Observations from Duke v. FSU

Ken TysiacJanuary 13, 2011 

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CORRECTION

An article on Page 3C of Thursday's Sports section incorrectly identified the location of Duke's first appearance on an opponent's home floor this college basketball season. On Dec. 29, the Blue Devils defeated UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum, which serves this season as the Spartans' home court.

****** It's becoming obvious that Duke is severely lacking a low-post presence on offense, and that will spell trouble for the rest of the season if the Blue Devils can't get it straightened out.

If opponents don't have to devote some attention to Miles and Mason Plumlee near the basket, it's going to be extremely difficult for the Blue Devils to generate all their offense from the perimeter.

It seems incredible, but Wednesday night's game was Duke's first appearance on an opponent's home floor, in the 16th game of the season.

The Blue Devils are the last team in the ACC to play a game on an opponent's home court. But to be fair, they did play a ranked team, Kansas State, in a hostile environment in Kansas City in the CBE Classic final.

In Duke's past two games, Florida State and Maryland have demonstrated how opponents are going to defend Duke guard Nolan Smith.

Defenders are going underneath ball screens, clogging the lane and daring Smith to beat them with jump shots from the perimeter. That strategy has slowed Smith and Duke in the last two games. He's going to have to come up with a counter - or just make some jump shots - to create open driving lanes.

Dick Vitale provided color analysis for the game on the same day ESPN announced an agreement to extend his contract through the 2014-15 season.

Vitale rightly takes some heat because he soft peddles some of the things that go wrong with the game and doesn't criticize coaches when they deserve it.

But Vitale is a tireless supporter of the V Foundation for Cancer Research in support of his old friend, the late Jim Valvano. And Vitale's enthusiasm is good for the game.

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