College Basketball

Krzyzewski, Duke still awaiting first real test

Duke will be tested at some point this season – right?

Even by Duke standards, the numbers are impressive. The Blue Devils have won all 13 games by double digits, with an average margin of victory of 24.7 points. They haven’t trailed at halftime, and they’ve only been outscored in two halves all season(against Stanford and Elon).

The largest deficit this group has faced is four points, when Wisconsin was up 6-2 early in that game Dec. 3 at Madison, Wis.

This might be the most impressive metric of all, though: of the 520 minutes Duke has played, the Blue Devils have trailed for just 6:13.

This is all happening with one of the youngest rosters coach Mike Krzyzewski has ever coached. Not since 1983, during Krzyzewski’s third season, have three freshmen started 13 straight games.

Under Krzyzewski, Duke has only had three or more freshmen start 48 times – 27 came during the 1982-83 season. The other eight of those games are scattered throughout Krzyzewski’s other 33 years.

This young group has proven close to unflappable thus far – a technical called on Rasheed Sulaimon toward the end of the Elon game is the lone exception – with the road win at Wisconsin serving as the toughest test.

On Saturday, Boston College guard Dimitri Batten tried to engage the Blue Devils by slapping the floor, stealing what has long been a Duke tradition. The crowd took offense to the slap, which came after a three-point play cut Duke’s lead to 48-38. Okafor scored on that possession, and a 14-0 Duke run followed.

“I mean, whatever gets them going,” forward Amile Jefferson said of the floor slap.

That’s kind of how Duke has handled every opponent this season: just shrug them aside.

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