When you look at the polls and rankings, the nation’s top team is clear: it’s Indiana.
However, roughly three weeks into the college basketball season it is becoming more and more difficult to argue which squad has been the most impressive.
That title goes to Duke.
One year after being embarrassed on the road at Ohio State, the Blue Devils got their opportunity to seek revenge. A halftime deficit was overcome and Duke held on for a 73-68 victory as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night.
Trailing by eight with little offense to build upon heading into intermission, the Blue Devils responded and the crowd reacted. Duke scored 50 points in the second half and outworked a dangerous Buckeyes’ squad by 13 in the final 20 minutes.
Senior forwards Ryan Kelley and Mason Plumlee produced crucial baskets, totaling 15 and 21 points, respectively. Yet, what was the biggest key to victory for the Blue Devils? Fellow senior Seth Curry was limited to only four points on 1-of-6 shooting, yet Duke was still able to overcome the halftime deficit.
Yes, Duke has been the nation’s most impressive squad to begin the season; there should be no doubt in that. Wednesday’ victory marked the team’s third win this season against a team who was ranked within the top five at the time of the game.
Not only did the Blue Devils survive a neutral floor showdown against Kentucky, their win over Ohio State is added to three impressive victories in the Bahamas as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis, a tournament that was widely considered to include the stiffest competition among all early-season events.
The non-conference schedule for Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski is a testament to the Blue Devils’ ability this season and a 7-0 start is all the proof that non-believers should need.
Duke will play host to Delaware on Saturday, Dec. 1. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00pm (EST) from Cameron Indoor.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS