Next up for Duke is Miami, currently at the top of the ACC at 4-0. They’re having a remarkable season, not least of all because they’ve done so well without star big man Reggie Johnson.
A lot of that is because of unsung hero and Durham native Julian Gamble, a sixth-year player who truly doesn’t care who gets credit as long as his team wins.
He’s stepped in and while he’s averaged just 6.6 points and 4.6 boards, he’s been a superb teammate. He’s willing to do the dirty work and let others be celebrated.
But Kenny Kadji has been key too. He’s gone from being a guy who mostly spent time near the three point line to an all-around big man. His rebounding is up, his assists are up, and his scoring is up. He’s greatly improved.
Miami has a solid trio of perimeter players, all athletic, all sound scorers, to back them up. Durand Scott gets most of the attention, and Trey McKinney-Jones is not bad, but in our opinion, the key to that team is Shane Larkin.
No, this is not your average game!
When Duke comes to town it is always special. But never before will the Bank United Center have been sold out nearly a week before, in anticipation. And never before has Miami been all alone a the top of the ACC, hosting the Dukies with 1st place in the conference on the line. To add to the luster, Dickie V will be in town to call the game for ESPN.
For one night, Coral Gables will be the center of the College Basketball Universe.
This is more then just a big game, this is an event.
From a short term basketball perspective, we may be blowing this contest out of proportion. Even with a win, they still have 13 tough conference games to go. BC proved that on any given night, any ACC team can make for a difficult night's work. A loss while disappointing, would not be the end of the world. It could easily be rationalized as a building block and a learning experience that a veteran squad makes the most of going forward. Miami would still be in excellent position to remain in the top tier of the ACC.