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Over the years, Duke has produced some of the most elite collegiate guards in all of college basketball: Jay Williams, Kyrie Irving and J.J. Redick to name a few with several others becoming very efficient leaders late in their careers seasons to cap off great tournament runs for Duke like Jon Scheyer in 2010.
The guard positions for Duke have always been filled to the brim with talent, being able to wear opponents down with consistent attack in the lane and dependable shooting from the outside. This year's group is no different with two high level shooters in Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon, the point guard of the most efficient offense in the ACC statistically, Quinn Cook, and a defensive stopper in Tyler Thornton.
Thornton, known for his defensive abilities, has turned into a very good outside shooter as well, shooting almost 36% on three-pointers.
Cook is having an excellent sophomore season for Duke, having the keys to Duke's high powered offense. He's averaging just over 12 points per game, shooting over 40% from three-point range and managing the game very efficiently with a 2.3 A/TO ratio. He shows excellent poise for a sophomore and has had one of his better games earlier this year against arguably the tournament's toughest defensive team for opposing guards, VCU.
Sulaimon has been one of the most productive freshmen in the country this season, averaging over 11 points per game. The only concern is that he has hit the proverbial "wall" as most freshmen do in their first full season of college basketball. He has only totaled 33 points in his last five games, while shooting 13-for-25 on field goals, a less than stellar 37% compared to the 43% he shot for the season. He must improve his performance and show he is up to the tall task of the NCAA Tournament.
Lastly, Curry has been the go-to guard for Duke this season, despite battling severe shin problems that often keep him out of practice, leaving him only available for games. His production and leadership have been unquestioned all season, as he's averaged over 17 points point game on above average shooting numbers. His shooting splits are: 46% FG, 43% 3PT-FG, 82% FT. Curry redshirted the year Duke last won the national championship in 2009 and he knows this will be his last shot at one for himself. You can bet he will do all he can and leave everything on the floor.
The guards for Duke show great balance of youthful talent and veteran experience that can help overcome other teams with only one of the those two elements. If the guards play well, it will be hard to beat Duke.