How Duke must improve

Better D, shared minutes needed for Blue Devils to bounce back

Updated: March 22, 2014, 3:34 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider

Rasheed SulaimonRob Kinnan/USA TODAY SportsAfter an early exit in the tournament, the Blue Devils have issues to address for next season.

Duke isn't in the habit of having "how to fix this team" pieces written about it, but you're more or less inviting the discussion when you lose to a No. 14 seed.

Before I go down that road, though, allow me to tip my cap to the Mercer Bears, who closed their 78-71 victory over the Blue Devils with a crushing 20-8 run against one of the nation's most storied programs. It was a thrilling, skillful and most of all successful display of basketball. Bob Hoffman and his players are to be congratulated.

Now, where does all this leave Mike Krzyzewski's team? Here are some thoughts on what the Blue Devils will need to do to get back to 2010 national championship form -- or, failing that, at least make it past the round of 64.

The first priority is better defense

I would never say that whether Jabari Parker returns for a sophomore season is unimportant. Although he had an off game against Mercer (4-of-14 from the floor), he's one of the top players in the country. And you most certainly want players at that level in your rotation.