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Duke 104, UM 97 Overall: 6-2 ACC: 0-0 Coaches AP 12/19 - NC

Since some people are banned from directories with the word
games, we have been reprinting the game stories on the main page. This is
exactly the same thing as you see on the game past page.

With C-well having just gotten out of the infirmary, and playing like it,
someone had to step up for Duke to take the load that Chris couldn't
carry.  As it turned out, it was Carlos Boozer, who had, by far, his best
outing as a Devil, scoring 25 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

This would have been a very easy game for Duke to lose - and it would be easy
to rationalize it, too, and not worry about it.  With not just Carrawell,
but a number of players having been sick this week, and with the dynamic talent
that Michigan displayed today, it wouldn't have been hard to see an upset coming
at all. 

Speaking of Michigan, what a nice team that is!  They are very young,
without question, but they are very talented. They are somewhat reminiscent of
USC, but with more talent, we'd say. 

The one place they aren't as solid is in the middle and it's tempting to
think that's why Duke dominated down low and Michigan ended up shooting 25
threes (9 by Crawford, who only hit 2). But that doesn't totally explain the
discrepancy.  What may is this: Duke has gone to another level as a
team.  Battier and Carrawell have been very solid, of course, and James has
really come on of late.  And Williams has an enormous talent and is just
now finding his equlibrium.    Now that Boozer is beginning to
put his foot injury behind him, he is showing what he is capable of. 

Incidentally, there are a lot of people who owe Boozer - and the coaching
staff actually - an apology.  There were posts on our board saying that he
wasn't that good and that Duke needed to get out and get a big man fast, and
that he wouldn't be a decent inside presence. 25 points and 10 boards is a
pretty useful inside presence, and that nifty left hand he has doesn't hurt,
either.  Along the same lines, we got some exceptionally dumb mail after
the New York games saying that Williams was overrated.  A big part of the
reason why Boozer did so well was because he was willing to bang underneath, and
Jason delivered the ball precisely where Boozer could make good use of it. 
Michigan had no real answer for him, but Duke also put Boozer to excellent
use.   Coming back from that sort of an injury is challenging, but
Coach K said they're seeing a different Boozer now, and the 10 rebounds and 3
blocks lend credence to that. So did his hands: recently Boozer was fumbling
passes - no more.  Generally speaking, when he had the ball tonight, it
went near the basket.

Williams Asst to TO Ratio
Opp AST T0
Mich 8 4
DePaul 10 7
Illinois 7 6
USC 2 5

One of the other nice aspects of this game, by the way, was seeing Williams
get into a jam and play smart the rest of the way. He picked up two fouls very
very quickly, and then a 3rd in the first half,  and it looked like Duke
could have tanked.  But in the second half, Williams played intelligently,
and didn't force things, and so stayed in the game and didn't pick up his 4rh
foul until late.  He abused the Michigan guards on a number of occasions,
and by the end of the game was clearly the dominant guard on the court. 
There wasn't much question about that, really, at least not to us.  He
ended up with 17 points, 5 boards, 8 assists, 4 turnovers, and 3 steals, which
essentially negate the turnovers.

Battier also stepped up.  Playing at home for only the second time, and
after the first performance was, basically, feckless, Battier played very well

Nate's A
Opp Pts Rebs
Mich 18 6
DePaul 22 8
Illinois 7 5
USC 14 7

But in some ways, perhaps the most interesting story emerging is that of Nate
James.  Over and over you hear people say that James is not that good, that
he can't play at this level.  Well looks like he is doing it.  Tonight
he hit 18 - on 8 of 11 shooting!  That's spectacular. 

As Coach K said, people are starting to find their roles, and once that is
established, they can start to rely on one another and know what to
expect.  That's really good news.  And as soon as his teammates
understand when and where Jason is liable to send the ball - and Jason
understands where and when he shouldn't send the ball - they'll be that
much more trouble for opponents. 

Speaking only for ourselves, we're more than happy to be patient with this
team.  So far the results have been well worth it.  And consider this
- if Duke had protected the lead against Stanford, they would almost certainly
have defeated Iowa and might be undefeated now.  Would that be good?
Possibly not.  The reality check provided by the losses was compelling, and
pushed everyone to work harder.  Now the work is paying off: a force is
emerging at center (may he continue), the forwards have been solid for their
entire careers, Nate James is getting time to define and refine his game and his
role, and the rookie point, Jason Williams, is beginning to show people why he
is mentioned with Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, El-Amin, Bobby Hurley, and
others.  This is a nice framework.  Now let's see where they go with
it. It's a fun ride so far.

Notes...what is wrong with Billy Packer? He knows Dunleavy's father, and he
surely knows how to pronounce his name....Horvath is new and different, so
that's understandable, but Sean Battier? He must be spending too much time with
McGuire....give him credit though, he spotted the Blanchard Grasp, and wondered
why the refs never called it...if the announcers notice it you'd think the refs
would, and there's no question he held Battier....Duke still has to master late
game situations and older team would have made them pay....after
thousands of miles of travel, Duke is now ready to head full force into
exams....all signs look good so far...Ellerbee is apparently canceling the
series, which will be unpopular with fans of both's a shame - it's
a great rivalry, and we'll miss them....the Michigan fans yelled
"sellout" at Battier..maybe they should consider yelling that at the
Fab 5, Louis Bullock and Fat Boy Traylor, because there are allegations that
their sellout was literal...