Duke basketball was upset by Mercer in their first game of the NCAA tournament. The beginning of the season was filled with hope and bright spots for this team, but it ends in disappointment and questions about this team going forward. They played a horrible game against Mercer, attempting to win by merely launching threes over the Mercer zone defense.
This was a game where only two players showed up for the Blue Devils. Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook both had over twenty points in the game, but in a game where the Blue Devils didn’t play any defense, it wasn’t enough. Sulaimon and Cook hit almost all of their shots from beyond the three point line. Duke couldn’t get anything going inside, and they relied too much on the three point shot. These two were the only ones who played well in the game or provided any offense for this team.
The seniors in Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston, and Andre Dawkins had a horrible game. Thornton got a start but had foul trouble early and really didn’t see much time after that. He did have six big points for the Blue Devils but, like the rest of the team, didn’t have much effect on the game. Josh Hairston and Andre Dawkins had a bad last game in a Duke uniform; neither one of them had any impact what so ever on either side of the ball.
The two stars for Duke, Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, both had miserable games. They didn’t have much of an impact, and with all of the bad fouls and turnovers, probably had a negative impact on the outcome of this one. They didn’t look like NBA players in this game, and quite frankly looked lost most of the time.
The only good thing that could come from this is that both of them could return for another season after a horrible performance in the NCAA tournament. Hood’s draft stock could have fallen after this game because, if he comes up small when it matters the most, NBA teams might shy away from him. Parker could still be a top five pick, but if you take his statements as true, this disappointing end to the season for Duke could lead him to returning for another year.
Looking at the season for Duke anyone would have to say it was a disappointment. They started the season as the number four team in the country. They went through difficult stretches; they fell out of contention in the ACC. They came in third during the regular season. After a good start to the tournament, they lost in the championship game to Virigina. They didn’t win the ACC regular season or the tournament, and without a win in the NCAA tournament, it is a disappointing season in Durham.
Going forward the future for Duke is bright. Getting the number one recruiting class will be huge for the Blue Devils. They will lose three players from this season, but if they can get Parker and Hood to come back after a disappointing end to the season, this team would be the number one team going in to next season.