The basketball gods have been unkind to us of late.
- RJ Barrett was dealing with a stomach issue but still played 36 minutes (he usually plays 40/40).
- Zion Williamson out with the knee sprain.
- Cam Reddish injured mid-game and didn’t look the same but still grinded on.
- Same with both Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier.
That sounds so fun, doesn’t it?
Duke fell to Virginia Tech for the second loss in three games on Tuesday. Hats off to Virginia Tech– they played very well and we didn’t. RJ Barrett saw 2 to 3 defenders at almost every touch, under the weather in the first place, and the defense is still imperfect without Zion. RJ, Cam, and Marques Bolden combined for 52 but it wasn’t enough.
If there was one glaring issue on defense it was the strong side corner. That’s a spot you just don’t leave open, and it was left often when the ball went inside to a very strong big man in Kerry Blackshear. Cam Reddish said that they “weren’t rotating fast enough” and Coach K spoke similarly. The defense in general is an area of focus in the absence of Zion Williamson whose return is still unclear; he is yet to be upgraded from day-to-day.
Bleed blue. It doesn’t feel good, but a this rough 6-game stretch, especially with half of those played without Zion, is over. We have Miami on Saturday.