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Duke faced Syracuse in February, so these teams are familiar with each other already. But with head coach Mike Krzyzewski adopting the 2-3 zone look from Jim Boeheim via their time together at USA Basketball, the Blue Devils and Orange will be nearly mirror images of each other, at least on defense. Fortunately for Duke fans, the Blue Devils are much more talented offensively and should be able to find enough ways to score to return to the Elite Eight for the third time in the last six years.
Duke dispatched Rhode Island with nearly as much ease as they did Iona, its first-round opponent. A 25-point win in the NCAA tournament is nothing to sneeze at, and the Rams are a solid team. Marvin Bagley was unstoppable, hitting on 8 of 10 shots for 22 points while Wendell Carter added 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting. The two bigs are shooting 28 for 35 during the tournament and are showing no signs of this being their first time in the bright lights of March Madness.
Spartans out of the way
Tom Izzo has been dangerous in March, and Syracuse knocking the Spartans out in the second round makes things a little less imposing as Duke heads into the regionals in Omaha, Neb. However, Boeheim is no slouch as a coach and the young Blue Devils will have their hands full with Syracuse’s stifling zone.
DUKE, ‘NOVA NOW FAVORITES
Duke might be the sentimental favorite to cut down the nets due to its level of talent, but the Wildcats are clicking just as well as the Blue Devils and are a formidable foe if the two teams meet in San Antonio, site of the Final Fou. Villanova is currently at 3-to-1 odds while Duke is at 4 to 1. Syracuse, Duke’s next opponent, is tied for the worst odds at 60 to 1.
Bagley in rarefied air
Despite missing four games during the season with a knee sprain, Marvin Bagley is now nearly in a league of his own statistically among all freshmen to ever play for Duke. He will pass Jabari Parker for most points scored with 15 more, he’s already averaging two more points per game than Parker, he’s averaging more rebounds per game than Mike Gminski, and the accolades continue on and on. However, the most impressive stat that Bagley has put up so far is that he will be the first player in the Coach K era at Duke to lead the ACC in both scoring (21.1 points per game) and rebounding (11.3 rebounds per game) ever.
Not just freshmen. Ever.
It has been a joy to watch Bagley play for Duke this season, and will be a joy to watch him play for the NBA team tjay is smart enough to draft him in the first few picks this June.
signees and commits playing in high school All-American games
R.J. Barrett, along with fellow Duke signees Cameron Reddish and Tre Jones, and verbal commit Zion Williamson, will play at all three (McDonald’s, Jordan Brand, Nike Hoop Summit) national high school All-American games. The four should have plenty of time to develop cohesion heading in to their freshmen years at Duke, which will start this summer.
SPRING BALL OPENS WITH HIGH HOPES
Duke football opened spring practice on Wednesday morning and returns starting quarterback Daniel Jones for his third year under center. It’s the first time David Cutcliffe has had the same starter at quarterback for three consecutive seasons since Sean Renfree’s senior season that saw him pass for 3,113 yards and 19 TDs. Jones’ career high of 2,836 yards passing is certainly in danger of being surpassed as he returns nearly his entire receiving corps from last year.