Duke Basketball: Three Bold Predictions for Rest of 2017-18 Season

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

There’s a lot to look forward to for Duke Basketball in 2018. Here are three bold predictions for the Blue Devils for the rest of the season.

2017 was an up-and-down year for the Blue Devils. From an ACC title to a second round NCAA Tournament upset, Duke Basketball fans had lots to cheer for and be upset over last year.

The Blue Devils have high expectations this season, and are favorites to win the ACC and NCAA championships this season. However, here we present three unexpected projections for Duke Basketball in 2018:

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1. Alex O’Connell wins an ACC Rookie of the Week award.

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Duke has the top freshman class in college basketball, and it’s no surprise the Blue Devils have earned most of the conference rookie of the week awards. Marvin Bagley III has dominated the honor this season, and Wendell Carter, Jr. has also been a recipient. O’Connell hasn’t played a big role for Duke so far this year, but has made a major impact in several games in limited minutes. After the last win over FSU, the reserve guard deserves more minutes. I predict Alex O’Connell will go off for at least one huge game in conference play and earn the top freshman weekly award.

2. Coach K makes another change to the starting lineup.

Duke Basketball has one of the best starting lineups in the nation. However, the team has struggled to get production off their bench. Each member of the starting five is averaging double figures, while no reserve averages more than 5 points per game. I think Mike Krzyzewski will make one more change to the starting lineup, whether it’s inserting Alex O’Connell, Marques Bolden, or someone else. Even if it’s just to experiment for one game to try to get more scoring off the bench.

3. Marvin Bagley III breaks conference triple-double record.

Last season, NC State star freshman Dennis Smith, Jr. tied the ACC record for triple-doubles in a season with two. Two seems surprisingly low, and Smith became the first freshman to accomplish the feat and first player ever to record multiple triple-doubles in league play. One way to improve recent Duke offensive issues is better ball movement and passing to increase assists. Bagley is already doing it all for the Blue Devils, leading the team in scoring and rebounds and he’s on track to decimate school and ACC double-double records. Look for the team to turn the freshman to improve as a play-maker for the remainder of the season.

Next: Blue Devils Win ACC Home Opener With Comeback Over FSU

Duke Basketball will kick off 2018 with a conference game on the road at NC State Saturday night. Be sure to stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Blue Devil news and updates, and let us know what your bold predictions are for the rest of the season!