clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Next Up - Miami

Time: 7:00 || Venue: Watsco Center || Video: ESPN

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Wake Forest v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 13: Wendell Carter Jr #34 of the Duke Blue Devils battles Doral Moore #4 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for a loose ball during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 89-71.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Yes up for Duke is a trip to sunny Miami to take on the Hurricanes, a place where Duke hasn’t won in a good while.

Jim Larranaga’s team is sort of the opposite of Duke’s: the defense is tremendous but the offense has been erratic.

Duke has a potent frontcourt while Miami’s strength is its guards. Jim Larranaga has future NBA players Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker IV and also Je’Quan Newton, Dejan Vasiljevic and 5-7 freshman dynamo Chris Lykes.

That’s a lot to deal with.

Brown and Walker are both seen as eventual first round draft picks. Newton and Vasiljevic are not as athletic but Newton is a senior and smart as hell and Vasiljevic is capable of just going off. He’s Miami’s primary three point shooter and remember that Duke has had trouble with the three to date. If he gets hot it could be a long night.

We’ve been intrigued with Lykes since we saw someone say if he was a foot taller he'd be Michael Jordan.

We’ll never know but there’s always room for a small guard with immense athleticism or smarts or both. The ACC has celebrated guys like Muggsy Bogues, Spud Webb and Terrell McIntyre. They’re always fun. More fun against someone else but still fun.

Up front Miami offers Dewan Huell, a 6-11 sophomore and Miami native and 6-7 sophomore Anthony Lawrence, a 6-7 junior from St. Petersburg on the other side of the state.

Duke will surely start (assuming everyone is uninjured and not sick) Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter, Gary Trent, Trevon Duval and Grayson Allen.

Against Pitt and Wake Forest Duke got solid play out of its bench.

Duke saw Alex O’ Connell get eight points against Pitt and 15 against Wake.

Justin Robinson had eight points, three blocks and two rebounds against the Panthers and was rewarded by being the first guy off the bench against Wake Forest.

Duke got smaller statistical contributions from Antonio Vrankovic, Jordan Goldwire and Jack White, but all of them were competent reserves.

We haven’t heard yet about Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier. Both missed Pitt and Wake Forest with injuries and one of the best things about those wins was how well the bench stepped up.

Duke limited Pitt to 52 points and Wake Forest to 71. That’s way better than the 84 BC racked up, or the 93 or 96 Florida State or NC State hung on the Blue Devils.

Miami probably won’t score that many either - this is not a great offensive team - but odds are Duke won’t either. So far Duke is averaging 91.2 ppg in conference and Miami is holding ACC opponents to 64 points.

Something has to give.

Miami doesn’t have a great outside game. Vasiljevic hits 37.5% and can get hot but Newton shoots .133, Brown .261 and Walker .298. Seems like a zone sort of opportunity for Duke.

The one guy in the rotation we didn’t mention is Charlotte native Ebuka Izundu. He’s a junior and is big enough to cause problems though he’s not a big factor on offense.

Duke has played better on defense in the last two games but there have still been some gaping holes and missed switches and so on. Wake had some easy open threes from the corners and the top of the key. That may not be as risky against Miami but it’s still not good.

And there’s one other major wildcard in this game and it’s microscopic. Coach K sat out the Wake game with a virus and Gary Trent played after throwing up all morning and reportedly once during the game.

Coach K should be back and fine and we expect Trent will be better. We just hope no one else is sick. We wondered during the Wake game if maybe Bagley or Allen had a touch of whatever is going around. Bagley ended up with 30 points and 11 rebounds but early in the game he seemed off his feed.

As for Allen, he did most everything well but only took five shots and missed them all. However, in what is almost surely a first and probably a last, he out rebounded Bagley 12-11 (he outrebounded Carter too).

By the way, to underscore what a sensational rebounder Bagley has been, he has more offensive rebounds so far than any Miami player has total. Bagley has 125 OR and 199 total. Miami’s best rebounder is a guard, Brown, with 106, barely ahead of Huell with 105. Bagley is nearly 100 total offensive rebounds ahead of Huell, who has just 31 on the season. That works out to just about 1.9 per game, giving Duke a likely advantage.

Miami was undefeated before they went to Hawaii; since then the ‘Canes are 4-3. Toss in a weak performance at George Washington before Hawaii and things haven’t gone that well for Miami, something Larranaga has complained about a fair amount.

Still, this is a talented Miami team and one with real strengths. Defense is one and an athletic and deep perimeter is another. Huell is one of the better big men in the conference and Larranaga is a tremendous coach who has completely reinvented Miami basketball.

One final note about Miami: this is one of the worst foul shooting teams in the country - 331st nationally out of 351. If it comes down to that at the end it’ll be tense for Larranaga.

And one final note about Duke: foul trouble is a big deal in this game. Carter has developed a tendency to pick them up fast but the perimeter guys are going to be really important too. Staying out of foul trouble is likely to be key in this one.

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! || Drop us a line