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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    MBB: Duke vs Syracuse (Mon Feb 22, 7pm ESPN) Pregame and Ingame Thread

    After a big win, there isnít much time to celebrate. We need to step right back up and get a win against another stylistic oddball.

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    Buddy Boeheim has to be a big focus, as he can really go off. Good news for Duke is that our 3FG defense has been really good lately.
    I can see Mark Williams having a big role in this game. He's a good passer, can hit the FT line jumper, but i'm unsure about his 1 or 2 dribble skills to get to the rim. Even if Mark doesn't score a lot, good passing out of the high post is an important part of beating the 'Cuse zone. His length in the post will be key on defense too.
    If Hurt can stay hot, his 3pt shooting will be key to beating the zone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukieInBrasil View Post
    good passing out of the high post is an important part of beating the 'Cuse zone.
    Agree with this - Brakefield may play an important role here

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Daddylawman View Post
    Agree with this - Brakefield may play an important role here
    it'll be interesting to see who Duke goes with to fill that role. I thought of Mark b/c he's had some really nice passes lately, like the assist to a cutting Wendell last night. I bet both Brake and Mark will fill that role frequently vs. Cuse. I'm guessing Hurt will probably do some of that too, maybe as a pick n pop play to screen and then go out to the 3pt line. Wendell might also be a good fit for that role. However, I am still totally ready for Duke to abandon the Wendell Moore as playmaker experiment. He remains a fairly effective player on offense when receiving the ball on the way to the rim, but is an overall negative when trying to drive from the 3pt line to create offense. He had 7 assists last night, which is great, but they were largely off of just flipping the ball back to Hurt who drained 3s, not from driving to create.
    It will be important for DJ and Roach to figure out how to attack the zone effectively, i can see them struggling to recognize what's a good shot while driving. Otoh, if they can hit a few 3s... Speaking of 3s, a nice comeback game for Joey would be nice.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2007
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    NC

    Scouting Report

    Not a lot of time to celebrate after a very important win. But we have to be right back in action against another bubble team in Syracuse. They will of course be looking to add a Q1 win to their resume over another bubble foe.

    The Cuse are a bit shorthanded this year, as they've been missing their starting center for basically the entire year. As a result, they are much smaller than usual, which has resulted in their usually stout defense being... not stout. They of course still play the 2-3 zone, but without the towering length at every spot their defense just isn't as effective as it has been in the past. Still, it's a stylistic changeup that we'll need to be ready for. Having said that, our 3pt shooting has been WAY better lately, which is a very useful tool against the 2-3. We're also a decent offensive rebounding team, and the 2-3 zone can struggle against preventing offensive rebounds. From that perspective, we have some nice attributes. But, the short turnaround after a big game will be tough for a young team. Hopefully we are ready.

    The Orange typically play a shorter rotation than most, and this year is no exception. Especially with the absence of their starting center, they play 6 guys major minutes and anyone else just fringe minutes. The 2-3 zone allows them to not commit fouls, and it results in plenty of blocked shots when teams go inside. They also force a decent amount of turnovers with their aggressive trapping along the sidelines out of the 2-3. Conversely, the zone means they do allow a lot of second-chance opportunities, as it's harder to find boxout assignments in a zone. They prevent dribble penetration well, but if you can pass into the soft spots of the zone and move the ball quickly, you can bend the defense and create easy looks. I'd look for Wendell Moore and Matthew Hurt to get a lot of time cutting to the free throw line to pick apart the zone. Both seem tailor-made to attack from that spot. The key will be patience and discipline. But realistically, we'll see a lot of opportunities for 3pt shots. The Cuse has allowed one of the highest attempt rates from 3 in D-1, although interestingly teams shoot a low percentage against them.

    On offense, the Orange have a balanced attack. All 5 starters score in double figures, with 3 guys topping 15 ppg. After a brutal start to the season, their 3pt shooting has improved a bit, but it's still a team shooting under their capabilities. They are an elite FT shooting team, a solid passing team, and they don't turn the ball over. It's a solid offense and mediocre defense.

