The Duke Blue Devils might be in bigger trouble than was previously thought.
After back-to-back losses at St. John’s and North Carolina, now comes news that star forward Marvin Bagley III will be held out of Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech with a knee injury.
Duke is calling it a precautionary measure due to a mild sprain suffered in the first half against UNC. Any way you look at it, this is a rough moment for the Blue Devils.
NEWS: As a precautionary measure, Marvin Bagley III will not play tonight at Georgia Tech with a mild knee sprain. The injury was sustained in the first half on Thursday at North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/nxLtV1l1In
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 11, 2018
Bagley is averaging 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this year while leading the ACC in both offensive and defensive boards, free throw attempts, two-point field goals and points per game.
There’s not really a plug and play guy on Duke’s roster that can replace him.
Against UNC, the Blue Devils tried to play with a big lineup, but that didn’t quite work. Marques Bolden and Wendell Carter Jr. are too much of a defensive liability for a team currently ranked 190th in points allowed (72.8 per game).
Other options include using Javin DeLaurier to help out on defense or going with a four-guard lineup.
Regardless, Duke will have a tough time making up for Bagley’s absence. Even if their opponent on Sunday sits near the bottom of the ACC. With all the struggles the Blue Devils have endured lately, the loss of Bagley might be the toughest to overcome.
Sunday will provide an opportunity for Duke to show it can adapt. If it can’t, more serious questions will have to be asked about just how far this team can go in March.
– – – – – –