The Duke Blue Devils, who are seeking their first win in two weeks (Jan.30-Clemson), hit the road to face the Wolf-pack of N.C. State in territory that hasn’t been kind to them recently. In fact, the pack blew out Duke last year inside PNC arena before the Blue Devils avenged their defeat at Cameron.
Duke is currently on a 3-game losing streak. Trying to get rid of that sour taste may be a burden for a Blue Devil team that just can’t seem to defend out of the 3-2 matchup zone, which Coach K hasn’t played since the Miami game. Moreover, Duke’s man-to-man defense has been ineffective.
Mike Brey and company consistently ran a double-high ball screen during their 93-89 win Tuesday evening. Duke could not defend it. Whether it was communicating on defense or not finding the open man off the switch, Notre Dame got what they wanted, when it wanted. Quite frankly, even without Devon Daniels (N.C. State’s leading scorer and playmaker who is out for the season after suffering an ACL injury against Wake Forest), the Blue Devils could lose this game. Duke’s flaw in their 3 straight losses has been keeping guards out the lane. Guard penetration and the inability to guard the perimeter has been a flaw all season long – a trend that’s been unusual for a Coach K led team.
Where the Wolf-Pack could expose Duke?
N.C. State’s D.J. Funderburk, when healthy, has been a complete rim-stopper in the paint, averaging nearly 3 blocks a game and enforcing his will on the defensive end. Duke has no legit threat in the paint area, which could make them one-dimensional unless Mark Williams continues to pick up more minutes when his number is called.
Crafty and flashy
Freshman guard, Shakeel Moore has put teams on notice in ACC play with his aggressiveness and will to get into the lane at anytime. With a chip on his shoulder – being passed on in recruiting from the Blue-bloods – don’t think Moore wouldn’t like to torch the Blue-Devils alongside fellow freshman guard Cam Hayes, whose known to disrupt tempo and has the ability to defend with tenacious full court defense. During the 3-game losing streak Duke has turned the ball over 41 times – a recipe for disaster Saturday at N.C. State.
If Duke looks to save face and attempt at making a run, giving the selection committee a look at making a play-in game, they have to start defending. The offense is not the issue. The defense couldn’t stop a running nose right now. That’s the big problem in Durham.
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