Duke has been far better on defense without its star big manBy Ben Leonard | 02/20/2018Marvin Bagley III is a truly special talent—on offense. But as it has shown recently, Duke is better served without him on defense. In their last three games, the Blue Devils have been locked in on defense in a way few thought would be possible. Certainly, its offense has taken a hit, but overall, Duke has netted nearly four points per game better without him in conference play. After downing Virginia Tech and Clemson, the Blue Devils have held two straight conference opponents to fewer than 60 points for the first time since 2015. Bagley is worse than frontcourt mates Wendell Carter Jr. and Javin DeLaurier in defensive rating, and he has looked overmatched defensively for much of the year. Although he is a transcendent offensive talent, he hasn’t been able to protect the rim for much of the season. He has a putrid 3.2 percent block rate—that’s five times worse than the national leader. And though Bagley has strong post moves on offense, he hasn’t been able to translate that to the defensive end of the floor. He has struggled in particular when he plays against someone his own size—take Wake Forest’s Doral Moore, for example. The 7-foot-1 Demon Deacon center embarrassed Bagley, throwing down dunk after dunk and scoring 14 points in the first half. Krzyzewski says the only way Duke could guard him was fouling him, a strategy that eventually worked, but not without a cost—Bagley got into foul trouble and DeLaurier fouled out after just 12 minutes.