Duke Basketball: Can Blue Devils Survive Without Marvin Bagley III?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: Marvin Bagley III /

The Duke star freshman missed Duke’s last game against Georgia Tech. Could the Blue Devils still be a national contender without him?

Now let me start by saying this, no news has come out about Bagley’s injury or his status for Wednesday’s game vs. Virginia Tech. However, if last year taught Duke fans anything about injuries, it’s that nothing is a sure thing.

Marvin Bagley suffered the knee injury against North Carolina and sat out Sunday at Georgia Tech as a precaution.

Duke labeled the injury as a mild right knee sprain.

Again, this is very premature, but it begs the question; can Duke survive without their prized freshman?

The answer is yes, but the Blue Devils basically have to play a perfect game. If you take Sunday and November 14, versus Michigan State as examples, Grayson Allen needs to be virtually perfect.

When Bagley went down with an eye injury against the Spartans, Allen poured in 37 points, his highest total of the season.

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Duke’s senior captain put up 23 against Georgia Tech, although he struggled from beyond the arc, going 3-10.

Along with Allen, many other players would need to step up in Bagley’s absence. Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr., Trevon Duval, and Marques Bolden would need to elevate their games to make up for Bagley’s production.

Carter Jr. will most likely be a Top-10 pick in June’s NBA Draft, but without Bagley, he would need to play like a Top-5 pick. Wendell has been absolutely outstanding this year, but his play gets overshadowed by Bagley.

Along with Carter, the resurgence of Marques Bolden needs to continue if Bagley is sidelined.  Since coming back from a knee injury of his own, Bolden has played the best basketball of his Duke career.

Since the start of ACC play, Gary Trent Jr. has been sensational. The freshman has lit it up from 3 point range while being one of the few Blue Devils to be active on defense.

Lastly, this brings us to the player the Duke needs consistency from, with or without Bagley in the lineup, Trevon Duval. Duval came off the bench in the victory on Sunday for the first time this year.

Duval played a much more efficient game, going 4-8 from the field, making his only three-point attempt, with 9 points. Trevon also only racked up 1 turnover, in 25 minutes.

In the game against Michigan State, Duval went off for 17 points and 10 assists, with only 3 turnovers. Trevon had a rough shooting night, 7-20 from the floor, 0-4 from 3, and 3-7 from the line.

The Duke bench has gotten more minutes over recent games, and without Bagley, Coach K will need to rely more on his reserves.

Again, this is all hypothetical as we do not know anything about Bagley’s status. Bagley may play against Virginia Tech and all of this goes away. However, knee injuries are tricky, so if Duke needs to adjust, it must happen quickly.