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NCAAB: Plumlee and his Duke teammates start ACC Schedule

The Duke Blue Devils are once again at the top of the rankings. Thus far, Duke has won its first 13 games of the regular season. Much of their success can be attributed to their senior 6’10” center Mason Plumlee a candidate thus far in the season to be player of the year in college basketball.

Plumlee has started out the season strong recording 8 double doubles in the team’s first 12 games. In his last game against Davidson, in which Duke won 67-50, Plumlee faced a suffocating double team defense that held the big man to just 10 points and seven rebounds. The usually careful Plumlee committed six turnovers in the game.

Plumlee described the double team efforts as quick doubles. The undersized Davidson defenders doubled down in the low post every time the ball was passed inside to Plumlee. Davidson wanted to throw a team of their defenders at the Duke big man and that might be the only way teams will be able to slow down Plumlee.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Davidson team is a veteran squad and their head coach Bon McKillop plays that style of rotating defense all the time and is great at it, but Coach K said other teams would not be as successful against Plumlee.

Teammates have praised the way Plumlee works on offense even without the ball. They say he has a great presence on the floor and Plumlee’s great play is not limited to just scoring. The big man may only have scored 10 in that game, but he grabbed seven rebounds, blocked three shots and had two steals. Since the defense is always keying on him, it leaves teammates open much of the time to knock down shots.

Duke has to start to prepare for their ACC schedule as they face Wake Forest at noon Saturday to open up their conference schedule. Plumlee leads the team in scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game and in rebounding with an average of 11.2 per game. The team is winning by an average of more than 18 points per game.

Thus far in the season the Blue Devils have defeated powerhouse teams such as Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky, which when Duke defeated them were all in the top 5.

Duke will be going for its sixth straight win in the opening game of the conference and their sixth in a row over Wake Forest. The Blue Devils have also won 13 straight games at home against Wake Forest. Not since Tim Duncan played at Wake Forest have they been able to win on Duke’s home floor.

With their non-conference schedule over Duke can now try to concentrate on winning its first outright ACC title since 2005-2006. Their titles since then have all been shared with another conference member and they now want to take home the title alone.

If Plumlee can continue his dominating play down low for Duke both offensively and defensively, the Blue Devils will be a tough team in ACC play and in the NCAA’s in March. Plumlee will also be at the top of the list for many for Player of the Year honors.

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