There were very few positives in Duke’s 90-63 loss to No. 25 Miami and even those you might as well throw out the window in what was a colossal failure on the Blue Devils part.
The loss was the 6th largest defeat in Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke career and the worst since the Blue Devils lost to Villanova in the Sweet 16 back in 2009.
Miami made no real mistakes in the game and Duke did absolutely nothing to force them out of their game or to even look remotely like a team that could compete. The Hurricanes solidified their top spot in the ACC improving to 5-0 while Duke falls to 3-2 and 16-2 overall.
There will again be a lot of talk about how Duke misses Ryan Kelly, and they do but they have to start preparing to play without him for the long haul and if this is what we can expect to see from the Blue Devils then this won’t be the last time Duke is on the wrong side of a 27 point defeat.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing if you are a Duke fans is the seeming lack of effort and heart showed by the Blue Devils including out of its senior leaders. Seth Curry did not score and Mason Plumlee was outclassed in just about every way possible. Plumlee scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds but resembled nothing of the player he was showing earlier in the year that was garnering National Player of the Year mentions.
Defensively Duke was passive and played on their heels while Miami drove and finished at will. And when the Hurricanes weren’t driving and dunking all over the Blue Devils they were shooting lights out. Miami shot nearly 57 percent from the floor while Duke shot a paltry 30 percent.
Miami was firing on all cylinders on offense but it was their defense that really set the tone not allowing Duke easy shots and forcing their offense to look out of sync for most of the game. It also helped though that Duke couldn’t hit wide open shot in the early going. The Hurricanes used an impressive 25-1 run in the first half to essentially put the game out of reach early.
Duke had no answer for Kenny Kadji (22 points) or Durrand Scott (25 points) and at times they looked like a high school team trying to stop the Hurricanes’ offense.
These are the games that Duke fans dread, Duke haters love but it is Mike Krzyzewski who has to try to make heads or tails of what this performance means for his team going forward. Will Duke ever be able to find a new identify without Ryan Kelly? Well, the answer remains to be seen but if something isn’t done soon this season is headed in a negative direction.
The one bright side of the game was the play of freshman Alex Murphy who scored 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in what was perhaps the best game of his Duke career. Amile Jefferson who moved into the starting lineup struggled against the bigger more aggressive Miami front court but managed to put up 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Unfortunately for Duke nobody else really showed up to play and Miami could do no wrong, not a combination that you can overcome even if you are, or were the No. 1 team in the country.