Is Duke the Real Deal? Twitter Reacts to Dominant Win Against Kentucky

College basketball is back and Duke couldn’t have announced its return more emphatically. The No. 4 ranked team in the Associated Press poll thrashed No. 2 ranked Kentucky 118-84 in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, thanks to a stunning performance from its freshmen.

RJ Barrett lived up to the hype of being the number one recruit this year and scored 33 points—the highest-scoring debut ever by a Duke freshman—and dished out six assists.

Meanwhile, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish added a combined 50 points, with the former accounting for 28 of them thanks to an almost-perfect 11-of-13 from the field.

The Blue Devils raced into a 34-13 lead and were ahead by 17 points at halftime, thanks to a superb performance from beyond the arc, which saw them knock down 46.2 percent of their three-pointers.

"I'm really proud of my guys," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was quoted as saying by ESPN. "You start four freshmen, no matter how talented they are, you never know what they're going to do in this environment against an outstanding team and great program. And they responded. They were magnificent."

His Kentucky counterpart, John Calipari, was left reflecting on the worst loss of his three-decade long coaching career. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 34-point gap was also the third-largest ever in a game between two teams ranked in the AP Top 5.

"They were just better than us," he said. "I told [my team], 'I got outcoached, you guys got outplayed. We'll watch the tape and move on.' They're a very good team. If they play like that, they're not losing many, if that's who they are."

Drawing conclusions after the first game of the season might seem premature but Calipari wasn’t the only one to suggest Duke will force the NCAA world to sit up and take notice this year.

ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz suggested in Barrett, Williamson and Reddish, the Blue Devils potentially have the top three picks of the next NBA draft. Some suggested this Duke team would be good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, while others wondered what Williamson could do to teams that are way worse than Kentucky.

The Blue Devils haven’t made the Final Four since becoming national champions in the 2014-15 season and have only reached the final weekend of the tournament another two times in the last 15 years.

If their season opener is anything to go by, however, Coach K and his team could be involved at the business end of March Madness four months from now.

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