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Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs. Miami Hurricanes

By January 12, 2015No Comments

Game Preview

Duke Blue Devils (14-1, 2-1] vs. Miami Hurricanes (11-4, 1-1]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 • 9:00 PM • ESPN2 • Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium

By Randy Dunson

1. Snapshot


Duke (14-1, 2-1) returns home to play Miami (11-4, 1-1) Tuesday, January 13. Tipoff is set for 9:00 PM with Tom Hart (play-by-play), Len Elmore (analyst) and Fran Fraschilla (sideline) calling the action for ESPN2. The Blue Devils are 8-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season and have won the past 41 home games. Duke’s current 41-game home win streak is tied for the third-longest run in school and league history. The Blue Devils own the only four 40+ home win streaks in ACC history.

Duke enters the game ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 65-13 when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll. The Blue Devils have had a 20+ point scorer in 10 straight games. Jahlil Okafor has topped the 20-point mark in seven of the past 10 contests. Duke has won 19 straight ACC home games dating back to an 88-70 loss to North Carolina March 3, 2012.


Sunday’s game vs. No. 2 Duke is the second game of a stretch that sees Miami play three consecutive games with ranked opponents, all in an eight-day stretch. After playing at No. 3 Virginia on Wednesday, this is the first time since 1992 Miami has played two teams in a row ranked in the AP top 5. After playing Duke (RPI 5), NCSU will take on No. 18/17 UNC-Chapel Hill (RPI 21). Miami is currently No. 43 in the RPI with the No. 8 strength of schedule. The Pack currently owns three top-75 wins (Boise State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh) and can climb college basketball’s rankings with good showings in the upcoming games.

As the ACC has transformed in membership over the years, so too have traditional rivalries. Miami and Duke played each other twice each year from the 1923-24 season until 2005-06. In a series dating back to 1911, this season marks just the eighth time the two schools will meet just once in the regular season. Sunday’s game is the 240th edition of the Miami-Duke rivalry.


2. Team Seasons Thus Far

Duke Blue Devils

In its last outing, Duke suffered its first loss of the season Sunday falling to NC State, 87-75, at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack shot 55.0 percent (33-of-60) from the floor, including 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from three-point range. Jahlil Okafor recorded his fourth double-double of the year with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. He was 8-of-11 from the field and 7-of-11 from the foul line in the contest. Quinn Cook knocked down four three-point field goals and finished with 18 points, while Rasheed Sulaimon (11) and Justise Winslow (10) also scored in double figures. Duke shot a season-low 36.9 percent (24-of-65) from the field in the loss.

Game Notes

  • Duke started 14-1 during the 2008, 2007, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1998, and 1997 seasons (since 1996).
  • Duke set a season low for field goal percentage (36.9).
  • The Blue Devils have recorded more rebounds than their opponents for the past 12 games.
  • Jahlil Okafor accounted for 30.6 percent of the team’s points.
  • Jahlil Okafor accounted for 30.7 percent of the team’s rebounds.
  • Jahlil Okafor has led the team in scoring eight times and in rebounding 10 times in 15 games this season.
  • Quinn Cook has six straight double-digit point games.
  • This marks the seventh 20-point game of Jahlil Okafor’s career.
  • Jahlil Okafor has 15 straight double-digit point games.
  • Jahlil Okafor recorded a double-double. It was the fourth of his career.
  • Justise Winslow has four straight double-digit point games.
  • This was the first foul out of the season for Justise Winslow.
  • Rasheed Sulaimon has three straight double-digit point games.

Overall, several notable highlights, trends, and highlights continue to emerge as the season progresses:

Team Highlights

  • Duke has lost back-to-back games in a season twice since the start of the 2009-10 season and is 26-2 following a loss during that span.
  • Duke has outrebounded its opponent in 14 of 15 games on the year and owns a +7.9 rebound margin. Michigan State is the only team to outrebound the Blue Devils this season.
  • Duke is averaging 92.2 points per game while shooting 55.9 percent from the field, including 65.2 percent on its two-point field goal attempts, in eight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have a +32.5 scoring margin in those contests.
  • Duke has not lost at Cameron Indoor Stadium following a road loss since falling to Florida State, 68-67, Feb. 4, 2007.

