After going 2-0 against North Carolina last year, Duke suffered an ugly loss in Chapel Hill over the weekend. Perhaps the final score of 93-84 doesn't look that one-sided but the Blue Devils were outplayed the entire game, only leading for 16 seconds in total.
This obviously raised some alarm bells in Durham about how far this team can actually go. The talent level is there but this team underwhelms like they did on Saturday way too often. Here are the three names most to blame for the disappointing loss against the Tar Heels.
Whenever a team is a complete no-show in a big game, the blame needs to start with the coach. Scheyer has been criticizing the team's efforts since the loss but forgets the fact that he is the one responsible for preparing his players for the battle.
He has been preaching more effort and hustle while voicing his frustration in his team's failure to recover loose balls and dive on the floor.
Blaming your players, however, is an easy way out and misses the point. Duke wasn't ready for North Carolina's pressure and up-tempo style. The Tar Heels pushed the ball down Duke's throat on every possession and the Blue Devils couldn't keep up with it. It's not fair to blame the players for that.
One Blue Devil who certainly was a no-show was Tyrese Proctor. The sophomore guard had scored in double digits for the previous five games coming into Saturday, especially lighting it up from outside.
In 26 minutes against North Carolina, however, Proctor failed to get a three-point shot up, finishing with two points on 1-6 shooting. His tenacious defense was nowhere to be seen, either. In fact, he picked up three fouls, limiting his availability, and ended up sitting on the bench in the critical stretches of the game. It was a game to forget for the young man.
Duke's sophomore star certainly didn't have a bad game as he finished with 22 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes of action. However, he started the game slowly, only hitting four of his first 10 shots, and majority of his points came in the second half of the second half when the game was already out of hand.
The issue for Filipowski was the fact that he was outplayed by Armando Bacot in a big way. The senior big man for North Carolina finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists on 10-13 shooting. He consistently overpowered Filipowski on the boards and in the paint.
Bacot is one of the best centers in college basketball but Duke needs Filipowski to do better against him if they want to have a shot at beating the Tar Heels in Cameron Stadium in March 9.