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More On The Duke-Virginia Controversy

A lot of interesting responses but also a fair amount of foolishness too.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Virginia
 Feb 11, 2023; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Tyrese Proctor (5) dunks the ball as Virginia Cavaliers guard Armaan Franklin (4) looks on in the first half at John Paul Jones Arena.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the dust has settled a bit after the controversial ending of regulation in Duke’s loss at Virginia, some thoughts on all of that.

First, the ACC has spoken and says that, just as most of us thought, the refs blew it. It’s a shame they can’t fix it but what’s done is done.

They can’t fix the game, but they can and should deal with the officials. Incidentally, a lot of media members were upset because typically, in many conferences, the officials explain themselves in situations like this to a pool reporter. They did no such thing here, slinking out like cowards in the night.

Second, Kyle Filipowski may have a score to settle with the state of Virginia. With the game on the line at Virginia Tech, he gets slugged in the throat. No foul due to celebration. Party on!

Great, but he still got slugged in the throat and Duke didn’t get some critical foul shots it might have otherwise.

And now at Virginia, same thing, only instead of the throat, he got taken down as the clock expired. No foul!

Sooner or later, he’s going to make somebody pay for this. We just wish the ACC would.

Also, as many people noted, the clock started a bit early. We’re not impugning anyone’s integrity here - the clock operator was probably just as hyped up as anybody - but if it had been correct, this issue might never have happened.

A lot of people seem to want Jon Scheyer to mimic Mike Krzyzewski and to erupt as Coach K probably would have. We need to get off of that train right now.

First, and we expect Coach K would be the first to agree with this, they are not the same people. Krzyzewski spoke once of how he had learned to harness anger as useful tool. Scheyer has never shown a sign of being like that. He has always been a sunnier personality. That doesn’t mean he’s not intensely competitive. By all accounts, he’s obsessively competitive.

Some have criticized him for smiling when he was talking to the official after the Filipowski call.

Others demanded that he show anger after the game.

Just stop.

First, his courtside demeanor is more like that of former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, who relentlessly smiled during games.

It never meant he wasn’t competitive or didn’t care. After South Carolina lost the 1970 ACC championship to North Carolina in 1970, Cremins fled campus for weeks. He left coaching ultimately because losing just took a huge toll.

Competition crippled his health yet he smiled the whole way through, at least in public. It was a coping mechanism. It may be for Scheyer as well.

Second, like all ACC coaches, Scheyer got a memo from Commissioner Jim Phillips this week reminding them to adhere to the the ACC’s Sportsmanship Principle.

It’s not a coincidence that this came out after Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim machine-gunned Wake Forest, Pitt and Miami with accusations involving NIL. He later apologized to Wake and we think Pitt, but pointedly not to Miami, where a prominent booster has made it clear that he’ll personally sponsor talented players and pay them handsomely for being Hurricanes.

So it’s understandable that Scheyer restrained himself in the post-game presser. Apparently Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner was not happy either and when he was asked about the officiating in Tech’s game against Wake Forest Saturday, repeatedly referred to the memo from Phillips when he replied.

The bottom line is that Jon Scheyer is not Mike Krzyzewski. Duke is now a young program with young players and a young coach who has to build his own reputation. No one is going to give him a break just because he coaches Duke and first-year coaches don’t generally have the power dynamics with officials that most fans might like.

Perhaps Jeremy Roach is the one who got the best answer to all of the anger after the end of regulation in Charlottesville.

The captain explained that Duke should never be in a position where the referees can decide the game. Our guess is that was also relayed by Coach Scheyer. He might not have been smiling in the privacy of the locker room when he did so either.