Still, Duke clearly doesn’t want to expect too much too soon from Irving. At the time of his injury, Irving had Duke averaging a then-team-best 17.4 points while orchestrating the team’s uptempo attack.
Irving admits his current conditioning isn’t where he wants it, but he says he’s able to do nearly everything he could before he was hurt. He pronounced himself 95 percent healthy, said “the other 5 percent will come when I actually play out there” and admitted to being even more nervous than he was for his Duke debut back in November.
His return has all but overshadowed a second-round matchup that figures to be one-sided.
Duke enters as a 23-point favorite over Hampton (24-8), which won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Winston-Salem five days ago and is in the round of 64 for the first time since 2002.