FSU has done this before at home against Duke, only to get clobbered up there.
 FSU's defense will keep them in a lot of ball games this season, but if they don't become more consistent on offense, they will barely break five hundred . They will really have to hustle every game and remain highly motivated ! They are still not good enough to stroll along against anyone. Case in point, the Auburn game and the up and down showing at the Hawaiian Classic last December. I'm delighted with the win, but it is only one game. Can they do it the rest of the season or is this just another blur in the season !
  Congrats on the win ! The effort was there last night and greatly appreciated by all Nole Fans !

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:52 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Puke could lose to Our Blind (literally) Sisters of Amputated Limbs by 35 at Cameron, and Monday morning they would be ranked one spot lower, and have tools in the media making excuses why it doesn't mean they aren't the greatest thing since modern medicine, and spin it into one of those "not a bad loss" games.  As for Jay...Jayson....J-Z....whatever Williams talking how Duke would run the table, OK, right.  Not only can't Duke put a guy in the NBA worth anything, even the NBA washouts who suck up to a job on national TV end up sucking.

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:51 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Kansas and Syracuse fans will spend Monday afternoon complaining.

Gary...I don't know about your bust on KU and SU fans, but agree with you on the loss to Duke means litlle in the larger scheme of things.  Duke is still a one seed caliber team.  

What this does mean to me is "No B games allowed".  Bring your A game every night.   

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:42 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

Duke will drop to 2 or 3 at the most. When they lose they never drop more than 1 or 2 spots ever, even losing to an unranked team.

Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:20 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

I agree 100%...  It's good to lose in all honesty.  It makes you hungry, it takes the "undefeated" pressure off.  You dont get an extra trophy for going undefeated, but the pressure certainly mounts as you approach FEB/March with a perfect record.

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.

Could you see Duke fans storming the court if FSU was ranked number 1?

I couldn't.

I just feel sorry for the next team that has to come to Cameron.

PS.  Irving makes all the difference for this team and our flaws last night were magnified without him.  Can we still win it all?  Probably.  But the odds improve tremendously with him in the lineup.

Nolan is simply not a point guard.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 4:32 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

and, if this year is anything like last year, Kansas fans will shut up when their team makes another early exit in the tournament.  You too, Orange fans.  Let's face it, one loss is not the end of the world--unless you're a Kentucky fan--and in-season rankings are meaningless.  Syracuse and Kansas will be 1 or 2 seeds, right there with Duke, and with the new format, you all get a play-in doormat in round one.  Hush, little Jayhawks; sleep quietly, little Orangemen.  Your day is coming.

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2011 4:25 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...


Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 2:20 am

So I was at Vanderbilt one night and ...

we dont HAVE to complain, but he's right. If this year is anything like last year SU and KU fans will go at it complaining about who should be ranked higher than whom, who has the harder strength of schedule, Big XII vs Big's usually pretty funny to sit back and read

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2011 1:41 am

Why Complain?

Why do Kansas fans have to complain? We know as well as you do that Ohio State will lose and we'll get our turn, then we will lose and Syracuse will be number 1. Everybody will make a big deal about this and Duke fans will be all bristly, but deep down all the big time programs and their fans know the losses are coming. You just have to have a short memory and go back out there the next date and play your best ball. I fully expect Duke will do that.

The only time it really matters when your number 1 is after the tournament is over. Ask Kansas fans about that, I remember Marios sweet shot more than I remember the team we lost to last year. Duke can soothe themselves knowing that, they may be ranked 4 but they are still the Champs.

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