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Duke 95 State 60

A lesson in the foolishness of talking the talk when you can't walk the walk.

There are more smiles around Cameron than there have been the last few weeks.
There are more smiles around Cameron than there have been the last few weeks.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Although the beginning of this game could be characterized as rebounding vs. turnovers - State was getting all the boards and Duke was forcing bushels of turnovers - that changed.

State got the first ten boards of the game but Duke won the rebounding battle in the end, 35-32 total and 21/14 to 21/11.

It was more than that, though, much more. As we suggested Friday night, State's backcourt is vulnerable, and in fact, Duke pressed them ruthlessly. How ruthlessly?

Fast break points for Duke off of turnovers: 33. For State: 2

And while Mark Gottfried clearly prefers the erratic but promising Cat Barber to the competent but limited Tyler Lewis, he had to turn to Lewis to steady his team.

And despite the woofing early in the week, Duke's frontcourt totally outplayed State's. It wasn't really close.

It's not just a thorough beatdown; it's so thorough that it's virtually impossible to find any thing that's at all encouraging for State.

Warren played fairly well, but with a few minutes to go in the game, he had nearly half of State's point (the traditional blowout relaxation by the winning team allowed State to reduce his share to 1/3 fairly quickly in the closing minutes.

Mark Gottfried got to it pretty quickly in his post-game comments: "The way Mike used their depth and their pressure defense affected our inexperience and our short bench. That was probably the biggest thing. We turned the ball over too many times."

Over on Twitter, during the game, former State star Julius Hodge was on it too: "STOP TURNING THE FREAKIN' BALL OVER! damnnnnn!"

But he also posted this: "Don't worry Duke fans, we are all friends after this game because there is one crap school in Chapel Hill we both hate."

A neat summation of Triangle passions.

Duke changed defenses in this game, going back to what the original plan for the season had been (pressing and pushing the pace). Coach K also put in the motion offense, and Coach K said it may have especially helped Jabari Parker: "I think motion helps him, in that he gets the ball in different spots, and then it’s up to him: ‘Now you’ve got it, do you attack or do you not attack?’ Today he really attacked."

There is one other factor, though, that seems to have been overlooked in a lot of places. Coach K alluded to it after the Virginia game when he said that his brothers death had "knocked him back" and that he hadn't been able to give his full attention to his team.

It's getting it now. Duke is playing more players more minutes, the defense is markedly better and the offense was tremendous.

There are no guarantees, of course. Bad habits take time to shake and new ones take time to make. But what we've seen while Coach K understandably and necessarily took time and energy to work through his loss, is sort of a mini 1995.

That team never got him back. This team has, and as we've seen over the years, Mike Krzyzewski is a master at getting teams to play to their potential.

That, as much as anything, explains the dramatic improvement Duke showed from the Virginia game to this one and probably also explains Parker's emergence from his recent slump.

To borrow from an old song, Coach K is back, and you're gonna be in trouble.