Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thoughts on the Duke game

1. Indiana is a good enough team to beat Duke at home in front of a crazy crowd like that, even without DJ, and I'm disappointed that we didn't do it. Duke is a really good team, and Reddick is amazing, but Indiana and Duke are close enough that the home court advantage should have made the difference. That's encouraging (I think we're good) and disappointing (we lost) at the same time.

2. Some of Killingsworth's seven turnovers were caused by bad passes from guards - at least 3 of them, by my count. He was amazing. And I liked that we took what the defense was giving us. Krzyzewski said he felt that could survive with Marco hitting two-pointers, but not with everyone else hitting 3-pointers, and he was right... but just barely. Our offensive efficiency was 1.09 last night. Lower than the ridiculous numbers we've put up the last three games, but perfectly respectable against a defense like Duke's. Duke's offensive efficiency was .98, by the way.

3. Let me be the first to admit that I was afraid that Davis would be immensely stupid this season and play a small lineup and sub Marco and DJ for each other.... and now I'm wondering whether that'd be such a bad idea. Sure, I want them on the floor together quite a bit, but I have to admit that I really like what Vaden brings to the 4 -- depending on the competition. He didn't have a great night last night (8 pts, 7 assists, 2 steals), but I'm impressed with how well he plays defense in the post. In terms of mismatches, I think we'll get the better end of that deal most nights. And clearly we don't want to play Marco more than 30 minutes a game.

4. Before the season, like everyone else I was worried about our PG play, just hoping that either Monroe or Calloway would be decent. Well, I couldn't be happier with how things have turned out - both are significantly better than decent, and will just get better as the year goes on. Calloway really impressed me last night. It was a huge game and he was up to the challenge. Yeah, he made a couple bad decisions, but overall I thought he was very solid, and his quickness caused Duke some problems. And that's not even mentioning how well Suhr has played (though last night was clearly not the type of game where Suhr is going to excel). We clearly are not going to need to fallback on Strickland again at PG, which is great because...

5. ...I'll admit it, I was one of those predicting that Strickland was going to end up riding the bench by the end of the season because Ratliff was going to steal his SG job and Monroe was going to steal his PG job. I'm eating crow on that one now. He didn't have a good game last night, but he still impressed me. He hit some big FTs, he didn't make mistakes, he didn't force shots (a welcome change of pace from our SG), and that's what we needed. Duke's defense was designed to prevent Strickland from getting open 3s, and they succeeded, and Strickland didn't try to shoot a bunch anyway. Basically, Strickland looked like a senior out there.

6. Sean Kline was overmatched last night and still a little hobbled, but IMO the Assembly Hall crowd should give him a standing ovation everytime he enters and exits a game this season to make up for last season's absolutely classless booing.

7. When DJ White returns and gets back in playing shape, I think Indiana is a Top 10 team. Based on what I've seen of MSU this season, I think Indiana has an excellent chance to win the B10 outright.

8. It annoys me when fans don't give the opposing team any credit for influencing the game. As if Indiana should be able to play however they want to play regardless of what the opponent is doing. Especially when the opponent happens to be #1 and coached by one of the best coaches ever. Duke is not going to let you play the way you want to play. You have to figure out how to take advantage of whatever it is they are doing defensively. Indiana did exactly that. It wasn't enough, admittedly, but it was the right thing to do and they did it. And Indiana did the same thing to Duke. Other than the early 16-2 stretch, Indiana played some very good defense, particularly in the second half when they did a GREAT job of disrupting Duke's offense.

9. Did anyone see MSU and GTech get 20 turnovers between them in the first 15 minutes of their game? I think they got called for about 8 walks. Even teams with excellent coaches get rattled in games like this.

10. Assembly Hall was beautiful last night.

No comments: