With the rematch against NC State coming to Cameron on Thursday, what does Duke have to do to secure the victory?
For starters Duke will need to shoot the ball much better. Duke cannot afford to shoot 30% from downtown as it did in the first game, for Duke to even get to 30% Seth Curry had to go 5 out of 10. Duke will need at very least decent games from Quinn Cook on the offensive end and also Rasheed Sulaimon.Â A balanced offensive attack will definitely take pressure off of Mason and force the NC State defense to play straight up, it’s been well documented the issues State has on defense and Duke should be able to punch enough holes to win.
Duke will also need to balance out the foul shooting, Duke is usually the king of this stat, but NC State had 20 made free throws to Duke’s 10, that’s an astounding disparity and one that Duke cannot afford to have repeat. If Duke can channel the Rasheed Sulaimon from earlier in the year, the Rasheed who had an inside and outside game, who was slashing and getting to the rim and putting pressure on the opposing teams defense and getting to the line, Duke as a great shot at winning this game.
Duke will also need to increase its assist numbers. Quinn Cook had 7 in game 1 but also had 4 turnovers, a bit much for the talented sophomore. No one else, sans Tyler Thorton who finished 1 and 0, had a positive assist to turnover ratio.
Do Not Let Howell Put In Work
Duke will have to keep Richard Howell from getting 18 rebounds, even though technically Duke won the rebounding battle against State, that stat is an aberration. Duke allowed Howell to muscle his way in and clean up the glass way too easily. Duke will need to put a body on Howell, perhaps multiple ones.
Making CJ stand for Complacent with Jumpshots
I don’t doubt that CJ Leslie can hit that midrange jumper, hell, he did in the first game against Duke, but I do doubt that he will be as dangerous to Duke pushed put of the lane settling for that shot. If Duke can make that happen I don’t see Leslie getting to near the number of free throw attempts he got last game nor the number of points. Amile Jefferson has shown that he has the length to bother Leslie and the craftiness to make him work on the defensive end as well. I see CJ getting a cheap foul or two going for rebounds over Jefferson, this will work to Dukes favor if it happens, limiting his aggressiveness.
Limit Lorenzo and Lewis
As of today it’s up in the air as to whether Lorenzo Brown plays in this game. I don’t think there is any way he sits this game out. Tyler Lewis did have a great showing replacing Brown but I would be beyond shocked with this much rest that Brown doesn’t get the start. Both guards are great at getting teammates involved and Duke will need to do what it’s done most of the year and limit the assist numbers of the opposing team. Perimeter defense is going to be an integral part of what Duke does. Look for Cook, Sulaimon and Thorton to be as aggressive as they have been all year against the guards of State. If the guards are the head of the monster Duke will need to cut it off, the rest of the body will fall.
I asked the question who or what would be the hero of this game and here are some Duke fan answers via twitter:
@dukeblogger Amile !!!
â€” Bermuda Bob (@TheBermudaBob) February 5, 2013
@dukeblogger Jefferson will need to be on floor longer than 12 minutes for Duke to win.More Hairston would not be good.
â€” Ryan Schave (@Schave29) February 5, 2013
@dukeblogger the Hero will be whoever (whether Josh, Amile, or MP3) comes into the game with the sole purpose of trying to box out Howell
â€” Brian Madison (@BMad_DC) February 5, 2013
@dukeblogger I’ll go out on a limb & pick MP2.
â€” Randy Dunson (@RandyDunson) February 5, 2013
@dukeblogger I think sheed comes out and has a huge game…open all game in Raleigh..he knocks 4/11 down 1st game we win
â€” Brad Turner (@turnertang) February 5, 2013
@dukeblogger Either way it has to be Sheed continuing his surge and Amile being solid. Everybody else has to meet expectations
â€” Will Kountis (@sitnuok) February 5, 2013