Section 17: Whomping the Wolfpack

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.

Well, that was fun. Next week is Heel Week, and we’ll be throwing up posts like Blake Griffin throws down on the world. Get thrilled.

We’re going to miss you, Larry! We’ve had some great times together.

GTHC.

Video: Austin Rivers vs. Milton

Future Duke phenom Austin Rivers and his Winter Park (Fl.) team faced off against the nationally ranked Milton (Ga.) Eagles in the Hoops in OverDrive Shootout. Milton boasts tons of Division 1 talent in their senior class: Dai-Jon Parker (committed to Vanderbilt), Julian Royal (Georgia Tech), and Shannon Scott (Ohio State). They also have 2012 wingman Evan Nolte, who is currently ranked #50 in his class by ESPNU, and Shaquille Johnson, who recently lost to Plumlee #3 in the City of Palms dunk contest. There has been some noise surrounding Duke recruiting Nolte, but only time will tell how his recruitment will play out. Milton won the game 75-60 in front of a packed house, beating Winter Park for the 2nd time in a week and a half. Simply put, Rivers got little support from his teammates, as he contributed over half his squad’s points (31 of 60).

Rivers didn’t exactly have the start everyone might have been expecting in the first half. He only had 6 points and didn’t seem to get into an offensive groove—although he did have a nice block on Parker on a fast break. His team trailed 37-25 at the break. In the second half, however, Rivers came to life and showed why he deserves his high ranking. He scored 25 points in the final 2 quarters, raining threes from distance. He had several nice drives to the basket, where he would either finish himself with a variety of moves or pass out to a teammate. Unfortunately, the rest of Winter Park was stifled by Milton’s defense and failed to capitalize on Austin’s dishes.

Conversely, Milton was ready to go on both ends of the floor. They were simply too athletic for Winter Park and dominated from start to finish. The Wildcats pulled close in the 2nd half due to Austin’s amazing play, but his effort was not enough to complete the comeback. Check out the highlights above (part of the ever-growing Austin Rivers mixtape collection), and you’ll see why we’re thrilled to have one more year to watch games in Cameron as Duke undergrads.

Happy New Year from all of us at Crazie Talk! 2010 was a great year for Duke basketball, and we only hope it continues into 2011. Thanks so much for following us the past year, and as always, let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions (crazietalk@gmail.com or on our Twitter)

Section 17: Oop City (Duke vs. Colgate)

Well, it IS true. (Courtesy DukeBluePlanet.com)

Duke devoured its third straight cupcake last night, beating the Colgate Raiders 110-58 in front of a sold-out Cameron crowd. Our courtside highlights are below.

The starting guard duo of Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith was once again impressive in the blowout win. Irving and Smith racked up 9 assists apiece, to go with 13 and 16 points respectively. In the fast break, each player understands when to push it to the basket and when to wait for the secondary break (i.e. shooters like Curry or Dawkins) to swoop in on the wings. That they put up these numbers in just 25 minutes of action is…scintillating.

Our post players had an up and down night. Rarely did we establish position in the paint—most of the combined 18 points of Miles and Mason Plumlee came off of alley oops or fast breaks. We also can’t have these guys foul out regularly. Hopefully, as the level of competition rises (and it’s about to), our bigs will recognize the importance of securing rebounds instead of swatting at shots.

Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins continue to be dynamite off the bench. Dawkins was an efficient 4-7 from the field last night, including 3 triples, to finish with 16 points. Curry was only 1-7, but demonstrated a knack for getting to the foul line, where he drained 8 of 9. These guys are instant offense, and that we can throw a lineup on the floor with three to four outside assassins is quite a luxury. Zonebusters!

But now, all the indulgence and sweets are over. Next week, real basketball begins. On Monday we face off with the Marquette Golden Eagles, an overlooked Big East squad that has opened the season 3-0. The last time we faced off? In the CBE final of 2006, when Dominic James scored 25 points to help Marquette “shock” Duke, 72-63. That was a rough year, we all remember. I prefer to call it “The Dark Time.” And Marquette was the first of our 11 defeats.

Now, we’re once again the hunted. Complacency? It doesn’t exist. Let’s get after it and add this CBE trophy to the overflowing case.

