I hate Grayson Allen. I hate Mike Krzyzewski. I hate even more that I have to Google his name twice a year as I make jokes about his goddamn team. I want Duke to fall into the Springfield Mystery Spot and disappear forever. I have hated Duke for nearly 30 years and the fire inside my soul is stronger than any Gondor signal fire.
The Texas Longhorns are now 0-10 all-time against the AP #1 team in the country — and 0-5 against Duke, because FFFFFFFFUUUUUUU — after their gamely effort against the
White Privilege Program Duke Blue Devils came up short in overtime, 85-78. Texas led by as much as 16 in the second half, but was unable to hang on as Duke — I want to complain about the refs here, but honestly the free throw disparity was worse in the first half — made the plays it needed to force overtime despite Grayson Allen fouling out in the last two minutes of the second half. There’s a reason they’re the top-ranked team in the country. We’ll get to the moralizing/rationalization later, but let’s start talking about the game itself.
Kerwin Roach II
There was an idea going around among some of the Twitter cognoscenti discussing the merits of benching Snoop, which seems like a reasonable idea if you don’t pay attention to the defensive side of the court. But just in case you weren’t aware how good a defender Roach is — Grayson Allen didn’t foul out by himself, FYI — Kerwin spent a solid portion of this game reminding you that getting between him and the rim is a bad idea.
This is the exact moment I knew Kerwin was about to murder a guy with a trident. pic.twitter.com/f5Udij25qa— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 1461 (@Bitterwhiteguy) November 25, 2017
Let us ignore for a second that Roach is clearly....
the best defensive guard on the team. And, for the record, THAT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU IGNORE, Roach still threw down a 7-9 shooting performance on the night. He murdered the rim often enough that late in the second half the Duke defenders were clearing out of the paint when he’d launch towards the rim.
I’M GOING TO SAY THIS AGAIN
THE DUKE DEFENDERS WERE CLEARING OUT OF THE PAINT WHEN HE’D LAUNCH TOWARDS THE RIM, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF A SPORTSCENTER HIGHLIGHT.
I don’t know what else you could ask of Snoop tonight. He kept America’s #1 Basketball Villain in check, he threw down at least 3 vicious dunks, and he made play after play all night. OK, he could’ve made more than 3-6 from the line, that’s fair. But you’ll take this effort from Snoop night in and night out and be thankful for it, because that’s some seriously elite effort.
I’m not putting anybody else in this group because I don’t think enough people are really hip to what Snoop is doing this year. He was phenomenal tonight.
The Mixed Bag
Okay, let’s talk about the good. Texas knew the 2-3 zone was inevitable, and their counter for the zone was a great call. They put Dylan O and Bamba/Sims at the high post at the same time, overloading the zone and distorting the fields each defender had to cover. One of the nice things a guy like Osetkowski & Bamba brings to the game is his passing ability, and putting them at each elbow of the paint screwed with Duke’s defensive decisions for large portions of the game. If Texas can’t hit threes at a solid rate — spoiler alert, they didn’t — a guy like Osetkowski can make an impatient defense pay in a number of ways from the high post instead. Texas didn’t need to hit a ton of threes to beat the 2-3 zone, and that’s a credit to the coaching staff.
extremely Stephen A Smith voice
In the overtime, I have serious questions about their defensive strategy. Bamba and Sims fouled out, and Duke had an ultra-big lineup in the game, so Texas brought in....Eric Davis Jr?? This isn’t a knock on Davis, but few guys can guard a 6’10 Bagley, much less a guy giving up a half-foot to him. Did James Banks strangle a hobo at the hotel? Has Banks been spending a significant amount of time trying to enlist Smart’s family in an Amway MLM scheme? Why is Texas going with a 4-guard lineup for the crucial overtime period against a much bigger opponent?
IT MAKE-AH NO SENSE-AH
Coleman was a phenomenal passer tonight. You could go through a laundry list of tweets I made to showcase the myriad ways his passing helped Texas build the lead against the
White Blue Devils. There were a handful of passes he made that sent me into whatever the male equivalent of ovulation is. However, he was 1-12 from the field and only recorded two assists to one turnover which is...uhh, not great. Some of the shots were forced, other were not. He had his moments, but there aren’t a lot of games where Coleman should be expected (or asked) to take 10+ shots.
But still, he did stuff like this:
*extreme DJ Khaled voice*— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 1461 (@Bitterwhiteguy) November 24, 2017
ANOTHER ONE pic.twitter.com/BIZKFY2uNW
I can’t entirely hate on the guy when he’s still doing ridiculous things from the point on a daily basis.
Osetkowski did a lot of good things; his rebounding rate was solid among a group of ridiculous Duke trees, his shots near the rim were decent looks, and his assists were second among the team behind Andrew Jones. However, he was 0-5 from three, and he’s missed enough threes that it’s fair to question the green light he has from deep. Maybe those shots are alright against a mid-major, but in a knock-down, drag-out fight against a top-flight team, it would be better to put the ball on the floor against younger defenders who aren’t able to handle the various offensive options a guy like O provides. I like Osetkowski, he adds more to the table than he takes off. His value to the team is undeniable; what I would like is to see a bit more efficiency in his shooting to really optimize his contributions.
Eric Davis Jr.*
This asterisk is because he was put in a pretty impossible situation late in the game. Davis is a willing defender, but he’s not going to stonewall a top-5 pick in the low post. He had four fouls, and at least two of them should go on the coaching staff instead. Maybe instead of putting him in ‘The Bad’, we should put him in ‘The Consequences of Poor Coaching Decisions’. Eric tried his ass off, but this was like watching Kliff Kingsbury defend a senior citizen buying cargo pants. It’s just not his role in this world.
Texas next game is against Florida or Gonzaga on Sunday at 12 PM CT on ESPN.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Bas Thomas.