A week ago Duke sat 3-4 in the ACC, after a demoralizing home collapse to one of the ACC’s most disappointing teams in NC State. There were whispers Duke could end up the wrong side of the bubble with road games against NCAA bubble team Wake Forest, and one of the ACC’s better teams Notre Dame.
Following those two games, the potential of the Duke Blue Devils is starting to show through. Many felt before the season Duke was possibly the most talented team in the country, but injuries, Grayson Allen’s antics, and Coach K’s back had some question whether this would be a lost season in Durham.
I think you have to go back to the game preceding NC State to Duke’s game against Miami which is where I thought we started seeing flashes of how good Duke could be. Down 11 at the half, Duke outscored likely NCAA Tournament team Miami 45-22 in the 2nd half.
Thinking this was where Duke would turn it around was a bit premature. After the NC State loss, we wondered if the 2nd half against Miami was a fluke. It appears it wasn’t
Down 10 with under 4 minutes at Wake Forest, Duke led by Luke Kennard stormed back to beat the Demon Deacons. Monday night the Blue Devils played their most complete game since at least December beating Notre Dame in South Bend 84-74.
Grayson Allen scored 21. Luke Kennard and Matt Jones had 16, and in the most encouraging sign Freshman Jayson Tatum had 19 and a career high 14 boards. Tatum on several occasions simply had his way with any Irish player than attempted to defend him.
With a reeling Pittsburgh coming to Cameron on February 4th, the Blue Devils should be riding a 3 game winning streak when the North Carolina Tar Heels come to Durham on the 9th. By the way does Pitt’s Kevin Stallings seem completely overwhelmed in the ACC? That’s a blog post for another day.
We’ll see if Duke can become the team we thought they could be in the pre-season, but Monday was another step in the right direction.