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Duke’s flaws are exposed as they get blown out by North Carolina

Mar 3, 2012, 9:37 PM EDT

North Carolina v Duke Getty Images

Well, that was anti-climatic.

It only took four minutes and 29 seconds for No. 6 UNC to open up a double-digit lead against No. 4 Duke. The Tar Heels were up 17 points by the second TV timeout. By halftime, the lead had swelled all the way to 24. And while the Blue Devils were able to trim the deficit to 11 at one point in the second half, there is no denying what we saw on Saturday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium: a blowout.

All the buildup of the Duke-UNC rivalry. All the hype surrounding the rematch of what could very well be the best game of the college basketball season with the ACC regular season title on the line. The bright lights of ESPN’s Gameday in attendance. And the only thing we learned from UNC’s 88-70 win over Duke is that the Blue Devils may be the nation’s most overrated good team.

That’s not to say Duke isn’t talented. Because they are. Austin Rivers is a talented scorer. So is Seth Curry. Andre Dawkins is a lights-out shooter when he gets into a rhythm. The Plumlees are athletic freaks that can be very effective in the paint. Ryan Kelly’s ability to stretch the floor is valuable.

But never have we seen Duke’s flaws exposed so blatantly as they were tonight.

The Blue Devils are a bad defensive team. It really is that simple. Curry, Rivers and Dawkins would have trouble defending the chair that Yi Jianlian so infamously dominated in his NBA Draft workouts. They don’t have anyone capable of guarding a quality small forward, which is why 6’1″ Tyler Thornton spent the majority of the game trying to slow down 6’8″ Harrison Barnes. Is it any wonder that Duke’s run in the second half came when they finally started stringing together some stops?

Offensively, Duke can be dangerous because of how well they shoot the three-ball. Its what their offensive is predicated on. But as the saying goes, live by the three and die by the three. When they aren’t falling, you see performances like you did tonight from the Blue Devils.

Duke does not pass the eye test for a one or two seed, but the eye test doesn’t determine where a team is going to be seeded. That’s why the Blue Devils will, rightfully, end up being a one or a two seed in the tournament. They beat so many good teams in the non-conference portion of their schedule that its inevitable.

What that means that there is going to be some team sitting somewhere around a seven seed that will be licking their chops come the second round of the tournament. What happens if the Blue Devils draw a team like San Diego State (who is currently being projected as a seven seed) or Long Beach State (who is getting a ten seed in some brackets) or any other team with a quality back court?

I can already tell you who the trendiest upset pick is going to be come Selection Sunday.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. chiefagc5675 - Mar 3, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Rivers may be great someday but in this game he looked like a gunner with poor eyesight.

  2. astrozac - Mar 4, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Looking at the box score, Duke only true small forward, Michael Gbinije didn’t even get into the game who would seem to be the best option to try and slow down a quality small forward…

    Which is funny because of all the rotating around Coach K has down with his lineups, which seem to coincide with the teams slipping. I think the lineup of Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Quinn Cook(or possibly Andre Dawkins) was the one working best. Thornton and Miles Plumlee seemed to be better coming off the bench,,,

  3. uncz1978 - Mar 4, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    The pompous jerk Dookies just could keep their big mouths shut. Which I am so glad for. Showing the end of the game in Chapel Hill and yelling stuff at Z. Their pompous yankee students thought they were being so funny. Well they got it slapped back in their collective faces in the 1st minute of the game.

    Just like at VA Tech when the fans started the chop (about the loss at FSU). Carolina went on a tear and fed their butts to them.

    The Dookies got a beat down like Carolina has not given them in a while. “old” Roy used all that to his advantage. Yes I have already done my share of rubbing it in tonight. I’ve taken it for a month. I didn’t even watch on tv. I couldn’t take the ESPN/Dookie love affair. I listened to the Carolina Network and throughly enjoyed the play by play. I did turn the the tv on in the last minute to see the look on all the pompous Dookie fans faces.

    I wonder if that big helping of crow was served hot or cold????

    GO ‘HEELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • carolinakid - Mar 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      HELL YEAH UNCZ

      That was a tobacco road beat down, courtesy of the Carolina blue baby !

  4. kansacity88 - Mar 9, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    I’m not even a fan of either team, but any team that whoops Duke is a favorite team of mine!

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