ACC Tournament: Three Thoughts From Duke – Virginia TechPosted by mpatton on March 9th, 2012
Duke ground out a 60-56 win over Virginia Tech, giving the Hokies their twelfth loss by five points or less this season.
- This game was nearly as ugly as the Miami-Georgia Tech slugfest last night. Tyler Thornton and Austin Rivers combined to take 57% of Duke’s shots. And while it wasn’t pretty, both guys came up with the big plays when Duke needed them. Rivers kept the team in business at the beginning of the game before letting his frustration get the better of him. It was his full-court sprint for a tipped ball that iced the game after he completed the and-one. Thornton was more important defensively, coming up with three steals, but he also deserves credit for knocking down a very big three to put Duke’s lead back at eight when it looked like the Hokies were making a push.
- Virginia Tech’s offense needs work this offseason. A lot of it. The Hokies waste way too much time on offense. Duke played decent defense, and Seth Greenberg mentioned slowing the game down as part of the game plan. But successful clock-chewing teams squeeze 25-30 seconds out of every possession and take good shots (see: Wisconsin). Robert Brown’s 3-3 halftime stat line, and offensive rebounding were the only bright spots. The Hokies’ defense was very effective though. It forced Duke’s offense to flow through Thornton, and made it very hard for Duke to get the ball inside (though once the ball got into the lane, the Blue Devils were effective scoring).
- The Blue Devils really need a healthy Ryan Kelly to make a run in March. Without Kelly Duke’s bench only managed six points. His absence also spotlights frontcourt depth issues. Mason Plumlee played a very “intelligent” game according to Mike Krzyzewski, but both Plumlees are liable to pick up fouls. Kelly’s ability to stretch the defense would’ve opened up the lane a lot more for Rivers to drive and the Plumlees to post.