Duke men’s basketball appears to be hitting its stride. Since falling in a pair of close road losses at the beginning of February, the Blue Devils have bounced back with four straight dominating victories where they have won by an average of 17 points.
But questions still remain for coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils.
Despite the four-game winning streak, which has occurred without National Player of the Year candidate Marvin Bagley III, Duke is averaging just 10 bench points per game in the last four contests. While the bench is playing more minutes lately and doing enough to help the stars, depth is still a concern.
College basketball analyst Brendan Haywood says Duke’s lack of depth could really come to the forefront during the ACC Tournament.
“The ACC Tournament kind of hurts them,” Haywood said. “They are only used to playing a certain amount of guys. And you’re playing back-to-back-to-back, so sometimes those guys can be really fatigued when you’re talking about making a big-time run in the ACC Tournament.”
Heading into Saturday, Duke sits in second place in the ACC standings, three games back of Virginia for first. The Blue Devils can still win a share of the conference regular-season title, but the Cavaliers hold the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
Regardless, staying in position for a double-bye has to be Duke’s top priority. The top four teams in the ACC standings only have to win three games in three days as opposed to four or even five contests in as many days.
Duke holds a two-game lead over fifth-placed Virginia Tech, who the Blue Devils will play next week. It’s possible Duke could nail down its double bye with a victory over Syracuse on Saturday, but a win over Virginia Tech next Monday would guarantee it.
Only needing three victories to win the ACC Tournament would alleviate some of the depth concerns for the Blue Devils.
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