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Next Up - Bowie State

It’s not going to be easy, but there’s a path for Bowie State to win this game

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Clemson v Duke
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils shakes hands with the Cameron Crazies after the game against the Clemson Tigers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 64-62.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Duke wraps up exhibition play against Bowie State and will play without promising freshman point guard Trevon Duval, who was suspended for this game “due to a violation of team standards,” whatever that means.

Typically minor suspensions aren’t discussed so we may never know what happened.

Without him, Duke will probably turn to a combination of senior Grayson Allen and freshman Jordan Goldwire at the point.

Consider Goldwire for a minute: this summer he seemed set for Western Kentucky, then Duke unexpectedly got involved and he jumped on the offer.

He arrived at Duke and was expected to basically run the scout team in practice. Now he may start in his second game.

Whoever starts, he’ll play more. It must be an amazing ride for Goldwire.

As for Bowie State, the Bulldogs are in the CIAA and won it last season.

Coached by alum Darrell Brooks, Bowie State on the surface has a real mismatch.

The Bulldogs are expected to start sophomore 6-8 Saiquan Jamison, 6-3 senior Omari George, 6-3 sophomore David Belle and 6-0 senior Ahmaad Wilson.

Wilson is the biggest offensive threat, having averaged 17.1 ppg last season.

Duke will counter with a much bigger lineup: against Northwest Missouri State Duke put out freshman Wendell Carter (6-10) freshman Marvin Bagley (6-10), freshman Gary Trent, (6-5), freshman Duval (6-1) and 6-5 senior Grayson Allen.

Obviously Duval won’t play and while you wouldn’t expect it to be a problem given the talent and size mismatch, it could be.

It’s going to be really difficult for the Bulldogs to guard Duke’s bigs, but those bigs are going to spend a lot of energy chasing smaller players all over the court. And if a Bulldog happens to go Randolph Childress and starts hitting all of his threes, well, that’s a very different game than most of us are expecting.

And if that happens, then game pressure falls squarely on Duke.

Is that likely to happen? Probably not.

Duke has a huge advantage in size and talent, but Bowie State has an advantage too: experience and cohesiveness. And as we have seen in recent years in the NCAA tournament, that can be huge.

Bowie State has five seniors and four sophomores (and three freshmen). The Bulldogs have a senior leader in Wilson.

It’s hard to imagine that Bowie State could win in Cameron, but Duke is playing with seven freshmen and without a highly talented point guard in Duval(albeit a freshman himself). If there were ever a recipe for a shocking upset though, that’s it: no point guard, a ton of freshmen and a tough to guard opponent.

We can only say: remember Vermont and how close that team came to pulling off a stunner in 2013.

After that game Coach K said this: "We played like a team that thought we would just show up and win. That's how you get beat."

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