ACC Tournament 2012: Can Duke Win a Fourth Straight Title Without Ryan Kelly?

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2012

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 21:  Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils battles for a rebound with Bernard James #5 of the Florida State Seminoles during play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 21, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Duke will enter the ACC Tournament without the services of their sharpshooting PF, Ryan Kelly.

He will be out this week because of a sprained foot injury sustained at Tuesday's practice.

Duke's Sports Information department stated that the junior forward will be monitored over the weekend and re-evaluated on Monday.

The Blue Devils will miss both Kelly's production (11.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and his perimeter shooting (40.8 percent from beyond the arc).

With Kelly out of the lineup, Mike Krzyzewski will be forced to go primarily with a dual-Plumlee frontcourt.

Mason (11.0 ppg and 9.2 rpg) and Miles (6.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg) are the team's best rebounders, but they are limited offensively.

Rarely do either of them take shots outside of the lane. Neither of them have attempted a single three-point shot this season.

Kelly has launched 98 bombs from beyond the arc in 2011-12.

Krzyzewski will have to give Josh Hairston (2.5 ppg and 1.4 rpg) more playing time. The 6'7" sophomore has only played an average of 7.6 minutes per game this year.

Hairston doesn't provide much perimeter production either. He has attempted one three-pointer in his two seasons in Durham.

Can Hairston step up?
Can Hairston step up?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Because of the Blue Devils' lack of depth and offensive firepower up front, they will hard pressed to win their fourth straight ACC Tournament title.

Duke has a first-round bye and then will play the winner of the Virginia Tech vs. Clemson game on Friday.

If they win there, they will most likely face Florida State on Saturday.

They won't even possibly see Carolina until the ACC Championship game on Sunday.

Without Kelly, I can't see them being able to match up with the Seminoles' or Tar Heels' size and talent.

It's hard to imagine the Blue Devils being able to compete with the inside games of North Carolina or Florida State.