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Cardiac Hill ACC Preview: #1 Duke Blue Devils

Duke takes the top spot in our ACC Basketball Preview

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Coach - Mike Krzyzewski  (34 seasons at Duke 910-247, Four-time National Champions)

Arena - Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314 capacity)

2013-14 Record - 26-9 (13-5 ACC)  Lost to Mercer in NCAA 2nd Round

Game with Pitt - @ Duke Monday, January, 19 7:00

Top Returning Players (Bold = projected starter)

-- Quinn Cook 6'2" SR PG   11.6 PPG    4.4 APG

-- Rasheed Sulaimon 6'5" JR SG   9.9 PPG

-- Amile Jefferson 6'9" JR PF 6.5 PPG  6.9 RPG

Impact Newcomers

-- Jahlil Okafor 6'10" FR Rivals.com #1 overall recruit

-- Tyis Jones 6'1" FR Rivals #7 overall recruit

-- Justise Winslow 6'6" FR Rivals  #12 overall recruit

-- Grayson Allen 6'4" FR Rivals  #28 overall recruit

The Scoop - How do you replace two first round draft picks and still be the number one team in the conference? If you have Coach K and recruit four of the nation's top 30 recruits, including the number one overall player, Jahlil Okafor.

Duke's biggest problem last season was having a true inside presence. Sure they skated by with having Jabari Parker playing out of position, but Okafor is the type of player that will control the paint.  Duke will have a trio of talented guards including a savvy veteran Quinn Cook and uber-talented true freshman, Tyus Jones alternating running the point.  Rasheed Sulaimon once looked like a lottery pick as a freshmen, but struggled some last season. He's still very good, however, and should be one of their top outside scoring threats.

Duke has many role players that should fill out nicely.  Amile Jefferson is an athletic forward, freshman Justise Winslow should play quite a bit, and even sophomore Matt Jones could be a factor.

Final Outlook - Duke has a great blend of experience and talented freshmen. Mike Krzyzewksi knows how to take teams like this and make them championship contenders.  The Devils were good last season, but certainly flawed and the loss to 14th seeded Mercer in the NCAA Tournament shows you why.  They just never had that impact center they truly needed. Many are thinking Okafor can have a spectacular freshman campaign, and with a talented group around him, a deeper run in March is obviously expected.

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