Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Still Class of ACC Despite Miami Loss
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Despite being blown out at Miami by 27 points, the Duke Blue Devils are still the class of the ACC.
Duke's loss was sparked by big runs from the Hurricanes built using the emotion of their home crowd. Miami ran off 14 unanswered points to build a first-half lead and never looked back from there.
Home-court advantage is one of a kind in college basketball, as the electricity in the building when a high-ranked foe comes to town is palpable.
For Miami's players and fanbase, a victory over Duke is program-changing. On the other hand, Duke had nothing to gain in their annual trip to South Beach.
In his rankings, Ken Pomeroy currently has Duke in the fifth spot, behind Florida, Indiana, Louisville and Michigan. In those same rankings, Miami is ranked 15th, which makes their so-called "upset" over Duke barely an upset and more of an expected home victory.
From a statistical standpoint, Coach K's team proves themselves to be elite. Duke is ranked third in points scored, third in assists, third in field goal percentage and first in three-point shooting percentage in the ACC.
With five players posting scoring averages in the double digits, the Blue Devils spread-out attack provides insurance that they won't have many off nights from the field.
There will not be a team in the country that will make it throughout the long season without having at least one off night, with most teams having more than just one cold-shooting effort.
The Blue Devils shot 30.1 percent from the field against the Hurricanes, which was a far-cry from their 47.3 field goal percentage on the season. On the night, Duke only converted on 17 percent of its shots from behind the arc, which was by far its poorest shooting night thus far.
One loss doesn't make Duke's offense sub-par by any stretch of the imagination.
With Seth Curry, Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook playing the perimeter and veterans Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly inside, the Blue Devils have one of the most reliable starting fives in the country.
The trio of Plumlee, Curry and Cook converted on just 16 percent of their field goals against Miami, which led Coach K to say the following (via Alex Krinsky DukeChronicle.com):
That’s something I haven’t seen. You’re not going to win if Seth, Quinn and Mason go 6-for-37. When you’re doing that, it’s so unusual that it impacts you in other ways. And it impacts guys that they’re supposed to be leading.
The blowout victory was more of an indictment on how good Miami is rather than Duke being exposed as overrated.
Entering its first matchup with the Hurricanes this season, Duke had only lost one game, an eight-point road loss to N.C State.
College basketball is all about resume building, which is something not lost on Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have already notched victories over Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota and Kentucky, which speaks to the talent on their roster.
With victories over three teams currently ranked inside the Top 15, Duke already has one of the best resumes in the country.
The Blue Devils have some growing to do in order to make a deep run in March, but they remain the class of the ACC.
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