EDIT- 11/26/13 (adding more to original post)
Link to Duke's official website of Blue Devils basketball.
Game preview (short).
AL.com article about the game tomorrow.
I've said this to others and I'm going to post it... this is the biggest non-conference/non-NCAAT game we have had in forever. Beating Duke would put our program on the map. A close loss will have folks talking about us for at least a week, but a blowout loss put us back on the irrelevant bus as a program. This is a statement game in the making and I hope we can make a statement.
How I think this game plays out:
- We come out strong and take an early 7 point lead with the hundreds of Bama fans in MSG going wild. Duke storms back and takes the lead at halftime (5 points)
- 2nd half is back and forth with us matching Duke bucket for bucket with the game close for the first 15 minutes.
- Last 5 minutes Duke pulls away as we get into foul trouble and panic throwing up ill-advised 3s and Duke wins by 11.
Obviously, I hope against the 3rd bullet and if we can keep Releford out of foul trouble I think we are in it to the end and in a position to win the game.
Here are the big problems I see from a stats standpoint:
- .550 FG
- .452 3pt FG
- 92.7 PPG
- Forcing 14 turnovers a game
We can't get into a scoring war with them as they'll blow us out. Realistically we need to keep this game in the 60s/low 70s.
I really believe we need a big game from Nick Jacobs. Getting some points from him and Jimmie Taylor inside could offset Parker and Hood somewhat. If we keep the front-court battle somewhat close I think we win.
Game is on ESPN2 at 9:30PM EST (or 30 minutes after the Arizona walkover).
End EDIT 11/26/13
I'm going to compile this over a couple of days so bear with me. Today is stats heavy.
First off, season stats. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood (you remember him from M$U) are both dropping 20+ per game.
Next, Duke comes into the game at 5-1, but have struggled mightily vs powerhouses East Carolina (83-74) and Vermont (91-90). Still, this is Duke we are talking about and I suspect they played to the level of their competition.
In their loss to Kansas, they led at halftime (42-40) and were tied 77 all with 3:50 to go in the game. I suspect we will see Kansas in the Final Four this year.
Link to their roster. From looking at it on paper and from the 2 games I've seen of them we actually matchup quite nicely with them. Obviously the issues of matching up with Parker and Hood are going to be tough, but I think Cooper, Hale, Jacobs, and Taylor can split fouls guarding them. At least I hope they can somewhat slow them down. I actually think we have the advantage in the backcourt as I don't think Releford will be stopped and if Obasohan continues to sky that will put pressure on the Duke frontcourt at the rim.
Link to a Duke blog (SBNation).