The Duke Blue Devils have returned to the top ten, after slipping out several weeks ago for the first time since 2007. They have been playing much better of late, and after a good stretch of games with only the loss to Syracuse, they look like a top ten team.
Duke has been playing well of late beating all the teams that they should, and also getting quality wins against Virginia and Pittsburgh. Since a rough start to the ACC season they have been playing much better basketball. They are starting to look like one of the best teams in the ACC. Jabari Parker has bounced back since a slow beginning to the ACC season. He has been playing as well as he did in the beginning of the season. This is a great sign for Duke because they need Parker to be the best player on the court.
The other player that has started playing better is Rasheed Sulaimon. He has been a play maker of late, and has bounced back to be a solid contributor for Duke. He is getting in to the starting lineup now, and has a bigger role for this team. Players have been stepping up for Duke, and they have been playing ten players deep for the past few games now. It looks like it has paid off for them, because Parker and Rodney Hood look better at finishing in games. They are able to finish off teams more effectively now than they did at the beginning of the season.
This next week will test Duke. To prove they should be back in the top ten, they will need a good showing against North Carolina and Maryland. This will not be an easy week, because the Tar Heels and Terrapins are always tough games for Duke. The first game this week is at North Carolina, which they will certainly be ready for, and want to show everyone that they have improved since the beginning of the ACC season. The Carolina fans, players, and coaches will want to upset Duke at home to get another quality win. This is the first matchup of the season for Duke and North Carolina. This should be an exciting game, and Duke will need this win to stay in the top ten.
The other game is against Maryland, but this game is at home. Maryland is always a tough game for Duke, and this one will be the last time Maryland and Duke will met in the regular season with both of them being a part of the ACC. Maryland is leaving for the Big Ten, and would really like to get this win against Duke. This should be an easier game because it’s in Durham, but they always struggle with Maryland.
They will need to win both games this week to stay in the top ten, and it won’t be an easy task. Two big rivalry’s for Duke and one at North Carolina. This first week for Duke being in the top ten won’t be an easy one for them to stay there.