Duke 71-Belmont 70, Belmont Bruins Push Duke to the Brink

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 21, 2008

Only four no. 15 seeds have ever won an NCAA tournament game, but the Bruins from Belmont almost made it five.

I said almost.

Duke Blue Devils forward, Gerald Henderson, made the game winning driving layup with 11.9 seconds left on the clock to defeat the Belmont Bruins, 71-70. 

The Belmont Bruins played more like the UCLA Bruins as Duke couldn't stop the points from coming.

So does this mean that Duke is done for the tournament? 

They just haven't looked good the last month of the season and their defense just hasn't come up with the big stop that they're known for.

As a fan, you have to be a little nervous that the Blue Devils can't rebound, have a hard time defending and rely on the three too much.  But with a Hall of Fame coach, three national championships and a lot of history on their side, they should be able to put this behind them.

Any team with some size in the middle causes problems for Duke in the paint as the Blue Devils have allowed nine or more offensive rebounds to three of their last six opponents.  And three of those teams had sub .500 records in the conference.

Duke has averaged 25 three-pointers during that stretch as well, but only shot 28% against Belmont. 

When Duke hits over 40% from behind the arc, the Devils win big, but that's a big if.  In their two losses, in the month of March, Duke has only hit 29% of their three's—not a stat the Coach K loves.

Their defense has also had its troubles, giving up an average of 75 points per game in March.  And in one of those games, they gave up 86 points to the worst team in the ACC, North Carolina State.

My gut feeling is that if they can't stop Belmont from rebounding and scoring then how can they stop their next opponent, West Virginia. 

The Mountaineers beat an Arizona team that has been up and down the entire season.