    Centers: Bourama Sidibe (6'10", 220lb senior from Mali) was expected to man the middle this year, but he suffered a knee injury early in the season and hasn't yet returned. Sidibe is a good shotblocker and reasonably athletic, but really raw offensively. It's unclear if he'll return at all this year, and not much has been said about him in a few weeks, so no idea. Even if he's back though, I'd not expect starter's minutes for him. In his place, the Orange have slid Marek Dolezaj (6'10", 200lb senior from Slovakia) from PF to C. Dolezaj is VERY skinny, and not really suited to bang in the post. But he's helped a little by the 2-3 zone allowing bigs not to have to body up a ton. He's a decent athlete with a lot of length, and is kind of a quintessential frame of a 4 man in the 2-3. He's not a great shotblocker or rebounder, but he's scrappier than his frame would suggest. His offensive game has developed nicely over his 4 years, and he's become a very good passer for a big man to go with a terrific FT shooting stroke and very strong midrange game. He's a nice baseline lurker as well when given the opportunity and can slink his way into baskets around the rim. Assuming Sidibe doesn't play, Jesse Edwards (6'11", 215lb sophomore from the Netherlands) and John Bol Ajak (6'10", 215lb redshirt frosh from South Sudan) come in for spot minutes. Both are long-armed and skinny as is Boeheim's preference for his zone. Edwards has a decent midrange game whereas Ajak is really raw, and both can block shots. But really the Cuse just roll with the starters as much as possible.

    Forwards: Quincy Guerrier (6'7", 220lb sophomore from Canada) is the starting PF. Guerrier has made a big jump in performance from freshman to sophomore year, to the degree that he may be a threat to go pro. He's averaging 15 ppg, and has really expanded his game. More of a shotmaker than a pure shooter, Guerrier is hitting 32% from 3. He's a terrific athlete with excellent strength for his size, and is by far the Orange's best rebounder. He's not a great ballhandler, but can really punish closeouts and finish at the rim. His strength, athleticism, and tenacity allow him to play bigger than his size would suggest. Typically, the Cuse would play two forwards, but with the injuries and the lack of available centers, Guerrier and Dolezaj are playing up a spot and the Cuse start two wings and one forward instead of two forwards and one wing. Off the bench, the only used option at forward is Robert Braswell (6'7", 205lb redshirt sophomore), and that's a sparingly used option. Braswell has the requisite length to fit Boeheim's system and he has shooting range, but his skills haven't quite clicked. Mostly a floor spacer at this stage. Woody Newton (6'8", 200lb frosh) occasionally plays as well, but again it is sparingly at best. The Cuse have decided it's favorable to roll with Dolezaj and Guerrier and sprinkle in a center as needed rather than to rely heavily on backup forwards.

    Wings: When you think wings at Syracuse, you probably (or at least you should) think of long, athletic, 6'5"-6'7" guys with ranginess and athleticism who are capable of taking over a game offensively but aren't necessarily knockdown shooters. Well, that's pretty much exactly what Alan Griffin (6'5", 190lb junior transfer from Illinois) is. Griffin is the older brother of our uber-recruit AJ Griffin, and the son of former NBA player Adrian Griffin. Griffin has long arms and very good athleticism. He can score off the dribble or shooting from the midrange or from 3. He's streaky, but can really score when he's on. Griffin is also a strong rebounder for a wing, and a very good shotblocker for a wing (leading shotblocker for the Cuse). He's a better shooter than his 37% from 3 probably suggests, and is Syracuse's best all-around player. Griffin is capable of playing SG through PF if needed, and in some ways reminds of Wendell Moore (a bit better as a shooter, but not as good a ballhandler). Alongside Griffin is Buddy Boeheim (6'6", 195lb junior and son of the coach). Boeheim was essentially Joey Baker prior to this season: a shooting specialist who did next to nothing else. But this year he's worked hard on his ballhandling and is now a credible ballhandler as well. Shooting is still his calling card, and don't let his 34% 3pt shooting fool you. The guy is still capable of monster 3pt shooting displays. Boeheim is a below-average athlete, but his long arms and the zone provide enough cover for that and allow him to pick up some steals. He's not a rebounder at all, and doesn't draw fouls, but he can space the floor and pass it a little and doesn't turn it over much despite a more prominent ballhandling role this year. Behind those two is the only major minutes guy off the bench in Kadari Richmond (6'5", 180lb frosh from Brooklyn). Richmond is a combo guard who fits the Griffin mold a bit. He's quite capable off the dribble, and fearless. He isn't a great jumpshooter, and prefers to go all the way to the hoop if possible. He's the one guard/wing for Cuse who gets to the free throw line. Defensively, he fits right in with his length on the perimeter. Richmond also takes on the PG duties whenever their starting PG has to sit.

