Three definite positives from Duke basketball’s absurd loss at Wake Forest

Duke basketball (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
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3. Duke’s loss showed who should play more often

Apologies to Javin DeLaurier, but another Duke basketball senior big man has officially proven worthy of all his minutes.

After all, apologies again to DeLaurier, but in only four minutes of action, he managed to commit five fouls, somehow breaking his personal record for fewest required minutes to foul out (he needed only seven against Virginia last season). Also, in only four minutes against Wake, he managed to attempt one ill-advised 3-pointer and find himself out of position in several instances on the other end, leading to several easy buckets down low for Wake Forest.

Again, apologies to DeLaurier, but it didn’t take much for Justin Robinson to show why he is — and probably always has been — the better backup option in the paint for the Blue Devils.

Some of you may view the above observations and that subsequent assertion as a slap in the face to DeLaurier and/or Mike Krzyzewski. But from the way I see it, any other conclusion after Tuesday night is a slap in the face to Robinson.

“Really, Justin Robinson saved us, or else we should have been down 10 or 15 points [in the first half],” Krzyzewski said about his 6-foot-9, 205-pound fifth-year player, whose six points, three blocks, two steals, two rebounds, one assist, and zero turnovers constituted the most pleasant surprise of the evening.

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Robinson, who hadn’t seen a single meaningful minute all season, appears to be a bit lengthier than DeLaurier. He 100 percent looks more in control of his movements. And despite roughly 1,300 fewer minutes on the court as a Blue Devil than DeLaurier, Robinson looks less like a deer in the headlights.

In short, Robinson could become the No. 1 answer to this possible future question: What did the Blue Devils take away from the Wake loss that ultimately led to their turnaround in time for March?

OK, I’ve had enough of writing this borderline-satirical piece. It’s time to put down the pom-poms for a minute. Look, DUKE ALLOWED 113 POINTS TO WAKE, a team that averages in the low 70s and has a negative average scoring margin. And this lousy showing came with the second meeting against UNC less than two weeks away (following a trip to defending national champ Virginia on Saturday and a revenge opportunity at home against N.C. State two days later).

Simply put, the negative reaction is screaming my name. So check back shortly, my fellow Duke basketball pessimists, for the column you are looking for is likely coming soon. After all, it would be a slap in the face to my own eyesight to end this article on a positive note.

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