One of the preseason favorites to win the National Championship, the No. 23 Duke Blue Devils were coming off of a huge loss to the Clemson Tigers that saw their 2014 NCAA draft stock plummet. With four losses already this season to bring their record to 12-4, their schedule wasn’t even good enough to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament. At 1-2 in ACC play, they had to start winning games soon.
Their opportunity came in the form of the Virginia Cavaliers, who were on a three game winning streak after coming off of a 35 point loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. Duke dominated throughout most of the first half and most of the second half as well, but let things get away late, as Virginia’s outstanding defense gave them trouble. Luckily, the Blue Devils were able to survive on made free throws and a huge 21 point game from Rasheed Sulaimon.
Now at 13-4 and 2-2 in the ACC, Duke is back on track. The ACC is a lot less talented than we anticipated it to be before the season began, but the Blue Devils are still a top team in the nation. If Duke can calm down and avoid turnovers, they have every opportunity to win the ACC and get a top two or three seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils may be ranked No. 23, but they have Final Four level talent. Circle the matchup with the Syracuse Orange on Feb. 1 because that’s the game in which we’ll find out what Duke is made of.