With an 84-64 win over Maryland this past Saturday, the Blue Devils got back to their brand of playing Duke basketball.
As Mike Krzyzewski said following the victory, "It was the first step towards becoming who we are going to be." (Dukebasketballreport.com)
Now, Duke will try to pick up its first conference road win of the season in its upcoming game against Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Duke beat the Demon Deacons earlier this month with an 80-62 victory, and if the Blue Devils succeed with the following five keys, they should have no trouble beating Wake Forest for another ACC win.
Duke shot the ball well in their victory over Maryland on Saturday, including getting a strong performance from Rasheed Sulaimon, who was 9-of-13 from the field.
Sulaimon, Quinn Cook and Seth Curry need to be aggressive and confident with the looks they get and knock them down.
In Duke's first game against Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons focused their defensive efforts on Mason Plumlee, which allowed Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry to get open shots. Wake Forest also left Quinn Cook open, but Cook was unable to capitalize and went 0-of-11 from the field.
If Sulaimon continues to shoot the ball with confidence and Cook becomes more efficient, Duke should be nearly impossible to defend.
Wake Forest has had trouble with turnovers all season, which could be due to their inexperience. The Demon Deacons will likely start three freshmen, including Codi Miller-McIntyre at point guard.
In Duke's first game against Wake Forest, the Blue Devils were able to force 19 turnovers. Quinn Cook should be able to set the tone for the Duke defense and help put pressure on Wake Forest to extend their half-court offense and disrupt the passing lanes.
This game will also be an opportunity for Amile Jefferson to make an impact on defense. Jefferson only played four minutes in the first game against the Demon Deacons, but he will see extended time due to Ryan Kelly's injury.
Rasheed Sulaimon had an outstanding game against Maryland on Saturday and Amile Jefferson has been solid ever since Ryan Kelly's injury.
Against the Terrapins, the two freshman combined for 36 points and 10 rebounds and provided a huge spark for the team.
Wake Forest will be forced to key on stopping Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, which will continue to provide opportunities for Sulaimon and Jefferson to make plays.
The freshmen will certainly be chomping at the bit to finally get their first ACC road win.
Anytime the Blue Devils go on the road, they face a hostile environment with a crowd that is fired up and hoping for a huge upset.
With the Demon Deacons having a tough year, this would be the biggest win in the history of Jeff Bzedlik era at Wake Forest and the crowd will do everything it can to help pull off the upset.
If Duke can start the game strong offensively, Wake Forest doesn't appear to have the firepower to keep up, which could take the energy out of the building.
A steady diet of Mason Plumlee and the guards knocking down open shots should be quite demoralizing for the Demon Deacons and their fans.
Duke has a huge advantage with its interior size and skill and Mason Plumlee and Amile Jefferson should not have any trouble dominating the paint.
Wake Forest lacks a strong post presence and is only shooting 43 percent from the field, meaning Duke should be able to force the Demon Deacons into difficult shots if they can prevent them from getting dribble penetration.
Amile Jefferson has improved his ability to play defense without fouling and Mason Plumlee protects the rim, which will make it very difficult for Wake Forest to find easy baskets and allow the Blue Devils to notch another conference victory.