I expect the guards from Ohio State to put pressure on the Duke guards, and keep them off of the three point arc. Duke will have to take care of the ball and expect sophomore guard Aaron Craft to be in waiting if they do not, Craft averages 3.5 steals per game. Austin Rivers especially will have to be aware and keep the turnovers to a minimum, valuing the ball should be his mantra.
I expect Ohio State to try to bottle up Seth Curry and stagnate the Duke offense. There were signs of this against Kansas, I’m sure via former Dukie Greg Paulus, this was shown and emphasized in film review.
I expect Duke to try to run offense, make the extra pass to try to fee up shooters but still run when possible.
Ohio State isn’t overly impressive from three and if Duke can get a solid presence down low with Mason Plumlee then things might open up some from beyond the arc, this may be Dukes lone advantage. If Duke is unable to get off from three then the mid-range game is going to have to rule, controlled drives to the basket, pull ups from 10-15 feet. This may be Ryan Kellys type of game if he can stay on the court. Hopefully his defensive shortcomings aren’t exposed and he can be a matchup problem for O State.
Jared Sullinger is a weapon and I look to Duke to go at him early, try to pick up a couple of fouls on him. Duke will need to make him defend, try to wear him out on the defensive end, throw different looks and players at him on offense and be physical. Ohio State is at home in this one so whether that strategy will pay off or nor is questionable.
Senior guard William Buford is the second leading scorer averaging nearly 18 a game and it’s safe to say he will be in attack mode, the only true deep threat for Ohio State, he also at 6’6 can get to the basket against the smaller Devil guards, Duke will have to watch for his drives, classic Duke overplay may create easy buckets inside for Sullinger.
Its going to be Dukes first real true road test, and composure is going to be key.
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