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Duke Basketball: Plumlee Brothers Underwhelm in First Game, But Devils Do Win

The brothers Plumlee had an off night statistically against Princeton in Duke's season opener Sunday.
The brothers Plumlee had an off night statistically against Princeton in Duke's season opener Sunday.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 15, 2010

No surprise Duke beat Princeton to extend its non-conference home winning streak to an NCAA-best 78 games on Sunday.

Duke's key players all put up good numbers, and 27 points combined from two reserve guards, Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry wasn't bad either.

The most disappointing aspect of the Blue Devils performance would have to be the play of the Duke bigs, Mason and Miles Plumlee.

Miles the elder brother only mustered two points and two rebounds while little brother Mason posted a five-point, four-rebound effort.

While this is hardly cause for alarm, though surely there are some Duke fans who will be alarmed, it is an area that the Blue Devils will have to work on as the year progresses.

Granted, Duke is a guard-oriented team, they will still need rebounds from their front court players not named Kyle Singler to have the kind of year they want to have.

Mason Plumlee did slightly better than his older brother on the glass and in the scoring column. The Blue Devils don't need the two to be scoring machines, but they have to be able to finish around the basket against smaller opponents.

At one point Mason Plumlee took a long 18-foot jump shot near the top of the key. When you have the kind of shooters Duke has, that isn't the shot you want to see from your 6'11'' big man.

Still it is hard to nitpick when the team wins by 37 points in the season opener against a respectable opponent like Princeton.

What Duke fans must realize and what color commentator Len Elmore alluded to during the game, is that the Blue Devils will be good right away, just not as good as they will be in February and March once they are more cohesive.

The Plumlees are still learning, and no one should expect them to be what Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas were last year. They are only filing their roles in name only. Their games are much different and their functions within an offense that is much faster is different.

So while there will be some griping and gnashing of teeth given their stat line, after only one game, even the most pessimistic fans wouldn't rush to judgment.

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