Individual Player Highlights

  • Freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, and Justise Winslow have started all 15 games for the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 50 times at Duke, including 27 times during the 1982-83 season. The trio combines to average 41.3 points, 17.6 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game.
  • Jahlil Okafor has scored 20 or more points in seven of the past 10 games and is averaging 20.9 points on 73.0 percent (81-of-111) shooting from the field in that span.
  • Justise Winslow is averaging 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game over the past four contests. He has scored in double figures in all four games, including a season-high 20 points in the win over Wake Forest.
  • Quinn Cook is averaging a career-high 14.6 points per game while also posting career bests in field goal percentage (.468), three-point field goals (2.6 3PG), three-point percentage (.394), and free throw percentage (.970). He has scored in double figures 14 times on the year.
  • Okafor has the highest field goal percentage (.684) in the NCAA among players attempting seven or more shots per game. Okafor has shot over 70.0 percent from the field in nine of Duke’s 15 games.
  • A freshman has led the Blue Devils in scoring in 12 of 15 games. Okafor has paced the offensive attack eight times, while Jones and Winslow have each led Duke in scoring two times. The rookie trio has also accounted for 10 of Duke’s 11 20-point games on the year (Okafor 7, Jones 2, and Winslow 1).
  • Quinn Cook has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the past 25 games. He is shooting 40.7 percent (61-of-150) from behind the arc in that stretch. Cook is third in the ACC in three-point field goals (2.6 3PG) and sixth in three-point percentage (.394) this season.
  • Okafor (58) and Amile Jefferson (44) have combined for 102 of Duke’s 184 offensive rebounds. Okafor is tied for ACC lead with 3.87 ORPG, while Jefferson ranks seventh at 2.93 ORPG.
  • Okafor has been outstanding at Cameron Indoor Stadium averaging 23.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game. He is 77-of-101 (.762) from the field at home and has made seven or more field goals in all eight contests.
  • Rasheed Sulaimon has scored in double figures in all three ACC games. He is averaging 10.7 points, while shooting 60.0 percent (6-of-10) from three-point range in league play.
  • Okafor has scored in double figures in 15 straight games, the fourth-longest double digit scoring streak by a freshman at Duke. Johnny Dawkins holds the top mark after scoring 10 or more points in the first 23 games of his career.


In its last outing on Wednesday, January. 7, Miami took on No. 3 Virginia and lost to the Cavaliers 61-51 in conference play. The Hurricanes are still looking for their first win over an AP-Ranked team this season (0-2). The Hurricanes got a team-high 14 points and three rebounds from Ralston Turner. Kyle Washington got a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. For the Cavaliers, Justin Anderson finished with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Game Notes

  • Miami (FL) started 11-4 during the 2010 and 1998 seasons (since 1996).
  • The Hurricanes have won three close games this season (a win by five or fewer points). Since 2009, Miami (FL) is 27-33 in close games.
  • Miami (FL) has won every game this season (9-0) when its field goal percentage has been 45.1 percent or better.
  • The Hurricanes have won 83 percent of the time this season (5-1) after recording five or more blocks.
  • Miami (FL) has won every game this season (6-0) when opponents record 56 or fewer total points.
  • Miami (FL) has won every game this season (7-0) after holding an opponent to under 40.4 percent field goal percentage.
  • This season Miami (FL) has won 78 percent of the time (7-2) when Sheldon McClellan has five field goals made or more and 100 percent of the time (4-0) when Tonye Jekiri has three blocks or more.
  • Miami (FL) set season lows for three-pointers (5) and turnovers (5).
  • This is the ninth game at home this season–Miami (FL) has a 7.6 average scoring margin against opponents at home.
  • Tonye Jekiri recorded a team season high in defensive rebounds with 14.
  • The top two scorers (Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri) accounted for 50.0 percent of the points.
  • Tonye Jekiri accounted for 45.4 percent of the team’s rebounds.
  • Angel Rodriguez has led the team in scoring in seven out of 15 games this season.
  • Tonye Jekiri has led the team in rebounding in 13 out of 15 games this season.
  • Sheldon McClellan has 12 straight double-digit point games.
  • Tonye Jekiri recorded the 10th double-digit rebound game of his career.
  • Tonye Jekiri recorded a double-double. It was his second this season and third of his career.
  • Tonye Jekiri had a career high with 14 defensive rebounds.
  • Angel Rodriguez has four straight double-digit point games.

