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No. 2 Duke hits 13 threes en route to win at No. 3 Virginia

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R.J. Barrett hit his first five threes of the night and Cam Reddish hit five of his own as the No. 2 Blue Devils shot 13-for-21 from beyond the arc on Saturday night in Charlottesville en route to a 81-71 win over No. 3 Virginia.

Barrett led the way for the Blue Devils with 26 points, seven boards and three assists while Cam Reddish added 17 points of his own. Zion Williamson struggled offensively, turning the ball over five times, but he had the kind of line that we have come to expect from him: 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting five boards, five assists, three steals and three blocks.

Virginia was led by 16 points from Kyle Guy and 14 points from Ty Jerome, but there really was nothing that the Cavaliers could do. Every time it looked like they were ready to make a run, the Blue Devils hit a big three or made a big defensive play.

Here are three things we can take away from this result:

1. IF DUKE IS GOING TO MAKE 13 THREES, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO

Duke is one of the nation’s best teams on the defensive end of the floor, and if they didn’t struggle as much as they do on the defensive glass, they might actually be the nation’s best.

Duke is absolutely lethal in transition.

Duke is always going to have the two best players on the floor in Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett that you simply will not be able to defend, and that doesn’t include Cam Reddish, who could end up being drafted as high as No. 2 in June.

When it comes to beating Duke, the one chance that you have is to pack in your defense, allow them to try and shoot over the top and rely on the fact that their roster is not one that is made up of great three-point shooters. The Blue Devils entered Saturday night as the nation’s 318th-best from beyond the arc, making 30.8% of their triples. This is how Syracuse beat them. This is how teams like Boston College and Georgia Tech were able to hang with the Blue Devils for more than a half. This is how Virginia, who entered Saturday leading the nation in three-point percentage defense, played them

And Duke went out and made their first five threes and 13 of their first 18 threes.

What can you do when they do that?

The answer is nothing.

If this Duke team is going to make 13 three-pointers, they are never going to lose.

And while I’d love to sit here and talk about what Virginia was doing offensively or how Tre Jones impacted the game, none of that really matters in this discussion.

2. VIRGINIA PLAYED WELL ENOUGH TO WIN

That is the other side of this.

Zion Williamson stuffed the stat sheet, but the Wahoos did about as good of a job of keeping him in check as you can. R.J. Barrett didn’t do much of anything on the offensive end of the floor after he made those five threes to open the game. Cam Reddish did score 17 points, but his damage was done as a spot-up shooter. Those are the shots that you have to live with as a coach.

Virginia, as a team, shot 46.7 percent from the floor. They were 10-for-24 from three. They forced 15 Duke turnovers and limited the Blue Devils to just eight offensive rebounds. They more or less kept Duke from getting out in transition and beating their defense down the floor. I think Tony Bennett will be able to go to sleep tonight knowing that there wasn’t much else he could have done. It was just one of those nights.

2a. BUT IT WASN’T JUST THREES FOR DUKE

If there is something that we can be critical of with Virginia, it’s that they were never able to make a play as the momentum was getting ready to change. What I mean by that is that every time they started chipping away at Duke’s lead, the Blue Devils had the answer.

One example: After a Jay Huff three and a Braxton Key layup trimmed the deficit to five points, Duke answered with a Tre Jones three from the corner before Jones picked Ty Jerome’s pocket on an offensive rebound and took the ball the other way before getting fouled on a layup attempt. Five minutes later, Virginia again cut the lead to five on a De’Andre Hunter three, but Duke answered with a Marques Bolden post bucket that was followed by Zion doing Zion things:  blocking a seemingly wide-open Hunter three into the crowd and, on the ensuing possession, grabbing an offensive rebound and laying the ball in.

Those are small moments in the game, but when Virginia is scrapping and clawing with everything they have to erase a deficit, plays like that are just momentum sappers.

Credit to Duke to keeping the Hoos at bay.

3. MARQUES BOLDEN’S IMPROVEMENT DEFENSIVELY HAS BEEN IMPRESSIVE

The most under-discussed story line for this Duke season has been the fact that, over the course of the last month or so, Bolden has developed into a capable defensive presence. The adjustment that Duke has made has been to switch most exchanges and all ball-screens — essentially, do exactly what most of the best NBA teams do — and the reason that has worked is because Bolden can hold his own on the perimeter.

Now, I’m not saying that he has turned into Tre Jones, but he doesn’t have to be. As long as he is capable of making it difficult for an opposing guard to get around him while using his length to challenge on the shot, then he is doing his job.

Nike ‘working to identify issue’ that caused Zion Williamson’s shoe to blow out

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Nike released a statement on Thursday saying that they are “working to identify the issue” that caused the left shoe of Duke star Zion Williamson to burst open, leading to the 285 pound freshman to slip and injure his right knee.

“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said in a statement obtained by ESPN. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

The injury was termed a “mild knee sprain” by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski after the game.

