That was real talk.
Duke took to the floor at Cameron Saturday evening full of confidence coming off a fantastic performance at Maryland on Wednesday. Our guys were out for blood in the final game before the Tar Heels come to town, destroying the hapless NC State Wolfpack, 76-52. State’s embattled coach Sidney Lowe—who normally dresses up as the Kool-Aid Man for big games—was absolutely helpless to stop the Blue Devils, as our offense put up 54 points in the first half. Even if Duke sputtered a little bit in the second, State never got closer than 21 all game. SMH, ACC.
Here are some cogent observations from the night to accompany the delightful highlights above, shot from Section 17 by C-T’s Scott and Arun.
- Mason Plumlee has come alive. He had 16 points on a Boozer-esque 7-8 shooting, and added his standard 12 boards as well. It seems as if Wojo has finally hammered Mason’s brain enough for him to learn how to finish correctly around the basket: no longer is he trying to dunk when a layup is more efficient. Mason also demonstrated an excellent jump hook tonight, connecting on two Kareemers that looked completely natural. After his excellent game against the Terps, it’s great to see Mason gaining confidence as ACC play heats up.
- This whole Nolan Smith thing is getting ridiculous. NdotSmitty turned on the cheat codes several times throughout the game—appropriately, since DukeBluePlanet put up a “Nolan’s Trick Dribbles” video yesterday. The ACC’s scoring and assists leader just about hit his averages tonight, dropping 20 points and 7 dimes. And he was the only player who shot well from the line, hitting all six of his freebies. Overall, Duke shot 53% from the line. That has to change.
- Kyle continues to put in a solid day’s work every game, adding a cool 14 points and 9 boards. The world’s best bucket-getter passed Danny Ferry for fifth place on Duke’s all-time scoring list against Maryland. Singler will go down as one of Duke’s all-time greats—the dude just wants to win so badly. Hell, he’s already got his national title and Final Four M.O.P. Ironically, Kyle was picked as preseason National Player of the Year by most publications, and Nolan is a much surer bet for that award at this point. I don’t care what Jimmer says (well, I do).
- Sidney Lowe is on his way out. Any thoughts on his replacement? It’d be so badass if the NC State brass tried to re-hire Herb Sendek and he was like, “No, bro. I’m cool out here in Arizona. The Pac-10 is really on the rise.” Then what? Lowe can recruit, but his “surefire guy,” CJ Leslie, was suspended for this game, and his team is now 12-11. Superfrosh PG Ryan Harrow had some kind of sickness, and Tracy Smith is basically content to shake his head morosely and call it a night. Man, the ACC misses guys like Jimmy V…
- Kyrie looked fresh on the bench in the post-cast boot. ESPN commentator Len Elmore loves calling him the “Duke’s best cheerleader.” Man, if Kyrie could walk properly, he would go up to the bird’s nest and smack Len in the head for that kind of talk.
- I like K’s new strategy of starting Tyler Thornton. Along with his stalwart defense, it’s nice to be able to look toward the bench and remind yourself, “oh yeah, we have two of the ACC’s best shooters over there.” And then Seth and Dre come in and light up the place.
We’re going to miss you, Larry! We’ve had some great times together.