Thursday, February 07, 2008

How Good are the Blue Devils?

Duke 89 North Carolina 78

After watching the Duke Blue Devils dismantle the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last night, one wonders if we were watching the best team in the country.

While Duke didn't have an answer for Tyler Hansbrough, who finished with game-high 28 points and 18 rebounds, but the Blue Devils were deadly from outside, played with poise and skill, and every time Carolina seemed on the verge of pulling even, the Duke shooters would slam the door shut.

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Greg Paulus was a phenom on the wings, hitting 6 of 8 three-pointers and finishing with a team-high 18 points. Kyle Singler hit 3 of 6 and Jon Scheyer 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. Singler had his own double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

But the Blue Devils shooting wasn't the whole story. Despite being outrebounded and allowing more attempts from both the floor and the free throw line, they still won by 11, held the lead for the entire second half, and put six different players in double figures. Ridiculous. That's not sharing the ball, that's like having Mother Teresa clones all over the court.

North Carolina was without Ty Lawson, but it didn't seem to matter very much. The Tar Heels only recorded three steals, to Duke's 11. They shot 41%. Duke shot 46%. It was good enough, especially considering they went 13 of 29 from 3-point range.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski actually used a word he seldom attaches to his own teams: "special." If he thinks of them in that terminology, the rest of the NCAA should be put on notice. This team is coming, and they're taking no prisoners.

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