Harrison Barnes is good… but still a ways to go: The North Carolina freshman finished with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, which snapped a streak of 7 straight games in double-figure scoring. But he didn't wilt on the big stage in front of the Cameron Crazies. He still has to learn to player without the ball and he often tries to do too much with the ball, including too many forced shots.
Seth Curry's role as the third scorer will be huge for the Blue Devils: Curry, along with his backcourt counterpart, Nolan Smith, took over the game in the second half. Curry made several jump-shots in a row to get the crowd back standing and screaming as Duke mounted their comeback. He scored 22 points off the bench, including seven straight in just over a minute. His 22 was on 8-for-12 shooting, along with six rebounds and five assists.
For a team as perimeter oriented as Duke, Curry's consistent scoring with give the team a third scorer capable of killing defenses if they single-out Smith or Kyle Singler. While he isn't as quick or as nimble as his brother, he can shoot just like him and that could make him a valuable commodity not only in March, but whenever he is ready to enter the Draft as well.
Kendall Marshall is a player whose stat line is deceiving: Making his sixth straight start, it would seem Marshall struggled in the environment because of his 3-for-11 shooting, while in actuality, Marshall played with poise and great composure. He got the ball to John Henson and Tyler Zeller in scoring positions in the low post or found them driving down the lane. What instincts the UNC freshman has. He has the ability to see the entire court and deliver the ball with impeccable timing as evidenced by a cross-court one-handed speedy bounce pass he delivered right on target in transition.
Nolan Smith is a national player of the year candidate: Last night, as many times before, Smith, Duke's combo-guard took over to score a career-high 34 points, including 22 after halftime. He led the comeback as Duke rallied from 16 down to beat North Carolina. Smith is averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game and if he maintained this pace, he would become the first player to ever lead the ACC in scoring and assists.
In the past five games, Smith has elevated his scoring even further, averaging 27 points per game. His ability to create for others, get to the rim and hit from the perimeter make Smith a lethal offensive threat. Toss in his lengthy arms and solid lateral quickness and he has the makings of a lockdown defender at the next level.