As Duke gets ready for Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, , it's good to remember who Ohio State's new video coordinator is: former Blue Devil Greg Paulus, who is currently working his way up the coaching ranks.Â If anyone can break Duke down on film, he can.
Duke's immediate job is going to be to control Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280 SO), widely expected to be the first pick of the 2012 NBA draft. Sullinger is currently averaging 18.8 ppg and 10.7 rebounds.
William Buford (6-6 SR) kicks in 17.7 ppg and Deshaun Thomas is putting up 17.7 ppg.Â (6-7 SO) is contributing 12.3 ppg.
The Buckeyes have a deep team with nine guys getting double digit minutes and the tenth not far away.
Still, Duke's biggest challenge will be Sullinger. The big man is not just big and talented, he's a superb basketball player.Â He gets the game.
This is probably going to be the biggest challenge the Plumlees have faced to date, and Ryan Kelly will get his minutes too.Â Sullinger is slightly shorter, but he's 280 and his rump is a not-so-blunt weapon.
Where Duke may be able to affect Ohio State is from the outside in: last season they had Jon Diebler to keep defenses honest and off Sullinger; this year, Buford is at 50% but the rest of the team is at 33% or less, and Sullinger is one of two guys at 33%. (Lenzelle Smith is the other).
Ohio State has taken 87 threes and made just 27; Duke has taken 133 and made 61.
Pretty clearly, when you have a guy like Jared Sullinger, your game leans to the inside, but still, that's potentially a significant advantage for Duke.
The teams are fairly close statistically.Â Ohio State averages 40 rebounds per game; Duke pulls down 34.Â Ohio State shoots a slightly better percentage at 51.5%; Duke is hitting at a respectable 49.4%.
Duke is 68.8% from the line, the Buckeyes are 66.3%. Ohio State is averaging 85 ppg to Duke's 79.Â And in turnovers, Duke is coughing it up 14 times per game to Ohio State's 12.
But here's perhaps the key thing to keep in mind: Duke has prepared with a superb Belmont, an underrated Presbyterian, Michigan State, Davidson, Tennessee, Michigan and Kansas, whereas Ohio State has thus far played Wright State, Jackson State, North Florida, VMI, Valparaiso and Florida.
Of all of these, only Florida gave them a game, and they came to Columbus, losing by seven.
Florida hit 11 three pointers and outrebounded OSU 34/10 to 25/5.
They were killed on turnovers (16) and from the free throw line, where Florida was 13-21 and Ohio State was 27-34.
Otherwise, they were highly competitive and that's the tape Duke will likely watch the most since the other games were all meaningless blowouts.
Duke will get a tough game from the Buckeyes, to be sure, but they are a tested and tough team now and they'll give Ohio State a major test.
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