Duke (14-4, 3-2) – University of Miami (10-7, 2-3) Preview
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace
January 22, 201
Duke travels to Coral Gables, FL to take on Miami in the BankUnited Center on Wednesday, January 22. Currently, the Blue Devils are ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll and No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Duke is 7-4 all-time when ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll. Duke is looking for its first ACC road win of the season after dropping previous away games at Notre Dame (79-77) and Clemson (72-59). Duke is 3-4 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. They routed NC State 95-60 last Saturday for their fifth game scoring at least 90 points this season. Duke leads the ACC and ranks 19th nationally with 82.6 PPG.
After playing man-to-man defense 95 percent of the time in his first 40 years of coaching, Coach Jim Larrañaga’s team is now playing zone 95 percent of the game. With the zone, Miami has held its last 11 opponents to less than 70 points, and only two teams overall this season have scored more than 70 points on the Canes (80-Georgia Southern, 71-George Washington). Prior to the game against Florida State, UM held five-straight opponents to fewer than 60 points.
Team Seasons Thus Far
In its last outing on January 18, Miami limited Georgia Tech to 13 made shots on 29% shooting from the field, suffocating the Yellow Jackets and earning an important ACC road win, 56-42. Freshman Manu Lecomte scored a career-high 16 points; Donnavan Kirk added 14 points and Miami used its tight zone defense to beat Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes showed why it ranks ninth in average points allowed, causing Georgia Tech to miss 27 of its first 35 shots from the field. Trae Golden finished with 12 points for the Yellow Jackets (10-8, 1-4), who used an eight-man rotation following injuries or sickness suffered by Robert Carter Jr., Jason Morris and Solomon Poole. Rion Brown, a native of Hinesville, Ga., had 12 points for Miami, which finished with just four assists, but most of their baskets came off the dribble. The Canes have a pivotal stretch in ACC play at home, first facing No. 18 Duke and No. 2 Syracuse before traveling to College Park to take on Maryland.
UM is the only ACC team with no returning starters. Additionally, Miami lost its six top players, who started 174 combined games. Senior guard Rion Brown is the only Hurricane to start any games (6) last season, so the Canes return 6-of-180 starts, which is 3.3 percent. Miami returns 13.3 percent of points scored (9.3 PPG), 14.2 percent of rebounds (5.1 RPG), and 1.0 percent of assists (1.1 per game), all the lowest in the ACC. Other than Brown (14.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 6.4 RPG), the Canes usual starters include two graduate students in guard Garrius Adams (9.8 PPG, 2.8 APG) and forward Donovan Kirk (9.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG). Other regular contributors are junior forward James Kelly (4.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG), freshman guard Manu Lecomte (7.5 PPG, 2.7 APG), and freshman guard Davon Reed (7.2 PPG, 1.8 APG).
So far this season, some have labeled Miami as the ‘Cardiac Canes’ in that they lead all ACC schools having played eight games decided by five points-or-less or in overtime. UM has played four overtime games and four others that were decided in the final minutes. Miami is 1-3 in overtime this season and 2-2 in close games that ended in regulation: wins at Cal State Fullerton and vs. Arizona, and losses to UCF and at Syracuse. The Canes have faced a grinding schedule thus far. Four of Miami’s first six games of the new year are against teams listed in national polls. After playing at No. 2 Syracuse on January 4 (44-49), Miami traveled to North Carolina on January 8 (63-57). Then a January 15 home game against in-state rival Florida State (53-63) was followed by a game at Georgia Tech on January 18 (56-42). The Canes now return home to face No. 18 Duke on Wednesday followed by No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.
Duke Blue Devils
Duke topped 90 points for the fifth time this season with its 95-60 rout of NC State on January 19. All of Duke’s 90-plus-point games this season have come in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The 95 points are Duke’s most against an ACC opponent since Duke last faced NC State, which was a 98-85 victory on February 7, 2013. Duke’s defense kept harassing North Carolina State’s ball handlers, forcing the Wolfpack into an endless series of turnovers that helped the 23rd-ranked Blue Devils cruise to a dominating home win. Freshman Jabari Parker had 23 points and Duke scored 33 points off turnovers in the win, a performance coach Mike Krzyzewski said was the team’s best effort of the season. Rasheed Sulaimon added 13 points for the Blue Devils, who led by 13 points at halftime and by 37 afterward to keep the Wolfpack winless at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995. Krzyzewski stayed with his deeper rotation with 10 players playing at least 10 minutes (a rotation pattern that was long overdue in this writer’s [RD] opinion). That helped lead to plenty of balance, with Rodney Hood and Andre Dawkins each scoring 11 and Cook with 10. Amile Jefferson led Duke in rebounding for the seventh time in the past 10 games, hauling in multiple offensive rebounds for the ninth straight game. Jefferson leads Duke with 42 offensive rebounds this season. With former President George H.W. Bush in attendance in Duke’s famed home arena, Duke shot 50 percent and went 11 for 24 from 3-point range to earn its most lopsided win against its Triangle rival in a dozen years. NC State (11-7, 1-4) shot 48 percent but committed 21 turnovers to undermine any chance at building momentum.
