Duke basketball: NCAA Tournament resume needs a lot of work

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball rollercoaster season has another twist. 

It’s late January and the trends are starting to really take shape for the Duke basketball team.

The Blue Devils beat a very good Miami team at home behinds 17 points from Kyle Filipowski and 14 points from Jeremy Roach in his return from a toe injury as the team shot 42.9-percent (9-for-21) from 3-point range.

The win also keeps the team undefeated inside Cameron Indoor Stadium this season and it seems fair to predict that Duke will win the rest of its game at home this year, which would give the program 20 victories and likely anywhere between a No. 7 through No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Assuming the Blue Devils lose its remaining road games, that leaves five more losses on the season tallying their regular season record at 20-11 (11-9 ACC).

The, the nightmare that is a trip to Virginia Tech continued.

Kyle Filipowski continues to be the most consistent player on the offensive end for this young Blue Devil team.

The freshman came into the Virginia Tech game on an absolute tear and he finished the game with another double double (29 points and 10 rebounds) while draining four 3-pointers that were incredibly important.

For the first time since the non-conference schedule, Duke’s offense came out firing and its defense was a step or two behind.

Virginia Tech’s deadliest 3-point shooter, Hunter Cattoor, was able to get open shots early that gave Virginia Tech an 7-point lead, 45-38, headed into halftime.

Cattoor finished with 15 points on 50.0-percent (5-for-10) from 3-point range and caused fits for the Blue Devils throughout the game.

This game felt that much more important after Dariq Whitehead went down with a non-contact lower leg injury which looks like a calf or achilles issue, although not yet confirmed by the team.

Duke missed Whitehead during the remainder of the second half as its classic three minute offensive drought brought a five point lead, 58-55, to a four point deficit, 63-59.

These types of offensive droughts are what continue to plague Duke and without consistent effort and production from Jeremy Roach the team will not be able to get over the hump in close games.

Duke basketball resume starting to take shape

Each remaining game on the schedule is incredibly important for obvious reasons, but if Duke can win at least six more games in the regular season as well as two victories in the ACC Tournament, that should solidify the Blue Devils as a No. 6 or No. 7 seed and give them a chance to get out of the first weekend.

Although trends are starting to formulate for this team, now Duke faces even bigger questions around the health of freshmen Dariq Whitehead and if anyone can try to replace him.

Duke (14-6, 5-4 ACC) will head to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech (8-11, 1-8 ACC) on Saturday (3:00p.m. EST, ACC Network) where the Blue Devils have a real opportunity to get its second road win of the season.