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Duke Postmortem: Hey, Chin Up State Fans

February 17, 2012

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renderTo: ‘FourFactorsDuke’,
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colors: [ ‘#ee0000’, ‘#0000cc’, ‘#89A54E’, ‘#80699B’, ‘#3D96AE’, ‘#DB843D’, ‘#92A8CD’, ‘#A47D7C’, ‘#B5CA92’ ],
title: {
text: ‘The Four Factors’
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categories: [‘eFG%’, ‘Turnover%’, ‘OReb%’, ‘FTR’]
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text: ‘Percentages’
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credits: {
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series: [{
name: ‘NC State’,
data: [48.3, -20.8, 34.3, 40.7]
}, {
name: ‘Duke’,
data: [42, -6.9, 33.3, 40.6]

Let me start off by saying that I feel surprisingly upbeat given what transpired. You might expect the opposite, as I’m sure that’s how a lot of State fans feel the morning after when yet another game that’s right there for the taking slips through the Wolfpack’s fingers.

But what I took away from that game isn’t dampened by the final result.

For one, I could not be more proud of how the team came out to start the game. I had cold sweats thinking about the game in Chapel Hill and how it was essentially over before the first TV timeout. We looked scared against UNC, but the team that took the court in Cameron was 180 degrees in attitude than the one that failed to show up against the Heels. Huge credit to the coaching staff for getting our guys mentally ready for the challenge.

To put a finer point on it, I thought our aggression level in the first half was incredible. Ask yourself when was the last time a State team not just lead a game at Duke, but actually displayed some swagger and dominance on the Cameron court? Not in my lifetime. They came after them and had the Blue Devils reeling on their own floor. Amazing.

Two, I encourage everyone to take a reasoned look at how the officiating transpired last night. Was it good? No, not at all. But it was bad both ways, and in lieu of good and fair officiating, you have to accept bad and fair officiating as the next best thing.

Did Duke get advantageous calls at times? Yes. But so did State. As my friend Chris said to me over the phone this morning, how many times will you see a State player dunk on a Duke player in Cameron and get the “and one,” not a charging call?

The officiating played a role in the outcome only in the sense that State’s seven-man rotation doesn’t allow them to absorb a lot of fouls. There’s no margin for error. Knowing that, State’s starting five has to play smarter, assuming that the officials will likely favor the home team. The two fouls that put Howell and Leslie to the bench for good were two of the worst I’ve seen them commit this year, and of course that’s saying a lot.

Don’t use fouling as a crutch to support your argument that State should’ve won. There are better reasons to explain why.

A huge reason is ball control. For those who can actually *see* the chart above (I’m working on it), you can see State actually bested Duke in three of the four factors, including the most critical, effective field goal percentage, 48.3% to 42.0%. But where Duke kept themselves in the game was protecting the ball, turning it over only 6.9%. That’s incredibly good, and when you compare it to State’s 20.8%, it meant more opportunities for Duke on the offensive end and limited State’s ability to score in transition.

This loss hurts because of blowing the large lead, not losing by five to Duke on their home court. As this team matures and gets more quality depth, it should be able to close out games like this.

Hopefully in 2014, the script will be far different and we can bring an end to this dubious streak in Cameron.

The big thing is making FSU, who barely eked out a win against Virginia Tech last night, pay for this loss. I think they will.

(P.S. I’m not a court fashion guy by any stretch, but…I really liked the black unis. Let’s keep ’em!)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2012 10:35 am

    Last night sucked but at the same time it’s good that it hurt: it means we care again. After the last five years I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of Coach Gottfried’s first year

  2. February 17, 2012 10:59 am

    If this was last year’s team and coach, how bad would the loss have been? These guys were tremendous!

  3. Badinboarder87 permalink
    February 17, 2012 3:40 pm

    Normally i like your articles but this one hit completely missed the nail. I don’t think there is one correct, non-clichè sentence in there. The officials took over the game for the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half, terrible calls on both sides of the ball. COMPLETELY different feel from one half to the next. Then with 10 mins left they stopped calling fouls on both sides. But by then our starters were in foul trouble and theres were playing aggressive, physical defense and not getting called for it. Leslie has scratches on him from rebounding. They got every 50/50 ball cause we had to play cautious.

    ONLY affected the game cause our guys fouled out? ONLY?!? That is the ENTIRE game. The officials changed the basic fundamental strategy of the game! From one half to the next the officials CHANGED the game. Consistency is all an official should know, if you are consistent than you are fair. They gave Duke an advantage through the number of foul calls, not which fouls were called. That is a fact.

    How is a blocking foul when a Dumblee is inside the charge arc on a dunk an advantageous call? That was the one reasonable call of the half!

    Play smarter? Play SMARTER?? Einstein would have fouled out of that game! There is no way to outsmart illogical and inconsistent calls.

    You shouldn’t be happy almost beating Duke, you should be upset we let Duke get away. Content with a loss is why we have sucked for 20 years. Gott and Yow are trying to change the losing culture here, and it starts with fans and players not settling for a close loss. It was a step in the right direction of course, but we reached that step with 10 mins left in the game. The next step is stepping on duke’s throat and winning, we did not reach that step, you should not be satisfied. Championships are won with passion and a demand for greatness. We are passionate but only demand above-averageness right now.

  4. Badinboarder87 permalink
    February 17, 2012 3:43 pm

    Dang i wrote way too much, sorry.

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