Duke Basketball: Instant Reaction As Blue Devils Advance Past Fighting Irish

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Marvin Bagley III
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Marvin Bagley III /

The Blue Devils were back in action for the first time since the comeback win over North Carolina, taking on Notre Dame in their first ACC tournament action of the year. The Fighting Irish held tough for the first 20 minutes of action but ultimately were worn down by Duke.

It started out as a typical Duke game from this year. They started out flaming hot with Grayson Allen hitting five threes in the first 10 minutes of the game. Firing on all cylinders, the defensive headaches started to return. Notre Dame started attacking the baseline and scored at will. They were getting into the weak spot of the 2-3 zone (the ACC logo in the paint) and started hitting jumpers as well. It went exactly as I expected to start.

The second half was a different story for Duke on defense. There’s going to be some that attribute Notre Dames fatigue to their second half woes but a lot of it was the Blue Devils stifling defense. Notre Dame couldn’t get anything easy. Duke did a tremendous job of taking away the three pointer from Notre Dame. All of the open lanes that Notre Dame was finding in the first half were slammed shut in the second half.

Marvin Bagley III continues to dominate college basketball. He had his fourth 30 point, 15 rebound game of the year (33 and 17, most in Division 1) and was actually unstoppable. Dukes big men have come on strongly as a unit. We know Bagley and Wendell Carter are the anchors but Marques Bolden has quietly had a resurgence. His post moves look more polished and his confidence is shining bright.

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Grayson Allen had another good game (23 points on 7-10 shooting) and it certainly looks like we have good Grayson back at the perfect time. For all of the people screaming into the clouds that Allen and Bagley aren’t playable together, this is the perfect game to shut them up. They both dominated Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish only outscored Allen and Bagley by 14.

Trevon Duval continues to be the most frustrating player I’ve ever seen wear a Duke uniform. He shows flashes of excellence followed boneheaded turnovers or lapses in focus on defense. I’ll say this though, when he plays well this Duke team really gets it rolling.

Remember when Duke rolled Notre Dame early on this year and people were talking about how there was no Matt Ferrell and Bonzie Colson? Yeah, Bagley had 33 and they both combined had 29. On to the next round!