Edit: Duke actually beat Marquette the next year in the Maui Invitational title game, 77-73. Selective memory favors anger, I guess. Thanks to commenter Raul for the tip.

Section 17: Duke a Lot, Miami a Little

Duke trounced the Ohioans of Miami last night, 79-45. While some of us liveblogged, Crazie-Talk video master Arun was in Cameron enjoying the victory firsthand. Check out the video highlights below.

Seth Curry led the way with 17 points, knocking down 3 of 4 triples. Kyrie Irving overcame some early foul trouble to finish with 13, while Nolan Smith had an an efficient 10 point, 7 dime night. Smith’s passing was outstanding: several of his dimes are on display in DBP’s Top 5 plays video.

Kyle Singler struggled from the perimeter—missing all four of his 3’s—but finished with an admirable 8 points and 5 boards. Singler aka Buckets also picked up 2 of Duke’s 10 steals on the night.

Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly started in the forward positions. MP2 performed much better than he did against Princeton, patrolling the glass for 14 caroms and chipping in 10 points. Kelly, who added 7 points and 3 boards, looks much improved from last year. “White Delight” demonstrated a knack for position on rebounds and made intelligent reads all night, even connecting for an inbound alley oop in the final minutes (a la Scheyer to Singler in last year’s title game). Kelly’s added body muscles makes him a factor in the post—a veritable vacuum area with the departure of Zoubek and Thomas.

Miles Plumlee continues to struggle offensively, and may have injured a finger late in the game. We await further details on that injury, and hope that the elder Plumlee makes strides before next week’s showdowns with Marquette and Gonzaga/Kansas State. I think he needs that beard back.

Enjoy our highlights, and leave comments below! We will be back in action liveblogging and videotaping for Friday’s game against the Toothpaste U.

The Brilliant "A Cut Above: 100 Seasons of Duke Basketball." In its Entirety, For Free.

Ever wondered how Duke became the dominant force in the modern era of NCAA basketball? Click play.

To all Duke fans, ACC fans, college basketball fans en masse: this is a must-watch documentary on the history of Duke Basketball, from its roots in the coaching brilliance of Eddie Cameron, the sublimity of Dick Groat (two-time All-American at Duke in basketball, MVP of Major League Baseball in 1960), the tumultuous 1960s and 70s and the arrival of the G.O.A.T., Coach K, in the early 1980s.

Thanks go out to SnagFilms, a brilliant website concept that compiles thousands of documentaries available for FREE to the viewer. Some other features include—at a quick glance—a film about Wikipedia, another about medical marijuana, and this film that somehow involves Morgan Freeman (that should be reason enough, especially if he narrates it).

Thank you to SnagFilms and all that were involved in the production of “A Cut Above.”

Enjoy, and please comment in the box below if you’re so inclined. This is such an amazing film, and so much more interesting from a Duke perspective than this iffy little film from HBO.

Crazie Note: It is best to have a strong internet connection when watching this film. So close out all of your google searches for Kyrie Irving jerseys and check this movie out.

That goes for me too. Does anyone know if I can get “Jake” put on a #1 Duke home white? Hook me up, readers.

Video: Duke at the NC Pro-Am (7/13)

Crazie-Talkers Arun and Peter made the short trip from Duke to McDougald Gymnasium on the campus of North Carolina Central a few times this summer, and have been able to get great footage of several of our players in action. Enjoy these videos, featuring Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Seth Curry, Mason and Miles Plumlee, and Josh Hairston. Here’s video from last night.

Kyrie Irving’s pretty darn good, isn’t he? Oh, and Seth Curry can really play too. Miles Plumlee looks like he’s working on his He-Man impression. Even Josh Hairston looks like he’s ready to play quality minutes off the bench.

But check out highlights from last Thursday, where Nolan and Mason did work.

As if having two studs in Kyrie and Seth wasn’t enough, Nolan Smith would like to remind you that he was the most improved player on the team that won the National Championship in 2010. He’d also like to remind you that he’s got some awesome shoes. Factor in confidence in Mason and Ryan’s games, and you have the perfect recipe to wreak havoc in 2010-2011.

Yikes. Look out, ACC.