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CHARLOTTE — At the cease of every week that served to re-build Zion Williamson’s health and lock down Duke’s situation because the nation’s No. 1 crew going into Option Sunday, finest one inquire of remains. 

Can the Blue Devils shoot effectively ample to non-public six video games within the NCAA Tournament?

As a rule, it doesn’t matter. It undoubtedly didn’t Saturday as Duke won the ACC match title, beating Florida Convey Seventy three-sixty three despite making proper 2-of-14 from the three-level line and launching ample bricks to resurface the delivery air of the Spectrum Center. 

But because the huge match begins, Duke mute seems to be beatable, if no longer susceptible, thanks to its finest valuable weak point — one which can completely attain into play in a one-and-accomplished atmosphere in opposition to a crew of same quality.

“I’m pleased with my guys,” acknowledged Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who won his fifteenth ACC match title. “They beat three prominent opponents and tonight used to be a bodily, if truth be told onerous-fought defensive game and our guys performed loyal defense but again. 

“They performed and competed larger and more sturdy than I understanding they would possibly possibly maybe presumably presumably be in a position to doing lawful now.”

In some methods, Duke has to compete that delicate because for all of its on-paper skill, it will’t depend upon gorgeous basketball grand of the time. 

Duke, finally, is no longer a crew to be pitied. Although the Blue Devils have five losses this season, finest one — by two substances to Gonzaga way abet on Nov. 21 — came after they’d their full complement of avid gamers. 

No college crew since title-winning Kentucky with Anthony Davis in 2012 has had as dominant a two-way player as Williamson, and the Blue Devils’ beginning five entails two more seemingly top-10 draft picks in Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett. 

Silent, the three-level taking pictures is a insist. Duke came into Saturday ranked 333rd nationally in 3-level percentage (30.6) and did nothing to erase that anxiousness this weekend. At the same time as Williamson space an ACC freshman checklist for substances in a 3-game match high-tail (eighty one), the Blue Devils made proper 14-of-Fifty seven overall from lengthy differ. 

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Thought: After Three hundred and sixty five days of Zion Williamson, why is all americans in roam to complete one-and-accomplished rule?

More NCAA match: These teams have earned computerized bids to March Madness

It’s now presumably now not any crew is going to shut down Williamson because he’s simply too gigantic, too active and too definite to earn when he will get the ball within the paint. As a rule, that’s going to present Duke ample of an offensive foundation to non-public acquire it did Saturday, when the Blue Devils made Sixty one p.c of their shots interior the arc. 

“I mediate that’s proper who they’re,” Florida Convey coach Leonard Hamilton acknowledged. “They’ve the capability to gain effect-backs and tip-ins, and Zion can miss a layup but he’s nearly abet up tipping it in quicker than somebody can understand the shot has been skipped over. They’re a extraordinarily, if truth be told onerous matchup.” 

But there would possibly possibly be also threat in those stretches when Barrett and Reddish settle and miss from the perimeter, as they had been inclined to achieve this season. In fact, after Florida Convey slash Duke’s lead from 14 down to 9 with 9:25 remaining, Barrett skipped over two jumpers — neither of that had been shut to coming into — permitting the Seminoles to stave off the door getting slammed of their face.

Duke used to be never particularly threat of losing the lead Saturday — it never obtained nearer than sixty three-fifty eight — however the Blue Devils skipped over masses of alternatives down the stretch and needed to rely mostly on their defense. 

In some methods, that implies Duke’s ceiling is larger than what it has confirmed to this level, which is understandable on condition that Williamson skipped over six video games sooner than the ACC match and diversified diversified pieces were out and in of the lineup all around the season. In diversified methods, it indicates that every night in opposition to a quality opponent will be a gut-take a look at.

“It’s delicate to search out out what our capability is, so I try no longer to achieve that,” Krzyzewski acknowledged. “I proper want to have us play as loyal as we presumably can play lawful now. Half the convention season we performed with out our full complement of avid gamers, so to play these three video games used to be so principal.”

What Duke confronted Saturday is going to be the blueprint, finally, for every opponent from right here on out. In a formula, it has been all season: Produce Duke shoot as many threes as you would possibly possibly presumably well and hope for the acceptable. 

When Duke hits them, the Blue Devils are nearly unstoppable. When it doesn’t, effectively, Kentucky, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Michigan Convey and the comfort would acquire the replacement to search out out what occurs. 


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