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For my print column today, I wrote about tempo-free statistics and the people who believe staunchly in them. John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus, who wrote about Alex Fanaroff's column last week, offered a crash course in tempo-free statistics in our phone conversation, parts of which are excerpted below.
David Cutcliffe will kick off his third season at Duke with a Sept. 4 home game against in-state FCS squad Elon, the school announced yesterday. The Phoenix finished last year with 9-3 and in the FCS Top 10, where it was joined by Richmond, the FCS team that spoiled the Blue Devils' 2009 opener in Wallace Wade Stadium. Elon head coach Pete Lembo called his team's 2010 slate "the most challenging schedule" he had put together, pinpointing the matchup with Duke as the highlight of the schedule.
Neither Tennessee nor a search firm had contacted Duke to talk with head coach David Cutcliffe as of Wednesday evening, Art Chase, Duke's sports information director, told The Chronicle.
Know what I do when Duke loses? I go to YouTube, and I watch Gerald Henderson dunk over people. (OK, maybe this cure was more effective when, you know, Henderson still wore No. 15 for Duke, but let's not get nitpicky here.) So it was completely fortuitous that I recently ran across Dime's interview with Henderson, in which Gerald Narciso, the interviewer, asked the former Blue Devil about his crazy hops:
Three things to know before No. 7 Duke (10-1), a 36-point favorite, hosts Pennsylvania (0-8, ahem!) tonight at 6 p.m.:
Three things to know before No. 7 Duke (9-1), a 25-point favorite, hosts Long Beach State (6-6) tonight at 7 p.m.:
It's finally official on Duke's end: Jim Knowles, formerly Cornell's head coach, will join David Cutcliffe's staff as a co-defensive coordinator, the program announced Monday.
Last night, hours after news broke that Urban Meyer was stepping down as Florida's head coach, someone asked me to speculate what the reaction at Duke would be like if Mike Krzyzewski resigned, unexpectedly, days before the start of the NCAA Tournament. The two situations would be different, of course. Meyer has been in Gainesville for five years and Coach K in Durham for 30. Meyer is 45 and Krzyzewski is 62. Most figure that Meyer is climbing to the peak of his career, and Krzyzewski is on the back end of his.
No matter what you think of journalistic ramifications of the apparently imminent TMZSports.com -- whether it will be a failure, cause a tabloid war, change the gossip game or, simply, make an icksickle -- the effects will probably be more profound for athletes than journalists.
This is the third in a series of Duke’s All-Decade teams, as named by various Chronicle writers, past and present. At the end of the series, you will be able to vote for your own All-Decade team, and your votes will determine The Sports Blog’s final choice. Stay tuned over the next two weeks for more All-Decade choices.
Three observations on this week's Associated Press Top 25:
Bobby Knight may not be coaching anymore, but he still knows how to drum up a controversy -- that much was made clear this week, when he questioned why Kentucky head coach John Calipari still had a job on the sideline.
Two years ago, after Pittsburgh beat Duke on a last-second 3-pointer in Madison Square Garden, The Big Lead got on his soapbox and singled out Jon Scheyer, calling him "unquestionably, an awful college basketball player.... Offensively, after last night's dreadful 1-for-10 shooting performance, one cannot begin to imagine the thought process that Scheyer uses when he is in possession of the basketball." A patently absurd statement in 2007, it rings even flatter almost exactly two years later, when the New York City media left the Garden singing Scheyer's praises in their stories about Duke's throttling of Gonzaga.
The last time Duke played in the New York City area in December, the weather in the Meadowlands was positively nasty, forcing Blue Devil fans to trudge through 15-degree chills and leftover slush from the previous day's snowstorm. But once they got inside, the game's outcome was delightful: Duke pounded Xavier 82-64, and it wasn't even as close as it sounds. In fact, last year, Duke played three times as blustery conditions whipped outside, and the Blue Devils won all three games.
Late last night, long after Duke routed Gardner-Webb, a reporter asked Mike Krzyzewski for his thoughts on the NCAA Tournament's possible expansion to 96 teams. As we now know, Coach K -- unlike our own Alex Fanaroff and a whole bunch of other smart folks -- has joined the dark side. He wants a 96-team field for a few reasons:
In his second year on the Duke sidelines, David Cutcliffe led the Blue Devils to a 5-7 season—but once again, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, also in his second year in Atlanta, earned ACC Coach of the Year honors Tuesday. Cutcliffe finished third for the second consecutive year, coming in with four of 40 votes, behind Johnson's 24 and Clemson's Dabo Swinney's 10.
NEW YORK -- At halftime of Duke's win over Arizona State Wednesday, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb opened by declaring Duke "alarmingly unathletic," right next to former Blue Devil star Jason Williams. Of course, Duke went on to win that game and tonight, the Blue Devils won the NIT by beating Connecticut.
NEW YORK -- As New Jersey natives, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek are two of the only Duke players to return every year to neutral sites near their homes. They bring packs of family and friends to these affairs in the Tri-State area, host to some of the Blue Devils' best wins in the last four years.
When Duke and Wake Forest square off tomorrow in Durham, it will mark the first ACC game ever between two quarterbacks with more than 9,000 career passing yards. I saw that statistical tidbit the other day. It made me feel like a super-senior at a freshman rager, as I remember the first duel between Thaddeus Lewis and Riley Skinner just as vividly as I can recall the second and third. In the last three years, Wake Forest emerged as Duke's secondary rival; all three games were nailbiters, with two coming down to the very last play.
When the time and network for Duke's Nov. 7 game at North Carolina was announced last week, the Blue Devils hadn't yet won their third straight conference game and the Tar Heels hadn't yet knocked off Virginia Tech on the road. The two victories -- and the fact that the rivalry for the Victory Bell actually is relevant, for once -- means that you won't have to scramble for access to ESPN360 next weekend.