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Elliot Williams Is Not Your Savior

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Mark Schlabach sees a resurgence at Duke, where others may just see victories over one team that won't make its own conference tournament and another that was .500 over its last eight games. That resurgence has a name, and that name is Elliot Williams. Williams, you see, had four steals and a perimeter defense that held Jeff Teague to a mere twenty-eight points. Or, as Rush the Court put it, "So Jeff Teague having his way with you is a credential for good point guard play."

But what really irritated me was the last paragraph:

Much to the surprise of Gaudio, the Blue Devils beat the Demon Deacons at their own game. By using a quicker lineup (junior center Brian Zoubek, who started 17 of Duke's first 20 games, never even left the bench) and a bigger point guard, Duke was able to take away many of Wake Forest's biggest strengths. The Demon Deacons' superior post players never became much of a factor because they couldn't keep up with the frenetic pace on the floor, and Teague and Smith struggled to defend taller players.

They measure the pace of games, now. The Duke-Wake match had 73 possessions, which is one of the lowest totals for the Deacons this season. Wake had 89 possessions against UNC, and the big men kept up just fine. Wake has been dialing back their big men's playing time for weeks now, going with smaller, quicker lineups. The Deacons were taken down by Duke's superior shooting and their myriad of turnovers, as well as a spate of fouls once they cut the lead to two with seven minutes to play. (In fact, eight of the Blue Devils next ten points came from the line.) So don't lay everything at the (extensively moving) feet of Williams just yet; wait and see how the last four games play out.