    Guards: Joe Girard (6'1", 195lb sophomore) is the Orange's only PG. Girard was a brief dalliance of Duke's on the recruiting trail, and it's not hard to see why. The kid can REALLY shoot it. Again, don't let the low 34% 3pt% this year fool you. Girard is a gunner. There isn't a shot he can't make, and he has no fear in taking them. Girard is more of a lead guard than a PG, and as such he isn't a pass first type of guy. He's not terribly athletic either, a truly below the rim guy who relies on guile to get his shots off. He's struggled with consistency his entire career, but when he gets rolling he can be a nightmare to defend.

    This feels like it might be a better matchup for Williams to contribute. The Cuse don't have a ton of explosiveness off the dribble, and their centers aren't great 3pt threats or off the dribble guys. So he should be able to handle high ball screens better in this matchup. And Cuse's zone offers some lob opportunities for him on the other end. I wouldn't expect more than the 15-20 minutes he's peaked at this season, but maybe more than the 8 he got last night. It's another good opportunity for Brakefield and Hurt to knock down 3s. If Moore can function as a facilitator from the FT line, there should be lots of open looks for our bigs. Goldwire and Roach will have to be better at their entry passes though than they have been recently, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Brakefield feeding from the perimeter to Moore on the FT line with a big lurking the baseline.

    We need the wins this week in our last two home games. Winning both over two bubble-ish teams would position us nicely just needing to take one of two on the road next week to feel good about our tourney chances. But it starts with tomorrow night. Losing that one puts a ton of pressure on us for the remainder of the season.

  6. #6
    This short turnaround is giving me bad vibes after the emotional high of defeating Virginia. Playing a game against a dramatically different style of team just 45 hours later is not ideal for a young team. That's the hand that has been dealt. There is no margin for error if Duke has hopes of making the NCAA Tournament based on its resume alone.

    I agree with CDu that we should expect to see more of Mark Williams in this matchup. Marek Dolezaj is a crafty player but doesn't shoot outside of the 10-15 feet. He has only attempted 2 3-point attempts all year. The other forward, Gurrier, does take and make a good share of jumpers but does most of his damage around the rim. Williams is going to have a great height and length advantage and won't have to worry about having to defend on the perimeter to the degree the UVA bigs required. Williams also offers that great lob threat from the baseline against the zone. He won't have to contend with that traditional Syracuse center, either. I remember Marques Bolden taking advantage of that baseline position against Syracuse a few years ago for both lob passes and then offensive rebounding opportunities. I'd like to see Henry Coleman play a similar role against Cuse, too. He's not as tall, obviously, but he's a tenacious rebounder and could be a log target as well.

    Hopefully we'll some contributions from Joey Baker in this one. His shooting has improved a ton since early in the season and could be a real weapon against the Syracuse zone. He and Brakefield could offer a lot to balance the scoring.

    I keep expecting DJ Steward to have a big brake out game, scoring 25-30 points. I didn't expect Casey Morsell to be as good of a defender against Steward as he was last night. Still, Steward found his spots late and nailed a couple of key shots to help the team win.

    Roach, I'm not sure how he matches up in this one. He's streaky as a shooter and does his best when he can attack inside the arc. He's really good at the pull-up midrange jumper, so that's something that could work. Still, the zone makes it hard to get dribble penetration in the halfcourt.

    Goldwire has been a bit up-and-down in games but can pick apart a even the best ball handlers when given the opportunity. Joe Girard can be a little sloppy with the ball. I expect we'll see more steals from Goldwire in this one. Hopefully he can make the entry pass to Moore and Hurt in the high post and then hit a couple of jumpers. Otherwise, I don't know what kind of offensive contribution he can provide in this one.

    Every game is a must-win from here on out. Duke needs this game, but so does Syracuse. Both are bubble teams. If Duke wins out, they will have a chance to move into the top 4 in the conference. For a conference that hopes to send 6 or 7 teams to the NCAA Tournament, that should be enough to secure an at-large big without outside help. Anything short of that, and things get dicey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Winston Salem, NC
    Thanks CDu for the Cuse update. Do you think Baker might get a few minutes agains the 2-3 zone? Joey has looked confident lately and might be a good weapon in this one.

