The Duke basketball team continued its road struggles this season.
There are some positives and negatives but the Duke basketball team remains in control of its own destiny.
The Blue Devils started the week with a much needed win at home thanks to a team effort over a surging Pittsburgh team.
It felt like the victory was the best game in the career of Kyle Filipowski’s after he finished with a 28 points and 15 rebounds. One of the more underrated aspects of his year so far is his high free throw percentage. He shot 11-for-13 against the Panthers and every make was so vital for the Blue Devils.
Every team has their strengths and weaknesses but Duke’s strength is quite clear at this point and it’s their ability to gain second chance opportunities through their offensive rebounding.
The Blue Devils out-rebounded Pitt by 23, 51-28, and secured 24 offensive rebounds, its largest rebounding margin and most offensive rebounds since 2014, according to Duke Men’s Basketball Stats.
The second half performance was impressive as the Blue Devils finally started to move the ball around and hit shots.
More importantly, there was a raw emotion that hasn’t been seen very much this season.
Fans have been complaining about Duke “going through the motions” all season, this game was anything but that.
The Devils were hyped and the bench was alive. It was refreshing to see.
Duke basketball road struggles continue
Like most young teams, the performance is vastly differently at home versus on the road.
This remains the case for Duke.
After the loss at Clemson they sit at 1-3 on the road in the ACC and 9-0 at home.
During both games this week, Jon Scheyer rolled with the freshmen to end the game and put the literal, and figurative, ball in their hands to decide the fate of the game.
Duke showed again that rebounding, on both ends of the floor, will continue to keep them in games, but the same question that have been asked all season remains; Can the offense catch up with the defense and get them over the hump in close games?
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KenPom has Duke as the 34th best defense in the country with their offense currently sitting at 47th in the nation. The success of this team will fully depend on if Duke can get closer to the Top-30 ranked offenses in the country by March.
Duke now has a week in between games where they will face arguably the best team in the ACC, the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (14-3, 5-2 ACC), on Saturday afternoon (12:00p.m., ESPN)
Thankfully, the game, which feels like a must win, will be inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.