Syracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about No. 20 Duke

first_img Comments Published on January 17, 2016 at 1:55 pm Syracuse (12-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) rides back-to-back conference wins into Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night to face No. 20 Duke (14-4, 3-2), who is coming off back-to-back losses against Clemson and Notre Dame. The Blue Devils fell to the Fighting Irish 95-91 on Saturday, while the Orange romped Wake Forest by 28 behind 25 points from Trevor Cooney.Here’s what you need to know about Mike Krzyzewski’s team ahead of the matchup:All-time series: 5-3 in Duke’s favorLast time they played: Then-No. 4 Duke scraped the floor of Cameron Indoor with the Orange on Feb. 28, 2015. Justise Winslow’s season-high 23 points lead the way for the Blue Devils. Syracuse shot an abysmal 19-of-62 from the field and 3-of-20 from beyond the arc. Tyler Roberson led SU with 16 points and nine rebounds, but his frontcourt counterpart Jahlil Okafor logged a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the lopsided win.The Duke report: The Blue Devils are fourth in the country in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency ranking behind Notre Dame, North Carolina and Southern Methodist. Duke hasn’t scored fewer than 80 points in any home game and only one game saw the Blue Devils put up fewer than 70. They rank second in the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage and are led by sophomore guard Grayson Allen, the ACC’s second-leading scorer with 20.2 points per game. Duke’s Achilles heel, though, may be down low with big man Amile Jefferson still sidelined due to injury. He’s factored in all four matchups with Syracuse over the past two seasons and his absence leaves the frontcourt duties to Marshall Plumlee and freshman Brandon Ingram.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLike last year with future first-round NBA Draft picks Okafor and Tyus Jones, Duke boasts an impressive crop of freshmen. Ingram leads the group with 16.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, followed by sharpshooter Luke Kennard (scored 30 against Notre Dame) averaging 12.9 per game and Derryck Thornton chipping in 8.6 points and 3.1 assists per contest.How Syracuse upsets Duke: Even though Syracuse is on the rise and Duke is reeling, this would still be a sizable upset for the Orange away from home. Duke opponents score 58.1 percent of their points inside the arc and that ranks sixth in the country, according to KenPom. With Jefferson out, teams are attacking the interior and Syracuse can do the same. Tyler Roberson has been more effective finishing at the rim for the Orange and so too has Dajuan Coleman, who made all three of his field-goal attempts in the paint. If the Orange can hit a string of outside shots early like Cooney did against Wake Forest, it will open up the interior and Syracuse can attack an already thin Blue Devils frontcourt.Numbers to know: Syracuse has the lowest percentage of bench minutes in the country, according to KenPom, but Duke isn’t much deeper. The Blue Devils bench players see only 26 percent of a game’s minutes on average, which ranks 321st in the nation. If Syracuse can wear down Duke in transition (it’s unlikely because the Blue Devils have the seventh-best turnover percentage in the country), Krzyzewski may be forced to dip further into a team that is already without one of its best players.Player to watch: Kennard may not be as prominent os Allen or Ingram, but the freshman’s season-high 30 points against the Fighting Irish puts him well on Syracuse’s radar. He’s scored in double figures in each of Duke’s five ACC games and has only had one game shooting below 50 percent from the field in conference play. Kennard can also get to the rim and draw contact, which SU may not want to incite since Kennard shoots a whopping 92.4 percent from the foul line, which ranks sixth in the country. Here’s a jab step he used against Notre Dame.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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