Overall, several notable highlights, trends, and highlights continue to emerge as the season progresses:

Team Highlights

Canes Face Three Top 15 Teams in Four Games

  • Over a 21-day span, Miami will face three teams ranked in the Top 15 and two receiving votes.
  • The Canes started with No. 3 Virginia, a double-overtime loss on January 3.
  • After defeating unranked Boston College, UM hits the road to play at No. 4 Duke (January 13) and at No. 12 Notre Dame (January 17).
  • Miami then faces RV NC State (January 22) and play at RV Syracuse (January 24).

Canes on the Road

  • Despite playing six games away from the BankUnited Center, Miami has played only two true road games so far: at Florida and at Charlotte.

Miami in Road ACC Openers

  • Miami is 3-7 in ACC road openers since joining the league in 2004-05, with a 2-5 mark against ranked teams.
  • Last season in UM’s road ACC opener, the Canes lost to No. 2/2 Syracuse by five points, and lost by one to No. 21/23 Virginia in Coach L’s first year at Miami.

Breaking Down the Stats

  • Through 15 games, Miami is 11-4 overall, 6-3 at home, and 5-1 away from the BankUnited Center (2-0 on the road and 3-1 at neutral sites).

Player Highlights

Rodriguez at His Best Against the Best

  • In Miami’s two games against Top 10 teams – No. 3 Virginia and No. 8/7 Florida, junior guard Angel Rodriguez has put on a show, averaging 24.5 points and 5.0 assists.
  • Against Florida, he scored 22 of his 24 points in the final nine minutes, draining five second-half three-pointers to help Miami earn the win.
  • The junior scored 17 points in the second half against the Cavaliers, knocking down three clutch free throws with 0.9 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. In the two overtimes combined, he scored six points, including 4-4 at the line, and dished out three assists, accounting for 13 of Miami’s 17 overtime points.

What a Difference a Year Makes

  • Miami’s only two returners, Manu Lecomte and Tonye Jekiri, have drastically improved their stats from a season ago.
  • The chart below shows 2014-15 overall stats and 2013-14 overall stats.


Lecomte-14-15 26.5 46.7 42.2 86.7 1.6 28 0 9 9.3
Lecomte-13-14 28 42.5 39.7 77.8 2.1 77 1 21 7.7
Jekiri-14-15 29.7 52.9 0 69.4 9.9 28 26 8 7.8
Jekiri-13-14 21.4 45.6 0 58.1 5.5 22 29 21 4.2

Jekiri Controlling the Boards

  • Junior forward Tonye Jekiri is controlling the boards for Miami, averaging 9.9 through 15 games. Jekiri tied his career high of 13 against Drexel, then set his new mark of 16 the next night, against Akron.
  • Jekiri has secured 8+ rebounds in 12 of 15 games this season. Jekiri also has 26 blocks and 28 assists for the Canes.

Bench Points Key For The Hurricanes

  • T he Hurricanes have recorded 18+ points off the bench in 11 of 15 games this season, led by 34 against South Alabama.
  • After only eight against Providence, the bench players scored 28 against Charleston and 29 vs. Virginia.

3. Head-to-Head

UM is 4-17 in the all-time series against Duke, which dates back to the 1962-63 season. The Canes are 3-7 at home against the Blue Devils, 1-8 on the road and 0-2 at neutral sites. Duke has won the last two matchups with Miami.

Since the arrival of Jim Larrañaga at Miami, the Hurricanes have posted a 2-2 mark against Duke, earning two of UM’s four all-time wins against the Blue Devils.

Miami has outscored Duke 290-283 in those four games. The Canes have made 44.7 percent (106-237) of their shots while the Blue Devils have hit only 39.5 percent (98-248). From distance, Miami is 24-73 (32.9%) and Duke is 32-102 (31.4%). The Canes have out-rebounded Duke 165-153 and scored more points in the paint (128-114).
In the two games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Miami has outscored Duke 154-153. Unranked Miami defeated the No. 7/5 Blue Devils 78-74 in overtime in 2012, and fell 79-76 to No. 3/3 Duke in 2013, when Miami was ranked No. 6/7. In those two games, there were 22 lead changes and 15 times the score was tied..

