3 Massive Questions for the Duke Basketball Team Against Vermont

If Duke is going to compete for a Final Four, these questions need to be answered
Kyle Filipowski had 28 points and 14 rebounds against NC State despite fouling out
Kyle Filipowski had 28 points and 14 rebounds against NC State despite fouling out / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The Duke Blue Devils start March Madness action against the Vermont Catamounts on Friday. Duke is a big favorite though has two straight losses while Vermont comes in on a 10-game winning streak.

I expect Duke to come away with a victory in a low-scoring game, though several notable Blue Devils are struggling of late. If the team is going to make a deep run in the tournament, they need to find their mid-season groove.

Tougher matchups await them should Duke win the game and I've got faith the Blue Devils can get back on track. That being said, there are three big questions that need to be answered in this NCAA Tournament opening round.

3 Massive Questions for Duke vs. Vermont

1. Can Jeremy Roach Break Out of His Slump?

Jeremy Roach is Duke's spark plug. When he was rolling and shooting over 50% from three-point range in a stretch of 10 games, the Blue Devils were rolling. When he went cold, making only 4-of-18 shots in the last two games, Duke lost. It's no secret that the offense goes as Roach does, as his shooting prowess spreads out defenses to give Kyle FIlipowksi and Mark Mitchell room to work inside.

Vermont is a strong defensive team, ranking 35th nationally in opponent three-point shooting percentage (35.1%). This is a great test for Roach as he tries to find his rhythm, and the Catamounts' slow pace likely means the Blue Devils will count on his shot-making late in possessions more often than not.

On top of his scoring ability, Roach hustles for loose balls and impacts the game in a variety of ways. We know that Filipowski is likely to get his points regardless, but the Blue Devils can put this game away early if Roach plays well.

If he struggles, Duke fans will have legitimate reasons to be concerned even if they escape with a victory. The Blue Devils need their second-leading scorer to be exactly that, otherwise they don't have much hope for a Final Four run.

Avoiding turnovers will be crucial as well. Roach had three in the NC State loss and the Catamounts are only 299th in defensive turnover percentage (15.1%), making this a great time for the senior guard to get his confidence back.

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