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Five reasons for optimism, five for pessimism as Duke begins its season

Jonathan M. Alexander, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

Duke comes into the season ranked No. 1 in the country. Here are five reasons to be optimistic and five reasons to be pessimistic about this Duke team.

Five reasons for pessimism

-- 1. Youth/inexperience

Duke has one of the youngest teams in the country. It will likely start four freshmen and one senior. While the freshmen are talented and have played in exhibition games, they haven't played against Division I talent yet. Senior captain Grayson Allen is the only returning player who played significant minutes last season.

-- 2. Depth

All five of Duke's freshmen can score. And Marques Bolden should be solid after a year in Duke's system. But after that, it's really unclear who will contribute off the bench. Sophomore forward Javin DeLaurier got some action in the preseason, but he wasn't much of an offensive threat. He did play well defensively, and that may be all the Blue Devils need from him.

-- 3. ACC is wide open

The ACC is expected to be talented once again. Notre Dame returns 6-6, 224-pound forward Bonzie Colson, who was preseason ACC Player of the Year, and senior guard Matt Farrell. Louisville, despite the loss of Rick Pitino, and Miami should be good. And UNC, the defending champions, with the return of Joel Berry III and Theo Pinson, should be one of the top three teams in the conference.

-- 4. Not the typical Duke outside shooting team

One thing coach Mike Krzyzewski has stated multiple times is that this isn't the typical Duke 3-point shooting team. During the two exhibition games, only Gary Trent Jr. and Allen showed consistency from behind the 3-point line. But then again, they were often wide open on their shots.

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