When: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m.
Where: BankUnited Center
On Monday afternoon, the Duke Blue Devils recaptured its number one ranking in college basketball. After Duke’s loss to North Carolina State, the Blue Devil’s briefly lost their top ranking. The Miami Hurricanes are in first place of the ACC with an undefeated record. The Hurricanes have a one game lead over the Blue Devils, and they can earn a well respected win on Wednesday. Miami is looking for its sixth straight win.
While the game will have major ramifications in the conference race, both teams will be without key players. Duke’s Ryan Kelly is the third leading scorer and second leading rebounder, and he is also above 52 percent from three point range. Kelly creates matchup problems for opposing forwards, so his absence is creates an offensive void for Duke. Kelly will be missing his third straight game
Reggie Johnson has only played in seven games, but he is averaging a double-double. His loss will continue to hurt Miami’s rebounding effort. Even without Johnson, Miami has a couple of big men create havoc on the inside.
Offensively, Duke is averaging 78.7 points per game. Their four out and one in system creates open shots for the wing shooters, and plenty of room for Mason Plumlee to work in the post. Mason averages a very strong 17 points and 11.5 rebounds. His size and athleticism causes problems for smaller teams. Duke also has three other players averaging double figures in points. Seth Curry came back strong following the loss to North Carolina State. Curry needs to continue his hot shooting against Miami. While Quinn Cook has been respectable from behind the arc, he must concentrate on his ball handling duties, and getting his teammates involved.
Miami has not been a juggernaut offensively. They only average 67 points per game, and their assists are close to the bottom of college basketball. However, their defense has been spectacular for most of the season. They hold opponents to 58 points per game.
In Miami’s three losses, they averaged 52 points per game, and didn’t score more than 55 in any of them. Even though the Hurricanes have trouble scoring, they really take care of the ball offensively.
The team that imposes its tempo will have the upper hand. Duke will try to quicken the pace against the methodical Hurricanes. Miami will try to throw the ball inside and get dribble penetration against the Blue Devils.
Miami has the ability to upset the number one team on their home floor. For that to happen, Shane Larkin will have to outplay Quinn Cook in all facets. This game should come down to the last three minutes.
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