Duke Beat: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Blue Devil

In the past week, we’ve seen the Blue Devils get blown out in Miami by 27 only to return home and blow out Maryland by 20. So which of these two Blue Devil teams is the real one?

I would venture to say the one against Maryland. Not because they won (though that helps). The team against Miami could not hit shots. Even easy shots were not falling. Duke may have a cold half as we’ve seen this season, but they typically pick it up in the second half. That wasn’t the case against Miami. How often are three of your guards going to shoot 1 for 29? Very rare that it happens. And if it does, you typically have someone else picking up the slack. To me, the Miami game was an anomaly game in which absolutely nothing was going right for the Blue Devils, especially since it was their worst loss I believe in nearly 30 years. Duke does have one game a year where it seems as though everything goes against them. I believe the Miami game was that game and Duke should be fine the rest of the season. That’s not to say they won’t lose again, but I highly doubt it will be as bad as that.

I believe the team that showed up Sat. against Maryland is the real Duke team. They played tough defense, and even though Curry seemed to struggle at times, everyone was hitting their shots. If they weren’t, they did not allow it to affect their defense the way it did in the Miami game. Hitting their shots also allowed Duke to get set up in their defense and not allow a lot of fast break points. For a lot of fans, and I’m sure the coaching staff, the hardest part of the Miami game wasn’t that they weren’t hitting shots, but that they seemed to give up and not play defense. It’s rare to see a Blue Devil team not play hard on defense. You know the coaching staff made that a point of emphasis from the moment the Miami game ended to the opening tip against Maryland, especially when Mason willingly did not challenge Len and everyone immediately got on defense. By stepping up their defense, Duke was also able to run and get easy transition points.

Wednesday night, as usual on the road, Duke got off to a slow start on both the offense and defensive ends against Wake Forest. While Mason Plumlee had a big game, the entire Duke team was kept out of running their normal offense as they were called for 21 fouls. This helped keep Wake in the game and at times, with the lead. It wasn’t until about a minute to go that Duke fans felt a sense of relief as Curry (who, along with the rest of the Blue Devils, shot poorly most of the night from long range) hit a 3 to put Duke up 5. Duke finally was able to get a win on the road, even though it wasn’t pretty.

Duke faces a tough test this weekend with another road game against Florida State who ALWAYS gives them trouble in Tallahassee. Look for the team to be more Dr. Jekyll vs. Mr. Blue Devil on Saturday. Let’s hope though at some point Mr. Blue Devil shows up to help the team secure the win.

 

Chris Summerville is originally from Indian Trail, NC and currently resides in Monroe, NC.  He has been a lifetime Duke fan and knows exactly what he was doing when Christian Laettner crushed the hopes and dreams (and Aminu Timberlakes intestines) of Kentucky fans.  Chris graduated from UNC Asheville in 2003 with a degree in Multimedia Arts & Sciences.  By day he is Creative Director for one of the major billiard companies in the US.  By night he prowls the interwebs as the Duke of Hoops.  Chris can often be found on Twitter arguing with UNC fans.

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