Halftime Analysis – Duke 40 Wahington 26


Here are some observations from the first half:

1) This may be one of the worst defensive performances I have seen by UW in years. UW is being killed by Duke’s spacing and movement. They seem confused when to switch and when to stay put. On one play, two players left the man with the ball to cover someone off the ball and Dawkins was left open for an easy jumper. What a lack of communication and coordination. They should know their roles by now.

Aziz is being abused down low and shouldn’t even be playing.  I think they may need to go zone, because clearly they can’t keep up with man-to-man right now. Perhaps it is Duke’s intelligence of just knowing where to move on the floor. Or maybe it is UW’s lack of understanding of how to play defense in this scenario.

2) As frustrating as it has been watching Tony Wroten turn the ball over so much and missing so many free throws, I am definitely seeing some things in him that bode well for the future. He has that swag and initiative like I.T. to take over and do things himself when the team isn’t clicking. When the team lacks flow and a go-to scorer, he’ll just drive in himself. Taking I.T.’s attitude and his 6’5″ size will be very nice to see as he develops and gets used to the speed of Division I. If we are willing to accept this is a wasted year for the freshmen to gain experience, then we can watch with joy as Wroten develops and learns this game.

Where Wroten needs to get better at is on defense. He needs to learn where the other players on the court are going to be on isolations and where the extra pass may go. He also needs to learn to make smarter decisions of when to pass (the big man has to be watching) and when to drive head strong into someone.

3) I watched Duke implement the trap, something UW ought to do occassionally. With their length and speed, UW ought to be able to run a 3/4 court trap almost all game or at least during some extended segments. When I coached HS basketball, I used the 3/4 court trap very effectively. We got back into many games that way or extended leads catching teams off guard. But, I’ve never understood why Romar refuses to ever do it in his 10 years here.

4) I’ve seen this pattern way too many times before on offense. When UW struggles on the road, they start hucking up long shots early in the shot clock. But, if they are not falling (and they usually don’t on the road), then it allows long rebounds to the opposition who can then get out into transition. UW really needs to learn how to implement an decent halfcourt offense. But, I have been saying that for the last 3+ years.

5) I’d like to see Romar learn when to pull certain players when they are overmatched. Aziz needs to be out and Bruenig needs more time to develop.  Kemp seems slow but, he couldn’t do worse than Aziz is right now.

6) I’d like to see Ross get more involved. I’ve said that before. Stop standing around and start getting the ball into your hands! There is hardly a player on the floor who has your athleticism. So, use it. You are too good to be silent.

7) Desmond Simmons has some great intangibles and I think he’ll be a terrific player someday. It would be nice if he would learn how to use his skills and height more effectively. He is definitely still a raw player.

So, does UW have a chance? Unfortunately, only is Ross goes off and Wilcox hits like 8 three-pointers. I just don’t see it happening. I predict Duke will win this by more than 20+ and UW will be left 4-4 coming home to take out their frustrations on the UC Santa Barbaras and South Dakota States on their schedule.