Tonight marks the return of Duke superstar Marvin Bagley III. He is available for the Blue Devils after a four-game absence.
Bagley, a freshman, is one of the nation's best players. The Arizona native leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 21.2 points per game, and rebounds with 11.4 per game.
He is a likely top five pick in next year's NBA Draft. Given his pro prospects, and the lingering nature of his injury, it seemed like there was a chance that Duke may not bring him back until post-season play.
Instead, Marvin Bagley III is back available tonight for Duke.
The Blue Devils host a Syracuse team on the NCAA Tournament bubble looking for a signature win. Bagley could present a big problem down low for Syracuse's short frontcourt rotation.
Duke announced his return this morning. The program's tweet says that he is "available" so it is unclear how much he will play.
However, it seems unlikely that Duke would make this announcement and then hold him out from the game. With his lingering knee injury, there is a chance his minutes could be limited though.
Bagley was injured during Duke's overtime loss to North Carolina. He played through the injury, spending 39 minutes on the court against the Blue Devils, scoring 15 points and grabbing 16 boards.
While getting back an elite big man is almost always a boost for any team, Duke has thrived with Bagley out. Senior guard Grayson Allen is having his best stretch of the season.
For the year, heis averaging 15.6 points per game on the season, but in the last four games Allen has averaged 23.75. His three-point percentage is also up from 38.5-percent for the year to just under 42-percent.
Duke has also continued to move more heavily towards a 2-3 Zone defense which has improved during the year. Coincidentally, Mike Krzyzewski can credit his Team USA assistant Jim Boeheim for teaching him the ins-and-outs of Syracuse's signature defense. It remains to be seen if Bagley will be as effective in the zone as his teammates have been recently.
Duke will be at full power tonight against the Orange. The team has also cleared Wendell Carter to play after his appearance in Yahoo! Sports' bombshell Friday article on players who may have met with Christian Dawkins, one of the men caught up in the ongoing FBI probe. Tonight's game tips off at 6:15 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.