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Duke Bucks Ohio State, 91-76

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For the Ohio State game, Coach K changed the lineup, starting JJ Redick,
Nick Horvath, and Casey Sanders in place of Daniel Ewing, Shavlik Randolph, and
Shelden Williams, sending a now-traditional message at Duke that if you don't
step up, you'll step back. In the UCLA game, Redick, Horvath and Sanders
really stepped up, and against Ohio State, Redick again put on a show, though it
was limited to the second half. Still, regardless of who starts, one thing
is increasingly obvious: Duke is bursting at the seams with talent, and the
challenge now is to find how the players fit into roles they have not played

That's not really the case with JJ Redick. With his range pretty much
unlimited, the defense really has to keep track of Redick, which disrupts a
normal strategy: if he's out 27 feet from the basket, someone else has to be,
and the court is basically 4-on-4, which gives a lot more room to
maneuver. Redick is really starting to live up to his rep as a freak
shooter, but he's also a pretty good basketball player. The comparison he
gets is to Chris Mullin, which is understandable, but maybe a better one is Rex
Chapman. He's not that athletically gifted - Chapman was pretty amazing - but
he's a pretty good talent. Watching him drive and play defense is almost
as much fun as watching him gun.

For Chris Duhon, the chance to be in charge and to run the team is opening
his game up. He had 13 assists in this game, and while he's always been an
excellent passer, with the offense now going through his hands, he's making some
pretty smart passes. Not too flashy, but just some awareness that doesn't really
show up until you watch the tape. He's a really smart point guard is what
it comes down to, and now that he has a chance to shine, his game is improving
rapidly. He's averaging around 9.7 assists per game, and really taking

Daniel Ewing, who was bumped from the lineup by Redick, came in and had a
sensational first half, and hit a clutch three to really dishearten OSU.

And Casey Sanders continues to surprise, playing the best basketball of his

From there, to a large extent, it's a mixed bag individually, though Dahntay
Jones continues to excel as a defender. The nice thing about this team
right now is that Shavlik Randolph might not play well and Sanders or Horvath or
Shelden Williams can pick it up. Speaking of Horvath, now that he's
getting extended minutes, he's showing an underrated aspect of his game:
passing. He made a couple of beautiful inside passes against the Buckeyes.

While it is nice that Duke has so many players to turn to, the way things
work here is that some players separate themselves from the rest. In the
case of Duhon and perhaps Redick, that is not happening. You could argue for
Jones, but he is still offensively inconsistent.

So as players learn roles and adapt to them, you'll see Sean Dockery pop up
with a big game one night, Shelden Williams the next, and Casey Sanders taking
over periodically. That's good in a small view, but not so good in a
larger one: Duke uses a military structure to stress players and to assess
their responses. As the season goes on, they'll be able to see who consistently
stands up to the stress and who needs more work.

Still, this was a wonderful game for Duke in many ways, not least of all the
big run early in the second half, then fending OSU off late. This young
team needs to develop a killer instinct, and they're not they're yet. But the
potential looks better and better each time out, and Redick is quickly turning
into a lethal weapon.