3 Reasons Why Duke Will Not Win March Madness 2019
The Duke Blue Devils are touted as a top contender, but they have some weaknesses that could be exposed. Here are a few reasons why Duke might be in trouble this March Madness 2019.
Is Zion Williamson’s knee 100%?
When Williamson blew a tire (or a sneaker) in a game this season, Duke fans everywhere gasped. On the first possession of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels last month, the star freshman went down with a knee injury. It looked ugly. He left the game and Duke fans held their breath waiting for news. The rest of the game did not go well. Duke went on to lose big to the Tar Heels and concerns began to creep in.
The Blue Devils have shown some vulnerabilities without Williamson and could be in trouble if he’s not fully healthy. In the five games that Williamson missed, Duke went 3-2, with one of those wins coming via a slim one-point victory over ACC cellar-dwellers Wake Forest Demon Deacons at home.
Duke’s struggles against zone defense
Back in December, the Gonzaga Bulldogs might have tipped off the rest of the nation on how to beat Duke. They deployed a zone defense that shut down the Blue Devils. Gonzaga was able to limit Duke to a season-low 13 triple attempts.
But the Zags also shut down the Blue Devils inside the arc. The Bulldogs limited Duke to a season-low 44.1 percent shooting on non-threes and provided the nation with a blueprint on how to stop the Blue Devils down low.
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Duke has been below average from beyond the three-point line all season. No one on the team can be described as a pure shooter from downtown. The Blue Devils rely on overwhelming their opponents with their athleticism and depth, but they don’t have a consistent game from distance.
Duke is sixth in the nation with 84.1 points per game, but is just 330th with a ghastly 30.6 percent shooting from the 3-point region. This could prove problematic for Duke in the national tournament, especially when they come across a team that has a solid interior defense.
This is arguably the worst shooting team Duke has put on the court in the Coach K era. Another issue that could wind up coming back to bite the Blue Devils is poor foul shooting. They find themselves below 6 percent from the free throw line and in the bottom third of all Division I teams.
Despite what we discussed above, we see Duke as one of the favorites on the upcoming ACC tournament and will give us a clearer picture on how this team will perform once March Madness hits.
In less than two weeks, the entire nation will have its attention fixed on the 68 teams that will duke it out in the NCAA National Tournament. It’s an unpredictable tournament that never runs out of surprises, but one thing is for sure: Nitrogen Sports Blog will provide more informative pieces about March Madness.
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