Skip to content

Duke’s comeback win adds to their resume, Plumlee’s POY candidacy

Nov 29, 2012, 12:36 AM EST

Aaron Craft, Mason Plumlee

You want to talk about impressive wins?

No. 2 Duke’s come-from-behind, 72-68 win over No. 4 Ohio State on Wednesday night was impressive for much more than the simple fact that the Blue Devils beat the No. 4 team in the country despite being outplayed for about the first 28 minutes of the game.

Three days ago, the Blue Devils were in the Bahamas, beating then-No. 2 Louisville for the Battle 4 Atlantis title, an event that required Duke to win three games in three days over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s tough enough, but Duke isn’t exactly a normal team right now. They get almost no offensive production from their bench and the only reason that guys like Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston see significant minutes is because a) Seth Curry isn’t healthy and b) Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly always seem to be getting into foul trouble.

You could see it early in the game.

Duke looked a step slow to every loose ball. They were beaten on the offensive glass far too many times. Their offense looked out of sync. It looked like they were going through the motions. Sleepwalking, if you will.

That changed in the second half. It started with Quinn Cook leading the break, finding Mason Plumlee for a couple of dunks in transition (including this ridiculous lob). The Blue Devils started getting up into Ohio State defensively. All of a sudden their cuts were sharper and their shots just that much more open. Rasheen Sulaimon went off to the tune of 17 points in the second half, helping make up for the fact that Curry was banged up. Plumlee finished with 21 points and 17 boards. And Duke was still undefeated with, by far, the strongest resume in the country.

But we already knew all of this about Duke. For the last three days, we’ve been discussing whether or not the Blue Devils should have knocked Indiana out of the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

What hasn’t gotten as much publicity, however, has been the play of Mason Plumlee. Through seven games, he’s now averaging 19.9 points and 11.0 boards while shooting 65.3% from the floor and, astoundingly, 78.9% from the free throw line. And he’s done that while Duke has beaten Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State, VCU and Minnesota.

I still have Indiana as the best team in the country.

That’s not going to change until the Hoosiers do something to prove to me they aren’t as good as they looked in the second half against North Carolina.

I will, however, change my opinion on who will win the National Player of the Year award.

Right now, it has to be Plumlee. And his schedule is only going to get easier from here on out.

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

Latest Posts
  1. Shoulder injuries to sideline USC freshman point guard for remainder of season

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:54 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Without Jordan McLaughlin, USC will have to rely on Julian Jacobs at the point in their final two regular season games.

  2. Alabama junior guard to miss remainder of season due to foot, knee injuries

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    In addition to a ruptured plantar fascia suffered in a loss to Florida in late-January, Ricky Tarrant also needs to undergo a procedure on his left knee.

  3. Jim Boeheim: ‘I wish I had another solution’ to the postseason ban

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Jim Boeheim AP

    Boeheim doesn’t seem pleased about the ruling.

  4. adidas releases new NCAA Tournament uniforms

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:19 AM EST

    @adidashoops @adidashoops

    These are more understated than recent adidas uniforms.

  5. Report: Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:26 AM EST

    AP Photo AP

    Chris Jones was dismissed from the team on Sunday.

  6. Wednesday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky moves to 28-0, Northwestern knocks off Indiana

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:38 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    And No. 2 Virginia limited Wake Forest to 21.8% shooting without two starters.

  7. Duke’s defense once again an issue as they get taken to overtime by Virginia Tech

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:07 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The Duke defense is the biggest red flag on any true contender.

  8. Three-point barrage leads to No. 19 Baylor’s first-ever win at Iowa State

    Feb 25, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Scott Drew’s Bears went on an 18-4 second half run to take control of the game, hitting six three-pointers.

  9. Bubble Banter: Wild night in the Atlantic 10, Indiana in trouble?

    Feb 25, 2015, 9:57 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Here are Wednesday’s bubble winners and losers.

  10. Big 12 reprimands Kansas State for security issues following Monday’s win over Kansas

    Feb 25, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also notes that the conference is having conversations regarding possible protocols for situations in which fans rush the court.

  11. Like Postseason NIT, CBI to feature 30-second shot clock

    Feb 25, 2015, 6:14 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The CBI becomes the second postseason event to announce that it will use a 30-second shot clock this spring.

  12. Miami to give first 400 students a Jim Larranaga tank top Wednesday night

    Feb 25, 2015, 5:02 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The shirts are cool, but just as important is getting enough fans in seats to make a difference against Florida State.

  13. Wisconsin’s loss to Maryland a massive blow, but not for the reasons you think

    Feb 25, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    This loss is a massive blow to Wisconsin’s chances of getting a No. 1 seed.