In terms of a few key offensive and defensive statistical parameters, Although Duke’s stats have decreased/increased (where appropriate) since beginning ACC play, they still have an edge over Miami in all categories, which give the Blue Devils a significant statistical edge head-to-head.


Duke 2014-15 Regular Season Key Stats Comparison Miami
83.8 (+21.1) PPG (Scoring Margin) 69.8 (+8.4)
62.7 Opponents PPG 61.4
57.4 Effective FG% 52.1
50.7 FG% 44.7
42.2 Opponent FG% 40.5
37.8 3PT FG% 36.3
28.9 Opponent 3PT FG% 33.1
38.0 (+7.9) RPG (Rebound Margin) 35.7 (+0.4)
30.1 Opponent RPG 35.3
16.4 APG 13.9
8.0 SPG 5.9
11.1 (+2.5) Turnovers Per Game (Margin) 10.4 (+1.1)
13.7 Opponent TOPG 11.5
4.1 BPG 3.7


4. Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here,]

Miami-Duke 4Fs

Duke holds a significant edge in all of the factors but one. When looking at eFG%, it is 57.4% to 52.1%. In offensive rebounding, the edge is 37.6% vs. 29.6%. When it comes to getting to the free throw line, Duke once again has a large edge (43.9% vs. 32.6%). In terms of handling the ball, Miami squeaks by at 16.3% vs. 16.4%.

5. Key Points to Consider

First, a few points regarding both team’s overall profile at this point:


  • Makes the most of its possessions
  • Hard to score against
  • Commits few fouls


  • Methodical on offense
  • Two main scorers (McClellan/Rodriguez)
  • Stingy defense
  • Highly efficient attack
  • Commits few fouls

Now, a few key points to consider (refer to the Endgame). These may often carry over to future games but keys specific to a current opponent will always be mentioned.

  • Freshmen response to a loss
    • We found out just how young is during the loss to State
    • This game, though at home, will give us a look at their resiliency
  • Effective bench production…AGAIN!
    • What would the outcome had been if at least 10 more points had come from the bench?
    • Why does it seem that Rasheed Sulaimon is the only effective bench player on the team?

6. Endgame

I should have went with my gut in my preview of the State game, as though I always want Duke to win, I know their history at PNC Arena against State did not bode well. Duke has been highly ranked in games there before but somehow State usually finds a way to get into Duke players’ heads.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack handed the Duke Blue Devils their first loss of the season on Sunday, beating them 87-75 as near double-digit underdogs, and now we will get to see how Duke responds to adversity as they look to rebound against the Miami Hurricanes.

Miami coach Jim Larranaga was not sure of the last time Duke lost consecutive ACC regular-season games. It turns out that has not happened in nearly six seasons. That only adds to the difficulty of Tuesday night’s challenge for the Hurricanes as they look to snap the fourth-ranked Blue Devils’ NCAA-best 41-game home win streak.

The Hurricanes had a very strong start to their season as did Duke, winning eight straight, but have since struggled with a 3-4 record. Miami is, however, coming off a win having beaten Boston College 60-56 on Saturday. Guard Angel Rodriguez ( 17 points ) and center Tonye Jekiri ( 13 points and 15 rebounds ) led the way in that win.

Rodriguez is second on the team in scoring on the year with 14.6 PPG, behind fellow guard Sheldon McClellan ( 15.4 PPG ). Jekiri’s production, on the other hand, was even better than normal as he is averaging a solid 7.8 PPG though he does lead the team with 9.9 RPG. Overall, production from Jekiri is crucial for guard-led Miami against Okafor and a team like Duke.

Miami is coming off a win but Duke is playing at home where they have yet to lose a game and are averaging a staggering 92.2 PPG. In addition, the Blue Devils boast a clear statistical edge with 83.8 PPG and 21.1 point differential compared to just 8.4 for Miami.

However, Miami will face an uphill battle against a Duke team looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season. The Blue Devils are one of the best offenses in college basketball, and the Hurricanes’ defense is not equipped to handle Okafor and Amile Jefferson on the inside.

Miami’s best chance of pulling an upset would be a combined 40 or more points from Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan and an off night for Quinn Cook. I expect Duke to win this one easily, with the usual up and down moments when playing three freshmen 90% of the game.

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