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An Under-The-Radar Key To Tuesday’s Duke-Kentucky Game

There’s a reason why Coach K’s teams do well early in the year

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NCAA Basketball: Preseason-Duke at Ryerson University
Will Duke’s young bucks, led by RJ Barrett and Zion Williams, be up for a big game with Kentucky Tuesday?
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

We enjoy the good work our colleagues at Sea of Blue, SBN’s Kentucky site, do. They’re passionate and it shows.

So naturally we’ve been dropping in as the Duke-Kentucky grudge match draws nigh to get an idea of the Wildcat take on things.

This is a pretty smart observation:

“Much like the preseason, however, don’t expect Tuesday night’s opener to be the most efficient 40 minutes of basketball both teams play this season. Both teams have had a rather short time to not only build chemistry but also put together a complete game of basketball against a legitimate opponent.

“Though much will be made in regards to the outcome of the game, the result will hardly define either team’s season. In fact, it wouldn’t be irrational to find these two clubs meeting again this coming spring.”

One of the early spins has been that it’ll be Kentucky’s bigs against Duke’s positionless approach. But here’s another way to approach it.

Kentucky has much more experience than Duke does. However, Coach K has consistently, for a very long time, done a better job of getting his team ready early than just about anyone else in college basketball.

So you might argue, in addition to if not in place of the above, that an important aspect of this game is Kentucky’s size and experience vs. Duke’s ability to prepare a smaller, younger and dynamic team.

We’ve said many times that one of Mike Krzyzewski’s underappreciated talents is time management. You can look at this game as a sort of supreme test of that - and he doesn’t necessarily have to win the game to win the preparation part of things.

In other words, Duke might be more prepared and still for various reasons lose, but if Duke isn’t on the fast track with this young group, the Blue Devils will almost certainly lose.

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