“The knee is stable,” he added. “We don’t know how long he’ll be out.”

Nike stock dropped 1% the morning after the incident.

No. 1 Duke lost 88-72 to No. 8 North Carolina at home on Wednesday evening after the injury, which occurred just 30 seconds into the game.

Dan Patrick Show: Should Zion Williamson end Duke career after knee injury?

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Duke’s Zion Williamson faces a tough decision following a scary knee injury against North Carolina: try and return for March Madness or rest up for the NBA.

DAUSTER | Zion should do whatever makes him happy

Dan Patrick Show: Nike stock drops after Zion shoe incident

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After Zion Williamson blew out his shoe, Nike stock dropped a full one percent the morning after.

Bracketology: The Zion Williamson factor for Duke

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The pertinent question this morning is the health of Zion Williamson.  Foremost, because he’s an exceptional talent and life is bigger than basketball.

The secondary component is how his injury impacts Duke – both on the court and, subsequently, the Blue Devils’ standing on the Seed List.

If last night were the eve of Selection Sunday, the Committee would be forced to make a tough decision: evaluating Duke while Zion’s future availability is unknown.

Since a decision related to today’s bracket had to be made quickly in the wee hours of the morning with little information, Duke stays put, largely because the Blue Devils own a season sweep of Virginia, and two of its losses occurred with less than a full roster.

Once we know more about Zion’s status, further review will ensue.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 21, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
SOUTH REGION Temple vs. Alabama
MIDWEST REGION UCF vs. Utah State
EAST REGION ST. FRANCIS (PA) vs. CANISIUS
WEST REGION NORFOLK ST vs. PRAIRIE VIEW

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                   
Columbia Columbus
1) DUKE 1) Virginia
16) ST. FRANCIS / CANISIUS 16) LEHIGH
8) Ole Miss 8) Auburn
9) Ohio State 9) WOFFORD
Jacksonville Salt Lake City
5) Iowa State 5) Maryland
12) BELMONT 12) Temple / Alabama
4) LSU 4) Texas Tech
13) OLD DOMINION 13) LIBERTY
Hartford Hartford
6) Louisville 6) Villanova
11) Florida 11) VCU
3) MARQUETTE 3) Purdue
14) YALE 14) TEXAS STATE
Des Moines Columbus
7) BUFFALO 7) Cincinnati
10) Texas 10) TCU
2) Michigan 2) Kentucky
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Salt Lake City Columbia
1) GONZAGA 1) TENNESSEE
16) PR VIEW / NORFOLK ST 16) SAM HOUSTON ST
8) Baylor 8) St. John’s
9) Minnesota 9) Syracuse
San Jose San Jose
5) Florida State 5) KANSAS STATE
12) NEW MEXICO ST 12) UCF / Utah State
4) NEVADA 4) Wisconsin
13) HOFSTRA 13) VERMONT
Tulsa Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Iowa
11) Seton Hall 11) Arizona State
3) Kansas 3) HOUSTON
14) UC-IRVINE 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Des Moines Jacksonville
7) WASHINGTON 7) Mississippi State
10) NC State 10) Oklahoma
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) North Carolina
15) MONTANA 15) RADFORD

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
TCU Temple Clemson Nebraska
Seton Hall UCF Georgetown UNC-Greensboro
Arizona State Utah State Butler Lipscomb
Florida Alabama Furman Dayton

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (8): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU

SEC (8): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Alabama

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, Temple, UCF

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (1): WOFFORD

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Liberty (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), St. Francis (PA) (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Report: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hits, kills pedestrian on highway

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Jim Boeheim struck and killed a pedestrian walking outside of his car on I-690 on Wednesday night, just hours after his Syracuse Orange beat No. 18 Louisville at the Carrier Dome.

The man — identified as 51-year old Jorge Jimenez of Syracuse — was in a car with four other people that lost control on the highway, struck a guard rail and came to rest in the middle of the road, according to police. At some point, he got out of the car and was walking along the highway, which is when Boeheim hit him as he tried to avoid the disabled vehicle, which was in the road.

“I am heartbroked that a member of our community died as a result of last night’s accident,” Boeheim said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. “Juli and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Jimenez family. Out of respect for those involved, I will not be providing further comment at this time.”

The incident occurred at 11:22 p.m. ET.

Boeheim remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation. He was given a field sobriety test at the scene and police determined that he was not impaired at the time. Speeds could not be determined, according to police, but Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told WSYR that Boeheim was driving at the proper speed for a highway.

“We are saddened by the death of a member of our Central New York community,” Syracuse AD Jim Wildhack said. “On behalf of Chancellor Kent Syverud and the entire Syracuse University community, we extend our deepest condolences to all impacted by this tragic accident. Coach Boeheim is in contact with local authorities and cooperating fully. Out of respect for those grieving, there will be no further comment at this time.”