Duke shows once again that he can activate a switch and overcome his failures – Men’s College Basketball Blog


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – If there was ever time for Duke to suffer a defeat, on Wednesday he had all the ingredients.

It was Duke's fourth game in seven days and his first real game of the season, in a thunderous badembly at the first big home game of Archie Miller in Indiana.

The Blue Devils got five total points from their bench and shot 18 percent from the three-point range, Wendell Carter Jr. fouled, and looked worn out at the end of the second half.

It did not matter.

Duke dominated the last five minutes as he did against Texas and Florida at PK80 last weekend, moving away to win 91-81 over Indiana. [19659002] Against Texas, Duke went down 69-62 with 5:24 remaining. The Blue Devils ended up sending the game to overtime and beating the Longhorns 12-5 in the extra period. Against Florida, Duke fell 82-72 with 4:38 remaining. The Blue Devils finished the game in a 15-2 run to win by three.

On Wednesday against Indiana, the game was tied 76-76 with 5:09 remaining. Indiana did not make another field goal, and Duke finished in a 16-6 run.

In the last three games, Duke's opponents have shot 5 of 25 from the field in the last five minutes of games and over time. In that time, the Blue Devils have outdistanced their opponents 56-19.

Marvin Bagley III and No. 1 Duke go through inconsistent game spells but tend to block their opponents when they need it. Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports

"The last three or four games, that's what it was about", Marvin Bagley III told ESPN. "We have to find a way to do it at the beginning instead of waiting all the way to the end, where there might be a chance that we will not come back in. You should start playing defensively that way at the beginning of the games to stop us, to make sure we get ahead. "

Two things are true right now: Duke is the best team in the country, and Duke is far from a finished product. The Blue Demons have many flaws.

His melee defense has been consistently divided throughout the first month, forcing Mike Krzyzewski to switch to zone defenses for long stretches, as he did on Wednesday night. The opponents are getting easy scoring opportunities in the rim, with a serious lack of protection from the edge of Duke's greats on the defensive.

Duke is not a very good perimeter shooting team, and that might not change. Grayson Allen is a very good 3-point shooter, and Gary Trent Jr. showed the ability to make shots in high school, even if that has not been translated yet. But Trevon Duval is not a shooter from the 3-point range, and Alex O'Connell is not playing enough in big games to have an impact.

The bench is giving Krzyzewski very little at the moment, and the five initials were completely exhausted in the second half of Wednesday. They survived an injury when Duval went to the bench in the first half and had coaches looking at his right foot. He could not return to the game in the first half and did not put on the shoe while he was on the bench.

Duval returned for the second half and freed himself from an early discomfort. to finish with 15 points and six badists in 38 minutes. But, what if Duval fell? Duke does not have a real substitute shipowner.

"There are many things, we need time to fix it," Krzyzewski said after the game. "Especially with a young group, we have to wait for a slide, 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 is a great habit. "

Could this all hurt Duke at some point? Of course, but the Blue Devils already beat Michigan State with Bagley offside for much of the game, returned to beat Texas and Florida and maintained an offense in Indiana.

The perfect storm for the Blue Devils to lose has already happened a few times, and we're still waiting for them to trip you up. Maybe this is exactly what Duke is this season: a supremely talented team that can activate a switch whenever they want to turn a deficit into an advantage or a close game into a comeback.

"We have four freshmen all the time," Krzyzewski said. "They are learning how to handle a game in terms of effort, intensity, and when they learn how to play in four-minute stages, we will improve, we move a little because they know they are going to play, minutes, and have played a lot of games. You know there are no other four minutes, we were the best team in the last four minutes of games, it's four minutes to be the best team. "

Here's what's scary: over the next few weeks, Duke will have some time to solve your problems. The Blue Devils have three more games in seven days starting Saturday at home against South Dakota, but they only have one game from December 10 through December 29. Their starters can rest, their depth can develop, and Krzyzewski can hope to instill more consistent defensive effort.

The best team in the country, with a lot of space to grow. That is a dangerous idea for the rest of the country.

"This is a work in progress," said Krzyzewski. "But it's a good job in progress."

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