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Temple Upsets Duke, 78-73

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Before their game with Duke, Temple said they were confident and felt they could win. As it turned out, they were right.

Much like Ohio State, Temple took advantage of Duke's perimeter.  Consider:

The perimeter players shot 11-32 (34%), had 12 turnovers, and had a tough time defending the bigger Temple backcourt. Khalif Wyatt (6-4), was 8-12 and finished with 22 points.  He also had five boards and five steals.

Juan Fernandez (6-4) finished with four points, four boards and six assists (on the downside he had seven turnovers as well). Despite the turnover, he was pretty effective at the point.

Ramon Moore (6-4) had nine points and four assists.

And Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, at 6-6, presented his own matchup problems.  He finished with 17 points, six boards and four assists.

Temple managed to frustrate Duke's smaller guards with tough defense and Duke didn't help their cause very much with careless ballhandling. Actually, this was true for both teams: Duke had 16 turnovers; Temple 17.

And while Austin Rivers had an off game, largely again (but not entirely) due to Temple's defense, you know he'll be fine offensively.  His growth has been pretty consistent and despite his struggles in this one, at the end of the game he performed pretty well and helped to put Duke in a position where a comeback was certainly possible.

While the mismatches had a deleterious effect on Kelly, the Plumlees were pretty good, Miles in particular.

The big senior had 17 points on 8-11 shooting and grabbed four rebounds had one assist and blocked two shots.  Meanwhile, Mason shot 7-13, hit both his foul shots, grabbed 13 boards and had four assists and two blocks.

The Plumlee Daily Double therefore was: 33 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

That's some rough tough stuff.

It'll be interesting to see how Duke reacts to what Temple exposed.  The first hint came at the beginning of the second half when Coach K sent in three different starters.

Some of the problems, like ballhandling, can be corrected without too much trouble. After Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill left Duke, the Devils went to a system Coach K called "conveyance," which, when you get down to it, was passing to advance the ball rather than dribbling. If Duke can't work it out they can go back to that.

You can always run screens to get people open and you have other options as well on offense.

The bigger question is going to be how to improve the perimeter defense.

We're not technically savvy enough to predict what the staff will do, so we'll have to rely on observation and inference and past experiences.

There will be, we expect, adjustments in the rotation to advance better defenders.  Michael Gbinije may be one beneficiary.  He has real potential as a stopper and is versatile enough to use in different ways (think Elliot Williams or Shane Battier, guys who could be moved around a bit defensively, more so in Battier's case).

And there may well be adjustments in Duke's overall approach: faced with a similar situation in 2010, Krzyzewski put Jon Scheyer at the point, moved Elliot Williams into the starting lineup for his defensive work, and slowed things down.

That's not likely to happen again: K has already said that this team needs to be a running team, so we expect you'll see something more like trying to get open court dunks from the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly or threes in transition.

And there were some good things from the perimeter players as well.  Despite some struggles offensively, Curry had four steals and down the stretch, Rivers settled down and did a lot to put Duke in a position where they could have conceivably won.

They didn't, of course, but no one does a better job at profiting from a loss than Coach K. He'll be hitting the film soon and tweaking, tweaking, tweaking.

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