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Beyond the Arc: Gameday Miami

It's an abbreviated version this week because a.) it's Friday night and b.) it's Miami.

THE DENOUEMENT: It shouldn't come as a revelation to anyone that the next two games may very well define Duke's season. A loss Saturday to the Hurricanes would do every bit as much to damage the Blue Devils' long-term chances as the one Wednesday night at Littlejohn (apologies are in order, by the way, as the only logical explanation for the loss is my abysmal ACC road record, which is now 1-5). We're going to learn a tremendous amount from this Duke team in the first 5-10 minutes of this game; in short, if the Blue Devils still have ideas of a Final Four--and dare I say, a championship--they need to run Miami off the floor early. The Hurricanes are coming off their most complete performance of the season in dismantling Wake Forest, but they're still a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, and, back at Cameron, Duke should be ready to atone for Wednesday's many sins.

The Blue Devils need to get Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler going early, rely on Gerald Henderson only when necessary, and build confidence for the increasingly timid Nolan Smith and Brian Zoubek. This is a game for Mike Krzyzewski to coach them up, and I think he does. Duke plays the kind of inspired defense we've seen all season until Wednesday, and it comes out with a complete effort to reinvigorate our least until Carolina comes knocking this week.

THE VERDICT: Duke, 76-63.


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