Different coach, same result, same defense – or lack thereof. Once again a highly ranked Duke team loses to an unranked and struggling NC State team 96 – 85. You have to give credit to NC State for taking advantage of Duke’s deficiencies but shame on Duke for making it abundantly easy. Duke is a team with the most assembled talent in the nation besides maybe Arizona (who is also playing very crappy basketball) but Duke has seemed to settle on an identity that is troubling to say the least. They want to be the team that hangs their hat on offense and not defense. Not just bad defense, atrocious defense. Duke had no answer for the NC State pick and roll, honestly Duke had no answer for anything State did. It wasn’t complicated, it wasn’t state-of-the-art, it was simple and effective. Duke defense, on the other hand, consisted of backpedaling, open dunks and frustration.
Even with a huge game from Marvin Bagley who scored 31 and added 10 rebounds, he still turned the ball over 5 times and Trevon Duval, despite scoring 18 had 8 turnovers. Duke was horrid on defense and honestly not much better offensively aside from Bagley. Grayson Allen, the senior leader on this Duke squad was non-existent, scoring only 8 points and going 3-9 from the field. Duke, despite being within 8 points of tying the game throughout the second half, never really threatened. It was a game where the normally trusty bigs, Bagley and Carter were consistently beaten down the floor in one of the most listless performances I’ve seen to date watching Duke. Coach K was clearly frustrated with his team and the efforts showed up on the boards, Duke was out-rebounded by NC State 32-34.
It’s clear that Duke is not as ready for prime time as they looked earlier in the season, Coach K in his presser exclaimed without being asked that, “We have not been able to convince our players that we’re going to get everybody’s amazing shot. … We did not have any poise at all tonight. I don’t have the answer.”
We are at the point in the season where talent has to learn that simply being the best isn’t worth a dime without a consistent level of effort. No amount of delving into the box score can really tell the tale. The fact is that Duke got outworked, outplayed, out-hustled and not once tonight did they look like they gave a damn. That was the most troubling part.
My keys to the game from the preview posted yesterday, lets see how Duke did:
NOPE – Rebound the basketball at a high level – keep state off of the offensive glass
NOPE – Create turnovers that lead to easy offense
NOPE – Shot selection – take good shots, especially beyond the arc / be aware of time and circumstance
NOPE – Defend without fouling – especially Trevon Duval & Wendell Carter Jr. – Duke doesnt have the depth to overcome this easily.
SOMEWHAT – Defend the perimeter and limit 3 point shots off of open looks