After the November 29th game against the Buckeyes, Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski discussed the reasons he believed lead to his team losing the game.
“I thought Ohio State played a great game against us. They were a fresher team; I thought our team played tired. They are very athletic, together and they played with a great verve. Obviously they are deserving of the win, but they were a lot fresher than we were. We could never get into the ballgame.”
So Krzyzewski believes that his team was tired after their three games in as many days against Tennessee, Michigan, and Kansas last week in the Maui Invitational. That’s certainly possible considering the quality of the teams, the rate they played the games, and the chance of jet lag.
But is there any way we could tell for certain if they actually were suffering from exhaustion? You’re probably thinking I wouldn’t write this article unless there was, and you would be entirely correct.
There are three types of exhaustion that are common in college athletics: Physical, Mental, and Emotional. Physical is obvious – the sheer muscular failure that comes from overexertion. Mental and emotional are more of an enigma, but are just as easily seen in the results on the court. Overcoming these are one of the big tasks for any team trying to make a deep tournament run in March.
There are several different places to look for signs of exhaustion in a team. In some cases, a look at the stats can get the job done. One must keep in mind while analyzing stats for signs of wear that strong defensive play makes a difference as well. I will do the best I can to point out how to tell if the issue is with a strong defense as opposed to a tired team.