Talking Points: Devils drub Pack, Heels get needed win
Posted January 19
Updated January 20
1. After a shaky 2-2 start in conference play, Duke finally put together a dominating performance at the expense of NC State. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski continued the hockey-style line changes and played 10 different Blue Devils with double-figure minutes. The energy and aggressiveness from Duke's deep bench was the difference of the game.
Ultimately the Wolfpack couldn't handle "the D" for 40 minutes.
"I think the way they used their depth and pressure defense effected our inexperience and our short bench," head coach Mark Gottfried said after the game.
NC State coughed up 21 turnovers and the Blue Devils scored 33 points off those errors. Even in-bounding the ball proved difficult, with the Pack forced into timeouts as Duke kept up pressure throughout the game.
Duke also neutralized NC State's size advantage despite failing to grab a rebound in the opening seven minutes of the contest. The Blue Devils finished with a 14-11 advantage on the offensive glass and outscored the Wolfpack 42-38 in the paint.
Didn't realize that Amile Jefferson outscored Vandenberg and Anya combined. Had 8 rebounds to their combined 9 too.— Ben Swain (@thedevilwolf) January 18, 2014
2. So is Duke "back?" Let's wait and see before jumping to any conclusions. As impressive as the the Blue Devils were on Saturday, they'll get big tests on the road against Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the coming weeks. Duke will be in better position to pass those tests as long as Jabari Parker stays aggressive.
Very good news for Duke that Jabari has remembered he is allowed to shoot inside the arc in ACC play— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) January 18, 2014
Parker finished 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting and 7-for-10 from the line. He also pulled down seven rebounds and contributed to the Pack's turnover woes with three steals.
3. It's been a rough week for NC State. Their last second loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday is sandwiched by 30+ loss against Virginia and Duke.
N.C. State has two losses by 30+ points in ACC play, the first time that's happened for any team since 2004-05.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) January 18, 2014
The Wolfpack have a quick turnaround against Maryland on Monday night at PNC Arena, then welcome Georgia Tech and Florida State. These games are winnable on paper, but Gottfried needs to wring out as much defensive production out of NC State as he can if there's any hope of turning the season around.
While defense is the first priority in Raleigh, NC State also needs more consistency in the back-court.
Cat Barber was 2-for-6 against Duke. He was a combined 10-for-40 in previous conference games against Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Virginia and Wake Forest. Barber has turned the ball over 11 times in ACC play.
It's tough to gauge whether Gottfried has decided to go all-in with Barber running the offense since Tyler Lewis hasn't fully recovered from spending a chunk of the Wake Forest game throwing up.
4. George H.W. Bush became the first sitting or former president to watch Duke play basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The 41st President of the United States was in attendance to honor Krzyzewski for his work in the fight against cancer. Bush, now 89-years-old, was sitting in a wheelchair near the Duke bench and was helped up during a rousing standing ovation.
With H-Dub in the house, post game protocol was slightly different.
Very special friend just visited our locker room. Wow!!! What an honor. GREAT day. pic.twitter.com/E9D3rMWX1Y— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) January 18, 2014
5. Roy Williams tinkered with the starting lineup against Boston College, moving Marcus Paige back to point guard and putting Leslie McDonald on the wing. He also gave Jackson Simmons his first career start at North Carolina. It paid off for the offense as five Tar Heels hit double-figure scoring.
Paige lead the way with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting, while James Michael McAdoo was an efficient 6-for-9 from the field and got to the line ten times. With all this new-found balance, makes you wonder what might have been if a certain player was still on the roster.
P.J. Hairston has 22 points, six steals on 9-16 FG and 4-9 from three in his D-League debut.*sigh*— Brian Barbour (@tarheelblog) January 19, 2014
But that's all in the past. Living in the present, the Heels need to focus on the defense. North Carolina needed all the scoring they could get in order to keep Boston College at a distance. The Eagles lingered around despite 18 turnovers thanks to hitting five 3-pointers in the second half.
6. The Cameron Crazies have been coming to the same party for years now and in no way is that depressing.
Oh sure, they threw in some new material. There was a "Bilbo Baggins" chant directed at Tyler Lewis and "hide your cellphone" for Cat Barber. However, I'm at a loss as to why there's still farmer smack in 2014. The "culture, agriculture" taunts are especially ironic considering it's coming from attention seeking students who scream obscenities and wear hats that say "YOLO."
Given the recent academic soap opera in Chapel Hill, the Crazies at least have new source material to work with when North Carolina visits in March. Let's see what they do with it.