Duke basketball has no chance for March Madness success without better guard play

The Blue Devils need its backcourt to lead the way in March

Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach (3) drives to the basket as
Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach (3) drives to the basket as / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Guards win in March and the Duke basketball backcourt has to be much better if the Blue Devils want a chance at advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

It must start on Friday night in the Round of 64 against No. 13 seed Vermont.

The production from the guard positions has been a major area of concern for the Blue Devils, specifically from Jeremy Roach in his last two games.

Roach has been one of the most consistent players for Duke this entire season but only averaged 9.0 points per game his last two times on the court -- both losses -- and shot 4-of-18 from the field (22.2-percent).

In his last four games, Roach is 4-for-19 (21-percent) from 3-point range. Those numbers must improve in order for Duke to have success

Tyrese Proctor has endured a rollercoaster of a sophomore season, but his best basketball was played at the end of the season last year and he is hoping that continues this March.

Proctor did manage seven rebounds and five assists during Duke's loss to North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals, but only shot 4-of-16 from the floor. He has been shooting over 40-percent from the field in every game prior to the upset since he returned from his concussion in late February.

Jared McCain, who has been a superstar for the Blue Devils this season, gets a pass for his less than stellar performance after it was learned after tipoff that he needed stitches above his eye following a collision pregame with Jaylen Blakes.

Jon Scheyer said after the game that he noticed McCain wasn't himself on the court and was lacking that extra burst he typically has and attributed it to the injury. He was just 2-of-8 with eight points against North Carolina State.

Duke will need each player to take a major step forward if it wants to advance in the NCAA Tournament.