Duke vs Syracuse Preview
SATURDAY, FEB. 26, 2022 | CARRIER DOME ARENA | SYRACUSE, NY | 6 PM ET
Overall Duke leads, 12-6
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 5-2 (5-2 at Cameron Indoor)
In Syracuse, NY Duke leads, 3-2 (3-2 at Carrier Dome)
Last Meeting Duke 79, Syracuse 59 (1/22/22 @ Duke)
Coach K vs. Syracuse 11-5 (11-5 at Duke)
Last 10 Games (Streak) Duke, 7-3 (Duke, 5W)
Duke vs Syracuse:
Looking to maintain the hold on sole possession of first place in the ACC standings, No. 7 Duke puts its five-game winning streak on the line Saturday night vs. Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Saturday’s game is just the 19th all-time meeting between Duke and Syracuse, with the Blue Devils leading 12-6. Duke has won five straight in the series and has claimed eight of the 12 regular-season meetings since Syracuse joined the ACC.
Syracuse is 15-13 overall, 9-8 in the ACC and has won two of three. The Orange are scoring 77.0 points per game, paced by the ACC’s second leading scorer Buddy Boeheim (19.0 ppg), who has hit a team-leading 75 three-pointers. Buddy’s brother Jimmy is the team’s second leading scorer at 13.9 points, while Joseph Girard III has made 74 three-pointers and shooting .418 from downtown. Girard leads the ACC in three-point accuracy (.418) and in free throw shooting (.897), is fourth in the ACC in assists (4.3) and sixth in steals (1.71).
The Blue Devils have won five straight overall and the team’s six-game road winning streak is the longest active by a power conference team. In program history, Duke has had only five ACC road winning streaks longer than the current six-game streak. Leading the ACC in both field goal defense (.407) and three-point defense (.301), the Blue Devils have allowed opponents to shoot .289 from three-point range since Jan. 1 — the second best three-point defense by a power conference team in that span. Duke is 29th nationally this season in defending the three-point line (.301), 45th in field goal defense (.407), 11th in blocked shots (5.6) and seventh in scoring margin (+14.4) — leads ACC in each category.
Paolo Banchero leads a quintet of double-figure scorers for the Blue Devils. Banchero scores at a 16.6 per game clip and also leads the Blue Devils in rebounding at 8.3 per game. Junior Wendell Moore Jr. leads the Blue Devils in assists at 4.,5 per game to go along with his 13.5 points. Trevor Keels, Mark Williams and AJ Griffin round out the double-figure scorers. Freshman AJ Griffin, who scored 10 of Duke’s 13 points in the final 3:39 at Virginia, is averaging 16.2 points and shooting 37-of-70 (.529) from the field and 18-of-32 (.563) from three-point range over Duke’s six-game road winning streak. Griffin is the team’s second-leading scorer on the road this season (14.1) and shooting a team-best 23-of-41 (.561) from three on the road. Sophomore Mark Williams is the nation’s only player shooting better than .700 from the field and .700 at the free throw line (min. 100 FG attempts). His 68 dunks are the fourth most in a season at Duke. A finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, Williams leads the ACC and ranks 10th nationally in blocked shots (2.93).
Last Time Out
Four different Blue Devils each scored 15 points, including freshman AJ Griffin who was 5-of-9 from three-point range — in Duke’s 79-59 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 22. The Blue Devils had 25 assists in the earlier meeting and limited the Orange to just 5-of-29 from three-point range.
Duke vs Syracuse: Keys to the Game
It will be interesting to see how this young team responds after a grueling game with Virginia. Syracuse utilizing their 2-3 zone is most effective when they have long athletes, this season they have not had that and the results have yielded an up and down season.
Offensively both teams are capable of filling it up and for the Blue Devils along with taking care of the basketball, getting good shots out of the Syracuse zone is crucial. Whoever Coach K chooses to put in the middle of the zone has to be aggressive and make the right read, making the defense react and have to make quick decisions will go along away as will moving the ball, especially reversing it and going inside to out. In addition offensively, getting shots early to middle of the shot clock will put less shot pressure on the shooters. Patience and precision is the key. Duke has the advantage of being able to put several different players in the middle of the zone all of which are able to hit the mid-range shot, pass the ball effectively and make a strong dribble to get to the basket.
Defensively Duke should be able to guard the Cuse effectively but it will all start with pressuring the perimeter, making it hard for Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim to get to their spots in their first meeting Syracuse was held to 35% shooting and 17% from 3. For the Duke bigs, rebounding will be important – last time out the Blue Devils out rebounded the Orange 45-35.
I asked Jon Scheyer if it was an advantage or disadvantage at this point in the season to play teams with varying styles back to back like Virginia and Syracuse:
“I don’t know if it’s an advantage or a disadvantage. They’re a very different team offensively, and then defensively, just like Virginia, they want to keep you out of their paint. I think the one thing that’s helpful is you need to really work together to score. Scoring doesn’t come easy against Virginia, obviously, and then scoring doesn’t come easy against Syracuse. I thought it was one of the best passing games we had when we played them, so carrying that over will be key. Then defensively, we’re going to have to make some adjustments with their three-point shooting and they have some different threats on the floor. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to come ready to play and figure out a way to win.”
DUKE VS SYRACUSE
OVERALL STAT COMPARISON
DUKE VS SYRACUSE
CONFERENCE STAT COMPARISON
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
DUKE VS SYRACUSE
Duke Blue Devils
G Trevor Keels 6’4, 221lbs – Freshman
G / F Wendell Moore 6’5, 213lbs – Junior
F AJ Griffin 6’6, 222lbs – Freshman
F Paolo Banchero 6’10, 250lbs – Freshman
C Mark Williams 7’1, 242lbs – Sophomore
G Joseph Girard III 6’1, 190lbs – Junior
G Buddy Boeheim 6’6, 205lbs – Senior
F Jimmy Boeheim 6’8, 225lbs – Graduate Student
F Cole Swider 6’9, 220lbs – Senior
C Frank Anselem 6’10, 215lbs – Sophomore