Oddly enough, this loss didn't bother me that much. Why? Let me explain...
1) We can rebound. The past few years we struggled controlling the boards. We dominated the boards this game
2) Defense. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either.
3) Turnovers. Let's face it, that was horrible. But if you look at it overall, you can divide it up into three parts.
a) Defense pressure from Duke. I would say about a third of them were directly related to Duke's pressure.
b) Ball handling and entry passes. Several miscues due to Garrett at point and getting the bigs the ball in a bad spot or passes out of the double team.
c) sloppy play.
It seems to me that b) and c) can be fixed. If we fix those two, we dominate this game. But it did highlight one thing. Garrett does not handle the ball very well. We need to have a true back up at PG, because he looked bad, really bad trying to handle those duties.
Overall, though we had moments where the game really seemed to flow well for us (thinking the opening of the second half in particular) and we didn't seem to get rattled when Duke made a push.
It will remain to be seen how far this team can go, but some nice spacing (partially due to the new three point line) and passing on the interior tells us that the hi lo offense might be back, we have some nice guards/wings who can slash, and the freshman looked fairly nice.
I came away feeling like this could be a particularly good team if they buy in to Self's defense and take care of the ball more.
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