Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Duke did not appear to be mentally or emotionally prepared to play Mercer today.
They did not look like the confident and poised group that was projected to possibly make a deep run in the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Much of the game, the Blue Devils lacked intensity on defense and at times appeared lifeless on offense.
In the postgame press conference (GoDuke.com), Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "We showed our youth... They're (Mercer) men. They are strong."
He also said, "There's no way we overlooked that bunch. We had the utmost respect for that basketball team. We should, and we will because they beat us."
Getting ready to play against a team that everyone says is inferior has some unique challenges.
The players must choose to respect all opponents that they face and prepare for everyone the same. Much easier said than done.
I do not know what Coach K and his staff did to get the Blue Devils ready to play Mercer. I have no idea what the players' process was or if it differed from any other game.
What was obvious today was that Mercer was the more confident, more assertive and more dynamic team in the early game in Raleigh.