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NCAA Tournament 2015: Duke Beats Aztecs 68-49, Moves On To Sweet Sixteen

Duke was consistently better than San Diego State throughout the game, but the Aztecs may have been handicapped by food poisoning.

Dynamic Duo: Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow dominated San Diego State Sunday.
Dynamic Duo: Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow dominated San Diego State Sunday.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

First a caveat: there's no doubt that the San Diego coaching staff came down with something, quite possibly food poisoning, and there's still some question about the players. We haven't heard conclusively.

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Fortunately Duke was healthy and in good form for most of the game, basically toying with the Aztecs at times. In the early part of the first half in particular Duke was devastating and in particular San Diego State couldn't handle Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow.

Okafor finished the first half with 18 points and it was clear that San Diego State had no answer for him. At one point he personally outscored the entire Aztec team 15-14.

Every time we think we understand his game he brings out a new wrinkle, a new twist, and does something just amazing. Yes, he's 6-11 and 270, but he's not a high flyer. He's beating the crap out of opponents by outsmarting them - that in conjunction with his phenomenal footwork.

We don't know of a video that shows it really well, but you can look for this on YouTube: watch for Okafor's spin move. There's no way a man his size should be able to turn like that. It's like watching a Mack truck move like a Cooper. It just shouldn't be possible.

Yet there it is.

As great as Okafor was against San Diego State, you could argue that Winslow was better. Just look at his stat line: 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. As Mason Plumlee said when brother Miles grabbed 22 rebounds, that's a man's game.

Duke shot 53.1% for the first half - San Diego State had held 46 straight opponents to less than 50% - and shredded the vaunted defense upon which Steve Fisher has built an outstanding program.

Duke finished at 54.5% for the game.

About the only things you could really quibble with are that a) Duke again let up a bit instead of putting a stake through the beating heart of the Aztecs, and b) got minimal help from the bench.

It didn't matter much on Sunday but it may soon.

Duke heads to Houston next - Winslow's hometown and the adopted hometown of Duke great Kenny Dennard - where the Blue Devils will have to defeat Utah in order to move forward.

UCLA is on one side of the bracket; the Bruins will play Gonzaga after the Zags took out the Iowa Hawkeyes.