Sunday marks the beginning of the ACC season for Duke as Miami comes calling at Cameron. And if the past few years are any indication, it might be closer than people think.
Over the past three seasons, Duke has pulled away in precisely one game with Miami, in 2007-08. Every other game has been pretty close.
- 96-95 (Miami)
Last year, remember, Miami lost to Duke by just three in Greensboro.
They may not excel overall, but they have certainly figured out how to give Duke fits.
This year, Miami has a solid threesome to build around in massive Reggie Johnson (6-10, 303) and backcourt mates Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant.
Johnson is averaging 12 points and 10 boards in just 22.6 mpg.Â Fitness has been a challenge for him, but he's getting better.
It may be less that than fouls - he's also picking up 3.4 fouls in those 22.6 minutes. But he's a load.
Durand Scott showed he had star potential as a freshman.Â This year, he's averaging 30.8 mpg, 13.5 ppg., 4.2 rpg and 3.6 apg.
Malcolm Grant's transfer from Villanova is working out well for him:Â he's pulling 31.4 mpg, and averaging 15.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 3.8 apg.
That's a pretty good group to work around. They are complimented by a nice group of athletes in Eric Swoope (6-6), Adrian Thomas (6-7), DeQuan Jones (also 6-7) and Garrius Adams (6-6).Â Rion Brown (6-5) and Julian Gamble (6-9) round out the main rotation. There are some other pretty good athletes on the roster who could explode at any time.
Thomas of course won a sixth year of eligibility, which doesn't happen very often.
Of course, Duke doesn't come to the table empty handed. They can counter Miami's main three with the Plumlees and the backcourt of Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry. And Kyle Singler presents a tough matchup for everyone.
Duke may have a significant advantage with three point shooting as the Devils are hitting at a .442 rate while Miami checks in at .396.
We haven't watched Miami this year, but if they try to go zone again, they stand a risk of getting wiped.
Honestly, though, while Duke is good enough to take out most teams early, especially at Cameron, Miami presents some interesting challenges.Â And given the way things have gone between these two in the last few seasons, we're guessing this time out could be similar.
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