Duke (21-5, 9-4)
Louisville (18-9, 8-6)
When: February 21 | 9:00 PM (ET)
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium - Durham, NC
Watch Live: ESPN
Duke returns home to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a two game home stand beginning Wednesday night against the 18-9 Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals have an 8-6 record in the ACC and currently sit 6th in the conference. With so many teams still in contention for the 2 seed in the ACC Tournament the season and potential spots for the double-bye will come down to the wire.
First year head coach David Padgett has done a spectacular job in the face of program turmoil of keeping his guys focused on each game. One has to wonder with the recent news of Louisville being stripped of their 2013 title, how this team will respond. I would expect a spirited effort and a team wanting to prove something - not that going against Duke in Cameron doesn't provide enough motivation.
Quentin Snider may be the most dangerous man on this Cardinal team, leading the team in assists at 4 per game, Snider is their main distributor. If Snider is the most dangerous, then Deng Adel is the most versatile and toughest matchup. Adel, a 6'7 forward out of Australia, leads the Cardinals in scoring at 15.6 points per game. He also averages 5.1 rebounds and just under 3 assists per game. His last game out, in a loss to UNC, Adel scored 20 points in 30 minutes and dished out 6 assists. Adel is recently back from a sprained ankle so whether or not he will be in the starting lineup is still questionable.
Duke at 22-5 and 10-4 in the conference have a lot of things still left to accomplish. With the ACC Tournament 1 seed already a done deal for UVA. Duke still needs to push for a 2 seed and a possible 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The top of the standings have been a tumultuous place with no team playing consistently well aside from Michigan State and UVA. Duke still has an outside chance to make a move if the top ten shakeups continue to manifest as the season winds down.
Duke is looking to maintain consistency in these last days of the regular season and depending on the status of freshman Marvin Bagley, try to incorporate him back into a flow that has been working nicely in his absence. Grayson Allen has seemed to flourish with Bagley being unable to play, whether that uptick in his play is due to having a more defined role or just the natural progression and the senior busting out of a long slump - its really hard to say. It's come at the right time for the Devils who have been much more active on both ends of the floor. Speaking of well defined, Coach K has decided to publicly state that Duke will be primarily a zone team with some man-to-man sprinkled in here and there. It has seemed to work so far as Duke has been able to put teams in situations they are not accustomed to being in and shots they aren't used to taking. It's by no means a perfect zone but has seemed to help spur this recent run.
In facing the Cardinals Duke will need to be aware of the shot-blocking prowess of the Louisville, 4th in the nation in blocked shots. Led by Anas Mahmoud who averages 3 bocks a game Duke will have to understand how to drive on a shot blocker and also the power of internal passing to get a noted shot blocker out of position. Duke has done a good job of interior passing and also big-to-big passing, that should definitely come into play against Louisville.
Projected Starting Lineups:
F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval
F Anas Mahmoud
F Ray Spalding
F V.J. King
G Quentin Snider
G Darius Perry
- No. 5 Duke begins a stretch of three games in the next six days by hosting Louisville at Cameron Indoor on Wednesday.
- Duke is allowing 66.2 points over the last 12 games, which ranks top 40 in the NCAA over that span. In ACC play, Duke is fifth in scoring defense (70.8), third in field goal defense (.401), and fourth in three-point defense (.338).
- Senior Grayson Allen was named both the NaismithNational Player of the Week and the ACC Player of theWeek after averaging 22.0 points, 5.0 assists, and shooting 9-of-18 from three-point range in a pair of wins last week.
- In ACC play, Gary Trent, Jr., leads the league in three-point percentage (.495) and threes per game (3.43). His overall three-point percentage of .455 paces all NCAA freshmen.
- Trent has made 22 of his last 39 (.564), 44 of his last 77(.571), and 61 of his last 116 (.526) from three-point range.
- Freshman Wendell Carter, Jr. has 14 double-doubles this season. He has recorded a double-double in three straight games and eight of the last 11, and has scored in double-figures in 17 straight games.
- After playing with the same starting five for the first 24games, Duke has deployed three different lineups in Marvin Bagley III’s absence (3-0).
- Bagley’s 21.2 points leads five Blue Devils averaging double figures. Duke has an effective field goal percentage of .569 (16th nationally) and is second in offensive efficiency (126.5).
- The Blue Devils play three of their final four regular-season games at home.