Friday, January 14, 2011

game preview: Duke

Date/Time: January 15, 2:00


History against the Blue Devils: 48-112

Last matchup: Duke 57, UVA 46; 3/12/10

Last game: UNC 62, UVA 56 (1/8); FSU 66, Duke 61 (1/12)

Opposing blogs: Duke Basketball Report, Blue Devil Nation

KenPom rankings:

National: UVA #97; Duke #2
Offense: UVA #85; Duke #4
Defense: UVA #113; Duke #4

We gon' die.


- Perfection, and industrial-strength earplugs. For certain stretches during last year's ACC Tournament game, UVA was playing perfect defense. And hitting shots. This resulted in an even game. It was those spurts of imperfection that lost it. And it's one thing to do that when you're on a prove-yourself mission on a neutral court; it's another when you're coming off a loss that could've been a win and playing in Cameron. And most of your team is freshmen. If Joe Harris's freshman-ness caused him to be too tentative to take a wide-open shot in front of a friendly crowd, I don't want to see the result of the decision-making process in front of a hostile crowd.

- Incredibly aggressive man-to-man defense. Unfortunately, Tony Bennett's pack-line has a way of allowing open shots if it breaks down. For this game I'd like to see our defenders, especially the on-ball ones, get so far up into the grill of the ballhandler they can count the veins in their eyeballs. Might that cause some quicker players like Nolan Smith to blast on by for a layup sometimes? Probably. Might it cause some fouls? Probably. I'd still rather see that than Duke be allowed to shoot jumpers at will, because they have a nasty way of always falling. The hardest basketball team in the whole world to beat is Duke in a comfort zone. Harassing them into using up most of the shot clock is the way to beat the odds. Letting them run an offense is not.

- Make every shot. Obviously.


- In just about every way imaginable. Pick your favorite disaster scenario.


I think you know. UVA has a way of playing Duke tough more often than many teams do, but never at Cameron. The ACC is Duke plus eleven stooges this year, and their loss to FSU is likely to 1) be the last ACC loss this year and 2) piss them off. And FSU is an elite team defensively. It's not nice of ESPN to pick the road Duke game for one of their token national UVA exposures, but once this is over we can go back to trying to figure out where six more wins are coming from.

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