Rob Dauster

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2016, file photo, Duke head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, second from right,  reacts to a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils have lost three straight games entering Saturday’s game at North Carolina State followed by Monday’s game at No. 15 Miami. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)
(AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)

Duke’s skid continues in 80-69 loss at No. 15 Miami


Shelden McClellan went for 21 points and ‘Good Angel’ Rodriguez showed up, finishing with 13 points, ten assists and five boards, as No. 15 Miami knocked off No. 24 Duke, 80-69, in Coral Gables on Monday night.

The Canes have now won three straight after losing those back-to-back roadies to Clemson and Virginia and remain just two games behind No. 2 North Carolina in the ACC standings.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When Rodriguez plays the way that he did tonight, he makes Miami a very, very dangerous team. They have a myriad of players that can create off the bounce — I haven’t even mentioned Davon Reed or Ja’Quan Newton yet — and they have enough size and athleticism in the paint to matchup with just about anyone they’ll run into.

So this win really shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Because once you get past the name on the jersey, you’ll realize that this Duke team is simply not all that good right now.

This loss drops Duke to 4-4 in the ACC, their worst start in league play since the 1995-96 season. The Blue Devils finished 18-13 overall that year and just 8-8 in the ACC. It was the year after Mike Krzyzewski took a leave of absence with a back injury and Duke finished 13-18 and just 2-14 in the conference. That’s where we are with this group right now (although that stat should also shine a line on just how good Coach K has been in the last 30 years at Duke).

I’m not ready to jump off the Duke bandwagon just yet, not until we see what this group looks like with Amile Jefferson back on the floor.

But as of this very moment, I’m not convinced that Duke is a tournament team. Their best wins are over Indiana, VCU and Georgetown, none of which are great but all of which look much better now than they did a month ago. That would be enough to get them into the at-large field as of today — our latest bracketology had Duke slotted as a No. 7 seed — but what if Amile Jefferson doesn’t return as the player that he was when he got hurt?

Where is Duke going to get good wins from?

They’ll have the chances, as they get Louisville twice, North Carolina twice, Virginia at home and the ACC tournament to stock up on good wins. But this team is a total and complete trainwreck on the defensive side of the ball. We saw against Syracuse the issues they have on the defensive glass, when they gave up 26 offensive rebounds. Miami “only” grabbed 34.5 percent of the available offensive boards, a number that is simultaneously mediocre at best and very good for this iteration of the Blue Devils.

But that’s not their only problem. Duke played zone on just about every possession for the first 30 minutes of this game, and the result was a 55-41 deficit (it would have been at least 20 points if Miami didn’t mess up four alley-oops) before they finally switched back to man. That zone, particularly in the second half, was terrible, just like it was in the final minutes against Clemson.

The issue is that it’s a defense that Duke has to play.

It conserves energy and fouls for a team with one usable perimeter sub and, with all due respect to Chase Jeter, no one in the front court capable of providing minutes off the bench. It’s also necessary against a team like Miami, who has a myriad of penetrating guards that love to operate in high ball-screens. If you remember, it was Miami’s evisceration of Duke’s man-to-man defense in their win at Cameron last season that forced the Blue Devils into using a zone in the first place.

Prior to Monday, the Blue Devils were ranked 133rd in defensive efficiency on KenPom. Just just gave up 80 points on roughly 63 possessions to Miami.

We’re getting to a point where Jefferson alone may not actually be an answer.

AP POLL: Oklahoma remains in the top spot

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Oklahoma remained No. 1 in the newly-released AP Poll on Monday morning, with the North Carolina Tar Heels slotting in at No. 2 behind them.

I wrote about why there’s a choice to be made as the lead to the NBC Sports Top 25 earlier this morning, and we also discussed it on today’s podcast. No need to rehash all that here.

[RELATED: New Bracketology | Team of the Week | Player of the Week]

Anyway, here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Oklahoma (16-2, 36 first-place votes)
2. North Carolina (18-2, 29)
3. Iowa (17-3)
4. Kansas (16-3)
5. Texas A&M (17-2)
6. Villanova (17-3)
7. Xavier (17-2)
8. Maryland (17-3)
9. West Virginia (16-3)
10. Providence (17-3)
11. Virginia (15-4)
12. Michigan State (17-4)
13. SMU (18-1)
14. Iowa State (15-4)
15. Miami (15-3)
16. Louisville (16-3)
17. Baylor (15-4
18. Arizona (16-4)
19. Indiana (17-3)
20. Kentucky (15-4)
21. Purdue (17-4)
22. Wichita State (14-5)
23. Oregon (16-4)
24. Duke (15-5)
25. Notre Dame (14-5)

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kansas-Iowa State and Duke-Miami

Frank Mason III
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Kansas at No. 19 Iowa State, 9:00 p.m.

