Double-digit wins keep coming for Duke

By Adam Rowe Special to the Times
Posted 12/13/18

The Blue Devils dispatched Yale 91-58 in their lone game for a 10-day stretch, as the team has kept up its dominating ways in the first third of the season. Besides its eight-point win over Auburn …

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Double-digit wins keep coming for Duke

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The Blue Devils dispatched Yale 91-58 in their lone game for a 10-day stretch, as the team has kept up its dominating ways in the first third of the season. Besides its eight-point win over Auburn and two-point loss to Gonzaga, Duke’s other eight games have been won by no fewer than 22 points, and the No. 2-ranked Blue Devils have a margin of victory at 33.5 points per game. While the schedule is not going to get any easier,with games against No.6 Virginia (twice), No. 10 Florida State, No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 12 North Carolina (twice), No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 25 Syracuse (twice), the foundation has been laid for this young team to have a truly special season.


RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson get all the headlines, but point guard Tre Jones is the head of the Duke snake and the engine that makes the Ferrari run so smoothly. He leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.67 assists to every one turnover, is averaging over 1.5 steals per game and has fewer than 1.5 turnovers per game. He’s the perfect complement to the offensive firepower on Duke’s roster that has allowed the Blue Devils to lead the nation in points per game.


Duke has lost just one game this year, a two-point defeat to top-five Gonzaga, and has steamrolled just about every other team on its schedule. But 80 percent of the starting five is just 10 games into their college career, and there are portions of their games to work on and improve. With 10 days off between games from Dec 8-18, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and staff have the opportunity to tighten up any loose areas in their team’s game and make strides towards becoming an even better version of the No. 2-ranked team that Duke is. Shooting, especially from the perimeter and at the free-throw line, will most certainly be areas of focus.


Duke’s appearance in the Independence Bowl is the first one for the program, but David Cutcliffe’s fifth time heading to Shreveport, Louisiana. While there are a few guys deciding whether they will enter their names into the NFL Draft, including quarterback Daniel Jones, linebacker Joe Giles-Harris and cornerback Mark Gilbert, those players (if healthy) are opting to play in the bowl game on Dec. 27.


Duke will be well-represented in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas on Saturday, with five of its verbal commitments taking part in the game. On the North Carolina side of the ball, cornerback Tony Davis, offensive guard Jacob Monk and athlete Jordan Waters will sign with Duke next week, while offensive tackle John Gelotte and wide receiver Jalon Calhoun represent DukeGang19 on the South Carolina side.


Heading into the 2019 recruiting cycle, Duke identified offensive line, and specifically offensive tackle, as areas of need. After adding verbal commitments from interior guys Jacob Monk and Elijah Wroten, in addition to OT John Gelotte, the Blue Devils made Yale commit Ron Carr a priority. After Carr began to receive interest outside of the Ivy League, it became clear that he was interested in playing at a higher level of football than Yale could offer. Following a decommitment in November, Carr visited Vanderbilt and then Duke, but didn’t leave the Durham campus without making a commitment. He is ranked as the No. 54 offensive tackle in the country.


Duke expects all of its early verbal commitments to sign letters of intent during the early signing period, which opens on Dec. 19 At this stage, all 21 players who make up the Blue Devils’ No. 35-ranked recruiting class intend to to ink their signatures and submit them to the program on the 19th. With little to no room left in the class, Duke’s entire recruiting focus has shifted to slot receiver Ainias Smith. The Blue Devils are battling Texas A&M for his services.

Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.