What is there to say about Duke this season that you haven’t heard by now? Nothin’, probably. The Blue Devils are quite good, I can confirm. Having a trio of elite talent that may end up going at the top of the NBA Draft tends to make for good teams.
Here’s a glance at the Blue Devils in league play so far:
The Blue Devils have had their problems from the perimeter this season, and for the most part that’s continued into conference play, though poor Virginia found out recently what happens when Duke happens to be shooting it well from the outside. What happens is that Duke is pretty much impossible to beat, so we’ll have to hope the Devils a tad more brick-heavy tonight.
Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish account for the vast majority of Duke’s offensive production when they’re on the floor together, as they account for more than 87% of the team’s field goal attempts while on the floor. Duke is interesting in that way, at least—three guys with huge workloads surrounded by a supporting group that only shoots the ball sparingly.
Barrett alone accounts for an insane 34% of the shots, and given that he’s actually shooting the ball well: 50% from two, 33.8% from three. That he can maintain a good shooting percentage despite the incredibly high volume of attempts shows you just what kind of talent he is.
Williamson isn’t much of a jump shooting threat, but he doesn’t need to be, seein’ as how he’s made 75% of his twos this year. Not surprisingly, he’s also an excellent offensive rebounder. Good luck with that.
Reddish has been more one-dimensional than his fellow star freshmen, with the bulk of his attempts coming from beyond the arc. He’s the most consistent outside shooter on the team, but still only makes threes at a modest 34.8% clip. He’s had problems with turnovers and scoring inside the arc (40.6% on twos).
Duke is too good in too many ways and presents too many difficult matchups to reasonably expect NC State might give the Blue Devils a run tonight. Syracuse, for all its faults, at least has the size to matchup across the board, and that was a significant factor in its upset in Cameron earlier this year. The Orange were able to force Duke into 43 three-point attempts, getting the Blue Devils away from their interior strengths, and I don’t see State managing anything like that.
But stranger things have happened! The Pomeroy Predictor likes Duke by 18.