Let’s put aside Hilton Magic and this budding rivalry and the pressure that’s on Steve Prohm to win with a team that was expected to be a title contender in the preseason: This is a massive game for the Big 12 title race, the race that Kansas has won at least a share of each of the last 11 years. Oklahoma has already played five games against the other top five teams in the conference, including on the road against Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor. They have the most favorable schedule down the stretch. Kansas, if they lose this game, will already be a game behind the Sooners in the standing with a trip to Norman still left on their schedule. And that ignores the fact that Oklahoma might actually be the better team. So while this is a huge game for Iowa State, it’s also a critical game for a Jayhawk team that is still trying to sort themselves out right now.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 20 Duke at No. 15 Miami, 7:00 p.m.

The early game tonight will feature the Blue Devils, fresh off of snapping their three-game losing streak, heading down to Miami to take on Jim Larrañaga’s good Miami team. The Hurricanes have the pieces to be a real contender in the ACC this season, but they’ve yet to put together the kind of consistency we want to see out of them. Last year, they went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knocked off Duke on the strength of their ability in ball-screen actions. Duke isn’t great defending ball-screens again this season, but the area where they can really be beaten is on the offensive glass and with dribble penetration. Miami is not a great offensive rebounding team, but they can certainly make plays off the bounce with their back court. It certainly should be an entertaining game.

COACHES POLL: North Carolina vaults Oklahoma to No. 1

North Carolina forward Brice Johnson, right, reacts after dunking over Florida State center Boris Bojanovsky in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
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North Carolina vaulted Oklahoma into the top spot in the Coaches Poll, which will likely be a bit of a controversial decision.

I wrote about why there’s a choice to be made as the lead to the NBC Sports Top 25 earlier this morning, and we also discussed it on today’s podcast. No need to rehash all that here.

[RELATED: New Bracketology | Team of the Week | Player of the Week]

What is interesting, however, is that as of the last week of January, Iowa and Texas A&M are now top five teams in college basketball.

When was the last time we saw that happen? I’ll go ahead and say never.

Anyway, here is the full Coaches Poll:

1. North Carolina (18-2, 23 first-place votes)
2. Oklahoma (16-2, 9)
3. Kansas (16-3)
4. Iowa (16-3)
5. Texas A&M (17-2)
6. Villanova (17-3)
7. Maryland (17-3)
8. Xavier (17-2)
9. West Virginia (16-3)
10. Providence (17-3)
11. Michigan State (17-4)
12. Virginia (15-4)
13. Miami (15-3)
14. Louisville (16-3)
15. Arizona (16-4)
16. Iowa State (15-4)
17. Indiana (17-3)
18. Baylor (15-4)
19. Kentucky (15-4)
20. Duke (15-5)
21. Purdue (17-4)
22. South Carolina (17-2)
23. Pitt (16-3)
24. Oregon (16-4)
25. Wichita State (14-5)

NEW PODCAST: Providence’s win, SMU’s loss, Oklahoma vs. UNC and 10 Pac-12 tourney teams?

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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There is a lot to talk about in the world of college hoops after this weekend, so let’s get right into it.

In the 47 minutes that we gab on this podcast, we talk about Providence winning at Villanova and why that shows they’re a national title contender, SMU’s loss and what that means for them moving forward, whether Oklahoma or North Carolina should be the No. 1 team in the country, and why the Pac-12 could get 10 teams into the NCAA tournament.

Give it a listen.

As always, you can listen to the podcast by clicking “play” on the Soundcloud player embedded below. Or you can do so through either iTunes or Stitcher if you so choose. Thanks for listening!

Mike Brey: Preparing for Syracuse ‘like we will not have’ Jackson

Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson (11) grimaces in pain before leaving the court with an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind.  (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Notre Dame head coach made it sound quite likely that star point guard Demetrius Jackson will not be available on Thursday when the Fighting Irish head to Syracuse.

Jackson suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday’s win at Boston College. He was listed as day-to-day by Brey after the win, but it sounds as if he could miss some time.

“I just want to make sure we get him healed up,” Brey said. “Don’t want to bring him back too quick. We’ve got to be really, really careful with this. You’re just not thinking he’s going to be available for Thursday.”

“We’re preparing like we will not have him,” Brey added.

If Jackson is out for any extended period of time, it’s a brutal blow for the Irish. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 1 in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and Jackson is the centerpiece of that offense. He averages 36.2 minutes, 17.6 points and 5.3 assists as essentially the only point guard on the Notre Dame roster.

Notre Dame’s next four games: at Syracuse, Wake Forest, at Miami and North Carolina. If he’s out for two weeks, Notre Dame could end up losing all four of those games.

On the season, the Irish are 14-5 overall and 5-2 in the ACC.