When NC State takes on Duke at Cameron this Thursday night beating them is not going to be an easy task. The #4 ranked Blue Devils do a lot of things well and can beat you with their guards or with their bigs.
But Duke isn’t perfect. This is a semi-flawed team that makes up for their deficiencies by playing harder than most teams in the nation. So how can you write the blue print for beating a team that only has a 4 losses all season? Study those losses and look for trends. We did that and are here to report our findings.
First off, we threw out the Duke vs. #2 Ohio State loss because we felt that Ohio State could do things that NC State is not capable of and has players that do not really compare to the Pack’s players (ie. Jared Sullinger). When we looked at that game we didn’t there there was a lot to learn from that one, so we moved on to the other 3.
Duke– 47.5% fg, 29reb, 16 TO, Plumlees combine 33 pts, 43% from 3
Temple – 56% fg, 30reb, 17 TO, Wyatt (G) had 22pts
Duke did not play bad in this game. They shot almost 50%, shot above average from long range, but the one thing they didn’t do was to get their guards going. Temple didn’t allow Rivers and Curry to get off and that ended up hurting Duke as they had to rely on the Plumlees (who played well) and that’s not their game. Temple played great, so it’s not so much what Duke didn’t do as it was what Temple did do. The key to beating Duke is to completely take away one aspect of their attack because they’re not good enough in any area to make up for it. For instance, Temple took away the Duke guards in this one and Plumlee and company couldn’t make up the difference.
What NC State should take away from this one: Take smart shots. Temple won by shooting 56% from the field and they did this by exploiting Duke’s lack of quickness at the guard spot. Curry’s foot speed isn’t the greatest and Rivers hasn’t completely learned how to defend yet. This should give the advantage to Lorenzo Brown who needs to have a big game if State is going to win. We also see that Duke didn’t get great guard play here. State needs to try to take away Curry and frustrate Rivers. That’s not going to be too easy since guarding the perimeter is one of State’s weaknesses.
Duke – 40% fg, 29 reb, 10 TO, 45 points from Curry/Dawkins/Rivers , 44% from 3
FSU – 54% fg, 28 reb, 12 TO, 4 players in double figures (Dulkys with only 12)
Duke fell victim to very good defense in this one. FSU did what Temple did and took away one aspect of Duke’s game, in this case it was their bigs. The Plumlees were basically useless on offense in this one and Duke got 45 points from their guards. This, like Temple, was a close rebounding battle, so that didn’t decide much. If you look at the box score you can see that FSU attack from all angles and their longer, quicker bigs gave Duke trouble. 4 FSU players were in double figures.
What NC State should take away from this one: For one, you can see that Duke does have the ability to slow down a sharp-shooter. FSU’s Dulkys was red hot coming in, having just poured over 30 on UNC, but Duke held him in check and only allowed him 12 points. Take note Scott Wood, things aren’t going to come easy. However, it was Dulkys presence that took Duke’s attention off of other players who ended up killing them. This means that guys like CJ Williams, Lorenzo Brown and Calvin Leslie are going to need to have big games if State’s going to win.
Duke – 38% fg, 40 reb, 11 TO, 42 points from Rivers/Curry, 29% from 3
Miami– 42% fg, 42 reb, 11 TO, 42 points from Kadji /Johnson (bigs)
Miami got Duke on a good night in this one. The Devils were playing flat and couldn’t buy a 3 ball, but they kept shooting them. Once again it was the Duke guards carrying them, but it wasn’t enough because Miami completely shut down the Plumlees inside (combining for 8 points). Miami also scored in the paint using Kadji and the big Reggie Johnson to combine for 42 points.
What NC State should take away from this one: If your bigs can dominate you can win. Richard Howell and Calvin Leslie will need to bring their ‘A’ games if they want to beat Duke. Leslie will need to exploit the poor foot speed of Ryan Kelly and Howell will need to look to get the Plumlees in foul trouble with pump fakes and drives from the high post. NC State can not fall in love with the jumper, because if you do that you’re asking for trouble.
There aren’t many solid patters in the Duke losses and that’s pretty typical when you look at a top 10 ranked team. Teams that good don’t usually have obvious flaws, but if there is something you can learn form these games it’s that if you need to have a gameplan to take a piece of Duke’s game away from them. Recently the Duke guards have been lights out with Rivers starting to get comfortable and Curry continuing to score at a high level, but Duke still hasn’t gotten to the point where their bigs are consistent night in and night out and that’s what the Pack needs to take advantage of. Leslie is going to be big in the middle. He’s going to need to be an enforcer in the paint because Duke’s going to try to get their bigs off early. The Plumlees love to get going by getting easy buckets off of drives by Curry and Rivers… Brown, Wood and Williams can’t let this happen or State will be in for a long night.
State can’t get rattled at Cameron like they did at the Dean Dome. The Pack looked shell shocked and basically played one on one the entire night against Carolina. If that happens against Duke things will get messy. State needs to play smart and focused on every possession. They need to know how to play every screen and not allow Rivers to get off. They need to completely shut down the Plumlees inside and they’ll need to spread their offense out and and take advantage of Duke’s overplays.
If the Wolfpack can learn from Duke’s prior losses and play their game with focus and poise they can give the Blue Devils their 2nd home loss in their last four games.