Duke Loses Again: Is There Reason to Panic?

NCAA Match Reviews

After a dominant start to the season, there may be reason for concern in the Duke Blue Devil’s locker room. Their 14 game win streak to begin the season has come to a screeching halt after losses to North Carolina State and last night’s loss to Miami by a score of 90-74.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is just three wins away from making history with his 1,000th win, has never coached such a young team, presenting a new challenge for the coaching legend.

“I just have felt since Christmas that there’s something missing with our group, and I’ve said it,” Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. “I’ve said it to the press, I’ve said it to my team. And when you’re still winning, you don’t necessarily believe it completely. But I’ve felt it since Christmas, and I haven’t been able to figure that out, figure out how to change it.

“We’re all on the same page now, after two losses and after getting our butt beat. We didn’t just lose tonight. We got our butts beat tonight.”

The loss ended Duke’s 41 game home win streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the longest active streak in division 1 college hoops.

So what are Duke’s issues? Are they fixable?

First and foremost, this is a young team. They rely heavily on their talented freshmen, mainly Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones. Okafor came through with a 15 point 15 rebound effort, but was exposed on the defensive end of the floor. The young big man is still learning how to rotate and defend the pick and roll, and it was evident that Duke did not completely trust him to do so after they continuously went under screens, allowing Miami guard Angel Rodriguez to go 4-6 from the 3-point line and score 24 points.

Meanwhile, Jones and Winslow shot a combined 3-15. Jones has had difficulty on the defensive end as well, struggling to keep opposing point guards in front of him. Duke’s perimeter defense is at the heart of their struggles at the moment, and the inability to contain the ball further exposes the fact that Okafor is still learning how to protect the paint.

Duke has the talent to outscore most teams, but they will not be a true title contender until they step up their effort on the defensive end.

Final Time: Miami – Duke: 90 – 74

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