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A UK Perspective

Here's a UK take on the upcoming Duke-Kentucky
game. First a disclaimer: we don't agree with everything in this document
from a fan of our esteemed Bluegrass rivals. But we don't mind putting it
out there, because we're pretty sure that it will offend in a useful way. Good
locker room material, in other words. We could go into specifics, but
let's just say that we don't think John has watched Duke very closely this
season.

Kentucky
Versus Duke

The Play Is The Thing

It’s only a game. 
But, oh, what a game!  My words
hardly do it justice.  I suppose the
timeless words of Shakespeare might serve it best.

Once more unto the breach, dear friend, once more

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It seems that lately in the Bluegrass that long familiar
sound of ball smacking on wooden court, of squeaking sneakers, of staccato
whistle, and of swishing net that echoes from fall until the dawn of spring
over endless hills and in even the most hidden hollows throughout the state
often assumes a more insistent and haunting tone when the beloved Wildcats meet
the Bluedevils.

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![if !vml]><![endif]>Almost
every year over the past decade, two of the most storied hardwood giants
collide, whether weeks before Christmas or at the end of March.  Kentucky and Duke.  Their famed battles are part of basketball lore, and it seems
unlikely that the duel will lose its pitched intensity any time soon.  In fighting for the ultimate prize, the two
most successful teams of the past decade have often achieved a kind of
collective immortality in the annals of sports history. 

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All hell shall stir for this.

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1992.  Sean Woods’
improbable shot in the lane. 
Euphoria.  Christian Laettner’s
shot-heard-round-the-world.  Shock.  Pride. 
Unforgettable.

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>How many ages hence

Shall this our lofty scene be acted o’er

In states unborn and accents yet unknown!

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1998. 
Insurmountable deficit.  Wayne
Turner knifing the lane.  Tubby Smith’s
legend born.  Unbelievable.

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Fight till the last gasp.

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What will 2002 bring? 
Will this early season clash between Kentucky and Duke become another
game cherished by the ages?  Will it be
only a dress rehearsal for another legendary March war?  The battle lines are drawn.  The Wildcat faithful are waiting in
anticipation.

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Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.

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But what might be expected to happen when Kentucky meets
Duke on the 18th of December? 
What follows is a summary of how the two storied programs might match
up:

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>Point Guard: The past three games have seen the
success of Coach Krzyzewski’s move of Chris Duhon to point guard.  Since the move, Duhon is averaging around an
amazing ten assists to only two turnovers (six assists to two turnovers for the
entire season) per game.  While not the
main option on offense, Duhon can score in a variety of ways and is averaging
about nine points per game while shooting over 41% from the field, 36% from
behind the arc, and 63% from the line. 
He also averages more than three steals per contest.  Kentucky counters with Cliff Hawkins and JP
Blevins.  Hawkins’ play is marked by
slightly less than seven points per game (averaging twenty minutes per contest)
on an excellent 60% from the field, 75% on his rare attempts from behind the
arc, and 78% from the line.  His up and
down floor play is marked by around three assists and two turnovers (reduced to
around one turnover minus the VMI game) per contest.  Per twenty minutes of action, Blevins is averaging around two
points on 25% from the field and 33% on his rare threes, one assist, and one
turnover.  Interestingly, excluding the
VMI game, the numbers show Hawkins’ assists and turnovers as superior to Jason
Williams on a per minute basis and not too far off of Duhon’s season average.  Statistically, Hawkins is a more efficient
scorer than Duhon.  Where Hawkins excels
at penetration and in the lane, Duhon excels from deep.  However, considering that Jason Williams can
and will see action at the point, this important position is decidedly in the
Bluedevil’s favor. 

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P/M

FG%

3P%

FT%

R/M

A/M

TO/M

Duhon

.268

41.4

36.1

62.5

.094

.185

.068

Hawkins

.328

60.0

75.0

72.8

.090

.156

.115 *(.077)

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Yield not thy neck

To fortune’s yoke, but thy dauntless mind

Still ride in triumph over all mischance.

