Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Duke-UNC: Three keys for Devils in tonight's ACC clash

Duke's problems with consistency and intensity were on display in its 78-74 overtime loss to Miami on Sunday, when the Blue Devils fell behind by double digits in the first half against the Hurricanes and couldn't quite come all the way back for the victory.

It would be a surprise if either was an issue tonight against the Tar Heels.

In a sense, the rivalry game comes at a perfect time for the No. 10 Blue Devils (19-4, 6-2), who have needed multiple shots in the arm this season. With UNC on the docket, motivation shouldn't be an issue.

Of course, there's the question of the team's confidence after the loss to Miami. But the Blue Devils have proven to a pretty solid team this year when they're locked in. Assuming they don't misplace their motivation, here are three keys for tonight's game (9 p.m. WBTV, ESPN):

1. Win the Rivers vs. Barnes matchup

One would expect the two touted recruits would guard each other at some point of the festivities and perhaps for a majority of the time.

Harrison Barnes' height - he's 6-foot-8 - will certainly pose problems for the 6-foot-4 Austin Rivers. But Rivers speed could challenge the hobbled Barnes, who has said he will play despite the ankle injury he suffered against Maryland.

It's hard to see many paths to victory for Duke if this matchup breaks UNC's way in a decisive manner.

2. Wear down Kendall Marshall

In Marshall, UNC has one of the top point guards in the country.

In Tyler Thornton, Quinn Cook and Seth Curry, Duke has a point guard rotation that is dictated by the matchup and who is playing well. With Marshall not having much in the way of a serviceable backup, the Blue Devils' best hope will be to try and wear Marshall down as best they can.

Otherwise, Marshall's incisive passes into the post or to teammates in transition could be the death of the Blue Devils.

3. Come up with its defensive effort of the year

UNC and Duke lead the ACC in scoring offense. The problem for the Blue Devils is that the Tar Heels' defense (second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense, and 14th in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted defense ranking) is significantly better than Duke's (last in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense and 91st in the KenPom rankings).

Duke has shown it can defend in stretches this season. Most of the time, those stretches have come after prolonged periods when opposing teams have had free reign to run their offense. But if the Blue Devils can pay attention to detail for 40 minutes, not get lost on screens and remember to help every time, perhaps they can flip this storyline.

If not, someone's going to have to hit a lot of 3-pointers.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

UNC leads the All-Time series with dook 131-101...tonight will be no different. With the loss of Nolan Smith and Singler...the dookies will be run out of the gym. UNC 83 DOOK 71. Holla!

Anonymous said...

Roy is 8-9 against duke as heel's coach. Over this time he has had at least 1.5 times the talent....that speaks volumes to Coach K vs Roy.

Tonight, Roy has at least 1.5 times the talent and should win by 10 or more....but that doesn't necessarily mean that he will win.

Anonymous said...

Roy beats the Rat.....UNC 87 Duke 73...Seth Curry looks like a gorilla...LoL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that racist post, 11:52am.

Overrated preseason #1 UNC team should have the edge at home against rebuilding Duke, but you never know with a buffoon like Ol' Roy. Go Duke in an upset (and beating UNC 5 of the last 6), 81-79.

Anonymous said...

UNC BEATS DOOK tonight and in Cameron by at least 10...UNC has beat Dook 131 times to Dook's 101...stats don't lie....it would take Dook the next 15 years of beating UNC to get even....and WE KNOW THAT AIN'T HAPPIN! Holla!!

Anonymous said...

UNC has beaten Dook 7 TIMES OUT THE LAST 12...

Anonymous said...

7-5 vs. Duke in a little Heel-friendly timeline is your big stump speech? Hahahaha, try this one parter...

Duke: 21 of the last 30 (70%)

Anonymous said...

nerds vs queers tonight at 9pm.

Anonymous said...

Try this tool.....UNC 131 DOOK 101...nuff said... Heels by 15 tonight...

Anonymous said...

Heels OWN DOOK.....and this state...that's why it's called the "Tar Heel" state...UNC WINS TONIGHT AND THE ACC! Holla!!

Anonymous said...

As a Duke alum, I have to agree it's a down year for us. Austin Rivers is NOT good for this team in general. As a matter of fact, this will be another season where we get by UNC at least twice....sad, but true...

Anonymous said...

Austin Rivers is a tool, I hope they try and take him out.

"sweep the leg"

Anonymous said...

^^Which leg is Barnes going use to "sweep the leg"? The good one or the bad one? Duke upsets Carolina

75-70

Anonymous said...

My dad is the coach of the Boston Celtics...and I was the #1 pick coming out of high school last year, and I am the best player on my team. I will shoot 3's all night long and never pass the ball. Why would I do that? Because, nobody on my team can play like I can. I will be the #1 in the NBA draft over the like of Anthony Davis, b/c I am better than he is.

Stilman's Dad said...

Have the walk-on's made it back from Tallahassee yet ?

Anonymous said...

Duke can't even beat Miami on it's home floor, and let an overweight and out-of-shape guy score 27 points and get 12 rebounds...Duke better be able to shoot 3's because they don't pass and can't score on Henson and Zeller. If Dook shoots better than 70% behind the arc...then they only lose by 10. Ha! Ha!! Dook stinks!!!

Anonymous said...

UNC 84 Duke 69

Anonymous said...

hahaha, I agree on Rivers.

I heard that Dickie V called him a DBD'er off camera.

A D-Bag Deluxe.

unc 68-53

Anonymous said...

UNC-CHeat has the most corrupt athletics department in the NCAA. CONgratulations!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Barnes breaks an ankle and Roy passes out.

Anonymous said...

UNC by 15...really? You wanna put money on that? UNC hasn't beaten Duke by that much in 14 years. Meanwhile, Duke's beaten UNC by 15+ 2011, 2010, 2002 (twice), 2001, 2000, 1999 (thrice!).......

Duke in an upset, 89-85.

Anonymous said...

UNC will win by AT LEAST 10....Mark that down...Duke stinks...Coach K is a rat....seen the picture? Lol....

Anonymous said...

UNC will throttle the Dookies tonight...then AGAIN in Cameron...If Miami can...anybody can.....Ha, ha!!!Have you ever noticed that Dook fans are dorks...look in the mirror. Holla!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAH

Anonymous said...

Curl up in your Hole, Cheats! DOOK WINS AGAIN! What is that, 6 of 7?

Go Pack!

pay per head service said...

that is very interesting and I think I could add 2 or more key factors that helped in the victory of that night, you those three are the main ones