Reality quickly set in for the Duke Blue Devils after Wednesday night's thrashing at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. The realization that life without senior forward Ryan Kelly is not fun.
As Kelly continued to occupy the sidelines with a right foot injury, he witnessed his team fall victim to an impressive 25-1 run midway through the first half. Essentially out on their feet, No. 1 Duke (16-2, 3-2) never recovered as Miami earned a 90-67 runaway victory, which marked the third worst defeat ever for a No. 1 team and Duke's worst loss since the 1990 national championship game.
While the addition of Kelly may not have mattered on that night, his presence on both ends of the floor would have given the Blue Devils a fighting chance. Instead, Duke will journey forth still searching for an identity to this team that continues to allude them.
Facing a quick three day turnaround, Duke will host the Maryland Terrapins (15-4, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon. Maryland, winners of just two of their last five games, could be the perfect rebound game for the Blue Devils. However the question that many are left asking, is how will Duke respond to such an embarrassing defeat just one game ago?
In order for Duke to get back to their winning ways, they will need to overcome an uncharacteristic display of passion and a bevy of media scrutiny.
Here are the five most important keys for Duke to avoid their third loss of the season and in conference play at the hands of Maryland.