In what looked like a third exhibition game, Duke took down a talented Davidson in a blowout 111-77. Duke was carried by an incredible 70% shooting percentage and 20 or more points from Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook, and Rasheed Sulaimon. I could talk forever about how great of a game this was for Duke, and I am sure many people will, but I want to look at what this game means for the rest of the Duke season.
It was great to see, but Duke was never tested by Davidson. Duke is an incredibly young team; just 20 percent of Duke’s minutes were played by seniors. When Duke inevitably goes through a rough patch, how will they respond? Duke proved their ability to dominate less qualified teams, but this question will not be answered until the Kansas game. In a perfect world, Duke will shoot 70% every game, but they will miss shots at some point. I think they have the leadership to overcome adversity but it will be huge to see this in action.
I was very surprised to see all 12 Duke players playing in the first half. This likely will not happen all season, but it was great seeing Coach K playing a lot of his available depth. Even with Coach K’s use of his depth, I believe he revealed the 9 players he will likely rely on this season: Cook, Sulaimon, Hood, Parker, Amile Jefferson, Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston, Matt Jones and Alex Murphy. All nine played 8 or more minutes, and looked like they fit as a group. I was shocked to see Andre Dawkins to get a mere 2 minutes, as he looks like he may struggle for minutes. Expect Duke’s rotation to be smaller against Kansas and be more representative of the rotation for most of the season.
It did not appear like it, but Duke lost the rebounding battle to Davidson by 4. It did not hurt them tonight, but they will definitely need to improve. Duke also needs to improve their post defense, as they allowed 24 points on just 9 field goal attempts to Davidson starting center De’Mon Brooks. This was partially caused by the lack of minutes for Amile Jefferson, just 11 minutes because of early foul trouble, but Duke will definitely need to improve. They will be tested by the superior size of Kansas on Tuesday, and it will be interesting to see how they react.
Overall, I was very impressed by Duke against Davidson. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood appear to be nearly unstoppable, while Cook and Sulaimon will be great scorers as well. They will not score over 100 points constantly, but they will be a very tough team to slow down. While Davidson is a talented opponent, the real test will come against Kansas. This will be a must watch game and it will be interesting to see how Duke reacts.