NCAA March Madness Preview – Duke Blue Devils

Duke Blue Devils

ACC (27-8, 11-7)

 by Joel Welser

By Duke standards, last season was a disappointing trip to the NCAA Tournament. They snuck past UNC Wilmington and upset minded Yale in the first two rounds. Those were not easy games. The Blue Devils then lost 82-68 to Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen. This time around Coach Mike Krzyzewski and company will hope to repeat their 2015 tournament performance when they won the national championship.

Big Wins: 12/6 vs Florida (84-74), 2/9 North Carolina (86-78), 2/28 Florida State (75-70)

Bad Losses: 1/23 N.C. State (82-84), 2/22 at Syracuse (75-78), 2/25 at Miami FL (50-55)

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

Why They Can Surprise:

Duke certainly has the talent to win it all. Grayson Allen has had another great season, averaging 14.1 points, 3.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds. He can score from everywhere on the floor and his defensive intensity is contagious. Luke Kennard has emerged as the team’s top scorer though. The 6-6 wing has really stepped up his outside shooting during his sophomore season and averages 20.1 points per game. He is not just a shooter though and will do plenty of damage attacking the basket.

The other big time scorer is freshman forward Jayson Tatum. He can get up and down the floor in a hurry for a 6-8 forward and can stretch the defense with his ability to shoot the ball. Amile Jefferson and Harry Giles join Tatum in the frontcourt. Jefferson is a beast in the paint on both ends of the floor and Giles is brimming with potential despite an inconsistent debut season.

Why They Can Disappoint:

Duke can get into the habit of rushing shots and not sharing the ball. This team will score quite a few points and usually shoot well from the floor, but that is not always the case. At times the Blue Devils will force shots, usually three-pointers, and eventually that can catch up to them. Duke does not share the ball very well for how many points they score and sometimes that extra pass would lead to a much better shot than somebody trying to create something for themselves. Of course, with the talent Duke has, it is not always bad or ineffective for a player to take on a defender one-on-one.

Probable Starters:

Grayson Allen, Junior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.7 rpg

Luke Kennard, Sophomore, Guard, 20.1 ppg, 2.5 apg, 5.3 rpg

Matt Jones, Senior, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 2.8 apg

Jayson Tatum, Freshman, Forward, 16.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 apg

Amile Jefferson, Senior, Forward, 10.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.7 bpg

Key Role Players:

Frank Jackson, Freshman, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 1.6 apg

Harry Giles, Freshman, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 80.5 (29th in nation, 4th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 69.1 (95, 5)

Field-Goal Percentage: 47.3 (40, 3)

Field-Goal Defense: 43.5 (165, 9)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (86, 4)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.6 (64, 6)

Free-Throw Percentage: 75.4 (33, 3)

Rebound Margin: 3.8 (67, 4)

Assists Per Game: 13.5 (178, 13)

Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (41, 5)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2016    NCAA Round of 64 win over North Carolina-Wilmington

2016    NCAA Round of 32 win over Yale

2016    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Oregon

2015    NCAA Round of 64 win over Robert Morris

2015    NCAA Round of 32 win over San Diego State

2015    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Utah

2015    NCAA Regional Final win over Gonzaga

2015    NCAA National Semifinal win over Michigan State

2015    NCAA National Final win over Wisconsin

2014    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Mercer

2013    NCAA Round of 64 win over Albany

2013    NCAA Round of 32 win over Creighton

2013    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Michigan State

2013    NCAA Regional Final loss to Louisville

2012    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Lehigh

2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Hampton

2011    NCAA Round of 32 win over Michigan

2011    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Arizona

2010    NCAA Round of 64 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff

2010    NCAA Round of 32 win over California

2010    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Purdue

2010    NCAA Regional Final win over Baylor

2010    NCAA National Semifinal win over West Virginia

2010    NCAA National Final win over Butler

2009    NCAA Round of 64 win over Binghamton

2009    NCAA Round of 32 win over Texas

2009    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Villanova

2008    NCAA Round of 64 win over Belmont

2008    NCAA Round of 32 loss to West Virginia

2007    NCAA Round of 64 loss to VCU

*all team stats through 3/5

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