Pence's Quick Thoughts
Temple focuses on defensive rebounding, cutting down fastbreak opportunities, and stopping the 3 point shot. If they are successful in those 3 areas when they take on Duke in New Jersey on Saturday the Blue Devils may be in trouble. Duke is coming off of exam week and it can't be understated the toll that exams can have on a team. After the game, Duke will take another 8 days off before playing a few cupcakes prior to conference play starting. Dare I say ... trap game?
Just a season ago Duke lost a similar matchup with Temple 78-73 so the Blue Devils should have the motivation needed. In that game Duke's defense wasn't tough enough and Temple did whatever they wanted offensively making 58% of their 2 point shots and 50% of their 3 point attempts. This season Duke's defense is much better, but rebounding has been the big concern. The Blue Devils still rank around 250 in both offensive and defensive rebounding %'s.
This will be a physical and mental test on Saturday for the Blue Devils. If Duke were a younger team, I'd expect a loss in this one but Duke is an experienced team that should be able to gut out a win.
This is Duke's only game in a 17-day span. It appears to be the only potentially tough one for quite a bit longer than that.
Temple beat the Blue Devils last season and certainly could provide a challenge to the nation's second-ranked team Saturday in a matchup of unbeatens in East Rutherford, N.J.
"This will be a good one. We're gonna play an undefeated Temple team with three kids that really hurt us last year who are all back," coach Mike Krzyzewski told Duke's official website.
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Two of the nation’s dwindling number of unbeatens clash on Saturday in New Jersey’s Izod Center as the Duke Blue Devils try to avenge last season’s 5-point loss at the hands of the Temple Owls, a game in which Temple broke a nine game losing streak to Duke.
The Temple game last year was in many ways the canary in the coal mine for Duke, as the Owls exposed a number of significant weaknesses in Duke’s lineup and style of play, deficiencies that contributed heavily to the derailing of the Blue Devils’ season. It had been relatively easy to dismiss Duke’s only loss last season prior to Temple — at Ohio State — as a function of an extremely tired post-Maui team having to get back on the road to travel and play against a top 5 opponent led by an All-American post player. But there was no way to sugarcoat the Temple loss.
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