The difference between Duke this season and the past few years has been the toughness of the salty Blue Devils and the outstanding defensive team that coach Krzyzewski has developed. Toughness, defense, and experience playing together.
Duke comes to fight. Fight for the win. You have to take the win from Duke. You want the game, you'll have to fight through Duke to get it.
Makes no difference if you are the fantastic athletes of Florida State and Xavier or the 30 year old men of Ga Tech and Georgetown, you're gettin' it if you mess with Duke this year. Can't create that in a baby team crying for the calls.
Duke is gonna make you cry alright, but that's because they are men now. The Duke team recognizes its responsibility now, to the history of the program and to the Blue Devil nation of fans.
These men do not shrink from their responsibility by blaming fans and writers for losing as some teams have done, they accept their place as the premier basketball program in America of the past 20 years and gain strength from it.
Another area where Duke is improved is simply maturity, the team is older, more rounded, has played together longer, and trusts each other. Can't buy that from signing over publicized freshmen.
Lastly, the comfort level of coach Krzyzewski. He led a team to the championship of the world this past summer. He is calmer, more intellectual, accepting of his role as the High Priest of the ACC, as he maps progress on the bench. More so than in several years.
This is a demonstration of confidence by coach Krzyzewski, in his own ability and the ability of his team. Another sign of growth as compared to coaches who scream and jump around hoping the fans believe that substitutes for a game plan or in-game adjustments.
As long as the Blue Devils take each game at a time, they could well end up playing in the final game of the year.