Duke will need Trent to get back on track in the ACC tournament.

Gary Trent Jr. getting back on track could be the difference in the ACC tournament

After downing North Carolina in thrilling fashion to end its regular season, Duke heads into the ACC tournament starting Thursday as the No. 2 seed. Assistant Blue Zone editor Michael Model thinks Gary Trent Jr.'s play could be the difference in whether the Blue Devils can win the tournament or not: 

After a red-hot start to conference play, Trent enters the tournament on the heels of an subpar four-game stretch. 

The Columbus, Ohio, native finished the season averaging 14.3 points per contest while converting on 42.3 percent of his attempts from 3-point range, but Trent has been unable to find a rhythm down the stretch. Over the Blue Devils’ last four games, Trent averaged just 9.0 points per game and made just 22.2 percent of his triples. 

This could be a cause of concern for Duke, a team that uses its ability to knock down shots from deep in order to provide space for freshmen big men Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. to exploit its size advantage on the interior. The Blue Devils’ inability to convert from downtown hurt them greatly in their 64-63 loss against Virginia Tech Feb. 26.

Despite being guarded by a man four inches shorter for much of the game, Carter could only muster five points on the contest due to clutter on the interior. Duke missed 20 3-point attempts in that game, and those long rebounds also often ended up being converted as fast-break layups on the other end. 

With a potential rematch against the Hokies or Notre Dame looming in the quarterfinals, the Blue Devils will need Trent to get back on track in order to create space for Bagley and Carter to operate in the post.

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