This is two big wins in year one of KK. There were themes in both of them:
– Other team not being good defensively
– Al Freeman driving to the hole
– Playing inside out
– Making free throws
– Hitting the glass hard
– An opponent that wanted to get out and run
Play like this and we CAN clearly punch above our weight.
I think the first of those points may have been the biggest factor and unfortunately it’s not something they can control. I don’t think they’re going to win defensive battles and they’re not going to win all of their offensive battles. They avoided some things that got them in trouble in the first two ACC games. I don’t know if they were looking to pass on the drive more or if Duke was just leaving people open more, but it worked out well. And they didn’t settle for the three, but used it when it was there and were efficient with it (for the most part). And their free throw shooting was really good (and could have been better if a few more of those fouls had been called). Great defense is going to beat good/decent offense, but good/decent offense stands a chance against OK defense (or worse) and will come up on top sometimes, but not every time. I don’t know how many ACC foes they’re going to be able to hang 50 points in a half on. They played well against a defensively vulnerable Duke team though.
Thrilled for the win and I hope they can keep up some of the good things that they did in this game, but I’m not going to be surprised to see more games like Clemson and ND. With less than two weeks separating the games, it will be interesting to see if there is any improvement from Clemson the last time and Clemson coming up. And will playing at home make a difference? If they play as hard as they did Saturday night, it will at least be fun to watch and easier to cheer for.