NEW YORK — Marvin Bagley III was at it again.
The 6-foot-11 freshman scored 23 points and grabbed nine boards while shooting 11-for-12 from the floor … in the second half! On the night, Bagley finished with 33 points and 17 boards — the fourth time he’s gone for 30 and 15 this season — as the Blue Devils pulled away from Notre Dame late, beating the Fighting Irish 88-70 and possibly ending the chances that we will see Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell in the NCAA tournament.
“We beat a really good team tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “I hope they get in, because I think they can beat anybody. Mike has a team that together the whole year, for get it. If they get in, they’re going to beat people.”
The chances of that happening are not great. We discussed it last night. Most reasonable people can probably agree that Notre Dame is one of the top 25 teams in college basketball this season. Most reasonable people can probably recognize that the fact of the matter is that there’s no way to definitively say that the Irish have done enough to earn an NCAA tournament bid. Yes, they beat Wichita State while winning the Maui Invitational at full strength. Yes, they are 15-5 at full strength. Yes, their two worst losses came when they were also at full strength.
There’s a reason why the consensus was, more or less, that the Irish needed to beat Duke to have a real chance of getting into the tournament.
And Brey has seemed to accept that fact.
“We have emptied the tank, and we’ll see what our fate is down the road,” Brey said. “Whatever it is, we’ll be accepting and proud.”
If this was the last time that we’ve seen Colson and Farrell playing games that matter this season, it’ll be fitting, as one of the nation’s best pair of seniors was sent home by a superstar freshman on a team that features a handful of them. Notre Dame is right there with the likes of Wisconsin and Virginia when it comes to running a program that recruits and develops talent over the course of four or five years, and Duke could not be more different, at least in the way the program has been run over the course of the last half-decade.
Duke thrives on the guys that may not be showing up on college campuses anymore, not if Adam Silver and the NBA have anything to say about it, and Bagley is the perfect example of that. He’s one-and-done personified, reclassifying to enroll in college a year “early”, which makes him the same age as the rest of the freshmen in the class.
“He’s really impressive,” Brey said. “I mean, he’s a can’t-miss star in my opinion, just watching that tonight. [Bagley and Carter] rebound at a level above the rim that I haven’t seen in college basketball.”