Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/19/13
Record: 27-5, 14-4 ACC RPI: 1 Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, 33rd season, 29th NCAA appearance Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2012 lost in first round to Lehigh Notable wins: VCU, Ohio State, Louisville, Minnesota, UNC (twice), Miami, N.C. State, Temple Key Player Senior guard Seth Curry (17 points per game) has battled through a season in which he practices about once a week because of a high ankle sprain. Playing games close together have often resulted in so-so performances in the second contest, so its vital that Curry play the second game each week -- provided Duke advances -- better than he has during the regular season. Curry has converted 43 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, and at times has carried Duke, including the first half in a win at North Carolina. He also happened to have been well rested for that game. And when Curry is on from the perimeter, so much else opens up for the Blue Devils. X-Factor Mason Plumlee, a strong, 6-foot-10 senior center, had his poorest performances in Dukes losses. In their five defeats, Plumlee averaged 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 37.6 minutes. In Dukes 27 victories, he has averaged 18 points and 10.7 rebounds in just 34.4 minutes per contest. The key for Duke is getting Plumlee going inside. Defenses will collapse on him, which is fine because he is such a willing and capable passer and it allows him to find teammates on the perimeter. First Opponent Albany (24-10, RPI No. 131) won the America East Tournament after going 9-7 in the regular season. The Great Danes most notable nonconference performances came in a 63-62 win at Washington and an 82-60 loss at Ohio State. They also have five true nonconference road victories and 11 overall, which is among the most in the nation. Ten Danes average 10 or more minutes per game, but only two players average scoring in double figures. Senior guards Mike Black (14.9 ppg) and Jacob Iati (12.1 ppg) lead Albany in scoring. The Danes last faced Duke on Dec. 17, 2007 and lost, 110-70 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Did you know? Senior forward Ryan Kelly scored 36 points in his first game back after missing 13 contests because of a foot injury. But Kelly has scored just 32 points in three games since, including only eight points in each of the last two games. More concerning for Duke is that Kelly, who converted nine of his first 12 3-point attempts after his return, has missed 10 straight and hasnt hit one in Dukes last 91 minutes.
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