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Duke Smokes Colgate, 110-58

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Against Colgate for the first time we saw a glimpse of what this team could become:  an aggressive defense joined with an explosive fast break, deadly outside shooting, and a powerful inside game.

For the first part of the game, Colgate, a better team than we expected actually, stayed relatively close, but it was an unachievable task.  Duke simply has too many ways to attack.

Obviously the Big Three from last year is no more, but Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving are a great building block.  We've talked before about how the backcourt, with Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry coming off the bench behind Smith and Irving, is a devastating weapon.

Tonight, for the first time, we saw glimpses from all three big men:  Miles Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, and most of all Mason Plumlee.

Kelly showed some flashes throughout.  He's willing to fight for rebounds, stand and take charges, take the occasional three pointer and really just give the team whatever it needs.

Miles Plumlee, who has come off the bench the last two games, came alive in the second half.  He defended, ran the floor, rebounded and played a much more solid game than he has so far this season.  He finished with nine points, eight rebounds three steals and a block and an argument for more minutes.  We didn't realize how badly he jammed his finger last game, but he seems to have put it behind him.

Mason Plumlee had some tremendous plays, mostly in the second half.   His stat line wasn't as impressive as his brother's (nine points, four boards, an assist, a block and a steal.  Plus he only played 13 minutes after fouling out.

Doesn't sound so great, right?  But here's what was great: he was ferocious.  When he blocked the shot, he went after it.  When he had an alley-oop, he slammed hard.  He played with a lot of emotion, aggression and passion.  It was great to see him with a mean look on his face.

If all three guys can build on the high levels they reached during parts of this game, Duke will really benefit -- and soon.

After the game, we learned that Singler was getting over a case of food poisoning and didn't eat on Thursday at all.  Given that little nugget, his game looks pretty solid: 18 points, nine boards, and two steals.

At the beginning of the game, Irving looked like he was going to completely dominate -- and one of those games is not too far away.  He is figuring things out pretty quickly and we're going to start seeing things in the play-by-play like: Irving for three.  Irving steals.  Irving fouled.  Irving assist to Ma. Plumlee.

As it was, he had 13 points, nine assists and no turnovers and was 3-5 from behind the line.

We're just saying, it's coming.  That ain't bad, but more is on the way.  Did you know, by the way, that Irving on the season has 20 assists to three turnovers?  Wow!

This should also be said: Dawkins is dramatically -- dramatically -- better than last year.  It's not just his confidence on offense.  He's become not just a good defender but a better-than-average defender.  He'll be picking up a lot of mid-size opponents on the defensive end.

Curry had a bit of an off game offensively, but big whoop.  The kid plays his butt off.

Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton both got in and showed toughness and intensity.  They're most likely understudies right now, but you have to like the apparent trajectory.

As we said after the Miami game, things are about to get a lot tougher.  The next five games are Marquette and then either Kansas State or Gonzaga, Oregon out there, Michigan State at home, and then Butler in the Meadowlands.  This will require a higher level of play and we're excited to see what comes out of it.

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