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Returning Fire

About a week ago, there was an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal
about why people love or hate Duke. Pat Forde (surprise) wrote the hate
part. Since he thoughtfully summed up some arguments, we thought we'd save
some time and use his to expand our rebuttal of illogical Duke hating.

  • Duke'd out. Okay, that's understandable. You don't expect everyone
    to like you. Whatever.
  • The "entitlement factor." Details please! Saying it
    is one thing, but he doesn't back it up.
  • Pete Gaudet and the interim coach's record. Okay, here's what's
    wrong with the whole "poor Pete" approach. Pay attention!


Determination of Head Coach at an Institution

In order for a coach to be credited with wins, losses or ties, that individual must be designated as the institution’s head coach for the entire sports season. Individuals serving on an advisory or preseason basis may not be credited with the wins, losses or ties. If the head coach is not present at a contest due to illness or other unexpected circumstances, or otherwise is unable to complete the sports season, it is up to the institution to determine whether the win, loss or tie for that contest(s) shall be credited to the head coach or to an interim or assistant coach, as determined by the institution
prior to the contests (Emphasis ours).

you can see, the school is given the option of deciding how to credit the
record, but only before the contests are played. So the notion that Pete
Gaudet was "thrown under the bus" is just crap. Duke called the
NCAA to find out what was required, and learned that the record could be
assigned to the interim coach ONLY if the head coach did not return. This
has happened in at least five other cases, and the school basically decides.

So now
that you know Duke had to decide pretty much immediately how to credit the rest
of the season, you need to remember that they had a pretty decent group. Two
first-round draft picks in Cherokee Parks and Trajan Langdon, a tough fifth-year
senior in Erik Meek, a guard in Jeff Capel who had had a very solid Final Four
appearance a few months earlier, and highly regarded freshmen in Wojo and Ricky
Price. They were 9-3 when Krzyzewski stepped down, and no one saw a train wreck
coming. So the idea that Duke - or Coach K - assigned the losses to Gaudet in
order to keep his record pristine is just ridiculous.

secondary evidence:

Before Coach K stepped away

9501 Nov25 H 80 38 W Brown
9502 Nov26 H 93 70 W Northeastern
9503 Nov29 A 86 90 L Connecticut
9504 Dec03 A 70 65 W Illinois (Chicago)
9505 Dec06 H 103 73 W George Washington
9506 Dec10 H 69 59 W Michigan
9507 Dec19 H 99 56 W N. Carolina A&T
9508 Dec27 N 71 81 L Iowa (Rainbow Classic - Honolulu)
9509 Dec29 N 73 54 W Boston (Rainbow Classic - Honolulu
9510 Dec30 N 76 69 W *Georgia Tech (Rainbow Classic - Honolulu
9511 Jan02 H 107 61 W S. Carolina State
9512 Jan04 H 70 75 L *Clemson

After Coach K stepped away

9513 Jan07 A 68 75 L *Georgia Tech
9514 Jan11 A 64 74 L *Wake Forest
9515 Jan14 H 88 91 2 L *Virginia
9516 Jan18 H 60 77 L *N.C. State
9517 Jan21 A 75 78 L *Florida State
9518 Jan24 A 87 74 W Notre Dame
9519 Jan28 A 72 74 L *Maryland
9520 Feb02 H 100 102 2 L *N. Carolina
9521 Feb04 A 44 51 L *Clemson
9522 Feb09 H 77 70 W *Georgia Tech
9523 Feb11 H 61 62 L *Wake Forest
9524 Feb15 A 58 64 L *Virginia
9525 Feb18 A 79 84 L *N.C. State
9526 Feb22 H 72 67 W *Florida State
9527 Feb26 A 77 100 L UCLA
9528 Mar01 H 92 94 L *Maryland
9529 Mar04 A 86 99 L *N. Carolina
9530 Mar09 N 83 70 W *N.C. State (ACC Tour - Greensboro)
9531 Mar10 N 70 87 L *Wake Forest

