After Southern Cal, Marquette, and Gonzaga went down, and Kansas, Arizona and Alabama saw their life pass before their eyes, it's probably a good message to send.
Because of the disparity in talent levels, there's not really a whole lot to say about how well Duke played, because the only meaningful measurements are things like communication, unselfishness, and not letting down mentally. That can happen in this kind of a matchup, as Kansas and Alabama came to discover, though they woke up in time.
While the results are distorted because of the mismatch, nonetheless, there are some things to really point to. For one, Carlos Boozer continues to shoot at a nearly freakish level, hitting 8-11. That would be a wonderful performance for anyone, but he has been doing that for weeks now.
Jason Williams had a solid game, shooting 7-11, with 5 assists, and 3 steals. Mike Dunleavy had 18 on 8-13, with 5 boards and 2 assists.
Dahntay Jones had a quiet game offensively, but still got 5 boards. Duhon had a quiet game statistically, but won praise from Coach K after the game.
The defense was very solid.
If there's an area of concern, it's perhaps the offensive distribution, as three players scored 56 out of Duke's 84 points.
And if there's another - and this should be - Duke shot 44% from the line. That's a potentially huge problem in a tight game.
On the other hand, though, Duke held Winthrop to 31.4% from the floor, had 21 turnovers, and really had only one effective scorer.
Duke will be moving on, and the opponent in the next game will be Mike Brey's Notre Dame, and like Coach K, Brey had the opportunity to work with a brilliant basketball mind. In K's case, it was Bob Knight; in Brey's it was K, and also Morgan Wooten, the legendary coach of DeMatha High in D.C. Wooten isn't as well known as Krzyzewski or Knight, but he's every it the giants they are. Like Bob Hurley, he decided he would be happier on the high school level and so has stayed there, though he did entertain an offer from N.C. State once upon a time.
Brey for a long time seemed as if he would parallel Wooden by staying at Delaware when he was frequently courted for other jobs. A lot of people didn't understand why he would do this, but in Brey's mind, it was a place he could coach basketbal and have a family life as well. That's not easy, and for a young coach with young kids, it's an understandable decision. A lot of people didn't notice that he steadily took Delaware from a non-entity basketball-wise to a regional power. He combed over the second-tier recruits in the D.C. area and found enough talent to start a small dynasty.
But when Notre Dame came calling, that was impossible to turn down. He's found he can still have a family life there, and he seems immensely happy and ready to take Notre Dame to a significantly higher level.
In some ways, Notre Dame is mirroring Duke off and on the court, not least of all because Brey has his bunch playing extremely well in March. If you think it's going to be an easy game, think again: for one, Brey knows the basic Duke philosophy inside out. For another, he's an excellent coach. He'll come at Duke in some very smart ways, and it's a game Duke could definitely lose if they aren't fully prepared.