Georgia Tech is a young team comprised of big talents with truly outstanding first names (or, in the case of star guard Javaris Crittenton (above), outstanding first/last name combinations). But, as is the case with most young teams, they have a hard time adjusting quickly enough on defense and turn the ball over too much. Yesterday evening, the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 28 times and allowed their opponent a whopping 21 more shots than they took. And yet, by the time a bunch of face-painting electrical engineers stormed the court at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Georgia Tech had pulled off what counts — at least for the time being — as a major ACC upset, beating Duke 74-63. Duke may actually be, if not exactly bad, not quite that good.
Of course, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, the two schools to which Duke has lost in ACC play — the first time in 11 seasons they’ve begun ACC play by going 0-2 — are both pretty well stocked with talent, the Hokie game was very close, and Georgia Tech was at home. But seeing Josh McRoberts get pushed around by Tech’s Ra’Sean Dickey (21 points) and watching Tech’s speedy guards (Anthony Morrow put up 19 points; Crittenton had 11 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST and a game-changing steal) run circles around the troubled Duke backcourt, it’s worth wondering where this year’s Duke team will end up. That ’96 team that started 0-2, by the way, finished at 18-13.
The Charlotte News-Observer‘s Luciana Chavez points out that “the Devils (13-3, 0-2 ACC) are struggling to do smaller things like communicate and convert. In their past two games, that has made it hard to do the biggest thing — win.” Although he neglected to point out that he looks increasingly like the puppet from the Saw family of films, Duke’s Coach K isn’t panicking yet:
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he feels this team needs more time to ripen than outsiders usually give Duke teams.
“Young teams have to learn how to win,” he said. “We’ve won a lot [at Duke]. You inherit money, some people do. You don’t inherit how to win. You learn that.”
“We’re not used to [losing] and we don’t want to become used to it,” (Guard Greg) Paulus said. “We have to get back to the basics. We don’t like the feeling. And we’re not trying to feel that way.”