Monday, March 29, 2010

How was it that Duke beat Baylor?

Yesterday's basketball game between Duke and Baylor in Houston was a great contest. At the end of the first half, the Bears were ahead, and I thought they very well might win. They seemed to be more energetic and committed than what I seemed to observe with the Duke players. Kyle Singler, one of Duke's stars, was either terribly cold or effectively shut down by Baylor's great defense (or both) that first half, a situation that continued on the offensive side with him until the end of the game.

But Duke had a sort of intrepid, mature approach about them that I began to appreciate during the second half. They simply moved ahead without appearing to get too passionate about the situation. And their outside shooting and offensive rebounding were simply fantastic. During the last five minutes, Baylor seemed to lose their focus; they seemed almost frantic with their being so close to victory but not quite there yet. The technical foul committed by one of Baylor's fine players spoke to the loss of poise that finally did them in.

I think that's what did it. The Baylor players were every bit as good as Duke's. But Duke had been there before. Duke had a coach who, although he may be no more gifted than Baylor's, had many more years of tournament experience. Those things finally made the difference.

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