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Shooting Guard: Heavy
player-of-the-year favorite, Jason Williams will man the wing guard slot for
Duke.  His play has been up and down (by
Williams’ standards) but has steadily peaked since the move to shooting
guard.  His scoring average is sharply
climbing of late at over twenty-one points per outing on a solid 45% from the
field, 33% from three, and 75% from the line. 
He’s averaging between four and five assists, two steals, and well over
three turnovers per game.  Daniel Ewing plays
solid minutes (close to twenty) off the bench in his backup role, averaging
over seven points on 59% from the field and 33% from deep.  Kentucky counters with scrappy Gerald Fitch,
who’s still trying to find his role on this Wildcat squad.  In his twenty-five minutes per game, Fitch <![if !vml]><![endif]>is
averaging slightly better than six points on a mediocre 41% from the field, 28%
from deep, and 40% from the line.  He
also averages slightly more than one assist, one steal, and nearly two
turnovers per game, while grabbing over four rebounds (two offensive).  Rashaad Carruth has become a factor at
shooting guard for Kentucky off the bench. 
In two games (playing about ten minutes per), he is averaging six points
on around 45% from both the floor and behind the arc.  On a per minute basis, Williams is three times as likely to dish
an assist but almost twice as likely to turn the ball over as Fitch.  Williams is obviously the far superior
scorer, but Fitch has a significant advantage as a rebounding guard, especially
on the offensive glass.  Still, even on
paper, Duke has a decidedly lopsided advantage at both guard positions over the
Wildcats.

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P/M

FG%

3P%

FT%

R/M  Off

A/M

TO/M

Williams

.661

45.2

33.3

74.5

.132(.023)

.140

.105

Fitch

.243

41.2

27.8

40.0

.178(.086)

.053

.066

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As many a thousand actions, once afoot,

End in one purpose, and be all well borne

Without defeat.

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Wing Forward:
Transfer, Dahntay Jones, mans the wing for the Devils.  An athletic defensive specialist, Jones
averages better than ten points per outing on 46% from the field, 27% from
deep, and 61% from the line.  He
averages about four boards (two offensive), one and a half assists, and two
turnovers a game.  Kentucky matches
Jones with Keith Bogans.  Bogans is
averaging about fifteen points per game on 39% from the floor, almost 30% from
behind the arc, and 61% from the line.  Bogans
averages nearly six rebounds per game (almost three offensive) to go with three
assists and two turnovers.  Kentucky
brings Erik Daniels and Chuck Hayes off the bench.  In nearly thirteen minutes per game, Erik averages nearly six
points on 46% from the field and 20% on his rare three.  Daniels averages three rebounds (one
offensive), one and a half assists, and one turnover each game.  Hayes’ minutes have been dwindling but
currently stand at twelve per game.  He
averages four and a half points on 44% from the field and 78% from the line,
four rebounds (two offensive), an assist, and less than one turnover per
game.  On paper, Bogans is a better
scorer and a bigger threat from deep, a significantly better offensive
rebounder, and a better passer than Jones. 
Coupled with superior depth, Kentucky has a significant advantage at the
three.

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P/M

FG%

3P%

FT%

R/M  Off

A/M

TO/M

Jones

.339

45.7

26.7

60.9

.124(.058)

.054

.062

Bogans

.486

39.2

29.3

60.7

.190(.089)

.106

.073

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O’ the blood more stirs

To rouse a lion than to start a hare.

