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Showing no mercy

Duke's blowouts increase as Coach K shortens bench

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Posted: Thursday March 01, 2001 3:21 AM
Updated: Thursday March 01, 2001 4:13 AM

  Even when games get ugly, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski refuses to point toward his bench. David LeedsAllsport

By Jacob Luft,

Duke won't find much sympathy from anyone after losing Carlos Boozer to a foot injury.

That's because the Blue Devils have spent the better part of four years dishing out humiliating blowouts.

Duke has led the nation in margin of victory two of the past three years and is leading again this season. At the same time, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has used his bench less and less (see chart, left).

On Jan. 13, Duke set a school record for the biggest rout of a top 10 team when it shredded Virginia 103-61.

For Starters
Duke's 1-6 players have logged most of the minutes this season.
Player  Minutes 
Jason Williams  919 
Shane Battier  987 
Nate James  845 
Mike Dunleavy  831 
Chris Duhon  751 
Carlos Boozer  712 
Rest of team   780 
Through Feb. 27
Margin Call
Duke leads the nation in margin of victory.
Team  Margin 
Duke  22.9 
Stanford  20.7 
Michigan St.  17.5 
Florida  16.6 
Arizona  16.0  
Through Feb. 26

The Blue Devils have pounded seven teams by 40 or more points, including Georgia Tech, which absorbed its worst beating in 29 seasons (98-54) on Feb. 21.

Of Duke's 25 victories, 15 have been by at least 25 points and 11 by at least 30 points. Since the 1997-98 season started, the Blue Devils have posted 48 victories of 30-plus points compared to a total of 33 in the seven previous seasons (see chart, below).

Duke's dominance in the ACC in particular has been impressive. Since the beginning of the 1998-99 season, Duke has a margin of victory of 19.6 while going 49-4 against the conference (including ACC tournament games).

Opponents and critics have accused Krzyzewski of leaving his starters in during garbage time to run up the score.

What do the statistics show? Despite all the blowouts, only six of his players average at least 10 minutes a game.

Krzyzewski used a similar strategy last season, using only six players extensively, only to see his team falter 87-78 to a deep Florida squad in the Sweet 16.

Pouring it on
The past three seasons, the Blue Devils have used less players to inflict more damage to the opposition. Compare those figures to those of their NCAA championship teams of the early '90s:
Year  Record  Scoring Margin  Players avg.
at least 10 minutes 
30-point routs 
2001  25-3  22.9  11 
2000  29-5  16.7 
1999  37-2#  24.6  15 
1998  32-4  21.5  14 
1997  24-9  13.5 
1996  18-13  5.6 
1995  13-18  4.0 
1994  28-6#  10.3 
1993  24-8  15.2 
1992  34-2*  15.4 
1991  32-7*  14.3 
* NCAA champions
# NCAA Final Four
Note: Statistics include NCAA tournament games


Related information
Statitudes: UNC vs. Duke, alumni battle
Duke optimistic Boozer can return for NCAAs
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