After a thirteen day break, expect the team to look a little different. The reason is that the aforementioned break has allowed for time to make adjustments.
Duke has two early losses on the season but to good teams, still, there has been some concern from many that the Blue Devils have not looked especially sharp by the lofty standards of the teams predecessors.
But what many seem to not be hearing is what Krzyzewski has been saying. That being that his team is a work in progress.
This years version of Duke has never been wired to succeed or peak early on. They’re way too young for that with a true, yet sensational freshman taking on the main role.
You can bet that Coach Mike Kryzyzewski and his staff have broken down a lot of film and had discussions on strategy and playing to the teams strength during the break.
They’ve had time to analyze what the team has done to date and what they need to do moving forward.
There was very little time for adjustment on the fly for Duke from November 24th to December 3rd where they played four games in that stretch, not to mention studying for final exams.
During the last three game stretch, Krzyzewski and his troops got back to playing Duke defense and you can look for them to expand on that further moving forward.
When the season started the Duke team showed off some pretty serious offense but it became clear that the team was not picking up on it’s original assignments on the defensive end.
They also started to go to Marshall Plumlee in the post more in the last outing and he continues to get in better shape and move past his injury, so this is something to look out for.
Krzyzewski also mentioned that Andre Dawkins was just now getting back to game shape after taking a year off and his role could increase as well.
Dawkins is after all, the only Blue Devil on the roster to earn a national championship ring and some timely three balls like he got against Baylor during the teams 2010 run could be forthcoming.
Then there is Rasheed Sulaimon, a very talented guard who has struggled early on. Whatever is holding Sulaimon back from success, he’s simply too talented not to bring it all back together.
What Krzyzewski will look for this evening, is for other players to step up around the big two of Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker.
He’s established their roles and mentioned that the sensational freshman Parker will only get better as those around him do.
I expect there could still be growing pains this season, but it is December and you certainly do not want a team peaking now instead of March when you are one and done.
The ACC schedule is looking tougher than some anticipated and Duke will go on the road to Notre Dame and undefeated Pitt, two snake pits without a return trip to Cameron.
Then there are their usual games with UNC and newcomer power Syracuse, who they of course play twice despite the unbalanced ACC schedule.
But Krzyzewski has never been one to worry about other teams, instead focusing on his own.
Duke is not without their shortcomings, but the key will be to watch and see if they can exploit their strengths.
History proves that their will be ebbs and flows to every season and despite two early season losses. the team is still firmly in the top ten.
Watching as the season unfolds moving forward will be something fans should enjoy provided they realize that the end game is what counts.