Duke needs to STEAL to EAT:
For this team that is built on running and taking advantage of the opponent misses and miscues Duke will need to increase the number of steals it produces. Steal to eat.
Coach K mentioned the pathetic numbers in relation to steals and turnovers after the Vermont game. Pressuring the ball handler up the floor is supposed to be a strength of Duke this year and it has been at times but against a team like Vermont (a veteran team) it did not manifest itself into the turnover numbers Duke needs to get its offense running. The offense seems to stagnate at times in the half-court so perhaps running sets can offset this issue. Duke needs to be versatile enough to score points when teams are slowing them down or find a way to force those live ball turnovers, hopefully not at the cost of good defensive position.
If you look at the points off of turnover differential in close games you can see that it is crucial for Duke to limit their turnovers and turnover their opponents at a much higher clip.
Points off turnovers-VER 6,DU 7.
Points off turnovers-ECU 8,DU 6.
Points off turnovers-KU 15,DU 16.
In the ZONE:
Clearly there will be a narrative this year of teams going zone on Duke, most often the 2-3 zone. Duke hopefully has managed more practice against it since the last game against Vermont because it’s only going to get tougher from here. Duke with a consistent mid-range shooter should be able to beat the zone with a shot from there or a pass into the post once the first pass goes into the middle of the zone. Seems the perfect area for Hood to flourish. It should open up more open looks for Andre Dawkins, Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook. Duke will need to shoot well but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Duke will have to either improve its help side defense or go zone, and since I don’t see a zone in Duke’s future. Duke will have to do better on close-outs and team defense as a whole. Communication is critical in man-to-man defense and Duke has done a poor job of being vocal at that end of the floor. Duke truly needs to work on being in the right place on defense. Without a rim protector to rely on keeping opponents in front is crucial. “The best man to man defense looks like a zone”
Not yet, at least on on the court yet. There are flashes but this team is a work in progress. It takes time and repetition to know your teammates backward and forward and Duke isn’t quite there yet. I’ve seen flashes of it but I think we will learn a lot about this team in the next couple of games. This is a completely different team and set of ideals and process than we saw last year, the senior leaders on last years team were the main defenders and scorers, this year that isn’t the case. Duke isn’t depending on upperclassmen for the bulk of its work. The Duke seniors aren’t starters this year so there is still going to be an adjustment period and those growing pains are evident and coachable. Do they progress or regress? I’m thinking the former.
By the numbers:
Some statistical comparisons between Duke and Bama going into tonights games.