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SportFive Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season

01:35  09 november  2018
01:35  09 november  2018 Source:   si.com

Fantastic freshmen help No. 4 Duke blow out No. 2 Kentucky

Fantastic freshmen help No. 4 Duke blow out No. 2 Kentucky RJ Barrett scored 33 points and Zion Williamson added 28 in their first college games, leading No. 4 Duke over No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 on Tuesday night in the season-opening Champions Classic.

Duke haters may have rejoiced in the off- season when they realized the team would lose its top five Duke shot 59 from 2 and 46 percent from 3. Rookie mistakes? College basketball fans hoping for a competitive season are already scouring the top 25, desperately looking for the team that can

Looking at five players that need to step up if Ohio State wishes to beat Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. He has done that countless times this season . Wilson's foot has bothered him at different points in the season and a serious of interesting decisions as a punt returner cost him his job at that position.

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Everyone expected Duke to be good—but to be so good that would hand a second-ranked Kentucky team a 34-point beat down in its debut? Probably not. R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson had record-breaking nights in their first games as Blue Devils, with Cam Reddish posting an underappreciated 22 alongside his fellow freshman stars. Tre Jones facilitated as flawlessly as possible for a team that runs few plays and takes the term ‘positionless play’ to a whole new level, while Jack White, a somewhat forgotten face ahead of Tuesday night, added a double double off the bench.

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Here are five teams that could have short stays in the field. Auburn. Coach Bruce Pearl has piloted the But Clemson has also lost five of its last eight and doesn’t have the same tournament capability as Virginia, Duke or North Carolina. March 8: Alabama players react after beating Texas A&M on a

That team is Duke , and the Blue Devils have a credible argument for being better at their peak than If there’s a team that can match Villanova shot for shot in this tournament, it’s the Boilermakers. Before squaring off with the Tar Heels or Wolverines, Xavier might have to face a potential top- five

Duke seemed unstoppable Tuesday night, but surely there’s a team or two who can at least threaten the Blue Devils' dominance. We took at look at five teams that may have the best shot at posing a problem for what could be college basketball, and Coach K’s, best team in history. Some will take on Duke during the regular season this year, while others might have to wait until March to test the theory.

1. Kansas

Five Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season© Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Jayhawks are a definite contender for a team that could upset Duke simply because they’re equally as, if not more, talented than the Blue Devils this season. They may have lost perimeter talent after a trio of departures last year, but they are as well equipped in the paint as Duke’s big-bucket getters. The Blue Devils will have to compete with a Kansas frontcourt duo of junior transfer Dedric Lawson, a 6' 9" forward who scored 19.2 points per game for Memphis in 2016–17, and 7-foot junior Udoka Azubuike who also averaged in the double digits. Bill Self also boasts his own top-tier freshman faces, with five-star guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson in the Jayhawks backcourt. Both are incredible overall players with the speed, talent and shot-making ability to take on Duke’s loaded lineup, especially when you add in the frontcourt Kansas has this season. The Jayhawks entered the year as the top-ranked team in the country for a reason and would put up one heck of a fight if they were to face the Blue Devils.

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Marquette might not be that good , but Howard is a scoring machine who will have plenty of 60. Tennessee has the best defense in America. The offense is fine but not great, hence the previous Zion Williamson headlines the hoops show at Duke . 5 dark-horse college basketball teams to watch

The Wildcats might be the best team in the country right now, and they have been terrific since their lone loss of the season . Yet we're dropping them from The Blue Devils are three games behind the Cavaliers and don't get another shot at them. Three of Duke 's next four are on the road, starting next

2. Virginia (Jan. 19, Feb. 9)

Five Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Feb 24, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett reacts on the bench against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Cavaliers won 66-37.

The Cavaliers are one of the most likely suspects to upset the Blue Devils this season­—and will be a key conference opponent along Duke’s already-anticipated route to the ACC title. Tony Bennett’s Pack-Line defense, in particular, could pose a problem for Duke’s star-studded roster. As we saw Tuesday, Duke thrives in the moment. They ran limited plays and dominated in the lane, barreling past defenders without taking too much time to stop and strategize. The Pack-Line defense doesn’t typically allow for such style of play, especially not when Bennett’s team does it well. Virginia floods the lane with defenders and forces long and tough three-pointers, often driving teams to take poor shots in a desperate attempt to restore a normal rhythm.

