Duke basketball: Victory over potent mid-major nothing to scoff at

Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Duke basketball victory over Bellarmine should not be dismissed

Five games into a season is certainly not enough time or reps for most college basketball teams to have themselves figured out quite yet, but the Duke basketball team might be getting further away from that point.

In a good way.

Jon Scheyer still differs from Mike Krzyzewski in terms of tendencies, tactics, and schemes, but rotations and lineups between the two coaches seem to be the biggest difference.

Duke saw nine guys earn significant minutes in its 74-57 victory over Bellarmine, including six guys getting more than 20 minutes each.

That is certainly not what we came to expect from Coach K over the past few years.

Duke’s problem, as it is most years, is an embarrassment of riches. They simply have a full team of guys that can step up any given night and perform.

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The benefit of a team like this is you can win in a variety of ways and you can put five guys on the floor that fit or match the team you’re playing.

The other benefit is you can stick to the guys playing well on a given night and ride the hot hand, which is what happened last night.

The Blue Devils put forth its best shooting night of the year, connecting on 14-of-25 shots from 3-point range, including a 4-for-7 night from Jacob Grandison, a sight Duke fans were waiting for since he transferred from Illinois.

Kyle Filipowski picked up where he left off against Delaware, getting Duke on the board with two straight triples as he continues to be a matchup problem for teams due to his shooting ability and size.

Duke fans better enjoy the next 25 games with him in a Duke uniform because he could very easily  be wearing an NBA jersey next season.

Duke basketball winning with outstanding defensive intensity

The Blue Devil defense has shown itself to be a bit of a force this season.

Duke was able to hold an incredibly talented Bellarmine team scoreless for four straight minutes which allowed Jon Scheyer’s team to take an early lead in the first half.

Duke allowed 57 points, only 24 coming in the second half, and has held each of its five opponents this season to less than 70 points this season.

Four of those five foes have scored less than 60 points on the Blue Devils and to be able to do this against this type of team is no small feat.

Other Division I coaches won’t even schedule Bellarmine, like Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman.

Bellarmine moves the ball so efficiently and limits dribbling as much as they possibly can.

Another staple of the Knight’ offense are using multiple cutters. If they do not hit the first back door cut they usually have another player cutting right off of the initial cut which typically catches the defense off-guard thinking they defended the only back-cut of that possession.

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If you are a basketball fan it’s amazing to watch and more likely than not how James Naismith wanted the game to be played.

It has been so far so good for this Duke team but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

The Blue Devils have the weapons to make a deep run this year, and if Duke keeps winning all of these problems and questions are certainly good to have.

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