Scouting report: No. 7 Duke
Game info: 9 a.m. Saturday at Madison Square Garden (19,763 capacity)
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle and Clark Kellogg)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski is 835-226 at Duke76-36 in his 32nd season with the Blue Devils. He is 908-285 in 37 years.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in the 12-team ACC by media.
Series: Duke leads 3-1.
Last meeting: Washington couldn’t overcome 27 turnovers and fell 74-64 at then-No. 12 Duke on Dec. 23, 1989. Dion Brown led the Huskies with 13 points, Mark West had 12, Brent Merritt 11 and Doug Meekins 10. UW led 48-47 with 14:53 remaining. The Huskies trailed 65-60 when Mike Hayward fouled out with 7:50 left followed by Brown with 4:02 left, which helped seal the win for Duke. Christian Laettner led Duke with 19 points and Phil Henderson scored 18.
Previous game: Duke beat Colorado State 87-64 on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Freshman guard Austin Rivers was selected the ACC preseason Rookie of the Year receiving 57 of 59 votes. His father is Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers the Boston Celtics coach and former NBA player. Rivers is nothing like his dad. He’s better. Possibly much better. Rivers has a nasty cross-over dribble, quick first step and a strong desire to get to the rim. He’s not much of a play maker and has just as many turnovers (20) as assists (20). Rivers shoots 42.4 percent on three-pointers and 65.4 percent at the line. He’s led the team in scoring in five of the last six contests.
— Junior forward Mason Plumlee (above, right) has four double doubles this season and he’s one of the most efficient players in the nation. He’s shooting 64.7 percent from the field while attempting just 7.6 shots per game. Among Duke’s starters, he’s the lone inside presence for Duke, averaging 9.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Plumlee likes to receive the ball on the low post and sweeps across the lane for a short, running hook shot. He has experienced and started 32 games last season. He tallied a career-high 25 points last season against Marquette. Plumlee has brothers on the team. Miles is a backup senior forward and serviceable big man. Marshall is a freshman forward who is redshirting this season.
— One of the best shooters in the nation is junior guard Seth Curry perhaps because shooting is in his blood. Just like his dad Dell and brother Stephon – both NBA players – Curry is deadly from long range. He’s made 18 of 39 three-pointers (46.2 percent) and has sank a three-point shot in every game this season. He’s more effective as a spot-up shooter than off the dribble. Curry is one of three co-captains and was selected to the preseason all-ACC team.
— Andre Dawkins’ tweaked his back Wednesday and his status for Saturday is uncertain. He benched in the previous game for the first time this season and tallied 15 points in 12 minutes. Dawkins is an amazing scorer. His career high is 26 points.
— Last season Duke compiled a 32-5 record, won the ACC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16. The Blue Devils lost freshman guard Kyrie Irving, who was taken No. 1 in the NBA draft, Nolan Smith, the ACC Player of the Year, all-conference guard Kyle Singler.
— With so many stars on the court, junior co-captain forward Ryan Kelly gets overlooked. Duke is 15-0 he scores 10 or more points. Kelly is a big man who floats to the arc and stretches the defense with his perimeter shooting. He was named the Maui Classic MVP.
— Sophomore Tyler Thornton started in place of Dawkins on Wednesday, which helped the Blue Devils offensively because the junior is a pass-first point guard. However, he’s not much of a scorer and at 6 feet 1 inches, he’s also not much of a rebounder.
— Duke is 63-20 under Kryzyzewski against non-conference opponents on a neutral setting.
— Krzyzewski was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year on Monday becoming the third college men’s basketball coach to earn the honor. He is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with 908 career victories. He passed mentor Bob Knight with a 74-69 win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15, 2011.
— Five different Blue Devil players have led the team in scoring.
— Duke has a reputation of being a perimeter-oriented team, but it averages 26.9 free throw attempts per game. Washington averages 21 trips to the line.
F – Ryan Kelly, 6-11, 230, Jr., 12.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg.
F – Mason Plumlee, 6-10, 235, Jr., 12.2, 9.8
G – Austin Rivers, 6-4, 200, Fr., 15.6, 2.3
G – Seth Curry, 6-2, 180, Jr., 13.1, 3.3 apg.
G – Tyler Thornton, 6-1, 195, So., 3.2, 1.7 apg.
— It doesn’t get any better than the individual battles in the back court between Washington and Duke. The Huskies have a height advantage, but the Blue Devils can flood the floor with three guards who shoot better than 42 percent on three-pointers. It will be interesting to see who Duke puts on Terrence Ross. At 6 foot 6, he’ll be able to shoot over the defense in the post or on the perimeter. He should also have no problems punishing Duke on the glass. If Dawkins is healthy, he may draw the assignment on Ross because he’s the biggest of Duke’s guards. Rivers could pair against Tony Wroten Jr. in a battle of freshmen with similar skills. Curry may be assigned to C.J. Wilcox, which leaves Thornton to take Abdul Gaddy.
Photo credit: Getty Images – Patrick McDermott