Duke in Indiana | Basketball Analysis ACC Big Ten Challenge, November 29, 2017


It's been the last six hectic days for Duke basketball.

On Thanksgiving, last Thursday, the Blue Devils were in Portland for the PK80 tournament. They played three closed games in four days. The final game, a victory of 87-84 over the then-No. 7 Florida, ended late on Sunday. Then the team flew back to Durham and arrived at 9 a.m. Monday.

The players went to clbad and boarded a plane on Tuesday to go to Bloomington to prepare for their game against Indiana on Wednesday night. Duke (9-0) beat Indiana 91-81, but it was tough. The Hoosiers led by four with a little less than five minutes left before Duke returned.

It was the ninth game of the Blue Devils in 20 days.

"We're exhausted," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. It was just past midnight on Thursday, hours before Duke returned to Durham.

With the exception of the Michigan State game, it appeared that Duke, the top-ranked team in the country, had handled his first games with ease. . But it has become apparent, in the last games that the trip has begun to affect the Blue Devils. Duke said he has traveled more than 8,500 miles on the road.

Before Wednesday night, Duke had followed at halftime in each of the last three games. It was 16 down in Texas, and 17 in Florida in the second half. Against Indiana, Duke lost by four points at the end of the second half.

But in each of those games, he finally found a way to win.

That should be a good omen for the Blue Devils at the end of the season, or in the NCAA tournament, if they are ever behind in the game. They can look back on those games against Texas, Florida and now Indiana.

"This team is really special," said Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III. "We locked ourselves in the end and got stops when we needed it, we went out and got cubes, so we played hard and we went out on top."

The forward from 6-11, 234 pounds scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds on Wednesday night.

But still, Duke is trying to figure out how to put together a complete game from start to finish.

"It seems we've been the last eight minutes of the game" type of team, "Senior guard Grayson Allen, who finished with 21 points, said. "We have to improve and start better."

All too often, an Indiana player overcame a Duke defender and did not prevail at the rim on Wednesday. Texas and Florida did the same.

Indiana really scored more points in the paint than Duke. Duke has some of the most talented big men in the country. The Hoosiers scored 46 points in the paint, while the Blue Devils scored 44 points in the paint. During the last four minutes of the game, when Duke went ahead, he blocked Indiana on defense.

So how does Duke fix his fights of the first half and put together a complete game?

Practice, says Krzyzewski.

"We need time to fix it," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski said there has not been time to practice since his trip to Portland.

"With a young group you must have and expect a slip," he said. "Their habits are not yet well defined, the only way to develop a habit is to practice.The main habit we have developed in these nine games is how to win."

"Now we have to get more definition about how we commit an offense, what we are doing on the defensive."

Unfortunately, the blue Devils will not have time to do that before their next game, Krzyzewski added. Duke plays against South Dakota on Saturday, so he will give the team Thursday off.

Krzyzewski said that his team has to learn how to play a better defense and talk more.

"We have a lot to work on," said Krzyzewski. "This is a work in progress, but it's a good job in progress."

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