This week on Twitter, we used our account @dukebasketball to ask people if they had any questions they would like the Chronicle’s men’s basketball beat writers to try and answer before Duke faces Lehigh tonight in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament.
We thank everybody for their questions, and here are three questions and our responses.
Nobody knows for sure what Kelly’s role will be this weekend. According to the team’s official Twitter account @Duke_MBB, Kelly practiced some yesterday but also spent time on the side, noting he was walking with a limp. It also said that head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Kelly may be available for “some spot duty” against Lehigh. None of that sounds too optimistic–it sounds like the Blue Devils have to be prepared to beat the Mountain Hawks without their 6-foot-11 forward.
It may not be such a problem against Lehigh, but if Kelly cannot play as the tournament progresses it could be a big factor for the Duke. His absence in the ACC tournament was apparent, losing to Florida State in the semifinals. As Krzyzewski said in his press conference this week, playing both Mason and Miles Plumlee simultaneously helps the team on the boards, but Kelly is far more of a dynamic offensive threat and helps the team with spacing because he can work from both the inside and outside.
We’ll keep you up to date from @dukebasketball with any news regarding Kelly.
Until he steps on the court, it’s tough to say whether or not Andre Dawkins will play more because that depends on how he plays. Krzyzewski is always willing to give Dawkins a shot, but he has shown a short leash with the junior guard recently after his recent no-showings. In Dawkins’ last five games, he has scored a total of three points–a 3-pointer Wake Forest. In the other four games, including both contests in the ACC tournament, he went scoreless.
In his Tuesday presser, Krzyzewski did not shy away from the fact that Dawkins is struggling. But, especially with Kelly injured, Dawkins will get his chance on the court this weekend. But don’t expect him to stay on the court if he continues to look a step-behind offensively.
It does appear to be true that even though the Blue Devils are a two seed, they are not being given much of a chance to go for by most “Bracketologists.” The South region is difficult with nation’s best team, Kentucky, at the top. But, as the Baylor game showed yesterday–a lot can happen. The third-seeded Bears needed all 40 minutes to beat the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, making them look more vulnerable than they initially seemed. Given that, Duke has its work cut out to make it to the Elite Eight. Although Kentucky is beatable–Vanderbilt took the Wildcats down for the SEC tournament title–it will take a lot to beat John Calipari’s squad and reach the Final Four.