As you probably heard, Jim Boeheim and Jay Bilas had a bit of a debate this week when Boeheim said that Duke was playing better without Johnson, something Bilas found objectionable.
On Monday, Boeheim said this: “I watched two games. I said two games. That was a mistake. (I watched) a half of North Carolina State and the whole game against Wake. What I saw and (ESPN analyst) Seth Greenberg saw, too, they played the best I’ve seen them play this year. Wake Forest just lost in overtime at Florida State. Duke had them down 30. NC State’s a good team, I think. They just beat Pittsburgh. I think they’re pretty good. They beat North Carolina. They crushed them in the second half without Jalen Johnson.
“This is no casting aspersion on Jalen Johnson. I haven’t even seen Jalen Johnson play this year, to be honest. He’s a tremendous player, probably will be a great pro. I just made the observation, my opinion, that I thought they played better without him in those two games.”
He also returned to Bilas, saying this about his one-time recruiting target: “Jay Bilas knows something about basketball. I know more than he knows. I said they were better, they are better. Period.”
He knows more than we do too, as does Bilas, so we’ll let them sort out the particulars. However, there’s no doubt that Duke has improved greatly as you’ll see in the compressed highlights of the Syracuse game. Duke is playing better in almost every respect and is certainly a more mature team now than they were earlier in the season.