The Duke men’s basketball team finds itself in territory that the program hasn’t been in since the 60’s – unranked with fellow Blue-Blood teams (UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky & North Carolina) and looking for wins way past desperate measures. After losing a close game Saturday night against rival UNC, Duke buried their big dance hopes even further. Today’s matchup against Coach K’s protege’ Mike Brey and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is a must win at all costs game.
Duke stands 7-7 on the season, including just 5-5 in conference play – the most losses this early in the season since 1995. This is not December 16th when Duke went to South Bend and beat the Irish pretty comfortably, 75-65. If Duke has improved is the question that remains to be seen. With several different lineups since the first matchup, some of the same problems still exist, including:
- Can Duke guard the perimeter where the Irish shoot almost 40 percent as a team?
- Can the Blue Devils guard without fouling? Duke found itself with eight plus team fouls against UNC with about nine minutes left in the second half, which affected how aggressive they could play defense.
- Can Duke finish the game with all of their players? Jalen Johnson or Matthew Hurt have fouled out in two of the last three Duke losses. The Blue Devils’ most consistent play-makers in short shot clock possessions. Duke goes where Hurt or Johnson goes.
How many times, do we have to discuss the importance of not turning the ball over which affects the psyche of our floor generals. Seven turnovers between three-point guards is unacceptable, including 15 as a team and 18 team fouls. Small things have heavy implications in ACC basketball. The last two games (Miami, UNC) have come down to the final 3 possessions, which resulted in two losses for Duke.
As Coach K always states, there are no moral victories for his ball club. Either you get it or you don’t. Duke is struggling and needs wins fast if they have any hopes of competing in March.
In the last game against the Irish, Matthew Hurt got everything he wanted, when he wanted – shooting nearly 50 percent and leading Duke players with 18 points. Consequently, Dane Goodwin shot 10-12 from the field for 25 points, including 4-6 from downtown. Jeremy Roach, Jordan Goldwire and D.J. Steward will have to chase him off the 3 point line, forcing him to create offense off the dribble. Expect Goldwire to have defensive assignments on Prentiss Hubb, who has assisted or scored at least 50 percent for the Fighting Irish over the last 5 games.
How to watch & Listen
View live at 4:30 PM ACC Network
Listen on the Blue Devils radio network IMG