In one of the most hyped up games of the week, the Duke Blue Devils took down the St. John's Red Storm by a score of 77-68 at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon. It was a huge victory for Duke, as Mike Krzyzewski became the first coach in NCAA Division I history to win 1000 games. It wasn't all bad, for the Red Storm, however. They did a lot right in this game, save for not delivering a knockout blow to Duke. Here are three things the game taught us.
Bright Lights, Big City
This was one of the biggest stages the Red Storm have played on in quite a while. New York City. A game on FOX (not FOX Sports Net or FOX Sports 1. Regular old FOX). A top-5 ranked Duke team with the best player in the country. Mike Krzyzewski going for his 1000th career victory, and really, it felt like the Old Big East. It would have been very easy for the Red Storm to succumb to the pressure before the game even began. It would have been equally easy for them to fold when they went down 21-10 early on in the first half. Even though when Duke went on a monster run in the second half, they finally couldn't stop them, St. John's showed why some have called them "the most talented team in the Big East".
The Most Talented Team in the Big East
Let's double back to that for a second. It's bizarre to me that a team that has less conference wins than DePaul, and the same number as Marquette. But... I have a hard time denying that title. When St. John's is on top of their game, and they have Rysheed Jordan, Chris Obekpa, D'Angelo Harrison, and Sir'Dominic Pointer all scoring and playing great defense. They're not only the most talented team in the conference, but, they become one of the most talented in the entire country. The problem, of course, is how infrequently Steve Lavin gets those four to play at the top of their games, explaining the lack of conference success.
This one isn't about St. John's, and I apologize, but I couldn't just ignore it. Jahlil Okafor is the best player in the country right now, and you cannot tell me anything different. He put the team on his back in the most famous arena in the world in front of a national audience to lead the charge on that huge Duke run in the second half. Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony were in attendance for the game, and for good reason. Okafor will probably be playing at The Garden for the next few years when the Knicks take him first overall in next summer's NBA Draft.