Miami came into the Duke game crippled, with half the roster on the bench, one player dismissed and Isaiah Wong playing on an ankle he tweaked just 48 hours ago or so.
Duke had every advantage except the most important one: heart.
Miami showed a lot of it against the Blue Devils Monday night. The Hurricanes had more intensity, better effort, more unity and passion than Duke did.
In fact, it wasn’t really close.
Oh the score was. Miami still didn’t have enough players to pull very far ahead. But they had more than enough to keep up with and in the end surpass Duke.
You can pick apart a lot of things in this one, starting with turnovers. Duke was just too sloppy with the ball to succeed. They also didn't pass the ball well or carefully or often enough in some cases.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski is careful to not show negative emotions on the bench. Don’t misunderstand, he gets after his players when they’re not playing well. He always has.
But on two occasions, maybe three, the cameras showed him frustrated, which is very uncommon.
For whatever reason, Duke wasn’t able to compete with Miami Monday night. And even if they had managed to steal it at the end or to put it in overtime where the ‘Canes might have finally tired, the truth is Duke didn’t deserve to win this game. And it would have been a shame if Miami had lost because they absolutely deserved to win.
So back to the drawing board for the Blue Devils. We’re disappointed obviously but don’t mistake disappoint or frustration for anger. That’s not right.
We know this is a young team in a bizarre season that’s trying to improve. We know they want to succeed and to live up to the expectations of Duke Basketball. We know they’re working hard and we also know they’re the ones with the bruises and soreness after the game. They’re the ones who actually play after all.
And we should all remember that they’re mostly teenagers. Just because they are on TV a couple of times a week doesn’t mean they’re different from other teenagers. So you might consider that before you fire off a mean tweet at teenage boys. It might make you feel better, but consider the cost.
We’ll be watching Saturday when they play UNC and pulling for them. And we’re sure they’re more upset than the rest of us are.