Duke Basketball: Biggest weaknesses for Blue Devils approaching tournaments

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

Duke basketball is getting closer to tournament time, and in order to avoid more losses Duke has to fix some weaknesses. 

When the Duke basketball team lost to Boston College earlier in the season, the story of the game was ball movement. On that Saturday afternoon in Boston the Blue Devils had only 13 assists, which at the time was down from their season average of 19.25 assists per game.

The Blue Devils have also been struggling with foul trouble. Against Florida State in late December, four of Duke’s starting five players had four fouls, and 21 fouls overall.

If the Duke basketball team is to avoid an early ACC tournament exit, they will need to stay out of foul trouble and stop sending the opponent to the line. In order to do so they need to stay true to their man when they are playing man defense, and when in zone they need to stay in their quadrant. If this was the case, other players would not need to cover for them which would eliminate a lot of fouls.

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Fouls have been the problem for the Blue Devils for quite some time now. On that Saturday afternoon in Boston, Duke fouled Boston College 20 times with both Javin DeLaurier and Trevon Duval fouling out to go along with Marvin Bagley III‘s four and Grayson Allen‘s three. When Duke fixes their fouling problems they will put the opponent on the line less, giving them a better chance to win.

Duke’s other problem is their terrible three point shooting. In all three of the Blue Devils most recent games they have shot at least 26 threes, reaching 30 in two of them. In the games against both Boston College and Florida State they shot 26.7 percent, which is 8-30 behind the arc. They also shot below 28 percent (6-22) in the loss to Virginia on January 27, continuing a trend against upper echelon teams.

The only real solution to this is to stop taking as many threes. Shooting 30 threes and making only eight of them is simply not acceptable and if they continue that trend they will get eaten up by ACC opponents.

If the Blue Devils manage to solve these two problems we could see them come out of the ACC tournament without a scrape.