HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: #19 DUKE BLUE DEVILS (5-2, 3-0) AT #20 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (9-2, 3-1) 7PM ACCN
Date/Time: Jan 10 2021 7 PM
Site: Cassell Coliseum
ACCN, Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst)
Virginia Tech Sports Network. Jon Laaser (play-by-play) and Mike Burnop (analyst)
Bring down the Dukies....
Let me be one of many to say this game being on the ACC Network is a sports crime
The Hokies are coming off a superb second half defensive performance to beat Notre Dame 77-63 and now take on the Duke Blue Devils. The Hokies are 11-49 against Duke going into their 61st meeting. The Hokies are now 9-2 and ranked #20 in the AP Poll. The Hokies may not be able to have fans in most of Cassell right now but against Duke the Hokies will have fans featured on the video board which you can register for the Zoom call here
Coach K checking in with THIS BIG
The Blue Devils are coached by Mike Krzyzewski. He has coached Duke to a 1,089–293 record, an almost 79% winning percentage. Prior to Duke, Krzyzewski coached Army to a 73-59 record, giving him an overall record of 1,162–352. In the 40 years that Coach K has been at the helm, Duke has only managed to not make the NCAA tournament four times, and barring the year he had surgery, and relinquished the helm in 1995, it was only his first three years as head coach that they didn't make it outside of COVID cancelling last season, though they were 25-6 at the time.
Coach Krzyzewski's Blue Devils really haven't proven much at this point. They come in 5-2 with wins over Coppin State and Bellarmine out of conference and Notre Dame, Boston College and Wake Forest who are a combined 0-12 in ACC play. Their two losses are against the only ranked teams they have faced, Michigan State and Illinois. The Hokies will look to give them their third loss to a ranked team this season. Coach K made his return to the sideline from Covid quarantine against Wake Forest. Jon Scheyer coached the team in his absence.
One thing to keep in mind when facing Duke is a Coach K mantra, "A winning basketball team makes the opponent react to them, whether they are on offense or defense"
Coach Krzyzewski is still trying to replace several key players including Tre Jones, Vernon Carey, and Cassius Stanley but Duke being Duke replacing NBA level talent isn't the challenge it is in most other places.
The Blue Devils "One and Done" Academy come into this season with six new Freshman and one transfer. Patrick Tape transferred from Columbia. Tape hasn't found a significant role thus far, dealing with an injury most of the season. The freshman class however is composed of four five-stars and two four-stars according to 247Sports. Duke's highest-ranked recruit is Jalen Johnson who is the third-ranked Small Forward, and 11th ranked player nationally who is also returning from an injury. Four of the six freshman are playing significant roles this season accounting for 40.7 points of Duke's 75.9 per game
This team is full of stars, with the potential to have three players taken in the next draft. At first glance, Matthew Hurt, DJ Steward and Jalen Johnson all seem to be on track to get drafted.
Coach K had this to say regarding Jalen Johnson "Johnson did some individual workout Sunday" and "felt good this morning. He will go on the trip and he will suit up against Virginia Tech. I'm not sure we'll play him yet. We have a little bit of time after this game to get him into condition." Johnson not being a full go could be huge in this game.
Defensively, the Blue Devils employ a high-pressure attacking defense that varies its form and style based on opponents. This season had been almost exclusively 3-2 zone with Hurt and Johnson responsible for the paint and the other three guards locking down perimeter shooters.
Duke will also rotate into a 1-3-1 formation depending on the opponent. Duke will focus on a two three zone with normal stretch assignments to guard the perimeter ball handler by shifting into passing lanes and making it difficult to get a clean shot or pass the ball.
A couple other tenets of a Coach K defense are that his defenses involve getting all five players to play together: talking on defense, seeing the ball, and moving as the ball moves. He expects all five guys to play for the charge as a standard. He also coaches his team that defense continues until the ball is in Duke hands.
Offensively, Duke usually runs a three out, two in Motion offense, which involves the perimeter players looking for bigs at the free throw line to create space, open driving lanes, or allowing for kickout shots from the corner and did involve a ton of lob it up and let Hurt work in close. The Blue Devils excel at moving without the ball, so they are in the right spot to take advantage of a defensive miscue. Duke is not exactly the fastest paced offense so the Hokies should look to speed them up if they can.
Duke comes in averaging only 8 three-pointers per contest made. Most ACC teams are in or close to double digits. Duke is the first Hokies opponent to be more focused on Forwards scoring rather then the guards, roughly 60/40 post player scoring.
Coach K asked about the Hokies had this to say. "You have to defend them," Krzyzewski says. "They're an outstanding team on both ends of the court. There's not one guy you have to stop. They can score the ball and they don't just score it from one position. And they can rebound it from that end. We have to play good defense. We have been playing really good defense but this is more of a challenge because they have more guys who can score the ball. Mike's [Mike Young] teams have always been outstanding on the offensive end. He's very creative and he puts his guys in high-percentage situations to take advantage of the talents of his players."
