Anti-Duke Manifesto-The Complete Hate

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Borg responded that he believes officials make bad calls; however, they usually even out over the course of a match. Can anyone seriously argue that foul disparities even out over the course of a Duke game, much less a season? Stone cold statistics say otherwise. Nevertheless, Times writer Michael Sokolove says that it ’seems far-fetched’ to claim that Krzyzewskis success is largely due to one-sided officiating. Yes, Mr. Sokolove, you are correct; as the saying goes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

B. The Duke Flop.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the disparity in foul totals is the outrageous manner in which game officials apply the ever-subjective offensive foul rule. You know the scenario: An opposing player blows by a slower Duke defender while being closely guarded thirty feet from the basket. As the player races to the hoop for a lay-up, another Duke player jumps into his path, often while the offensive player is in the air, deliberately causing a dangerous collision near the basket. The late arriving defender falls over backward, arms flailing, with a melodramatic shriek. As sure as the sun sets in the West, one of the three game referees will run to the scene, often from far out of position, hand clasped behind his head, whistle sounding loudly, all with Krzyzewski’s pumping fist signaling his approval in the background. Of course, when the opposition attempts to return the favor, the call is just as surely a block or, at best, a no call.

This defensive ‘play’ is in all ways analogous to a baseball player stepping in front of a pitch in a deliberate effort to get a free pass to first base by being plunked. The only difference is that the basketball flop gives the added bonus of bringing an opposing player 1/5 of the way to disqualification.

While many times the Duke player accomplishes his goal of creating a violent collision, any given game brings several additional defensive ‘plays’ in which a Duke defender drops to the floor when his opponent so much as breathes on him. The Duke team is so thoroughly trained to resort to this regularly rewarded tactic that it is common so see them fall anywhere on the court – near the basket, at mid-court, in the backcourt, sometimes while the offensive player is simply dribbling laterally, making no effort to move towards the basket. In 2005, during the closing seconds of its last loss to Maryland, for instance, a Duke defender actually flopped beneath Maryland’s defensive goal on an inbound play.

Taking the tradition to new levels, JJ Redick recently debuted a new version: the offensive flop. It was unveiled early in this seasons first UNC game as JJ went up for a mid-range jumpshot, which he made. After releasing the ball, JJ jerked his body as if overtaken by a violent seizure and plopped loudly onto the floor. Replays showed no contact, other than perhaps a grazing of the defenders leg, which JJ initiated as he straddled his legs in an effort to ‘draw the foul.’ Again, in his home loss of senior night, JJ fell to the floor for no apparent reason after launching a baseline three early in the game. Fortunately, the referees did not take the bait on either occasion, but, rest assured, future Dukies will perfect the ploy with greater results.