2010 Final Four: Duke's Offense Will Cut Down the Nets on Monday Night

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IApril 4, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils lays the ball up in the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS— It's time to throw the old adage "defense wins championships" out the window because Duke's offense will cut down the nets Monday.

Before the tournament, I identified offensive efficiency as the most telling characteristic of a national title winning team.

Entering the tournament, Duke was No. 1.

After five rounds of the tournament, the Blue Devils are still No. 1 and the gap to No. 2 is growing.

Duke did something Saturday night that just shouldn't happen in a national semifinal: The Blue Devils scored 1.43 points per possession.


Digest that for a moment.

Now, here's why that number is absurd: West Virginia had allowed more than one point per possession just twice since the calendar turned to March.

With the exception of the Big East Championship game, the Mountaineers had kept their last nine opponents at least .15 ppp below their season average ,with some even .25 ppp below their season average.

Duke went out and outscored its season average by .20 points per trip.

That kind of success starts with Duke's big three: Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler.

"Our defensive gameplan was to at least shut one of them down and we didn't execute that," West Virginia guard Joe Mazzulla said.

Saying that they "didn't execute" is an understatement. Those three alone had more points and assists than the entire West Virginia team.

When those three get going, Duke is unstoppable.

Against Baylor, the offense was effective, albeit ugly, but nevertheless effective.

Saturday against West Virginia, the offense was pretty and it began with patience.

"Once we got up, they got antsy," Duke guard Jon Scheyer said. "For us, we were able to take our time and when one the bigs switched on me or Nolan, instead of trying to force something down low where they collapsed, we opened things up, penetrated and went from there."

The screens led to penetration and that led to disaster for West Virginia.

"We didn't locate their shooters like we wanted to, and they just got hot," WVU forward Kevin Jones said.

Duke will need to ride their hot shooting into Monday against Butler.

The Bulldogs have allowed one team to score more than a point per possession since Christmas and their worst tournament output is .935 ppp.

Scheyer said they would figure out tomorrow how they plan to make their transition attack work against Butler's halfcourt gameplan.

Considering Duke has figured out how to torch every defense it crosses paths with, there isn't much doubt the Blue Devils will have a master-plan come Monday night.

For more updates on college basketball, follow @JamesonFleming on twitter. He's in Indianapolis covering the Final Four for Bleacher Report.