Duke basketball continues to search for answers in return to court

Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball returns to the court still in search of answers. 

Two straight losses for the Duke basketball team and its at-large hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid officially seem to be on life support.

After a home loss to rival North Carolina (12-6, 7-4 ACC), the Blue Devils remain in Durham to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-10, 4-7 ACC) for the second time this season

At the time of the first meeting, Duke (7-7, 5-5 ACC) played its most complete game of the season in South Beach in a victory over the Irish, 75-65.

However, the Blue Devis did not have Jalen Johnson in that matchup as it was the freshman’s first missed game with a foot injury.

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Notre Dame has been playing much better basketball of late, winners in four of its last six games. And Mike Brey’s team held a 15-point halftime lead on the road against Georgia Tech before seeing the Yellow Jackets respond for an 82-80 victory, where the Irish did not get off a shot to potentially win or send the game to overtime.

Nate Laszewski leads the Irish with 15.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and a scorching 52.5 shooting percentage from three-point range.

As a team, the Fighting Irish are shooting 38.7-percent from beyond the arc.

Guards Prentiss Hubb and Dane Goodwin are averaging 14.5 points and 12.5 points per game, respectively.

Duke basketball has to win with its defense

The Blue Devil defense has been downright bad in its last two efforts against Miami (FL) and North Carolina.

Two of the worst shooting teams in the ACC had wide-open shooters who were knocking down shots at a high percentage against Duke, and now a good shooting team enters Cameron Indoor Stadium with a chance to try and worsen the chances of the Blue Devils reaching the Big Dance.

Matthew Hurt and Jalen Johnson must stay out of foul trouble.

Mike Krzyzewski has to utilize Joey Baker and Henry Coleman much more as they both positively contributed against the Tar Heels.

ALSO READ: More negatives than positives in Duke loss to North Carolina

Duke needs a win in the worst way, and if the Blue Devils cannot get it against Notre Dame at home, then they might not be getting it at all.

A strange season gets a little more strange as the Blue Devils host the Fighting Irish at 4:30pm EST on a Tuesday afternoon (ACC Network).

PREDICTION: Duke 81, Notre Dame 75

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