Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/10/13
The Duke Blue Devils have been struggling this young season, with games that have been subpar for any Blue Devils team.  They have two early losses on the season, and a few games that looked like they shouldn’t have won, but that hasn’t gotten Duke fans worried about the team. They have had two losses to top teams this season in Kansas and Arizona.  They have also had a scare against Vermont.  Even with those losses, the Blue Devils are still in the top 10 in the polls.  It hasn’t looked great for this team so far, but the recent game against Michigan has made Duke look like a top five team again.  After giving up 90 points to Vermont, they have been much better on the defensive side of the ball. The Blue Devils are still looking for a consistent third guy for their offense going forward.  The game against Michigan they had Quinn Cook step up, and play great for them.  They didn’t have to rely on Jabari Parker as much.  Parker and Rodney Hood still had 15 and 14 points respectively.  They also saw signs of improvement from Marshall Plumlee, the only player on the Blue Devil roster over 6-foot-8. The team is showing signs of improvement from Cook to Plumlee, and they look like they are getting used to playing with each other.  The two best players (Parker and Hood) never played a game for the Blue Devils last season, and it looked like everyone else needed time to get used to playing with both of them. Andre Dawkins looks like he could be a deadly threat coming off the bench after showing his range in the Michigan game.  This team can be a deep team that can take some of the pressure off of Parker and Hood. The main problem is consistency with this team.  Cook hasn’t been consistent this season but has contributed in more games than not.  The other problem is Rasheed Sulaimon hasn’t learned to play with Parker and Hood yet, and he is one of their best players.  He didn’t even get any minutes in the Michigan game.  This has to be one of the main problems that have to be worked out for the Blue Devils, and if they can get him playing at a high level again could pay huge dividends for them. Going forward, this team looks like the one everyone thought they would see at the beginning of the season.  It just took them a few more games then everyone expected.  They had a returning backcourt, but still looked out of sync.  This team is still one of the best teams in the country, and should position themselves well for the NCAA tournament.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Quinn Cook
TEAMS: Duke Blue Devils
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