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>Power Forward: Improved Michael Dunleavy leads
Duke at the four.  The leader for the
Devils averages eighteen points on an outstanding 53% from the field, 39% from
deep, and 70% from the line.  He pulls
down eight rebounds (one and a half offensive), has one and a half assists, and
turns the ball over nearly twice per contest. 
Nick Horvath spells Dunleavy off the bench for around nine minutes a
game.  Horvath averages about two points
on a poor 33% from the floor while grabbing two boards an outing.  Kentucky battles Dunleavy with the
remarkably similar senior, Tayshaun Prince. 
Prince averages nineteen points on an excellent 48% from the field, 41%
from three, and 59% from the line.  He
grabs six and a half boards (two offensive), has an assist and a half, and
turns it over almost twice per game. 
Kentucky brings Erik Daniels and Chuck Hayes off the bench (see
statistics above).  The dead even battle
between Prince and Dunleavy should be outstanding, but Kentucky’s superior bench
likely gives them a slight advantage at power forward.

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P/M

FG%

3P%

FT%

R/M Off

A/M

TO/M

Dunleavy

.588

53.0

38.8

70.4

.257(.049)

.049

.057

Prince

.628

48.3

40.9

58.8

.217(.072)

.050

.061

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Good night sweet Prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>Center: Carlos Boozer mans the pivot for the
Devils.  Boozer averages a solid
seventeen points on 59% from the field and an excellent 83% from the line
(where he gets a big percentage of his points).  He rips over eight rebounds (less than two offensive) per game,
but he has only three blocks in Duke’s eight contests thus far.  Casey Sanders relieves Boozer.  In around ten minutes of action, Sanders
averages better than two points on 44% shooting, but he manages only 39% from
the line.  Sanders has pulled off an
average of two boards (one offensive) per game.  Kentucky answers Boozer with the two-headed monster of Marquis
Estill and Marvin Stone (both average between sixteen and seventeen minutes per
game).  Estill scores eleven points on
an excellent 60% from the field and 74% from the line.  He averages better than four rebounds (two
offensive) and blocks one and a half shots per game.  The stronger defender, Stone, averages almost eight points on 48%
from the field and 56% from the line, while grabbing nearly five rebounds (two
offensive) and blocking about one shot per game.  In better than nine minutes off the bench, backup Jules Camara
averages less than three points on 38% from the floor and 100% on his four
trips to the line.  He has also grabbed
three boards (one offensive) and blocks a shot every two games.  The center position is easily the most
difficult to call in this game.  While
Boozer may have the advantage individually, Estill and Stone have been pretty
solid as a tandem in the post.  Per
minute played, Estill’s offensive numbers are remarkably similar to
Boozer’s.  While he’s three times as
likely to turn the ball over and half as likely to grab a defensive rebound,
Estill is twice as likely to grab an offensive rebound and much, much more
likely to block shots.

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P/M

FG%

FT%

DR/M

OR/M

B/M

TO/M

Boozer

.646

58.8

82.7

.245

.066

.014

.057

Estill

.667

60.5

73.7

.131

.121

.091

.152

Stone

.459

47.4

56.3

.173

.112

.041

.082

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We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he today that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother.

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Some team numbers:

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P/G

Margin

FG%

OppFG%

3P%

Opp3P%

FT%

FT/G

OppFT/G

R/G

Margin

A/G

TO/G

Duke

88.8

+20.0

48.8

40.9

34.2

35.0

67.8

26

16.5

39.4

+3.8

16.9

14.1

UK

82.7

+16.7

45.3

38.6

31.7

31.0

64.3

21.5

18.5

45.0

+11.7

15.5

17.7

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Offensive breakdown:

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% Of Offense from behind the arc

% Of Offense from inside the arc

% Of Offense from the foul line

Duke

26.7

53.5

19.8

Kentucky

26.6

56.7

16.7

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Ten keys to the game for the Wildcats:

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1.  Keep Hawkins out of foul trouble.  Jason Williams’ name has a tendency to draw
favorable calls.  Hawkins’ widely
reported early foul problems have probably made officials more attuned and likely
to blow the whistle.  That’s a very
dangerous combination.  Hawkins must avoid
early fouls and play at least 30 minutes for the Cats to have a chance.

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Let Hercules himself do what he may,

The cat will mew and dog will have his day.

