Duke Blue Devils
Record: 29-4, 15-3 ACC
Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (35th season)
Season Summary: After the holiday break, things just seemed different for Duke. It took the team most of the first half to find its footing against bottom-feeder Boston College, then struggled in a win against Wake Forest. What followed was three losses in six games and the ensuing dismissal of guard Rasheed Sulaimon.
And then everything changed. The Blue Devils rattled off 12 straight victories, including ones against Virginia, N.C. State, Notre Dame and two against North Carolina. Duke may not have been able to make it by the Fighting Irish in the ACC tournament, but there's no shame in losing to one of the most talented teams in the country—even if the Blue Devlis beat them by 30 the last time they butted heads.
Jahlil Okafor more than earned the honor of becoming the first freshman to win ACC Player of the Year, and could add more hardware to his mantle by the time the award season ends. The prodigious big man poured in 17.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting at a very impressive 66.9 percent from the floor—second in the NCAA and first among players in power conferences. Add in a sometimes-dominant Justise Winslow and one of the nation's premier backcourts with Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones, and Duke has the chops to be playing in Indianapolis early next month.
How they make a run: Okafor continues to dominate opposing bigs, Cook and Winslow hit their triples, and Matt Jones and Grayson Allen make positive contributions offensively.
How they falter: Opponents do exactly what Notre Dame did in the ACC tournament—make Duke try to work inside and take away all good looks from beyond the arc.
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