Keep in mind that Duke had beaten Illinois, Michigan, and
Georgia Tech, and wasn't far from beating UConn. Anyone who thinks Duke or
Coach K somehow saw disaster approaching and figured it would be convenient to
pin the rap on Pete Gaudet either a) hasn't examined the reality of the
situation; b) thinks someone at Duke is clairvoyant, or c) just wants to spread

  • The race card? Why Duke? Why not Stanford or
    Utah? That seems pretty weak.
  • Wojo hating? Well, that's subjective. Whatever.
  • We have addressed the officials issue, but for the
    record: during the Gardner-Williams situation, Duke's Jason made no
    contact: he fell over Gardner when Gardner bent over. Had Gardner
    stood up, there certainly would have been contact. But he
    didn't. How can you call a foul with no contact?
  • The smudges. The Maggette case, recently resolved, is
    listed, as is Quin Snyder at Mizzou, who is said to be "up to his carefully styled locks in scandal."
    Nothing has been determined at Mizzou, and that has as much to do with Duke
    as former Knight assistant Dave Bliss has to do with Indiana. It's a
    poor comparison, but the point is valid.
  • Krzyzewski's dogs? That's a new one.
  • Laettner. It's subjective, but we can understand why
    a non-Duke person would disdain Laettner. A lot of people around Duke
    actually weren't crazy about him, either. But in fairness, since the
    so-called "stomp" is referenced, Laettner just put his foot on top
    of Timberlake's stomach. The guy got up laughing. It wasn't
    exactly a brutal assault, like, say, what UConn's Rod Sellers did to
    Laettner in the tournament.

In this column from CatTracks, dedicated to Arizona basketball, Duke gets
hammered for a few points: 1) Coach K riding the refs; 2) Duke getting "all
the calls" against Maryland in the Final Four, and 3) Jason Gardner not
drawing Jason Williams' fourth foul in the Duke-Arizona game.

  • As for working the refs: we don't get this one, frankly. Who
    doesn't work the refs? Coaches do it to greater or lesser degrees, but
    they all do it. Bob Huggins, Gary Williams, and John Cheney, among
    others, do it constantly. Pitino does, too. The underlying argument is that Kryzewski gets results from it, and should knock it off. But if someone did get results from it, why would they knock it off? Please see foul chart, listed below, if you haven't, then revisit this argument.
  • The Maryland game: Maryland choked, plain and simple. Even
    a burnout like Hunter S. Thompson could see it.
    Maryland made a
    ton of mistakes. We counted nine mistakes down the stretch, including
    things like dribbling the ball off of one's own foot, not boxing out, poor
    ballhandling leading to stupid turnovers, and more. Here's
    what we wrote at the time.
  • As for the Gardner-Williams incident, Gardner leaned over, and Williams
    fell - and braced himself with his hands. There was no contact.
    Had Gardner had the presence of mind to stand up, a foul would have been
    called. Williams stood up first, and since there was no contact, there
    was no foul. How can you call a foul when no contact takes place? It's
    wishful thinking.

How Duke Graduates Players In Three Years

Time to bust another myth, the idea that graduating from Duke in three years
is a lax standard: not exactly.

Duke requires 34 courses for graduation. This averages out to 8.5
courses a year, which works out to 4.25 per semester. Minimal required progression:

  • Freshman fall semester (4)
  • Freshman spring semester (4)
  • Sophomore fall semester (4)
  • Sophomore spring semester (4)
  • Junior fall semester (4)
  • Junior spring semester (4)
  • Senior fall semester (4)
  • Senior spring semester (4)

You'll note that taking the minimum number of classes does not get you to
34. You have to fit two other classes in somewhere.

