Like Duke fans everywhere, we're disappointed that Duke didn't win, but
really there were two basic reasons, at least to us, why they lost: first, while
Duke got two early fouls on Okafor, they had six first-half fouls by the big men
when Okafor was out. It was a shame, too, because Shavlik Randolph was
playing his best basketball of the year. The other part was near the end
when Duke took two shots fairly quickly and Redick drove the lane, hoping to
draw a foul we assume, and got nothing.
On the other hand, Coach K said after the game that they were instructed to
shoot quickly, and you have to want your guys to have the nerve to take shots
like that. Obviously, Deng and Redick and Ewing have the guts to do it,
and the guts to fail, which is not an unwelcome trait.
Once the big guys were gone, it was a lot harder to defend UConn in general
and Okafor in particular. Duke had taken him out of the game up until that
point, but as game as Nick Horvath is, he just can't keep up with a guy like
The other place where Duke got hurt was on the line, as they went
14-23. A great night from the line would have made things a lot better,
but not much you can do about it now, other than lament.
For the most part, we're really happy with and proud of our team. They
started the year with uncertain prospects, and even Coach K didn't expect them
to do very well after the Alaska trip.
They developed a lot of chemistry along the way, improved individually, and
collectively. We're looking forward to next year, when hopefully Shavlik
Randolph, JJ Redick and Daniel Ewing will start the season in good health, and,
we hope, Luol Deng and Shaun Livingston will be here as well.
A local reporter said he thought this was Coach K's best coaching job. We
might go with 1996, actually, because he had to rebuild and extend at the same
time, but no matter how you look at it, he's done an amazing job this
year. It obviously ended in disappointment, but life for Duke fans is
generally really good. We hope everyone will put on something Duke-ish to
wear tomorrow, and that you are all as excited about next year as we are.
Let's start early!