College Basketball

Report: Duke's Ryan Kelly Could Return for Showdown with Miami (FL)

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 09:  Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils drives toward the hoop against Devonta White #12 of the Georgia State Panthers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 9, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

The biggest game in college basketball this weekend is being played between No. 5 Miami (Fla.) and No. 3 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. 

The clash of the two best teams in the ACC already had plenty of storylines going into the game.

The Hurricanes trounced Duke at home on Jan. 23, 90-63, and in the process, they gained control of the ACC.

Miami did clinch a share of the ACC regular-season title thanks to Duke's loss on Thursday to Virginia, but while the conference title may be out of reach for the Blue Devils, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament is still up for grabs.

During the first game between the two teams, the Blue Devils were without star senior Ryan Kelly, who has been out since Jan. 8 with a right-foot injury.

Kelly's comeback seems to be imminent, according to CBS' Jeff Goodman, who tweeted on Friday night that Kelly is leaning towards returning on Saturday night.

If Kelly does re-enter the Blue Devils' lineup, he will not only add to the depth of the team, but will serve as another inside presence to play alongside National Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee as well. 

In Kelly's absence, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has used a combination of Amile Jefferson, Alex Murphy and Josh Hairston.

While all three players do possess plenty of talent, they do not exhibit the leadership skills on the court that Kelly does. 

If Kelly does play, he will be asked to help Plumlee contain the dangerous Hurricane duo in the paint that includes Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. 

Looking past the Miami game, Kelly's return to the Duke lineup will undoubtedly boost the Blue Devils back into the category of favorites to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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