Giving Devils their due
Ask and ye shall receive. Last week a loyal 'Bag reader claimed that 9-0 Duke (Duke!) wasn't getting enough attention after the Blue Devils' fast start. And while we'd hardly say that
First off, it's clear that the tactical changes in Durham this season represent one of the biggest transformations of
"We talked a lot this summer and [Coach K] said he was going to open it up more," D'Antoni told reporters in Phoenix recently. "I told him, 'Be careful, they might kick you out of the Hall of Fame for that.' You can't go being a rebel now."
Transition basketball suits Duke's personnel well. No, there isn't an Amaré-quality big man or a
I really do think K will keep using his depth into ACC play. The three Duke freshmen (Singler, King and Smith) are too good to sit, and the style Duke is playing benefits from using more players. As for the biggest concern -- the lack of a really good big man (
That said, it's good to see a Duke freshman class that's actually meeting (and even exceeding) expectations, and it's refreshing to see a Hall of Fame coach who's willing to change with the times instead of just running the same old things year after year. This will be a fun season in Durham.
If you're talking about impact freshmen playing on legitimate Final Four contenders (at this point), there aren't many. You already know plenty about UCLA's
I'd withhold judgment for now. The Memphis-USC game was a mess thanks to the triangle-and-two junk defense that
Texas is certainly one of them, although Texas A&M would also stand to benefit from a Little Rock-Houston-San Antonio run. (Keep in mind, though, it's not a failsafe advantage, as A&M learned by losing at the San Antonio Regional last year.) Tournament positioning should be yet another side-plot to this year's North Carolina-Duke rivalry (which will be hotter than ever with both teams being so good and the leftover bile from the
Also, Michigan State may have the chance to play in the Midwest Regional at Detroit's Ford Field, and if Arizona continues its upward trend it may be able to take advantage of the West Regional's location in Phoenix.
You'd be surprised how much pressure programs are putting on one-and-done players to leave school with their academic standing intact. Losing scholarships is an absolute program-killer, and teams like Texas and North Carolina have been adamant with players like
It's a perfectly appropriate question for the 'Bag, who (when sick at a Final Four game several years ago) threw up into plastic cup while sitting courtside -- and managed to do so without anyone noticing.
Big credit to first-year Drake head coach
My question for the Drake players is this: What do you call your coaches when three of them are named Coach Davis? (There's Keno and assistants
We got lots of responses to our question last week asking readers to provide examples of four brothers who'd earned Division I basketball scholarships. And while we aren't certain that all of these quartets earned athletic scholarships (we know
Other "almosts" included the following:
Finally, as reader
• I'm almost ready to drop the class terms (freshman, sophomore, etc.) because they're rapidly losing all meaning. Wouldn't it be more useful to call USC's
• Arizona is on an upswing despite
• Quick thoughts from watching Maryland wet the bed at home against Boston College: I don't think I've ever seen a player draw three fouls in 16 seconds (and foul out) like the Terps'
• Sam Houston State is 8-0 with wins over Texas Tech and Saint Louis (poor
• If you're a point guard and you see
• One reason we might be seeing more zone this year: Tennessee coach
• What's up with
• Breakout alert: Kansas State forward
• Is it possible to take back my pick of Louisville to make the Final Four?
The 'Bag may be the last person in America to get a DVR/HD setup -- the
• College hoops TV commentators are painfully old. On national broadcasts last week I heard "hip" pop-culture references to the singer
• This ESPNU/Comcast stalemate needs to end -- fast. I'd be particularly upset if I lived in Eastern Washington, where Washington State and Gonzaga are regulars on ESPNU and locals who can't get tickets are being driven to the radio. (Wish I could have seen Wazzu-Zags and Wazzu-Baylor, which were on ESPNU but weren't available on the ESPN FullCourt package that I paid $104 for. From now on we're calling it the HalfCourt Trap package.)
• The main benefit: I'm seeing three times as many games this season. It's a lot easier when you can fast-forward through commercials, free throws, etc., and watch a game in 50 minutes. But it also got me wondering: When coaches watch games on TV, what are they looking for? Is it any different from what fans are focusing on?
And so I called Gonzaga coach
"I'll watch offensive systems and what teams are doing defensively," Few said. "How are teams playing ball screens? Are they doubling the post inside? What are they doing in their offense? We'll have staff meetings and say, 'Did you see this play Kansas ran the other night? We should try this.'"
"Or it might be a team like Texas.
Before we get to the responses we received from coaches around the country, I'd like to put out another question: Now that the AASAA offense (attack attack skip attack attack) developed by Pepperdine's
Here were a few other good responses we got from 'Bag readers/coaches around the country regarding what they look for when watching games on the tube:
See you next week.