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Next Up - Temple (1215 PM)


Temple
DATE
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TV TIME W/L ACC
11/24 MSG ESPN 9:05 3-0 0-0

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Tonight's game kicks off a number of unusual events, among them that Duke
will play Temple twice in less than 10 days and Duke plays back to back games in
different cities and Duke is playing on a Friday night at 9:00 pm.
Coach K often schedules games back to back but usually in February, and usually
to simulate NCAA pressures. This is a bit early for that.

Duke-Temple is usually a pretty interesting game, though K usually defeats
John Chaney, holding a 3-1 edge, including two big ones in the NCAA, the most
amazing being the game where Billy King broke Mark Macon's spirit for several
years. You may remember that Macon was being billed as the next Big O, but by
the time Billy King got through with him he was reduced to tears in the locker
room and his game never quite got back to the same level.

One of the reasons why it is interesting is that it pits teams with radically
different philosophies but both ultimately highly successful.  Duke likes
to rely on high defensive pressure to generate turnovers and a free-flowing,
almost permissive offense.  Temple by contrast relies on Chaney's famous
matchup zone, and he insists on an offense so deliberate that many of his
players who go on to the NBA speak of how the freedom is almost a startling
adjustment.  That they say this with wonder and not resentment is testimony
to Chaney's character.  A sometimes volatile man who once very publicly
threatened to kill John Calipari, then at UMass,  Chaney is a man haunted
by past racial discrimination which cost him an NBA career and kept him in the
coaching minor leagues for decades. He has turned this into a powerful desire to
help young Black men from the most desperate circumstances and has inspired
remarkable love among his players.  His 5 AM practices and his demands for
discipline are legendary, and while he is volatile, he is also a man capable of
admitting when he is wrong. For instance, he and Calipari from all accounts have
a great relationship today.

When you look at Temple this season, two things are very obvious, even to the
untrained eye. 1) they are taking remarkably good care of the ball, averaging
only 7.5 per game. Duke by contrast is averaging 15.  This is particularly
remarkable since they lost one of the great point guards of the recent past,
Pepe Sanchez, who in many respects was their offense last season.  You'd
think a team getting over losing a guy like that would have more problems than
they do.  Perhaps the difference shows up in the field goal percentage,
where Temple isn't even making 40% (.391).  That suggests to us that the
point guard is being cautious with the ball, but not averaging a lot of assists.
That's just a guess though based on stats.  They also lost Mark Karcher to
the NBA, so they are replacing their whole backcourt.

However, in one of the season's early matchups, they
totally discombobulated
the new-look Hoosiers in their previous PNIT game,
leaving Jared Jeffries muttering to himself about that matchup zone.  Mike
Davis got so mad he benched Jeffries and Kirk Haston for much of the second
half.  And in the second half, his reserves harassed Temple into 24%
shooting. 

So what to make of this matchup? Well, obviously Temple takes excellent care
of the ball, and their guards scored 36 of Temple's points. 6-6 Alex Wesby added
another 13.  That's 49 of  Temple's 69 points from three perimeter
players, and that's 15 of their 24 shots made. Wesby and Greer shot 7-9 from 3
point range.  Among the inside players, only Kevin Lyde was effective
against Indiana, hitting for 9 points and 4 rebounds.   One
eye-opening stat by 6-4 Quincey Wadley - 8 rebounds.  As a matter of fact,
maybe partly because of their poor shooting, Temple got a lot of rebounds vs. IU
- Wesby 7, Lyde 4, Rollerson 7, Greer 4, Wadley 8, Hawkins 4.

So to us, for Duke to win, they'll have to match Indiana's defensive pressure
and also ratchet up the offensive pressure on Temple.  Since a lot of
Temple's offense came from the perimeter, guys like Williams, James, Dunleavy
and Duhon will have to play excellent defense.  Behind them, of course, is
Duke's not-so-secret weapon, Shane Battier, who we expect will be in the passing
lanes all night.  If Duke can put serious pressure on the ball and rebound
well defensively, barring a sudden outburst of offensive efficiency by Temple,
they should prevail as long as they can manage offensively vs. the matchup. 
If Temple continues to shoot less than 40%, or 24% as they did against IU in the
second half, they'll have to rely on offensive rebounding.  Duke will try
to take that ball off the rim and start running. If Temple continues to hang on
to the ball, that battle, we think, is where the game will be decided: does
Temple rebound, get stickbacks and retreat to the zone? Or does Duke take it off
and run downcourt before it is set?

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