Duke dominates at the right time
Posted March 10, 2013
It was a blue bloodbath.
Duke out-shot, out-rebounded, out-hustled and thoroughly out-played Carolina on Senior Night in Chapel Hill.
I'll admit I've been skeptical about this Duke team for most of the season. I've tended to think Duke didn't have enough of an inside game to make a run for it all, and that their dependence on three-point shooting would ultimately be their downfall. But the past two Saturdays – and wins against the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the ACC – have changed my mind.
The Devils space themselves so well on offense that a lack of what most of us consider to be a dominating front-court – beyond Mason Plumlee – really doesn't matter. Ryan Kelly's mobility and range tend to draw post players away from the basket anyway, limiting the number of double teams on Plumlee. And no team clogs up passing lanes on defense better than Duke – entry passes into the paint can be adventures for opposing teams,
Carolina found out all of those things in the Devils' 69-53 win. In truth, the game was never that close. And in truth, it might have been a lot more interesting had the Tar Heels shot the ball a little better ... but part of that poor shooting – OK, a lot of it – can be attributed to Duke's defense.
A week and a half after losing at Virginia, Duke has responded by playing what may be the best basketball in the country. Their season will be judged by what they do in the next month, but the Blue Devils seem to have found the right equation at the right time. And that's the stuff upon which titles are built.