by Duke Hoop
Posted: 2/2/2013 9:48:32 AM
It wasn’t pretty, but Duke was able to secure their first road ACC win of the season against Wake Forest. Offensively, Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry were outstanding and the two senior leaders were able to pull the game out. On the other hand the Duke defense wasn’t very good; luckily Wake Forest made a lot of unforced errors.
The Duke defense has struggled big time since Ryan Kelly left the lineup with his foot injury. The most glaring weakness has been too many uncontested lay-ups. Quinn Cook has done a terrific job pressuring the ball this season, but he has struggled with guarding ball screens. Seth Curry is an underrated off ball defender and actually does a terrific job against opposing guards who don’t like to play off the dribble a whole lot. Where Curry struggles is guarding perimeter players that are both quick and are good ball handlers. Rasheed Sulaimon was excellent earlier in the season on the defensive end of the floor and it seems his struggles offensively have affected his play defensively. Mason Plumlee has never been a great defender, but he has been worse since Kelly went down. Truth be told Ryan Kelly was Duke’s best on ball defender as well as easily the team’s best off ball defender. Going forward without Kelly the teams Duke will struggle guarding are going to be the ones that like to drive the ball to the basket and use a lot of ball screens.
Duke’s next opponent is the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles have struggled so far this season and are in desperate need of a marquee win to get back into the NCAA Tournament dissuasion. The biggest problem for the Seminoles has been consistency. This is a very young basketball team and only Michael Snaer and Okaro White have proven they deserve consistent minutes. Some of the holes on this years Florida State team are poor defensive rebounding, too many turnovers, and they foul too much. Duke is just an average offensive rebounding team, but Amile Jefferson has emerged as a good offensive rebounder, averaging over 6 offensive rebounds per/40 minutes since Ryan Kelly went down. If Duke is engaged defensively they surely can take advantage of Florida State’s sloppiness with the ball. Duke is an average team from the free throw line, especially when Mason Plumlee is taking a ton of attempts and Amile Jefferson has replaced Ryan Kelly. Florida State’s best strengths are they get to the free throw line and shoot the three well. Duke normally does a good job of defending against the three and keeping their opponents off of the free throw line. This match up shapes up pretty good for the Blue Devils, but this is still a team adjusting to playing without Ryan Kelly and hasn’t looked very good on the road.
PG #5 Montay Brandon Fr.
Brandon is huge for a point guard at 6’7”, 215. Brandon isn’t a true point guard; he only has 8 assists in his last five games. Brandon really doesn’t shoot the ball all that much either. He only averages 4.8 points per game. What Brandon does bring is length and athleticism on the defensive end of the floor. He held Marcus Paige to 2-9 shooting and 5 turnovers and Shane Larkin to 2-9 and 3 turnovers. Quinn Cook must take care of the ball and look for others not his own shot.
SG #21 Michael Snaer Sr.
Duke fans should know Snaer by know; he’s been around the block a couple of times. Snaer is an excellent defender and three point shooter. It is important to make Snaer put the ball on the floor and force him to take a challenged two. Snaer really only scores the ball on threes or at the free throw line, 10 out of his 14.2 points per game come from there. Rasheed Sulaimon needs to be discipline against Snaer, can’t fall for his shot fakes and can’t get lost on down screens.
WG #31 Terry Whisnant So.
Whisnant is in the game for offense. He is a big time shooter and lucky for Duke that is great match up for Seth Curry. Curry normally does a good job against shooters who are similar in size.
PF #5 Okaro White Jr.
White is a small forward having to play the power forward spot. This contributes a lot to Florida State’s rebounding problems. While White isn’t much of a rebounder he is an excellent scorer. White is a threat as a shooter and driver, making him a very, very tough cover. Amile Jefferson has the most important match up of the game. Jefferson has to keep White off the scoreboard and attack him on the glass.
C #11 Kiel Turpin Jr.
Center is the weakest position on the roster by far. Turpin is just not a very good player. He has some offensive game, but is virtually non existent on the glass and fouls way too much. Mason Plumlee could be in line for another 30 point performance.
G #30 Ian Miller Jr.
Miller has a ton of talent and the hope was for him to take over the point guard position, but Miller just isn’t cut out to be a point. Miller is below-average at every facet of the game other than scoring the ball, but he even struggles with that because of his shot selection. Hopefully he doesn’t come out of his season long funk for this game.
C #15 Boris Bojanovsky Fr.
Bojanovsky is really tall and really long, but not much of a basketball player right now. By the time he is done at Florida State he may be something special, just not right now.
PG #1 Devin Bookert Fr.
Bookert is a much better offensive point guard than Brandon, but Brandon is a much better defensive player and that’s why Brandon is starting and playing the bulk of the minutes.
G #25 Aaron Thomas Fr.
Thomas is similar to Miller, he is on the floor to score the ball, but isn’t all that efficient at it.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
The keys for the Duke defense is limit free throws and three pointers for the Seminoles. If after the game you see that FloridaState made less than 15 free throws, less than 6 threes and White has less than 14 points Duke most likely won the game comfortably. 15-20 points from the line, 6-8 threes, White scoring 14-18 and it could go either way and if it’s anymore than that then the Devils are most likely going to be flying home unhappy. Offensively Duke needs to get the ball to Mason Plumlee and attack the offensive glass. Duke does the job defensively and Plumlee scores 20 plus and I think Duke fans will be very happy with the result. Rasheed Sulaimon is a guy that could have a big game with Brandon and Snaer taking out Cook and Curry this gives Sulaimon opportunities against FloridaState’s weaker defenders
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: DUKE: 75 FLORIDA STATE: 67
By Ray Horn
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