This time last year, Duke played Russian Roulette with the three ball. Against Villanova, the pistol blew out their brains and season. 2010 is different, with Duke beating an ACC opponent shooting eight percent from three-point land and destroying UConn in New York with a 28 percent field goal rate.
Duke is the best team in the ACC because of their depth, length, free throw shooting, and experience, especially in the backcourt.
This year's Blue Devil squad is deeper than a DiGiorno's pizza going into ACC play. Who thought Mason and Miles Plumlee would be consistent double digit scorers by January? Also, Zoubek has shown his rebounding prowess and is finally utilizing his height and skill set to grab offensive boards. Coach K pretty much has 20 free fouls with the Plumlees, Z, and versatile Lance Thomas to pester opposing big men.
For once, Duke, who has a history of using players like 6-7 Shane Battier at the 4, has some trees to clog opponents' driving lanes. The Plumlees both average over a block a game and have the power and athleticism to dunk on hapless big men all day long. Zoubek is the tallest player in the ACC and is finally using his gift from God. Even Scheyer can post up smaller points and shoot his little runner. Height helps, especially against power teams like Texas and Kentucky in March.
Duke is golden from the charity stripe, which has destroyed many great teams in March (see 2007 Memphis Tigers). There isn't a bad shooter in the bunch except for Zoubek, and he's usually fouled out by that time. The free throw master is Jon Scheyer, who is shooting a Steve Nash-like 90 percent.
Finally, Duke has a senior and two juniors at the guard spots. Scheyer has shown his experience with his beefy assist to TO ratio. He's had his bad games but dominated with his runners, "make it rain" threes with the shot clock running down, and getting to the line. Singler and Nolan Smith have picked up their games and can score in a variety of ways.
Duke has luxuries many ACC teams can only dream of. With the scoring of the three S's, the giants in the post, and the coaching acumen of Coach K, Duke is ready to be king of the ACC jungle.
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