More negatives than positives in Duke basketball loss to North Carolina

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

Aspects of the Duke basketball team that hurt its stock against North Carolina


The Duke defense has been an issue all season long, and it seems as if it’s getting worse.

Mike Krzyzewski tried to implement a 2-3 zone against Miami that didn’t work because of how putrid the man-to-man defense was. While he didn’t try that on Saturday night, shooters were wide open for North Carolina.

And maybe that was the plan. The Blue Devils would let the Tar Heels beat them from deep because North Carolina entered Cameron Indoor Stadium as a poor shooting team, but Duke got burned on the inside and from the outside.

Each starter reached double-figures.

North Carolina shot 53.1-percent from the field and 10-of-15 from three-point range.

Its starters only missed one shot from beyond the arc, and three of the team’s five misses from downtown were by one player, RJ Davis.

Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, and Day’Ron Sharpe combined for 39 points and 21 rebounds.

Duke could not get a stop if its season depended on it, literally.

If the Blue Devil defense does not improve, it won’t be long before the NCAA Tournament hopes are officially crushed.


The Blue Devils were a turnover machine against a suspect North Carolina defense.

For as bad as the Duke defense was, its turnovers lost the game because 15 Duke turnovers resulted in 30 Tar Heel points.


Duke never valued the ball as the only two players who did not register a turnover were Matthew Hurt and Henry Coleman.

Six of the 10 players who saw the floor for the Blue Devils committed multiple turnovers as DJ Steward led the way three giveaways.

Duke has enough problems scoring and stopping teams from scoring as it is. Easy transition baskets off careless turnovers are no recipe for success for the Blue Devils.

Matthew Hurt

Matthew Hurt is the lone player who makes the ‘Stock Down’ column as he continued his struggles against North Carolina.

Hurt did not score in the two meetings against the Tar Heels in his freshman season and was scoreless in the first half as a sophomore.

The Rochester, Minnesota native just isn’t a good matchup with the big, physical Tar Heel forwards, and it results in foul trouble, which ultimately disqualified the sophomore once he was able to get things going in the second half.

Matthew Hurt finished with seven points and three rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting in just 21 minutes. He did not play in the final 4:15 as the score was tied at 77, after he made a baseline jumper, upon his exit.

Hurt remains one of Duke’s best players, but too often his defensive issues are resulting in foul trouble, which lands him on the bench in the most important moments of the game.

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