There’s no doubt Duke has had a good season so far. But along the way, there has been cause for concern.
These concerns make me believe Duke is in line for an upset come the NCAA tournament.
The first concern deals with the Blue Devils' lack of a go to player. Austin Rivers is the best candidate to fill this role, and he's done a good job to this point. Still, it’s a lot of responsibility to place on a freshman, and he has shown pockets of inconsistency.
While freshman have done well in March, it’s a big risk going into the tournament with the main player having no experience in that type of environment.
The second concern deals with the Blue Devils' ability to fall way behind in games. While Duke had a remarkable come-from-behind win against NC State, why was the team down by as much as 20 points on its home court? This isn’t the first time this has happened this season.
Earlier in the year, they went to Columbus, where Ohio State beat them by 22. While playing from behind has allowed Duke players to display their resilience, the fact that they continue to fall behind by double digits is concerning. If they repeat this process in March on a neutral court against a good team, they’ll be going home.
The last concern deals with the basics. Simply put, Duke isn’t a powerhouse on the boards, which will be a problem when the school plays bigger, more physical teams like Ohio State.
Duke's players also need to improve ball movement, as they average only 13 assists a game. While talent will take a team fairly far, the Blue Devils will need to build on these fundamentals if they want to win in March.
When factoring in these three concerns, it’s easy to see why Duke could go home early.
They may have as much talent as any team in the country, but these weaknesses will prevent them from their ultimate goal.
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