Opponent preview: What to know about Duke

first_imgSyracuse (13-8, 6-4 Atlantic Coast) lost its first game in three weeks on Tuesday night against Clemson. The defeat came after five-straight wins and SU will look to get back on track against No. 9 Duke (17-3, 7-2) at 8 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.Here’s what to know about the Blue Devils ahead of the matchup.All-time series: Duke leads, 9-6Last time they played: SU lost the rubber match to Duke, 84-72, in the second-round of the 2019 ACC tournament on March 14. Frank Howard posted a career-high 28 points, Buddy Boeheim added 15 and Oshae Brissett scored 14. Zion Williamson scored 29 points and didn’t miss a field goal. He capped a 7-0 second half run with a layup that pushed Duke ahead for good. The defeat left the Orange firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.The Duke report: As expected, head coach Mike Krzyzewksi leads one of the best teams in the nation — the second-best one, per KenPom. The Blue Devils are fourth and seventh in adjusted-offensive and -defensive efficiency, respectively, with no glaring weaknesses. They only get 32.4% of their makes from deep, but shoot the 3 ball at a 36.4% clip.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDuke’s losses, on average, have a five-point differential. After a historic non-conference loss to Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, Duke rattled off nine wins — including a 12-point victory over Michigan State. Back-to-back losses to Clemson and Louisville reset Duke’s season, but it has beaten Miami and Pittsburgh in the last week to solidify its stance atop the ACC standings. Vernon Carey and Tre Jones lead the Blue Devils, with Cassisus Stanley and Matthew Hurt providing depth. Carey, Duke’s perennial Wooden Award-nominee, averages 17.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. He’s also added 34 blocks. Carey represents the interior presence the Orange haven’t been able to guard all year. Jones also is Duke’s lead playmaker, with his 123 assists leading the team.Krzyzewksi has turned to a lineup of 6-foot-2 guard Jordan Goldwire, Jones, Carey, Stanley and Hurt most often through their last five games, per KenPom.How Syracuse beats the Blue Devils: Shoot the 3 and limit Carey. Surprisingly, SU’s winning streak didn’t feature many lights-out shooting performances. In its last five games, Syracuse hasn’t hit more than eight 3s in a single contest. Getting to the 3-point line might disrupt Duke’s 2-3 zone, or at the very least, keep up with a run-and-gun pace that ranks first in the conference. The Blue Devils also clog passing lanes and deny shots off passes, placing an importance on Joe Girard III’s and Hughes’ ball-handling.Defensively, an upset will start with preventing Carey from taking over like RJ Barrett did in the Carrier Dome last year. SU’s 2-3 zone should keep Jones and Duke’s shooters in check, but Carey’s playmaking can disrupt the Orange game plan. Syracuse’s also must hang in a rebounding battle that Duke usually wins decisively.Stat to know: 27% — Duke allows 27% of its opponent’s buckets to come from 3, fifth-lowest in Division-I.KenPom odds: The Orange have a 26% chance to win the game, with a final score prediction of 78-71 per KenPom.Player to watch: Matthew Hurt, No. 21, ForwardCarey and Jones are the stars, but Hurt has the opportunity to steal the show. The 6-foot-9 freshman leads the Blue Devils in 3s made (33) while shooting 42.3% from deep. The forward has attempted at least four deep balls in each of his last three games and a few conversions on Saturday night could threaten SU’s upset chances. Comments Published on January 30, 2020 at 12:10 am Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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