Duke Basketball: 4 Reasons Win over UNC Will Propel Blue Devils
It says a lot about a Duke team that can travel to the Dean Dome and dispatch of UNC.
Almost instantaneously, this team has the experience to beat some of the best teams later in the year and during the post season tournaments.
This game was important for Austin Rivers. During this game, he matured from a high school kid into a young man in one shot over Tyler Zeller.
Duke still has a long way to go before the end of the season. They still have to play UNC and Florida St. again as well as a good North Carolina St. team.
However, Duke has the knowledge, confidence and experience to beat the rest of the teams on their schedule.
And it helps to have an Austin Rivers who has the ability to hit big shots.
Duke now has the confidence that it was lacking at some points during the previous games in the season.
The guards have the confidence that they can step up and knock down a big three point shot, as is evident with Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. It doesn't matter who is guarding them and how much they are down.
The big men down low have the confidence that they can hang with some of the best big men in the game. As long as they stay strong and don't give up easy baskets, the post players can survive.
The team in general has the confidence that they can beat a really good UNC team with three potential All-Americans on their roster and a lot of experience.
Whether it is the experience of hitting big shots or the experience of guarding some of the best players in the NCAA, Duke now has it.
Before, Duke seemed to just be a young team that was wildly inconsistent. They seemed to lack experience in big games when they were down late.
Two of Duke's losses came against unranked opponents and have been by a combined eight points.
With their new-found experience, this Duke team is able to take on any opponent, it doesn't matter their rank or how good their players are.
After their win against UNC, Duke has the experience to beat any team in the nation.
The big thing that Duke has learned from their big win is that they can beat any team.
This is important in order for Duke to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament in March. Coach K and company know that they can beat teams that might be more athletic and bigger than they are.
The Duke players know that they can still be in a game when they are down by 10 with only two minutes remaining in the game.
This game was a coming out party for Rivers.
He had 29 points, five rebounds and two assists. Not only did he have a game high in points but he capped off his amazing performance with the game winning three-pointer.
He has become the go-to guy late in the game with his clutch shooting and his ability to knock down shots. This ability late in games will become extremely important during the tournaments when games come down to the wire.
Beating an arch rival the way he did will only help him develop as a player and be that much better in the future.