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2.  Ironically, Duke has allowed a very high
percentage of three-pointers from their opponents (4% higher than Kentucky’s
notorious three-point defense).  It’s
important for Bogans and Prince as well as players like Fitch, Carruth, and
Blevins to find the mark from deep consistently and open up Kentucky’s offense.

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Et tu, Brute! (I couldn’t resist).

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3.  Duke gets many of its points in transition
off turnovers created largely by Duhon and Williams.  Kentucky must not allow these two pick pockets to feed off their
backcourt. 

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True nobility is exempt from fear.

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4.  When Jason Williams shoots well from deep,
the Devils have proven very hard to control. 
When his shot is not falling, the Devils are relatively vulnerable.  Fitch will likely draw Williams for his
defensive assignment.  Gerald must
consistently play fierce perimeter defense to contain the Bluedevil’s main
scoring threat.

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I’ll pull a girdle round about the earth in forty
minutes

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5.  Like Williams, Boozer’s name has a tendency
to draw favorable calls from officials. 
Much of Boozer’s productivity comes from the foul line, where he shoots
particularly well.  Estill and Stone
must play continuously solid interior defense without sending Boozer to the
line an inordinate amount of times. 

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The Gordion knot of it he will unloose

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>6.  The
Bluedevils are very weak on the glass in general and the offensive glass in
particular.  Only Boozer and Dunleavy
provide quality work on the defensive glass and neither are remotely effective
on the offensive glass.  Duke shoots the
ball as a team very well.  Kentucky must
not allow any second chance points by owning the defensive boards.  Fitch and Bogans have a decisive advantage
over Williams and Jones in rebounding effectiveness.  Both them as well as Kentucky’s entire frontline must attack the
glass with a vengeance where Duke has proven susceptible.  Rebounding aggressiveness is likely
Kentucky’s biggest weapon in this game.

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

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7.  The Bluedevils have proven susceptible to
lane penetration by quick, athletic point guards (see Ball State and Seton
Hall).  If Hawkins can stay out of foul
trouble, he may be able to follow in the footsteps of Barrett and Jackson and
attack the lane with his quickness. 
Once a team penetrates Duke’s quick, athletic perimeter defense, they
are highly vulnerable in the middle. 
They have little shot blocking and little quality depth on the
interior.  The Cats must take the ball
directly at Boozer and Dunleavy in an attempt to get them in foul trouble and
force Duke to its bench early.

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Play out the play.

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8.  In addition to containing Boozer, Estill and
Stone must be ready to receive the feed or pass off penetration, attack the
glass with impunity, and inhibit penetration from Duke’s perimeter guards with
proper rotation and shot blocking.

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O God of battles! 
Steel my soldiers’ hearts;

Possess them not with fear

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9.  The Wildcats must contain Duke’s other
perimeter shooters.  Prince has to play
effective defense on Dunleavy; Hawkins must limit Duhon from deep while slowing
his improving and deadly floor game at the point; and Ewing must not be allowed
to make an impact from behind the arc off the bench.

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For courage mounteth with occasion.

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<![if !vml]><![endif]>10. 
Bogans and Prince must each have career games at both ends.  Jones is a defensive stopper.  He’s quick and athletic enough to cause Bogans
problems.  Bogans must use his strength
to attack Jones early on the offensive glass and in the paint in order to draw
fouls and jumpstart his offensive game from inside, where Duke is weakest.  Similarly, if possible, Prince should attack
Dunleavy on the blocks.  Both players
match up well against each other. 
Prince should especially concentrate on getting cheap points around
Dunleavy on the offensive glass.

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We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

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There’s no way of knowing the outcome, but Kentucky is still
putting numerous pieces together as a team both offensively and
defensively.  At this juncture in the
season, the Bluedevils should be considered the favorite.  In the end the final result may well be
determined more by how much Kentucky is able to dominate the boards or how much
Duke dominates the perimeter rather than individual performances.  Regardless, college basketball may witness
the rematch on an even grander stage in March.

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Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.

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All of Kentucky will be watching.

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                                                                                    By
John David Cliburn