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Takeaways from No. 21 Duke’s win at No. 20 Notre Dame

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Duke’s had more than its share of problems this season, but the Blue Devils haven’t struggled to win on the road in recent days.

Twenty-first ranked Duke downed No. 20 Notre Dame, 84-74, on Monday in South Bend to notch its second road win in 48 hours.

Grayson Allen had a game-high 21 points for Duke while Jayson Tatum impressed with 19 points on 14 shots and with 14 rebounds. Luke Kennard added 16 points.

Notre Dame got 20 points from VJ Beachem and another 17 from Bonzie Colson. Notre Dame, one of the country’s top 3-point shooting teams, was 7 of 21 from distance.

Here’s what you need to know about Monday’s game:

1. Duke’s rotation looks to be rounding into shape: All five Duke starters played at least 31 minutes, and that number very may well have been higher if Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard wouldn’t have found themselves in foul trouble and eventually disqualified.

The Blue Devils have gone with the same starting five the last two games with Jefferson at center and Jayson Tatum at the four. Tatum was largely a spectator over the weekend when Luke Kennard went crazy, but he had 19 points (on 8 of 14 shooting) and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. Meanwhile, Marques Bolden, who started a week ago, did not play against the Irish after seeing just three minutes in Duke’s win over Wake Forest over the weekend. Harry Giles also only logged nine minutes, with four of them coming after Jefferson fouled out.

It’s not to say Duke has found its formula and all is now right in Durham, but the Blue Devils had balanced scoring and solid defense while leaning on its starting five. Those five are likely going to be good enough to win Duke quite a few games, but if Giles and Bolden can just provide some sort of boost as well, that could move the Blue Devils closer to the ceiling everyone saw for them at the start of the season.

2. Have the Irish been solved?: Notre Dame has now dropped three straight, and have failed to score more than 1.06 points-per-possession in any of those losses. That’s particularly problematic for a team that relies on its well-oiled offense to counteract a so-so defense. There doesn’t appear to be a  straightforward formula as Notre Dame struggled to score inside against Duke and Georgia Tech (48.6 and 40.0 percent on 2-pointers, respectively) and from deep against Virginia (16.7 percent).

Is it a fluke, minor blip or something more sinister? It’s difficult to say after just three games, but it’s happen both at home and on the road and certainly something worth monitoring, starting Saturday at North Carolina.

3. Jayson Tatum continues to impress, but the turnover rate continues to be an issue: One of the enduring images of this season will be Dennis Smith, Jr. soaring to a dunk as the buzzer sounded in NC State’s win against Duke. Well, that came to be after a Jayson Tatum turnover, something that happens with pretty solid regularity.

Against Notre Dame, he turned it over five times, a mark on an otherwise super-efficient night in which he scored 19 points on 14 shots, not to mention pulling down 14 boards and being instrumental in the win. He’s turned it over three or more times in eight of the 14 games he’s played, good for a turnover percentage of 19.4 percent. That’s a problematic number for a guy with the highest usage rate on the team.

Tatum has no doubt been one of Duke’s best players and is cementing his place near the top of the lottery in  June’s NBA draft, but securing the ball just a little bit better would go a long way.

4. Notre Dame’s free-throw shooting has been bizarre: The offense’s shooting from the floor was documented above, but the Irish’s issues extend to the free-throw line as well during this losing streak. Notre Dame currently ranks second in the country with a team free-throw percentage of 80.2.

In these past three losses, Notre Dame is shooting just 66 percent on 56 attempts, including a 19 of 28 performance against the Blue Devils. The Irish don’t often get to the line a ton, but when they do, they need to convert at a high clip, especially when the rest of the offense is finding problems.

Buffalo sophomore arrested, charged with strangulation, witness intimidation

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Buffalo sophomore Quate McKinzie is facing a litany of charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly attempted to strangle a female acquaintance.

McKinzie, who is 20 years old, was later handed more charges after he made threatening phone calls to his accuser from jail.
From the Buffalo News:

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

“University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities,” Buffalo released in a statement. “Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team. Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

McKinzie is a 6-foot-8, 195 pound forward that played in 17 games last season. He averaged 3.9 points and 4.3 boards.

Auburn’s Austin Wiley suffers stress fracture

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Auburn center Austin Wiley has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be out 4-6 weeks, the school announced Monday.

No surgery is required, but Wiley, who played with Team USA’s U19 team in Egypt earlier this month, will miss Auburn’s trip to Italy.

“You know how tough and committed a young man is when he plays through the pain of a stress fracture,” said Pearl. “He was receiving treatment while in Egypt, but had no way of knowing the extent of his injury. Doctors say it is in a good spot for healing, and he will be fine.”

Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.1 minutes this past season. He started 21 of the Tigers’ 22 games after he enrolled in school midseason.

Virginia Tech loses key shooter to torn ACL

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Virginia Tech suffered a brutal blow earlier this month when Ty Outlaw went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Outlaw is one of the best shooters on Virginia Tech’s roster, banging home 48 percent of his three-balls last season, and he was expected to be a major part of the rotation following a season where he scored in double-figures in six of the last eight games, including four games of better than 16 points in that stretch.

This is a blow to Virginia Tech’s depth, but it is also a tough break for Outlaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech from a Junior College and had to sit out the 2015-16 season due to a heart issue. The redshirt senior will likely be eligible to receive a medical redshirt should he decide to apply for one.

Report: Miller brothers schedule Indiana-Arizona series

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The Miller family does not appear to be worried about sibling rivalry.

According to a report from FanRag Sports, Archie, the head coach at Indiana, and Sean, the head coach at Arizona, have agreed to a three-year deal to have the two programs face-off against each other. They’ll start in 2019-20, playing in Arizona, then face-off in Bloomington the following season before finally heading up to Madison Square Garden in 2021-22.

If you can get past the fact that we are now scheduling games for 2022 (!!!), this is actually going to be a pretty neat and unique thing. How often do two brothers end up coaching at the Division I level? The Drew brothers — Bryce at Vanderbilt and Scott at Baylor — are one pair, but they cancelled a series that would have seen the two programs square off last season. James and Joe Jones at Yale and Boston University are another pair. They were league rivals for eight yeas when Joe was the head coach at Columbia. When Sean Sutton was the head coach at Oklahoma State, his brother, Scott, beat them was the head coach at Oral Roberts.

So it’s not typical for this to happen, mainly because it’s not easy to compete at something so important against someone you care about so much.

Think about it.

Imagine working in a profession where your success comes at the expense of your brother? It’s one of the major reasons — beyond the obvious — that no one believed Sean Miller would actually consider taking the Ohio State job when it opened. Facing off against your brother in a non-conference game you choose to play is one thing. Competing for league titles against him for the foreseeable future is something totally different.

Which is a long way of saying that this should be an enticing matchup, however it plays out.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)