Beyond the arc: Duke's offense is cruising into the Sweet 16 Second-seeded Duke wrapped up its opening weekend of the NCAA tournament with a dominant 87-62 win against No. 7 seed Rhode Island. The Blue Zone gives three key takeaways and stats from the win and looks forward for the Blue Devils: Three key takeaways: 1. The Blue Devil offense is cruising There were clearly some question marks down the stretch of the regular season and into the ACC tournament whether Duke’s scoring would return to early-season levels. The Blue Devils scored more than 70 points just once in their final five games before the NCAA tournament. But with 178 combined points in two tournament contests, it’s clear that Duke should have little problem finding the bottom of the net, even against tougher opposition. 2. And don’t forget about the defense For as good as the Blue Devils have been offensively, their defense has yet to take its foot off the gas. The Rams shot worse than 40 percent from the field Saturday and they scored just 28 points before halftime. Duke may not have Tony Bennett’s pack-line defense, but it appears that Coach K’s newfound zone scheme may be similarly effective—especially with one of the tallest and longest lineups in the nation. 3. Upset avoided It’s already been a wild first weekend in the NCAA tournament, so Duke can at least take a deep breath knowing that it will make a third Sweet 16 trip in the last four seasons. Three top-four seeds have been knocked out already, with potentially more upsets to come, but the Blue Devils will be on their way to Omaha, Neb. Three key stats: 1. 56.9 percent from the field and 47.6 percent shooting beyond the arc Against a small group of Rams, the Blue Devils had little problem finding offense from all over the floor Saturday. Wendell Carter Jr. led the way with a perfect 6-of-6 effort, knocking down all of his 2-point shots plus one more at the charity stripe. Marvin Bagley III wasn’t far behind, hitting on eight of his 10 tries, and Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. took charge of the long-range barrage, combining for seven treys. 2. Nine turnovers in the final 33 minutes Similar to Thursday’s first-round game, Duke came out just a bit too amped against Rhode Island and made some bad mistakes in the early going. But about halfway through the first, the Blue Devils settled into the contest and limited giveaways as they went on a 23-5 run to blow the game wide open. 3. 19-of-24 at the charity stripe If offense wasn’t even enough for Duke, the Blue Devils got plenty of free points as they repeatedly pounded the ball inside and earned trips to the line. But unlike in past contests, Duke capitalized, missing just five free throws all game. And a bright spot going forward was a 4-of-5 effort from Trevon Duval, who had struggled at the line in pressure situations earlier this season. Looking forward: Either way, Duke will now get the opportunity to double down on a victory from earlier this season when it faces either No. 3 seed Michigan State or 11th-seeded Syracuse in the Midwest regional semifinal Friday night. The Blue Devils took out the Spartans at the Champions Classic in Chicago Nov. 14 by an 88-81 margin—but played much of that contest without Bagley. Duke rode a dominant defensive effort to top the Orange just last month in Durham 60-44.