Duke Basketball: Chance Ryan Kelly faces Miami


Duke Blue Devils stretch forward Ryan Kelly is “leaning toward” playing today in Duke’s all-important revenge game against the Miami Hurricanes, per a tweet from Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports. This news comes from a source close to the network, and I have been reading a lot of pieces from Duke sites and other outlets stating that Kelly’s health has been progressing well recently.

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Since this Duke-Miami clash is of the utmost importance to the Blue Devils, I personally believe we’ll be seeing Ryan Kelly playing against the Hurricanes. Kelly did not play in the upset loss to the Virginia Cavaliers, but he did dress up and warmed up for the game. After that devastating loss coupled with the harsh memories of the 27-point blowout at the hands of Miami earlier this year, it sounds more likely that we’ll see Kelly play than not.

When Kelly was with Duke, the Blue Devils were the best team in the country. Without him, they aren’t even a top five team. His importance to the team is easy to see, and that is also a reason to allow Kelly to rest against Miami. This game is important enough, though, and a win by Duke would entrench them as the best team in the ACC at a critical juncture.

It is important to note that Goodman is not 100% sure about the source, and some believe that Duke is just trying to throw Jim Larranga and the Hurricanes off. If you recall, Miami suddenly played star big Reggie Johnson in the team’s first meeting after most people thought he wouldn’t play. I don’t think this is the same sort of scenario, but Duke could be playing some mind games here. Either way, there are good arguments for wanting to play Kelly or wanting to rest him up, so I will agree with whatever judgement call Duke decides to make. After all, the team has much more information than we do on Kelly’s status.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.