Duke and Temple meet again this evening in a rematch of their earlier
game. The Owls have had an unusual 8 days since falling to the Blue
Devils in the finals of the Preseason NIT tournament. Unusual in the
sense that they lost to a then 1-3 Miami of Ohio team at least. Unusual
in the sense that they were clearly out-hustled in that game. And
unusual in the sense that they have now lost two games in a row and are
facing the possibility of a third straight loss.
Temple fans and other basketball observers are asking themselves what
happened Thursday night when the RedHawks pulled off the 66-58 upset.
It would be easy to say that Temple was looking forward to the Duke
rematch but that would take away from a fine Miami effort. MiamiÂs
victory started on the glass, as the smaller RedHawks were able to out
Rebound Temple by 7 despite having a much smaller team. With no starter
over 6-8, Miami sent a lot of players to the boards and proved very
successful. The RedHawks were also able to force Temple to play a
smaller lineup thanks to their hot hand behind the three point line.
Miami entered the game shooting a paltry 23% on three pointers. That
night, thanks in large part to Jason Grunkemeyer's 5-7 effort, the
RedHawks shot 50% from the three point line. Facing a team that was
shooting so well from the outside, John Chaney opted to use a smaller
and quicker lineup to try and pressure the outside shot more. Big men
Ron Rollerson and Carlton Aaron combined for only 16 minutes in the game
while swing man David Hawkins played 28. The smaller lineup didnÂt
prove successful as it failed to slow the RedHawkÂs outside shooting and
took away one of TempleÂs strengths on the inside.
Overall it was not an inspired effort for the Owls as they failed to
force many turnovers and allowed Miami to get to the free throw line
despite their reliance on the three point shot. Miami outscored Temple
by 10 points from the line by shooting 13-16. ThatÂs 10 points in a
game decided by 8. Temple only attempted 6 foul shots in the game
indicating passive play on the offensive end.
Duke has chalked up 2 wins since they last faced Temple. Following a
shelling of Army the Devils defeated Illinois in the Big 10 / ACC
challenge. The game was a classic contest between two of the nationÂs
top teams and Duke had some impressive moments. Still, there are plenty
of causes for concern in Durham.
The lack of depth that has plagued Duke all season continued Tuesday
evening. DukeÂs 7-9 players combined for 0 points on 0-2 shooting, 0
rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocked shots, and 0 steals. DukeÂs primary
reserve, Chris Duhon, continued to struggle from the field going 0-5
including a missed dunk on a breakaway layup. However, DuhonÂs defense
on IllinoisÂ Frank Williams in the first half and finished the game with
6 steals. Most people expect DuhonÂs shooting touch to return but the
outlook for the rest of DukeÂs bench is still very murky. One of the
DevilÂs inside reserves, Horvath, Sanders, or Christensen, must step up
and contribute or this Duke may not be able to reach its full potential.
John Chaney and Temple are probably still having nightmares over Jason
Williams. DukeÂs sophomore guard carried the Blue Devils down the
stretch of their last game by repeatedly splitting the zone and
distributing the ball to Carlos Boozer. Williams ended up with 10
assists in that game and Boozer finished with 26 points on 10-14
shooting. Williams presents a formidable challenge for Temple. From
the first meeting it is clear that none of their defenders could check
him head to head in their matchup zone.
That doesnÂt mean that Temple is without options in trying to stop
Williams. However, once Williams penetrates the zone those options are
not very appealing. If their interior defenders try to stop WilliamsÂ
drives they risk leaving Boozer open for another big night like the
first game. If they allow Williams to take the ball himself he should
be able to convert on a high percentage of his drives.
They could also play a softer zone, keeping their baseline defenders
closer to the basket to offer defensive help on Williams and Boozer.
Ideally, Chaney would like to stop Williams before he gets in the lane.
However, to do so he is going to have to use more than one defender.
Neither of those options is without consequence, as they would both
leave shooters open on the outside. If Temple keeps their baseline
defenders closer to the paint the deep corner shot should be open. If
they pinch their guards at the top of the key to check WilliamsÂ
penetration then the wing jumper should be open.
ChaneyÂs zones try and force teams to the outside shot as a rule and he
may possibly accept those tradeoffs. In the first meeting the Blue
Devils shot 8-27 from the three point line. Against Illinois they were
7-25, continuing a shooting slump that started after the Princeton
game. DukeÂs backcourt was a combined 1-10 from the three point line in
the Illinois game.
Defensively the Blue Devils only need to make some minor adjustments
from the first meeting when they were able to hold Temple to 38% from
the field. Duke has been able to hide some of their rebounding problems
by forcing a lot of turnovers out of their opponents. Against Illinois
they were outrebounded by 19 but forced 26 turnovers. Against Villanova
they were ourtrebounded by 3 but forced 29 turnovers. In the first game
the Owls committed just 11 turnovers and Duke would like to increase
that number. That may not be too easy to accomplish because while 11
turnovers is the season low for a Duke opponent it is also the season
high for a Temple team that controls the pace and is very conservative
with the ball. Duke will need to replicate their rebounding performance
in the first game if they are unable to force turnovers.
This game will most likely be decided when Duke has the ball. In the
last game Temple played exactly the way they needed to win the game and
Duke was fortunate to have a strong performance during the closing
minutes. Temple must make an adjustment to counter Jason Williams and
when they do they will have to give up something. That something may
end up being the outside shot and if Duke continues to struggle with the
long ball then this game will be another close one. However, if
Dunleavy, James, Battier, or Duhon are able to get their shots to fall
then Temple may find themselves playing in a higher scoring game than