I was traveling this weekend so I apologize for the limited blogging. This week I’ll post my entire bracket, preview Pacific and post my Skinner piece. In the meantime here are my thoughts on this weekend.
Obviously a great game. Despite the stats I was really pleased with the defense -- great defensive rebounding which kept us in control of the game. Good efforts from nearly everyone. It really was the most complete game of the year. Based on Saturday I knew that this team could play with any team in the country. They played the right way -- unselfishly -- and are peaking at the right time.
Like the players, I don’t consider this a moral victory. However, I was over the loss the minute I got back in my car to continue the ride home. We controlled the second half, despite poor games from Rice and Marshall and a off night from the line. I was pleased with Haynes and McLain had his best game in weeks. The much-maligned Oates had his best game of the year and his best stretch of the year. I did like Al’s late game strategy…even Craig forcing the shot in the double team. Both Duke games might have been ours with different officiating crews. It would have been nice to win the ACC in our first year, but I think we proved enough.
The Paulus-Hinnant scuffle
This is why everyone hates Duke. Their brand of floor slapping hustle basketball is pesky and annoying to begin with and then the self congratulation after every little floor burn play takes it over the top. I am not sure which Duke player I hate the most. I know the current BC team has some braggarts, but the Duke guys are in a whole different league. When you mix in the annoying players, the media love and Mr. Holier than thou Coach K, you’ve got the most dislikable group of people in the country without their own reality TV show (unless you count ESPN’s college basketball coverage). All that said, the refs handled the situation right. I am totally behind Hinnant. You can’t let the whole bench celebrate in your face. What is unfortunate is that if he doesn’t push Paulus there would not have been a technical on Duke. The refs don’t have the balls to call a taunting/celebration penalty on the Blue Devils. It was only after Hinnant escalated that they had to act. Hinnant followed it with the game of his life. Good for him. I also liked the way the rest of the team rallied and Skinner handled it perfectly.
The 4 seed
Call me paranoid but I knew we would be underseeded. While we are in the toughest bracket, it could’ve been worse. No UConn. No West Virginia. No Tennessee. No obvious road games. You have to beat someone to advance and I like our chances against a Villanova team with a lot of question marks.
On Saturday I was talking to the Evil A and said I would trade an ACC title in exchange for an early exit. I obviously didn’t get my wish (and I take it back anyway!). This was a great weekend for this team. They should know that they can hang with the best teams in the country under the most intense atmosphere imaginable. Everything is coming together and nearly everyone is playing their best ball. Now let’s go out there and win the whole fucking thing!!!