Now that the regular season is pretty much over, it is safe to say Duke is the best team in the country. When Ryan Kelly went down with a foot injury, Duke was the best team in the country. While Kelly was out, Duke might not have even been a top 20 team in the country, but now that Kelly is back and in mid-season shape, Duke is again the best team in the country.
Before Kelly went down with an injury, the Blue Devils were 15-0 including three wins over top five teams. To go along with those three wins, the Blue Devils also beat Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, Temple, and Davidson easily.
No one in the country played a more difficult non-conference schedule than the Blue Devils and they were one of the only teams in the country to enter non-conference play undefeated.
Without Kelly, the Blue Devils fell to both North Carolina State and Miami (FL) on the road. Both of those teams are very good and with Kelly Duke could’ve won both games. They also suffered losses on the road to both Maryland and Virginia who were both fighting for a resume building win.
With Kelly back, Duke has now gotten their revenge on Miami where Kelly had 36 points. They blew out both Virginia Tech on Kelly’s senior night and then went to Chapel Hill and ruined the Tar Heels senior night.
Seth Curry, Quinn Cook, and Mason Plumlee benefit so much from Kelly being back and it makes the Blue Devils so much better. Kelly allows for more spacing on offense and better defense.
Cook, Curry, and Plumlee are already good enough to begin with and now they are even better. When they are on from the outside, there is no team in the country that could even compete with them.
Completely healthy they are 18-0 in a harder schedule than anyone else in the country has played. You can’t argue that Duke isn’t the best team in the country right now. Just look at the numbers.