Duke Beats Up the Big East's Little Sister

Travis MillerAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2009

Mike Jarvis was fired in 2003.

Duke should have stopped playing St. John's on a yearly basis right then and there.

The glitz and glamour have been removed from the game since the Johnnies stopped putting a competitive team on the floor. Part of this I understand is due to NCAA violations that Jarvis was responsible for, but there are no longer any storylines when this game is played.


It's just a December game being played in February.

Mike Krzyzewski discontinued the annual Temple matchup just a couple of seasons after John Chaney retired. He had no more connection with the school. There was no longer a reason to help out the Owls by giving them a competitive non-conference game.

Furthermore, I could barely listen to the broadcast because Bob Knight and Brent Musburger kept glorifying Duke. Nonstop. I'm a Duke fan—and I couldn't handle it.

With 4:05 left in the game, Knight was finally critical of Duke without sugarcoating it with five or six compliments. Finally.

Coming off of four losses in six games, and dropping two straight, I guess it was nice for the gimme, a 76-69 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Don't let the score deceive you. It wasn't a seven-point game. Duke had a comfortable double-digit lead for half of the game.

Therein lies the problem—comfort.

The Blue Devils (21-5, 7-4 ACC) came out of the gate stagnant, and only perpetual personnel changes kept the juices flowing as the game progressed.

Conference play can take its toll, as it has with "The Dukes" as Coach Knight kept calling them (Duquesne vs. James Madison?), so a change of scenery always helps, but a weaker non-conference opponent won't do the trick.

Playing Georgetown in January was beneficial, even if the Hoyas have since faded. Bringing in a Gonzaga, Texas, or Florida-type team at this stage would be great.

St. John's (12-14, 3-10 Big East), on the other hand, is bad, and everyone knew it when the game was scheduled.

With No. 8 Wake Forest coming to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday and trips to College Park and Blacksburg on tap for next week, an emotionless win like the one tonight is not a proper tune-up.

Playing any ACC opponent tonight would have paid better dividends, exponentially.

The Blue Devils missed 10 free throws tonight, registered assists on less than half of their field goals, and were recipients of four bench points. Four.

They turned the ball over on their first two possessions, which made their apathy toward this game most evident.

In an interview this morning, Coach K said he doesn't mind losing unless his team played as if it deserved to lose. I wonder how he feels about this win. There was nothing special about it, and an otherwise blindly supportive Duke fan is being excessively critical.

Maybe it's Bob Knight's fault. Where's Dickie V, baby?


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