What Duke has done for some time now is to encourage freshmen basketball
players come for summer school, so that they can get their feet wet academically
earlier. In summer school, you are allowed to take a maximum of two
classes per semester, or up to a total of four classes in both sessions.
So if you chose to, you could start the fall semester at Duke with four classes
already under your belt. If you expand that out over three years, here's what
you get:

  • Freshman summer school 1 (2)
  • Freshman summer school 2 (2)
  • Freshman fall semester (4)
  • Freshman spring semester (4)
  • Sophomore summer school 1 (2)
  • Sophomore summer school 2 (2)
  • Sophomore fall semester (4)
  • Sophomore spring semester (4)
  • Junior summer school 1 (2)
  • Junior summer school 1 (2)
  • Junior fall semester (4)
  • Junior spring semester (4)
  • Junior summer school 1 (2)
  • Junior summer school 1 (2)

Our math is sometimes suspect, but that works out, using the minimum
required number of classes during the regular school year, plus the
maximum number one can take in summer school, to 40 potential classes, which is
more than enough to satisfy graduation requirements.

It's smart, it's innovative, and it's definitely doable, so when you read
someone implying that it's not legitimate work, by all means, set them straight.
Summer classes are shorter, but classes at Duke are generally challenging, and
taking a challenging class in a shorter period of time is not necessarily

The Duke-Gets-All-The-Calls-Myth

When we first posted this, we reversed some of the fouls for individual
games. We also had a significant typo for the ACC Finals. All Duke
foul totals are now on the left, and opponents are on the right. Also, the
UConn game is now listed.

Like a lot of Duke fans, we've been amazed and dismayed by the level of Duke
hating which is going on these days. There's not really a lot anyone can do
about it, and how much one should care is pretty limited too, but we think a
fair place to draw the line is this: if you're going to hate Duke, then, at the
bare minimum, get your facts right. So today we kick off something we'll be
working on for a good while, which is a categorical refutation of non-factual
bashing. Here's a good place to start: Duke gets all the calls.

Home Games shaded. Duke fouls
are in the first column. Source:
Detroit 13 28
Pacific 22 23
Liberty 18 22
Purdue 17 20
Michigan State 17 19
St. John's 12 21
Portland 11 18
Princeton 14 18
Texas 21 23
Davidson 13 20
Clemson 22 13
Fairfield 16 22
Virginia 22 22
NC State 17 19
Wake Forest 24 25
Maryland 16 19
Georgetown 19 17
Florida State 14 19
Georgia Tech 21 24
UNC 17 19
Clemson 23 26
UVa 20 25
NCSU 23 19
Wake Forest 21 17
Maryland 19 21
Valpo 15 21
FSU 18 21
Georgia Tech 24 22
UNC 18 17
Virginia 21 23
Georgia Tech 22 27
Maryland 19 21
ASU 19 20
Seton Hall 18 27
Illinois 14 15
Xavier 23 21
UConn 24 20

Some sportswriters have been harping on this all season. Okay, we have a
challenge for those who repeat this legend without even thinking about it.

If Duke gets all the calls, why were there 23 fouls called on Duke and only
21 on Xavier? If Duke gets all the calls, why was Xavier in the bonus with 13:22
left in the second half? Why, at that time, were there only two team fouls on
Xavier? How did Duke getting all the calls prevent Tadd Matta from making a
simple substitution for Myles when he was whistled for his fourth foul (he later
admitted it was a significant mistake).

Why, if Duke gets all the calls, did Xavier shoot 14 free throws to Duke's
three from 18:55 left in the second half to 1:19 left? Why, if Duke gets all the
calls, did Xavier not get a defensive foul called on them from 9:17 left (when
Duke finally entered the bonus) until 1:19?

And here's a list of Duke's fouls game by game. We missed a couple because we
couldn't find the box scores quickly. As you can see, the discrepancy widens
with the weaker teams. In the post-season, the fouls are almost dead-even,
except for the Seton Hall game.

So first myth shot down. We'll be doing it as long as we can find them, and
appending them to this article, so send us whatever you think should be
included. And when someone writes something stupid, our goal is to be able to
have something posted which anyone can use to say, hey, bonehead, here's what
you missed. Want to try again? Or is hating Duke more important than getting it