Unfair: Duke adds yet another dimension
After adding threes in its 13-for-21 effort from long-range in its win at Virginia last week, the Blue Devils now have in their bag of tricks the press.
You don’t live under a rock, so you already know that Duke rallied from a 23-point deficit in the final 9:07 to win at Louisville Tuesday night.
The way it was done is the scary thing.
Duke went to a press to speed Louisville out of what had been working for 31 minutes offensively.
The Cardinals led 59-36 inside of 10 minutes to go, shooting 47.9 percent, with eight turnovers, not lights-out, coolly efficient, but, in the context of this game, purring.
Then came the press, which changed the rhythm of the game for both sides.
Out of nowhere, Duke was pushing Louisville into quick shots, quicker passes, bad decisions, and it mushroomed.
It wasn’t sudden, necessarily – Louisville still had a double-digit lead inside of four and a half to go, and Duke would only finally tie the game with 1:29 left, on a three by Cam Reddish.
The effect, though, was stunning. Louisville missed 10 of its last 12 shots and turned the ball over nine times in the final 10 minutes.
Duke, on its side, went 9-of-13 from the floor down the stretch, after shooting 28 percent in the opening 30 minutes.
The three-point revelation from the Virginia win didn’t carry over – Duke shot just 7-of-28 from three Tuesday night.
But, you still have to account for that when you’re thinking through what you want to do defensively.
Logically, yes, you still make them beat you from three, but you’ve seen them do that to the best defense in the country, so, be forewarned.
And now, you have been forewarned that Coach K can call a quick timeout and press you into oblivion, if necessary.
Column by Chris Graham