Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Must Mature to Win National Title

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 5, 2012

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03:  Seth Curry #30 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket on James Michael McAdoo #43 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Duke Blue Devils are about to embark into a world of hurt if they don't do something quickly. The growing pains of this promising roster will only get worse headed into the all-important tournament time. 

The Duke Blue Devils continue to be one of the more interesting teams heading into tourney time, and that has everything to do with their youth and inexperience. 

They have the talent to woe you in one instant and the next moment flabbergast you with frustrating defense and mental lapses. 

This isn't something lost on Duke star Miles Plumlee. After Duke was handed a loss by rivals North Carolina, Plumlee let us all into what ails this program right now. Via USA Today

Throughout the year, we've been immature. We always want to see how little we have to do to win. You give a team like that a 20-point lead, it's nearly impossible to win. We need to fight, like we did at times, for a whole game.

The Blue Devils live far too dangerously to invoke much confidence at this time of year. As the USA Today report issues, Duke erased a 10-point deficit in the final two-and-a-half minutes to win the first game against North Carolina.

They also rallied from 20 down in the second half to beat North Carolina State. Both were stirring wins that tell us one thing about this edition of a perennial contender, and that is they are susceptible to immaturity. 

They have the talent but lapse far too often on defense and play from behind far too often than is safe in March. 

One thing that youth yields is a brash confidence that can serve this program well. Austin Rivers is one player that could catch fire at the right moment. 

If there is any team that can put the obvious deficiencies behind them during the most important part of the year, it's this youthful squad. 

If they do that, they need to undergo an immediate growth spurt. This is not the time for mental breakdowns and inconsistent measures. 

The time to make mistakes has passed.