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Arkansas, Stanford and Murray State may not be teams that fans are accustomed to watching but they—alongside perennial powers Duke , Kentucky A healthy Tillie is one of the best stretch bigs in college basketball. Fast-improving scorer Zach Norvell came on strong at the end of last season and

Three AP top- five teams ( Duke , Kansas, Florida) fell to unranked opponents, with the Jayhawks dropping an additional Now healthy again, the junior guard is providing valuable minutes as a starter and shooting at a much That defense will be the best Young and Co. have faced this season , so

This is where Virginia has a chance to contain Duke’s scary scorers: even though Zion’s first bucket came off of a three, it was the only one he attempted all game. Barrett went 3 of 7 from deep, Reddish coming in behind him at 3 of 8. A sharp shooter like Alex O’Connell could still thrive in such a system, but Virginia could make it much more difficult for Duke’s freshman phenoms to dominate around the basket the way they did against Kentucky. Virginia, the best defensive team in the country, should force Duke to slow the pace, giving guys like Barrett and Williamson fewer opportunities to rack up the points in the paint. The methodical, often monotonous Pack Line stands in stark contrast to the type of free-flowing, up-tempo basketball Duke dominated with on Tuesday, which would make it challenging for Coach K’s crew to overcome.

3. Gonzaga (potential meeting in Maui)

Five Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season© Otto Kitsinger/AP Photo Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura dunks against Ohio State during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Boise, Idaho.

The Zags are balanced enough to match Duke’s offensive output and potentially defend the Blue Devils a little better than Duke will defend them. They’ve got more experience and veteran talent than Coach K’s wildly young—and a little wild in general—freshman faces plus players who could arguably match guys like Williamson, Barrett and Reddish when it comes to getting buckets. Senior guard Josh Perkins is good and consistent, enough to play Duke better than probably just about anybody, especially alongside Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell, transfer Brandon Clarke and some talented underclassmen who will be sprinkled in the mix to fill out the Bulldogs rotation (if the Zags face Duke in a couple weeks at the Maui Invitational, however, they'll be without Killian Tillie). Gonzaga is equally as talented, maybe a bit more balanced and definitely more experienced than Duke. They’ve got the length and two-way talent to keep up with the Blue Devils on both sides of the ball, with sufficient shooters to get big baskets and a frontcourt to contest the Duke freshmen’s sure flurry of shots at the rim.

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This NBA season may not either. Maybe the Warriors get challenged — during the regular season , during the Here are the five teams with the best shot of dethroning the champs. First, they are the best team in the East, they are likely to reach the Finals, and that gives them the best shot at the

4. Syracuse (Jan. 14, Feb. 23)

Five Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season© (AP Photo/Nick Lisi) CAPTION: Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, right, talks with his son Buddy Boeheim, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Saint Rose in Syracuse, N.Y., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.

Ah, the zone. Syracuse has mastered limiting opposing offenses with its maddening 2–3 zone. Even teams that were prolific at scoring last season, like TCU and Arizona State, were stifled by the Orange's zone in March Madness because it’s so hard to break free from it to find open looks. Duke will have to work hard against the Orange to get the looks they’ll want. Many would say the easier solution is a three-point shooting spree: beat the zone by shooting over it. Which, much like Virginia’s Pack Line, will likely be a problem for a team built around young and fiery rim-slashers who are used to using force in the field. You have to move the ball in and out of the zone to get good looks against Cuse, which is especially hard to do when you’re not playing against the 2–3 often throughout the season. It’ll be a different type of defense for the Blue Devils to deal with which is half of why it’s perfectly set up to pose a problem. Add in the fact that Syracuse is sneaky good at steals thanks to the zone—especially on fast breaks—and the fact that the Orange return five starters who have had time to master Jim Boeheim’s scheme, including National Player of the Year candidate Tyus Battle to lead the offense, and you’ve got a recipe for a plausible upset—at least on paper.

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5. Florida State (Jan. 12)

Five Teams That May Have the Best Shot at Beating Duke This Season© Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Mar 24, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton looks on in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines in the championship game of the West regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at STAPLES Center.

The Seminoles don't have the pure talent level of North Carolina, but they get the edge for our final spot due to a long, veteran defense that has given top teams trouble before. Florida State’s defensive-minded scheme served it well against traditionally high-output offensive teams last year like Gonzaga, Missouri, Xavier and Michigan in the NCAA tournament. The length and physicality that characterize Florida State’s consistently stingy defense held several top-ranked opponents to points per possession totals far lower than those teams were used to last March and could readily do the same to Duke. Florida State showed than same defensive dominance Tuesday, routing rival Florida to make an opening statement. The Seminoles held the Gators to just 20 points in the first half of play and allowed just 60 overall—20 of which came as the Gators attempted an unsuccessful comeback with just over five minutes remaining in the game. If Florida State can contain Duke by using the same strategy it did against Florida in the first half, the Blue Devils could have a tough time overcoming the ‘Noles veteran defenders.

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