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Duke Downs Clemson

| Box
| H-S |
| Fayetteville
| N&O
| Chron |
N&R |
| The
| Charleston
| Charleston

The AP story take about the Clemson game is that Duke ripped Clemson apart.
It sounds nice, but that's not quite what happened. If you look at it
objectively, for much of the game, and certainly the first half, Clemson played
harder, probably smarter, and showed more heart than Duke.

The obvious downside of that is that it happened at all, but the secondary
downside is that they'll feel like they could have done more and will be really
ready when it's time to play in Littlejohn. When you are the alpha dog, or
gorilla, or stallion or basketball team, it's best not to let others think they
can challenge you. Duke let that that thought get in Clemson's head
tonight, and it'll stay there for a bit now.

We should hasten to add, though, that Clemson is much better than we had
realized. They are an odd collection in some ways - two power forwards, a wing
who doesn't shoot and two point guards, really - but it works out.

We'd have to say they look better so far than State, Florida State, and
probably Tech and Carolina, too. But it's very early still.
Nonetheless, Larry Shyatt has the core of a team in place, and Clemson fans will
be happy to see where this group goes from here.

Krzyzewski was not pleased after the game, saying that "if you have high
standards you want to play real well. I'm not going to be happy if we're not
playing to that level and I don't think I should be. We're going to get
people who feel like it's their chance - even more so than last year.
We've got to learn how to handle that. We still haven't completely handled it

One guy who has handled pretty much everything with aplomb is Daniel Ewing.
When we first saw him we thought he was composed and very solid and remarkably
mature and a winner. We didn't think he was tremendously quick, but he's
changed our mind on that score. This kid is making an argument for
starting. He's fitting right in, and has been huge off the bench. Against
Clemson, when his elders were sluggish, Ewing came in and shook things up, not
least of all Clemson. We haven't seen everyone play yet, but so far we
haven't seen a freshman in the conference who even comes close to playing at
that level. Obviously Julius Hodge got the big buildup, but so far, Ewing
looks like the real deal.

Otherwise, the team continues to try to understand what it means to be
stalked on a nightly basis, and individual players try to conform to new
roles. Duhon has been switched to point guard full time, and took
the responsibility seriously, organizing the team huddles, talking to players
individually, and trying to distribute the ball.

Otherwise, the game was a mixed bag. The first half was really not good
basketball, but the second half had some solid stretches of truly excellent
play. Clemson played a very physical game, as befits a school obsessed
with football, and it's not a surprise that a Clemson team plays somewhat rough.
They always do.

Duke had a tough time with it, though, and the game often bogged down. It was
kind of odd in a sense that Clemson played that way, because they have more
talent than they have had since Cliff Ellis was there. Rick Barnes had power but
not a ton of talent, really, McIntyre and Buckner aside.

We were really happy for Chris Hobbs, who had a super game. He's a really
nice kid who was spurned by Duke and UNC and who then had a serious injury, so
it's great to see him playing well.

Clemson's backcourt was also impressive in stretches. Stockman was tough,
and Scott had his moments, and Chey Christie was very impressive.

Still, on Duke's end, there were a lot of weird errors - balls thrown out of
bounds, Williams trapping himself in traffic, Jones getting trapped at halfcourt
and falling down with the ball - just so atypical it really jumped out.
Clemson collapsed on Boozer a lot and that left open shots, but not many were

Krzyzewski was displeased after the game, and he probably was right to be.
This team has a lot to learn yet about who will take what roles and how to rely
on each other. In many respects, it might have been better to lose this game,
because the lessons which need to be learned would have been indelible and
unavoidable. Failure can be most instructive. The journey is far from
over, but right now, this team is no lock for any Final Four.

Notes - In a moment of really intense emotion, four guys from the New York
Police and New York Fire Departments were introduced and got a tremendous
reception as you might expect. One of them ran out to center circle and
kissed the floor...Larry Shyatt got T'd up for throwing a cup of water...Coach K
was visibly exasperated at times....Fox interviewed a player on the floor just
before the game...Clemson badly outrebounded Duke...Reggie Love dressed but did not play...