Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the Syracuse Orange

Brian HoraceGame Previews, General InformationLeave a Comment


Duke (28-7)


Syracuse (23-13)

When: March 23 | 9:30 PM (ET)
Where: CenturyLink Center - Omaha, NE

Watch Live: CBS

Duke enters their sweet 16 matchup against Syracuse Friday night seemingly healthy and on a roll. These teams did meet just about a month ago in Cameron and even though Duke won the game handily, offensively they struggled shooting the ball. Duke won the game 60-44 in the battle of the 2-3 zones. It was also the battle of inept offenses with Duke only shooting 11% from 3 point range hitting on only 2 of 18 and the Orange shooting 6 of 25 for 24%. Where Duke did find success is going overtop and behind the zone. Lobs to Wendell Carter Jr., Marques Bolden and Marvin Bagley III were there throughout the game for Duke. Bagley and Carter scored 19 and 16 points respectively and for Duke if the 3's aren't falling finding ways to score for the Duke bigs will be crucial. If Duke is able to bust the zone from behind the arc then the game should come to the Devils a lot easier. Just as important as Duke's offense is their defense - Duke in game one were able to keep a lid on Syracuse's best offensive talents in Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett - who combined for 18 points. I expect a lot more from Oshae Brissett than 6 points in this second game. Duke was able to turn the freshman over 6 times in the first matchup. Brissett is averaging 17.6 in the tournament so far which is above his 14.9 scoring average.

Conversely, Duke will need much better from their senior leader Grayson Allen who did have 6 assists in the game, was horrendous from beyond the arc going 0-6 in the game. Also in the game one matchup Duke got a solid productive 12 minutes from sophomore Marques Bolden who scored 7 points and pulled down 6 rebounds.

Syracuse has been a defensive juggernaut in the tournament so far holding their opponents to an average of 28 points under their scoring averages. The game becomes a Syracuse lean if the Orange can muck it up and keep it a slow grind. Duke will have to keep turnovers to a minimum which has been an issue for this team and also the Devils will need to rebound the ball well.

Projected Starting Lineups:


F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval



C Paschal Chukwu
F Marek Dolezaj
F Oshae Brissett
G Franklin Howard
G Tyus Battle

  • Making its 26th appearance in the Sweet 16, second-seeded Duke battles 11th-seeded Syracuse Friday in the semifinals of the Midwest Region.
  • Duke is 110-36 (.753) in the NCAA Tournament, which is No. 1 all-time in winning percentage and No. 3 in wins.
  • The Blue Devils’ 26 Sweet 16 appearances are second-most while its 16 appearances since 1998 are the most.
  • Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has led Duke to the Sweet 16 for the 24th time, a record number of bids by a coach. Coach K’s 93 tournament wins are also the most.
  • Freshman Marvin Bagley III, who scored 22 points in each game last week in Pittsburgh, leads the ACC in scoring (21.2) and rebounding (11.3). He is aiming to be the 13th player in ACC history (and first freshman) to lead in both.
  • Syracuse are 23-13 this season and advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over Arizona State (60-56 in the First Four), TCU (57-52) and Michigan State (55-53).
  • The Orange are led in scoring by Tyus Battle who averages 19.3 points per game. Battle (38:58), Frank Howard (38:25) and Oshea Brissett (38:05) are first, second and sixth in the country in minutes per game.
  • Duke is 6-5 all-time against Syracuse and it will be the third NCAA Tournament meeting between the two schools. The Blue Devils bounced the Orange 91-81 in the 1966 East Regional Semifinal in Raleigh and 80-67 in the 1998 South Regional Semifinal in St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • The two teams met Feb. 24 in Durham, with Duke winning 60-44 behind 19 points from Bagley III and 16 from Wendell Carter, Jr. 
Duke FG Percentage
Syracuse FG Percentage
Duke 3pt Percentage
Syracuse 3pt Percentage
Duke FT Percentage
Syracuse FT Percentage
Duke Scoring Average
Syracuse Scoring Average

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