Duke and NC State play Monday night at 7 PM on ESPN. Duke recently beat Miami Saturday night in Durham by mixing up lineups in the second half. Jeff Capel started Frank Jackson, Matt Jones instead of Grayson Allen, and Luke Kennard resulting in a 22-1 run to start the second half.
Duke has a quick turnaround to be ready for Monday night’s game aginst NC State. What are some things Duke has done to find success this season? Luke Kennard has been steady offensively averaging 19.7 PPG while shooting 52% from the field as well as 44% from three. In addition to Kennard, offensively Duke likes to push the pace with a drive and kick strategy. Teams struggle to slow down this attack because of Duke’s well-rounded perimeter players.
Defensively, the Blue Devils play an intense man to man defense, featuring heavy ball pressure. Their defense and rebounding took a hit with Amile Jefferson missing games with a foot injury; however, he returned aginst Miami and played 34 minutes grabbing 12 rebounds. Jefferson’s presence on the court is a must for Duke, as he gives them experience, leadership, and toughness.
Jeff Capel decided to put his mark on this team while they await Coach K’s return by mixing up lineups. He was non-committal in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game. Duke has a combination of youth, talent, and experience that few teams in the NCAA have. It will be interesting to see what combinations Capel puts together aginst the Wolfpack.
This season has been a test riddled with controversy, adversity, and injuries. Grayson Allen has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Coach K has missed several weeks due to back surgery. Only four games has Duke had a full compliment of players due to injury and suspensions. These issues have hindered their growth, putting them behind where many thought this team would be at this point in the season.
After all of the adversity, this team looks to be getting back on track after a strong second half showing at home over Miami. They got back to their trademark hard-nosed defense that fuels their offense. The Blue Devils decided in the second half they were not going to lose anymore. Monday night Duke will be ready to build upon the second half where they forced turnovers and shot 66% from the field. Game time is at 7 o’clock with coverage on ESPN.