Gary Parrish: Duke’s Defense Has Them On The Right Path
Gary Parrish from CBSSports.com joins Mac and Jim to talk college hoops. Gary discusses Duke’s defense, a UNC March Madness scenario, the ups and downs and twists and turns of this season and Wake Forest and NC State’s tournament hopes.
On Duke fixing their defensive issues: What you’re eyes and advanced stats are telling you is this is a better Duke team. The offense was always going to be there. When you’ve got shooters like they have and a professional shot maker like Jabari Parker and another probable NBA guy in Rodney Hood, the offense was always going to be there. The issue was defense and I was surprised by how much they struggled early, because sometimes when you struggle defensively it’s often you have terrible defensive principles as a team or too many young guys or you’re not physically capable of doing it. Despite Duke not having a rim protector, the athletes were in place to be good defensively and so I was surprised to see their defensive efficiency was outside the top 100. When you’ve got the proper type of athletes and a coach like Mike Krzyzewski they can figure this out. Two weeks is a long time. Wisconsin was great two weeks ago and now they’ve lost 4 of 5. Duke defensive efficiency is now top 60 in the country, which isn’t good, but it suggests they’re on the right path.
On UNC’s tournament hopes: They can be a tournament team. When you struggle the way they did throughout early January, losing to Wake Forest, the home loss to Miami, which is unforgivable, and there’s no shame in going to Syracuse and losing, but when you lose 4 of 5 and you’re North Carolina, people are going to freak out. I’m not saying everything is fine now, but the idea that in the middle of January we were burying a team… it’s hard to get a bracket to 68 teams. Sometimes, people saying ‘no chance’ are people who have never put pen to paper and actually tried to fill out the bracket. When you have three wins of the caliber they recorded it’s going to give you a leg up on everybody, because there will be bubble teams who do not have wins as good as Carolina. If they can just avoid bad losses going forward, and who knows if they can, they’re going to be fine.