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Mandy Mitchell

Duke confident heading to Greensboro

Posted March 13, 2013
Updated March 14, 2013

The Duke Blue Devils will take the court in Greensboro Friday almost exactly one year after their surprising NCAA Tournament loss to Lehigh.

Duke players said the loss a year ago came from a lack of focus, something they don't expect this time around.

"Last year, we weren't focused at this time of the year, and it showed in the way we played," said guard Tyler Thornton.

There is little doubt about the team's focus right now. It may be the same court, but a lot has changed in the last 12 months.

Duke is coming off one of its most impressive wins of the year, a dominating 16-point win over North Carolina, and the Blue Devils are plenty used to having Ryan Kelly back in the lineup. He will play his fourth game since his return on Friday.

"We were scrambling to find an identity going into the ACC Tournament last year," Mason Plumlee said. "This year we are getting Ryan back and we have a lot of guys playing at a high level. It's exciting."

Kelly's most impressive stat this season continues to be his record. The Blue Devils are 18-0 when he is on the court, and they appear as dangerous as they did when they rose to No. 1 early this season.

"We are getting that feel back," Quinn Cook said. "He was out two months so that won't happen over night but we are getting back to where we were."

Duke gets the winner of Maryland and Wake Forest on Friday.

They are 3-1 against those two teams this year, with a loss at Maryland last month.

A win Friday sets up a possible rematch with the Tar Heels. Duke isn't the top seed in the 60th edition of the ACC Tournament, but it's hard not to consider this team the favorite with the way they are playing since Kelly's return.

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  • Hokies94 Mar 16, 8:03 p.m.

    Mandy. I really appreciate your topics on here. Sorry that my Hokies didn't deliver. Duke hit a huge snag last night. My son is happy tonight though. A dad-gum UNC graduate.

  • jrt0856 Mar 15, 8:03 p.m.

    With Ryan Kelly back, Duke is unbeaten - no wonder they're confident!

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    Just a coincidence

  • jrt0856 Mar 15, 8:00 p.m.

    Looks like Maryland is confident. I game and Kelly is in the HOF, has he ever made 1st or 2nd team in the ACC,how 3rd team somebody help me out. 1 night wonder, a good player, but lets not get carry away here.

  • Gunnstigator Mar 14, 4:56 p.m.

    With Ryan Kelly back, Duke is unbeaten - no wonder they're confident!

  • Elvisisdead Mar 14, 11:32 a.m.

    Duke is confident? This is new news to who...?

  • Native NC gal Mar 14, 10:18 a.m.

    Are they not confident all the time? Kinda why they are the most reviled team in all of college basketball...Cue the floor slaps.

  • iron fist Mar 14, 9:36 a.m.

    Erick Green may upset the Pack on Thursday at 2:00. I pick Duke to win it all vs UM.

    — Posted by Hokies94

    Hope your right Hokie 94!

    — Posted by Stilllearnin

    Me too!!

  • Stilllearnin Mar 14, 9:20 a.m.

    Erick Green may upset the Pack on Thursday at 2:00. I pick Duke to win it all vs UM.

    — Posted by Hokies94

    Hope your right Hokie 94!

  • Hokies94 Mar 14, 1:02 a.m.

    Erick Green may upset the Pack on Thursday at 2:00. I pick Duke to win it all vs UM.

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