Game Info / How to Watch
When? Tuesday, 11/27/18 9:30 PM, Durham, NC
Vegas? Duke -14.5
KenPom Projection? Duke by 11, 82-71
Beaten up and beaten down, Indiana heads down to North Carolina with the unenviable task of taking on the juggernaut. Duke dropped its first game of the season, returned home from Hawaii, spent nearly a week practicing and now gets to exact some revenge on Indiana. Sound fun? FUN!
Onto the numbers
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|INDIANA (#23 adj. offense)||61.2 (4th)||20.6 (238th)||31.1 (114th)||39.1 (96th)|
|DUKE (#8 adj. defense)||44.8 (44th)||17.2 (260th)||30.6 (228th)||25.8 (35th)|
|DUKE (#2 adj. offense)||54.7 (58th)||14.5 (14th)||40.8 (5th)||37.0 (119th)|
|INDIANA (#28 adj. defense)||44.3 (33rd)||25.0 (16th)||25.3 (77th)||26.2 (43rd)|
While Indiana’s numbers look great, the next five games will determine how good this team is. Four of Indiana’s six opponents have but ranked #219 or worse in KenPom. The next five opponents are ranked #1, #46, #38, #58 and #26. We’ll know a lot more about how good this team is with the next three weeks.
What they’re great at now, though, is scoring inside the arc. Indiana is 4th in two-point percentage at 63.4. They’ve also been great at defending the three-point line, creating turnovers (let’s not talk about the other end of the court) and have solid free throw defense.
All of that will be tested unlike it has been or will be the rest of the year tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Quick, can you name the last time Duke lost a non-conference home game? Odds are you can’t because it’s been nearly two decades. February 26, 2000 is the last non-conference loss at home, that coming to St. John’s. Since then, Duke has won 141 consecutive non-conference home games. Now, criticize that as you wish (the Blue Devils really only have one home game a year they might lose in non-conference play and it’s usually the Big Ten/ACC challenge) but 141 consecutive is insane.
This Duke group doesn’t figure to be the one to break that streak. As far as machines go, this one is about as well-oiled as they come. With Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, there’s rarely a moment when Duke doesn’t have the three best players on the court and no instance when they don’t have the top two.
Williamson has drawn much of the attention due to the highlights he’s produced on both ends. Offensively, he’s a steam roller that flattens pretty much everything in front of him on the way to the rim. Physically, there’s never been a player like him. Despite being listed at 6’7” on the Duke roster, his offensive rebound percentage of 16.1 percent is top-40 in the nation.
Part of what makes Duke run so smoothly is that, unlike in years past, each player is willing to share the spotlight. While Williamson is likely the most talented player, he’s willing to allow Barrett to have the ball and dictate much of the offense. Barrett took lots of flack for the ending of the Gonzaga game after continually attacking the rim multiple series in a row, but its a good representation of what makes him talented. He’s a relentless attacker that will draw fouls at the rim.
Reddish, meanwhile, is happy being the third option on the team and excels in the role. A 43.2 percent three-point shooter, he will often spot up and knock down threes off drive and kicks from Williamson or Barrett. He’s the least assuming of the trio but the most efficient.
The key to making this Duke team run, though, is Tre Jones. The only true point guard on the roster, Jones has been magnificent at controlling the offense for Duke. While Barrett and Williamson can handle the ball and initiate the offense, neither have the point guard mentality Jones does.
The other big difference in this Duke team from year’s past is the depth. While the four freshman have the headlines, Duke has plenty of role pieces to fit around them depending on the match-up. Marques Bolden brings size and will likely see plenty of time on the court tonight against Indiana. Jack White will be one of the Sixth Man of the Year frontrunners this season while Javin DeLaurier and Alex O’Connell will see minutes each night.
Things to Watch
- Romeo Langford - Tonight will be one of the few times Duke won’t have the three best players on the floor. Langford has been great this season but Indiana will likely need him to be spectacular or make spectacular plays in order to win tonight.
- Staying out of foul trouble - Duke is relentless at attacking the rim between Williamson and Barrett. Indiana has no depth right now and can’t afford to commit fouls.
- Make Duke beat you from range - There really is no way to -stop- Duke this season. Gonzaga found the closest answer and still needed plenty to break their way down the stretch. Their formula, though, is the one to use as they sat back, packed the paint and dared Duke to beat them from range. It was only when Duke began getting to the rim and converting that they started to come back. Be prepared for Indiana to sit back and let Duke try to knock down threes tonight.
There’s a long line of Big Ten teams who have walked into Cameron with a legitimate shot at beating Duke. Many have been better than this Indiana team and many Duke teams have been worse. Barring something incredible from Langford and likely Juwan Morgan, this won’t be the team that ends Duke’s unbeaten run. Duke 86, Indiana 73