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Good Things Happen When You Share The Ball

And Duke is doing a wonderful job of sharing

Duke v North Carolina
 CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 03: Head coach Jon Scheyer talks with Caleb Foster #1 and Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center on February 03, 2024 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 93-84.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This might be called balanced scoring.

Balanced, and rare.

We’ll see how it goes, but this season’s Blue Devils are, for now, the third ACC club since Miami in 2019 to have 5 double-figure scorers on the same squad. A pair of those teams came from Duke over the past three seasons. That’s balance; pity the opponent game-planning stops.

Sure, you can focus on trying to shut down one player, like Kyle Filipowski, the Devils’ leading scorer (17.7) and rebounder (8.7) through January and a starter in every game. That more or less worked for Clemson, which held the 7-footer to 9 points and 24 minutes in a 1-point loss to the Devils. The Tigers saw Filipowski foul out for the first time this season.

But then, among Duke’s 400-minute players, you have four others averaging at least 11.1 points, the per-game contribution of Tyrese Proctor, recovered from an ankle injury in an early loss at Georgia Tech. Proctor, returned to 2023 form, chipped in 18 points against the Tigers, including a pair of free throws that iced the win for his club.

Not incidentally Duke converts at a .737 clip at the foul line, making 8 more free throws than opponents try, a sign of inordinate team strength. Guard Jeremy Roach makes .855 of his foul shots, good for sixth in the ACC. Backcourt mate Jared McCain hits at an .848 clip at the line (28-33), but doesn’t have enough attempts to qualify among official ACC leaders.

A key characteristic of the current Duke contingent is its handling of the ball. The ’24 squad paces the league in assists, is second in ratio of assists to turnovers, and was third in turnover margin.

Roach leads the ACC in ratio of assists to turnovers (3.44), with Proctor third. Filipowski is third in the ACC in blocks and defensive boards.

Clearly the band of youthful Devils has flaws, as demonstrated in last week’s visit to Chapel Hill. Just as clearly they’ve got numerous strengths and are coping quite nicely. Exceptionally balanced scoring makes everything easier, assuming players are receptive to sharing the ball. It was with so many collaborative scorers that Mike Krzyzewski won NCAA titles in 1991, 1992, and 2001.

DOUBLE TROUBLE TIMES FIVE
Team Double-Figure Scorers By Season Since 2019
(Minimum 300 Minutes Played, 2024 Through 1-31)
School 2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
BC 4 3 3 3 3 4
C 3 4 4 1 3 3
D 5 2 5 3 3 3
FS 3 3 3 4 3 2
GT 3 2 2 4 3 2
UL 4 2 0 3 1 3
UM 4 4 4 4 3 5
NC 4 4 4 3 4 3
NS 4 4 3 3 4 3
ND 1 4 3 4 4 3
UP 3 3 3 3 3 3
SU 3 3 5 3 4 3
V 3 3 3 3 2 3
VT 3 4 3 3 2 4
WF 4 4 3 3 3 3