2015 NCAA Tournament Preview: Duke Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils were expected to be one of the top teams in the country this season, and they haven't disappointed despite starting three freshman. They're currently ranked No. 4 in the country, but are second in the ACC behind Virginia.


Record - 26-3 (13-3 in ACC)

RPI - 5

Strength of Schedule - 11

Starting Lineup:

G Tyus Jones (Fr.) - 11.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg

G Quinn Cook (Sr.) - 15.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg

F Justise Winslow (Fr.) - 12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg

F Amile Jefferson (Jr.) - 7.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg

C Jahlil Okafor (Fr.) - 18.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg

Key Player:

Jahlil Okafor

Okafor is the favorite to win National Player of the Year and will be the top pick in the NBA Draft - some scouts think of him as a better prospect than last year's No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, and it's easy to see why. He has a fully developed post game, quick feet, soft hands, and runs the floor well. Okafor has also developed into a solid defender at Duke, and he seems destined to be the next great NBA big man.

The Blue Devils run their offense through him, and no one has been able to stop him all year. Duke will likely go as far as Okafor will take them - and he has the talent to take them all the way.

Biggest Strength:

Three-point Shooting

Even with Okafor being the focal point on offense, Duke's calling card is still long-range shooting. Okafor's dominance in the paint has forces opposing defenses to collapse, creating more open shots for Duke's talented shooters. They make 38.9 percent of the three-pointers as a team, good for 37th in the country.

Quinn Cook is the team's leading shooter from behind the arc (41.5 percent), but every perimeter player Duke puts on the floor is capable of going off from long range. If they get hot from three-point land, they can beat anyone in the country - including undefeated Kentucky.

Biggest Weakness:

Perimeter Defense

Duke's three losses this season have come against teams with good guards that can break down a defense off the dribble and shoot from long range. Coach K's patented man-to-man pressure defense has been exploited by quick guards in can get around defenders easily, and that's lead to Duke's early round losses in two of the past three years (Lehigh in 2012, Mercer in 2014). While another early round upset seems unlikely, it is very much possible if they face a talented veteran backcourt.


Duke has lost in the Round of 64 in two of the past three seasons because of their heavy reliance on the three-point shot, but they should advance far in the tournament with Okafor's presence. The Blue Devils have the talent to win a national title, and they won't settle for anything less than a Final Four appearance.

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