Coach K is two wins shy of becoming the second coach in NCAA Division I history to record 900 wins at one school. Already the NCAA Division I all-time leader with 971 wins, he trails only Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (936) for the most wins at one school. Duke has lost back-to-back road games to the same ACC opponent just once since the 2003-04 season when Wake Forest defeated the Blue Devils in back-to-back meetings at Lawrence Joel Coliseum on February 17, 2008 (86-73) and January 28, 2009 (68-70). Rodney Hood leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.517 – 107-of-207) and three-point field goal percentage (.457 – 37-of-81). Hood is the only player in the country to lead his conference in both of those categories. He has hit a three-pointer in 15 consecutive games and has at least one trey in 17 of 18 games this season. Duke has at least one 20-point scorer in 17 of 18 games this season. Jabari Parker has a team-high 11 20-point games, followed by Hood (8, plus one 30-point game), Quinn Cook (3), Rasheed Sulaimon (2), and Andre Dawkins (1). Reigning ACC Player of the Week Rasheed Sulaimon is Duke’s leading scorer off the bench, averaging 10.4 points per game when not in the starting lineup. Six of his seven double-figure scoring games this season have come from the bench. Amile Jefferson is third in ACC play with 9.6 rebounds per game. He has led the team in rebounds in four of Duke’s five league games with a pair of double-figure efforts. Jefferson recorded a career-best 15 boards versus Virginia. Cook has a 3.03:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and is averaging an ACC-leading 5.7 APG. His 3.03:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is on pace to tie the school record set by Steve Wojciechowski in 1996-97.
Miami (UM) is 4-16 in the all-time series against Duke, which dates back to the 1962-63 season, but 2-1 since the arrival of Coach Jim Larrañaga. The Canes are 3-6 against the Blue Devils at home, 0-2 at neutral sites and 1-8 on the road. Duke won the last matchup against Miami, defeating the Canes, 79-76, on March 2, 2013 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. UM won the previous two meetings, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2012 and in Coral Gables in 2013, a 90-63 rout of the then No. 1 ranked Blue Devils.
When we look at the four factors to winning, Duke has the edge in three of the four. The Blue Devils edge out the Canes in the following: shooting (eFG% of 56.3 vs. 47.4), ball handling (TO% of 14.1 vs. 17.7), and shooting free throws (FT Rate of 41.6% vs. 31.2%). Miami has a slight edge in offensive rebounding (OR% of 32.6 vs. 30.3).
As has been the case for the year thus far, Duke has an edge in one significant area, scoring, where the Blue Devils have the upper hand over the Hurricanes, 82.6 points per game to 62.4 points per game. Duke will hope to exploit their strengths, which include eFG% at 56.3 and TO% at 14.1. However, Miami’s stifling defense has held its opponents to just 58.5 PPG.
Duke will need to continue to do what it has been doing. Duke needs to get good shots and when shots aren’t falling they need to crash those boards. If they are able to recycle possessions they can very easily put pressure on Miami both offensively and defensively. Miami will have to pace itself against a Duke team that will want to push tempo, Miami will need to be very deliberate and not let Duke play the way it wants to play.
If Duke is winning the rebounding battle or at least the offensive rebounding battle against Miami then it should bode well in all other stats for Duke who can score the ball at nearly every position. While Miami doesn’t have a double-digit re-bounder it does rebound pretty well as a team Duke will have its work cut out for them.
The edge in this game goes to Duke but not by much. Duke is a team with little margin for error, Miami could very easily give Duke fits as it did to Syracuse. Duke will need to put points on the board, they cannot leave points on the floor by missing foul shots or having a bad shooting night. Duke will also need to continue its current trend of pressure defense and second and third option scorers are going to be a must in this game. Miami will game to stop Jabari and or Rodney Hood, Duke will need Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Andre Dawkins to be at their best.