Duke Blue Devils – Looking at what nearly all championship teams of this century have in common, is Duke basketball a contender or a contender this season?
We have officially entered one of my favorite areas of the season! February is the month where we get some of the highest levels of basketball we’ll see all season as tournament bids solidify, bubbles burst and the cream of the crop moves forward. Plus, we have a better idea of where the Duke basketball team stands.
Duke Blue Devils
Determining between “contenders” and “rivals” in college basketball is often difficult, due to the small margin of error the NCAA Tournament allows, but to narrow the field I tried to assess the relationship—or historical indicators—to the NCAA’s past. do it Compare the national champions and the current 2020 field.
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The first evaluation was done using the popular predictive analytics site KenPom, using the adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency for each team through 2001.
As you can see, there is one clear match between these 19 champions: 2014 Connecticut. While the 2003 Syracuse and 2011 UConn teams didn’t have the same disparity between efficiency as the 2014 UConn team, their rankings on both sides of the ball ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Generally, if you’re a “contender,” you’ll want Predictive Metrics to rank your offense and defense in the top 20 in the nation.
The Duke Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 ACC), coming off an 88-64 rout of Virginia Tech on Saturday, have an adjusted offensive efficiency (AdjO) of 115.0 points per 100 possessions and an adjusted Has defensive efficiency (AdjD). 89.1 points per 100 possessions. This is good enough to rank 8th and 9th respectively in the country.
Duke’s raw efficiency numbers (not adjusted for position and opponent) are similarly primitive, ranking 7th and 11th, respectively. The only relatively balanced team is San Diego State.
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The Duke basketball team remains one of, if not, the most balanced offense/defense in the country. The only other teams in the top 20 for AdjO and AdjD are Kansas, San Diego State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan. Make that list even better, and the only teams ranked in the top 10 for AdjO and AdjD (including Duke) are Kansas and San Diego State.
This point is last, but I think it deserves its own section. If you take a look at the above list of former champions dating back to 2001,
Among those teams ranked in the top 20 in defense, 10 in 12 of 19. When it’s time to check, being able to shut down the defense will generally lead to good things in March.
Since the 2007 creation of ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, a predictive metric used to measure the strength of a team’s performance going forward, the team that finished dominant in the NCAA Tournament in 10 of 12 years BPI resides at 4. The two subregions in 2011 and 2014 were Connecticut.
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According to the same schedule listed above, 16 of the previous 19 championship teams had an average MOV in the top 25 nationally. The three outliers were…you guessed it…2003 Syracuse (#62), 2011 UConn (#39) and 2014 UConn (#33). Almost all 16 teams had an MOV of at least 10 points per game, with the largest margin being 2001 Duke at 19.7 and the lowest 2007 Florida at 9.9.
Of the last 19 champions, 15 averaged at least 3 touchdowns (ranked in the top 150), 2003 Syracuse (34.4%), 2011 UConn (32.9%) and 2013 Louisville (33.3%). Whether it’s due to the desperation of the 3-point line this season, or just a general lack of shooting ability, 3-point shooting has regressed across the country.
The current “average” percentage is 33.7% this year, compared to 34.8% last year. Duke currently sits at 35.5% on the season, good enough for 62nd in the nation.
Did you take a look at some of the best players from the last NCAA tournament? As for Kyle Gay, Donte DiVincenzo, Joel Berry II, Ryan Arcadiacono, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Napier and Kemba Walker, to name a few. Most recent MOP winners have all been keepers.
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Even in the years they didn’t win the MOP, elite guard play from Ty Lawson, Quinn Cook, Josh Hart, Russ Smith, and others propelled their teams to victory in March and early April.
School: Duke University. A popular academic school formerly affiliated with the Methodist Church, named after a billionaire industrialist and located just off Interstate 40. It looks a bit familiar, but I don’t know why.
How did they get here? After going .500 in the ACC, they won the Morgantown Regional when Abby “Nuke” Laloche was finally able to control his fastball.
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Best win: While they can claim wins over top regional teams ECU and Texas Tech, and they beat Texas A&M twice in the regional, their best performance to open the season was really There was a three-game sweep against Lehigh. It absorbed a lot of ghosts from losing to 15-seed Lehigh in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Most Embarrassing Loss: Lost 6-1 to the Durham Bulls, the fictional baseball team from the movie. Also lost two games to Penn in March.
Scary hit: Kenny Taylor, taken in the 14th round of the MLB draft, is the closest thing Duke has to a “scary” lineup with a triple slash line of .324/.388/.512. However, it is not scary.
Best pitch: It would be fourth-round draft pick Graeme Stinson, but he hasn’t played since March. Instead, we’ll go with Thomas Gerrard, who struck out 61 in 46 innings and allowed just a .171 batting average. If Duke leads in the ninth, it will be hard to come back.
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Best NCAA Tournament Finish: Made it to Omaha in 1952, 1953 and 1961. 55 years passed between them meeting again in the tournament. But this is their second straight year making the Super Regional.
Should Vanderbilt be afraid? not really? If you win a regional, it’s hard to say you’re a bad team, but Vanderbilt is very expensive this weekend. WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 31: The Duke Blue Devils mascot performs during the second half of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Regional against the Michigan State Spartans at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
DJ with four stars. Steward is committed to Coach Krzyzewski and Duke basketball at Texas and Louisville. He joins five-stars Jalen Johnson and Jeremy Roach as the third member of the Blue Devils’ 2020 class.
DJ Steward, a 6’3 combo guard from Chicago, was ranked as high as 112 by 247Sports last winter before the new summer in the Nike EYBL. Steward averaged 24.1 points per game while shooting over 50 percent. After his big spring and summer, the now-committed Duke basketball guard is ranked No. 26 in the country and is firmly in the McDonald’s All-American conversation.
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Krzyzewski continues to do well recruiting in the Chicago area. He previously took five-star Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor from the Windy City. Steward has a chance to be Illinois’ first McDonald’s All-American since Jaylen Bronson in 2015.
In Steward, the Blue Devils get a player who can hold down and play both guard spots. It will be crucial to play with Jalen Johnson, who will likely see more time as a primary ball carrier. At 6’8, Johnson can struggle to defend faster guards, so Steward can step up.
The steward also does not need the ball to improve his team. He is a brave player who does little things for his team to win. And when he has the ball, the steward is a burden to deal with. He’s not very fast, but he’s a smart ball handler who can get him anywhere on the field. He uses his deceptive length to finish around the rim. Steward needs to add some weight to his weak frame, but that should come with time.
The guardian is not one
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