    GoDuke!

  8. #8
    We get Cory Alexander for this one. Bleccchhhh.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by jv001 View Post
    Thanks CDu for the Cuse update. Do you think Baker might get a few minutes agains the 2-3 zone? Joey has looked confident lately and might be a good weapon in this one.

    GoDuke!
    He will probably get some time. If he is hitting 3s, he might top 10 minutes. If he is struggling to get shots, they will pull him.

    But yeah, the zone does provide an opportunity for Baker.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukieInBrasil View Post
    Buddy Boeheim has to be a big focus, as he can really go off.
    Saying his name and listening to announcers say it is also highly satisfying.
       

  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
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    Skinker-DeBaliviere, Saint Louis
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    We get Cory Alexander for this one. Bleccchhhh.

    I'll take him over refs Jay refs Bilas refs refs refs.
       

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    I'll take him over refs Jay refs Bilas refs refs refs.
    Just a straightforward disagreement, then. Bilas is also near the bottom of my preferred list of analysts. But I can stand Bilasís reffing every game compared to CAís name-dropping, bragging (ďI coached him in AAU ballĒ), I-this, I-that, and all-too-frequent inattentiveness to the action in favor of faux-friendly, snarky anecdotes. True, Bilas gets sidetracked, too, but he rejoins the action (to disagree with the refs) more quickly.

    Todayís Clemson-Pitt game has been postponed. Dan Bonner was the scheduled analyst. Maybe ESPN will make a substitution. Unlikely, I know. Bonnerís the best, CA the worst.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Bonner is fantastic. The older one gets the more one appreciates people who straight up just do their job. And Bonner has been doing exactly that for ~four decades.
       

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    Bonner is fantastic. The older one gets the more one appreciates people who straight up just do their job. And Bonner has been doing exactly that for ~four decades.
    Yes, absolutely my favorite. A true professional.

  15. #15
    Can Duke keep it rolling? Game preview:

    https://bluedevilstop.com/duke-vs-sy...-game-preview/

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    Just a straightforward disagreement, then. Bilas is also near the bottom of my preferred list of analysts. But I can stand Bilasís reffing every game compared to CAís name-dropping, bragging (ďI coached him in AAU ballĒ), I-this, I-that, and all-too-frequent inattentiveness to the action in favor of faux-friendly, snarky anecdotes. True, Bilas gets sidetracked, too, but he rejoins the action (to disagree with the refs) more quickly.

    Todayís Clemson-Pitt game has been postponed. Dan Bonner was the scheduled analyst. Maybe ESPN will make a substitution. Unlikely, I know. Bonnerís the best, CA the worst.
    I'm just glad Bilas isn't calling the game so the chat isn't full of complaints about Bilas.

    Honestly, I only listen the the announcers about a third of the time. I highly recommend it if it bothers you that much. Most folks here are sophisticated enough fans that you don't need the talking heads to tell you what's going on anyways.

    Dick Vitale on the other hand is so obnoxious I frequently go full mute.
       

  17. #17
    Early 5.5 point favs in Vegas.

  18. #18
    The Saturday/Monday two-day turnaround in the ACC seems to have been started in 2014 (or at least, we didn't have any such games on our schedule in 2013, 2012, or 2011, and I didn't check before that). Tomorrow's game against Syracuse will be the 20th two-day turnaround we've played in that time period (including one Sunday/Tuesday pair and one Tuesday/Thursday).

    FWIW, our record in the 2nd game has been 11-8 (57.9%), which is significantly worse than both our overall record in the period (210-61, 77.5%) and our conference record in the period (100-42, 70.4%). Our record when there is no plane trip involved (such as this game) is 3-4. The only such game we've played this season was the bad Monday night loss to Miami.

    Something to think about, anyway.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    I'll take him over refs Jay refs Bilas refs refs refs.
    Completely agree.
       

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    I'll take him over refs Jay refs Bilas refs refs refs.
    Had Jay muted Saturday and I'll have Corey muted tonight. They are non-essential.

    GoDuke!

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