Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the Louisville Cardinals

Brian HoraceGame Previews, PreviewsLeave a Comment

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Febraury 12, 9:00PM
KFC YUM! Center
ESPN

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The Series So Far:

Overall: 16th meeting; Duke leads, 9-6
In Durham: Duke leads, 3-1
In Louisville: Louisville leads, 3-2
At neutral sites: Duke leads, 4-2
Current streak: Duke, W2
Coach K vs. Louisville: 5-6

Media Info:

TV: ESPN (Rece Davis/Jimmy Dykes/Brooke Weisbrod)
Internet: WatchESPN
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network (David Shumate/John Roth)
National Radio: Compass (Wayne Larrivee/Doug Gottlieb)
Sirius/XM: 133 / 193 (Duke broadcast)

Tuesday night the Blue Devils travel to Louisville, Kentucky to face a dangerous and hungry Cardinals team. The Cardinals are nipping at the heels of the upper echelon of the ACC with an 8-3 record - a game behind UVA and UNC, and 2 games behind the Blue Devils. The Cardinals and their packline defense will try to slow down the potent Duke offensive attack much in the way the Virginia Cavaliers did. Forcing the Blue Devils to beat them over the top seems to be the prevailing sentiment in most scouting reports. I would be surprised if they didn't also implement some zone to try to knock the Devils for a loop. Duke has had a few issues recognizing the zone initially and it could cost Duke some efficiency on offense if they do not adjust quickly to what could be a few changes defensively.

The Cardinals are currently 8-3 in the ACC and 17 and 7 overall and have beaten the likes of UNC (in the Dean Dome), and Michigan State. They've played a tough schedule facing Tennessee, Kentucky, Marquette, Indiana and Seton Hall in the non-conference. Their last time out they Cardinals lost to Florida State in overtime in Tallahassee. They are second in the conference in free throw shooting percentage, first in defensive rebounding (3rd in rebounding overall), 2nd in assists and 4th in 3 point shooting in at 38% in conference. Chris Mack starts 2 grad transfers, a redshirt junior and 2 sophomores. Coach Mack scoured the market for transfer talent to jumpstart his program and seems to have brought in the perfect mix of age and talent to build his program quickly.

Louisville is led in scoring my Jordan Nwora, a 6'7 versatile forward who averages 17.6 points and also a team leading 7.6 rebounds per game. Guard Christen Cunningham leads the team in assists at 4.7 per game to go along with his 10.7 points per contest. The Cardinals also boast 6 players who score 8 points or better on the roster.

The Blue Devils are in the midst of a 7 game winning streak, the last game being a 10 point win over top 5 Virginia on the road. This toughest stretch of the season for Coach K's squad has already having played UVA, Louisville tonight, followed by NC State, UNC, a rematch against the Orange at Syracuse and Virginia Tech on the road.

The Blue Devils are led in scoring by a pair of freshmen in R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson. Barrett is averaging 23.1 points per game, and 7.2 rebounds - he is also averaging 3.7 assists per game. Zion Williamson is right behind Barrett, averaging 21.8 points per game, he is also Duke's leading rebounder at 9.2 points per game. Williamson is shooting 68.4% from the field. Tre Jones is the leading assist man for the Devils, averaging 5.6 assists per game and only 1.2 turnovers. Jones is also averaging 8.7 points. Cam Reddish added 13.6 points as the 3rd double figure scorer for the Blue Devils starting lineup.

Duke tops in the ACC and the nation in blocked shots and 4th in the nation in steals. Duke is also 1st in the conference in 2 point field goal percentage.

Duke will look to get force the Cardinals into turnovers. In their last 3 losses the Cardinals are averaging 17.3 turnovers. If Duke can get into transition it can go along way towards neutralizing the packline defense along with hitting open 3s.

DUKE 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
32%
Louisville 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
36.5%
DUKE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
48.9%
Louisville SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
45.7%
DUKE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
67.7%
Louisville FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
76.7%
Duke PPG
86.8
Louisville PPG
78.6

Duke Probable Starters

  • G Tre Jones 6'2, 183lbs
  • F R.J. Barrett 6'7, 202lbs
  • F Cam Reddish 6'8, 218lbs
  • F┬áZion Williamson 6'7, 285lbs
  • C Marques Bolden 6'11, 250lbs

Louisville Probable Starters

  • G Christen Cunningham, 6'2, 190lbs
  • G Khan Fore, 6'0, 185lbs 
  • F Dwayne Sutton, 6'5, 215lbs
  • F Jordan Nwora, 6'7, 225lbs
  • C Malik Williams, 6'11, 245lbs

ACC Standings as of February 11, 2019

2018-19 Men's Basketball Standings
Conf CPct. Overall Pct. Streak
9-1 0.900 21-2 0.913 W7
9-2 0.818 21-2 0.913 W1
9-2 0.818 19-5 0.792 L1
8-3 0.727 17-7 0.708 L1
8-3 0.727 17-7 0.708 W1
7-4 0.636 18-5 0.783 L2
6-4 0.600 18-5 0.783 W5
5-5 0.500 15-8 0.652 W4
5-6 0.455 17-7 0.708 W1
3-8 0.273 13-11 0.542 W1
3-8 0.273 11-13 0.458 L5
2-8 0.200 11-11 0.500 L4
2-8 0.200 9-13 0.409 W1
2-9 0.182 12-12 0.500 L7
2-9 0.182 10-13 0.435 L1

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