Tournaments are hard for us because it often means a post-game report followed by a preview.
It’s not easy to do but we’ll give it a shot as Duke gets ready to play Texas. Call it a mini preview.
The highlight is likely to be Marvin Bagley vs. Mohamed Bamba.
Duke fans are familiar with Bagley by now but perhaps less so with Bamba.
Bamba is listed at 6-11 but he’s probably a little taller and however tall he is, his reach is unparalleled: his wingspan is 7-9 and that’s beats anyone else in college and the NBA.
Bamba is an offensive work in progress but is still averaging 14 ppg. More to the point, he’s averaging nine rpg and 4.5 bpg.
As he develops he’s going to become a major defensive force, more so than he is now.
They’re billing this as Bagley vs. Bamba but it’ll be Carter vs. Bamba too and perhaps more.
There’s also a keen matchup between freshmen point guards as Matt Coleman, who was down to Texas and Duke before picking the Longhorns, will square off against Trevon Duval.
As you would expect from a Shaka Smart team, lots of guys get minutes. His rotation is about 11 deep. Even Bamba only gets 21 mpg.
So far Texas hasn’t really played anyone. The Longhorns scheduled Northwestern State, New Hampshire and Lipscomb before the PK80 offered up Butler.
Texas swims in a bigger pond than Portland State but has similar motivation: playing the #1 team tends to do that.
Last year the Longhorns won just 11 games but with Smart’s Havoc defense backed up by a great shotblocker, you never know. It’s certainly not the Texas we saw last year.
And don’t forget Smart has experience playing against Duke and Coach K.
Just as a final thought: if you’re going to play against a great shotblocker, it’s a good time to hit threes or else to get to the basket before he does.