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Duke dominates, but pump the brakes

November 7, 2018

Duke sure looked fantastic against Kentucky. Their performance had people hitting their IPhone Thesaurus to find different adjectives to describe what they saw. What about the rip-away, blocked shot by Zion Williamson and the fantastic feed to RJ Barrett for the and-one?? Golly Moses!!!

Duke 118 Kentucky 84

Heck, the trio of RJ Barrett (33 points), Zion Willamson (28 points) and Cam Reddish (22 points) combined for 83 points. They lost to Kentucky by one point.

But we need to pump the brakes on the Blue Devils for a moment. It was one game, the opening game, an easy game to get hyped for as a first-year player. What will it be like during the rigors of ACC play when you may play three games in six days with two on the road?

As it is with one-and-done players, how will they marinate during a college season and what will they become as a unit? Sure, it helps to have the ingredients that Duke does, but that doesn’t guarantee a great feast in March and April. We’ve seen that before with one-and-done teams.

In January and February, there can be a tendency for top freshmen to look ahead. No, not to the next game but to the next stage in their career. What’s my draft status? Why am I not getting as many touches? What agent will I go with? What about an apparel deal? Many things can be swimming around in their heads when college basketball gets really interesting down the stretch.

But there is this little nugget of info to chew on. The last two times the Final Four was played in Minneapolis, Duke won. They beat Arizona in 2001 and Michigan in 1992. But even with that and the fact Duke has the talent to reach the Final Four, I’m not booking a trip to Minneapolis after one game in the regular season.

Beating Kentucky by 34 in the season opener was eye-opening and jaw-dropping. Keep pounding teams like that in February and March and you’ll really have my attention.

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