Blue Devils Backcourt
DJ Steward (#2, FR, G, 6-2, 163 lbs)
Chicago, IL Whitney Young HS #24 recruit (2020)
14.0 Pts, 5.3 Reb, 2.4 Ast
Jeremy Roach (#3, FR, G, 6-1, 175 lbs)
Leesburg, VA Paul VI HS #20 recruit (2020)
9.6 Pts, 2.3 Reb, 3.4 Ast
Jordan Goldwire (#14, SR, G, 6-2, 184 lbs)
Norcross, GA Norcross High School
8.4 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 4.0 Ast
Blue Devils Frontcourt
Matthew Hurt (#21, SO, F, 6-9, 235 lbs)
Rochester, MN native #12 recruit (2019)
19.6 Pts, 7.9 Reb, 1.3 Ast
Jalen Johnson (#1, FR, F, 6-9, 220 lbs)
Milwaukee, WI Nicolet HS #11 recruit (2020)
11.5 Pts, 8.3 Reb, 1.8 Ast
Wendell Moore (#0, SO, F, 6-5, 216 lbs)
Charlotte, NC #25 recruit (2019)
6.9 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 1.1 Ast
Jaemyn Brakefield (#5 , FR, F, 6-8, 216 lbs)
Jackson, MS Huntington Prep School #33 recruit (2020)
5.6 Pts, 3.6 Reb, 0.6 Ast
What to expect from Duke?
|Starters||J. Roach||J. Goldwire||D. Steward||M. Hurt||M. Williams|
|Lim PT||M. Buckmire||H. Coleman III||P. Tape|
The Blue Devils come in with five players averaging 8.4 or more points per game, but the Blue Devils only go two-deep on the bench for significant minutes or contributions. Hurt, Steward and Johnson take 34.6 of the 62.7 Blue Devils shots and account for 45 points per game. Johnson may not be a full go, forcing Duke to go deeper into its bench. Wendell Moore would be the sleeper to up his game if Johnson is absent.
Opponents are averaging a surprising 71.7 points per game. Opponents in ACC play are shooting 50% from the floor against the Blue Devils and 42% from the perimeter which is dead last in the ACC.
Duke is successful primarily because they average about 5 more shot attempts per game then their opponents. Thy force 16 turnovers per game and average nearly 15 points per game in transition and 12 points on second chance opportunities.
The Blue Devils commit 17.6 fouls per game. Opponents have shot 18 free throw attempts per game so far this season. This accounts for 18% of opponent scoring. This will be a major factor in this contest as most of the Duke opponents so far are not nearly as likely to get to the line as the Hokies have been this season.
As a team the Blue Devils are shooting 35% from the perimeter on 23 attempts per game but slightly better 39% in ACC play. Hurt is shooting 43% from the perimeter this year while Brakefield is shooting 50% on limited attempts. No one else shoots better than 35%.
Duke rebounding is an advantage but not as significant as you might expect but the are allowing the fewest rebounds allowed in ACC play thus far. One factor in this though is a reduced number of rebounds with both teams on the floor shooting 49%. They have only three players averaging more than four rebounds per game.
Roach and Goldwire are the primary distributors, averaging 7.4 assists between them. The Blue Devils average 13 assists on 30 made baskets per game, roughly 40% of all shots are assisted. This shows you how much Duke relies on creating their own shot.
Made some history last night on the defensive end We held Notre Dame to just two made field goals (!) in the second half, which is the fewest we've ever allowed in the ACC era (2004-present) 🔐#StoneByStone | #Hokies 🦃 pic.twitter.com/gZ7BxcbnMG— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 11, 2021
The top takeaway from the Notre Dame game is that the Hokies can play superior defense when they focus. They held a hot shooting Notre Dame team to just two field goals in the second half after trailing early.
The Hokies will have their hands full with Hurt alone and could find it extremely difficult if Johnson is also on the court most of the game. Duke relies on a combination of four Forwards to accomplish most of its scoring. Aluma and Mutts need to continue to grab critical rebounds on both ends.
The Hokies continue bombarding from the perimeter if only because Duke opponents are shooting 42%. Cone, having hit 11 threes in the last two games should continue to fill it up. Cattoor reemerged against Notre Dame as well, dropping in 15 including three from outside, one from the logo.
Duke plays to create turnovers averaging 16 per contest. The difference in this one though is that Duke is also much more likely to foul. The Hokies forced Notre Dame into only 15 fouls but five of those were on the Irish' most important player. Hurt doesn't have nearly the discipline defensively that Laszewski does, coming in averaging 3.3 fouls per game in ACC play. If Johnson is unable to go and the Hokies get Hurt in foul trouble it would significantly reduce Duke's chances. Jordan Goldwire, Dukes point guard is also averaging 3 fouls per game in ACC play.
YOU HAVE TO HIT YOUR FREE THROWS. Duke allows opponents 18% of their points from the line. This is going to be a continued point of emphasis for the Hokies, although they did shoot 80% against Louisville on 16-20 shooting and 75% against the Irish on 12-16 shooting. ACC games are when every point counts and the Hokies should find an advantage at the line.
This is ACC play against an opponent that allows a ton of threes so hopefully a heavy dose of Cone and Cattoor for the second straight game. They combined to go 7-15 from the perimeter. Hopefully, we will continue to see an expansion of these two players minutes. Otherwise, a normal dose of Bede, Boots, Aluma, Mutts and Alleyne. I would not expect a Big John sighting barring significant foul trouble down low.
For those wondering where Pemsl has been, Coach Young touched on it post-game, stating he was dealing with a back injury and the medical team is working hard to get him back on the floor.
Highlight of the Notre Dame Game
From the logo 🗣Hunter buries it from downtown right before the shot clock went off, giving us our biggest lead of the night (11)2H - 2:31 (🦃 73, 🍀 62) pic.twitter.com/pNVjMIZS3m— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 11, 2021
Mutts on putbacks and Cattoor from the logo.
The points of emphasis in this one are much like against Notre Dame. Hokies must find the open shooter, hit free throws and grab offensive rebounds. Defending like they did second half against Notre Dame, but do it for 40 minutes.
Hokies outscore Duke in classic ACC style, overcoming ACC officials, getting to the line and winning ugly, winning 77-71.