Duke Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Duke Blue Devils
ACC (27-5, 14-4)

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There is not much preventing this Duke team from making a run to the Final Four. After all, this is a Blue Devils squad that beat Louisville, Ohio State, Kentucky, Minnesota and VCU in November. In a 15 day span, Duke beat five very, very good teams. And they have not slowed down much since. However, like most Duke teams, this one is primarily built on shooting and it is always tough to win six games in three weeks as a shooting team. One of those days the shots are just not going to fall and that is when the Blue Devils fall to the Lehigh’s of the world.

Big Wins: 11/24 vs Louisville (76-71), 11/28 Ohio State (73-68), 3/2 Miami (79-76)
Bad Losses: 1/12 at North Carolina State (76-84), 2/16 at Maryland (81-83), 2/28 at Virginia (68-73)
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (33 seasons at Duke)

Why They Can Surprise:
But when you look at the Duke shooters, the talent is undeniable. This is not a team that has to live by the three or die by the three, but even if they were, they have done plenty of living. Seth Curry is the most prolific outside shooter, but Ryan Kelly, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon all shoot over 37 percent from beyond the arc as well. One of them may have an off day shooting, but it is unlikely two of them will. Curry takes a lot of long balls, but he attacks the rim well too. Kelly was briefly slowed by a foot injury, but the 6-11 senior will stretch the defense and score around the basket. Sulaimon is yet another dynamic scoring threat who can finish above the rim. Cook meanwhile dishes out 5.2 assists per game and adds 12.4 points. Those four are great shooters, but their ability to score in other ways makes them a dynamic group that does not have to rely heavily on the long ball. And in March, that is huge.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The other big time scorer is, of course, Mason Plumlee. Plumlee averages just about 20 points and ten rebounds per game. He is the traditional interior scoring threat that opens up the shooting and driving lanes for the rest of the team. While Plumlee is a fine rebounder, he does not get much help in that regard. The Blue Devils as a team are lucky to break even in the rebounding department and they may not be able to afford those lost possessions in crunch time. Plumlee also plays about 35 minutes per game. Any bit of foul trouble against Plumlee and Coach Mike Krzyzewski should be worried. Ironically, the injury to Kelly has given more experience to players like Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston. Duke should feel much better about their frontcourt depth now than they did in January before Kelly got hurt and those few minutes here and there from Jefferson and Hairston could turn out to make a big difference in a close game.

Probable Starters:
Quinn Cook, Sophomore, Guard, 12.4 ppg, 5.2 apg
Seth Curry, Senior, Guard, 17.0 ppg, 1.6 apg
Rasheed Sulaimon, Freshman, Guard, 11.5 ppg, 2.0 apg
Ryan Kelly, Senior, Forward, 14.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Mason Plumlee, Senior, Forward, 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Josh Hairston, Junior, Forward, 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Amile Jefferson, Freshman, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Tyler Thornton, Junior, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 2.4 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.4 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.8 (131, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.9 (16, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (110, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (33, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.6 (4, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (61, 2)
Rebound Margin: -0.9 (211, 9)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (49, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.9 (14, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Lehigh
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Hampton
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Michigan
2011    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Arizona
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 win over California
2010    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Purdue
2010    NCAA    Regional Final win over Baylor
2010    NCAA    National Semifinal win over West Virginia
2010    NCAA    National Final win over Butler
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Binghamton
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Texas
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Villanova
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Belmont
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to West Virginia
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to VCU

*all team stats through 3/10


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