Duke’s summer trip to Canada continues with a 6:00 game Friday against the University of Toronto. Same particulars apply: Paramount Fine Foods Center and ESPN+.
Some particulars are different: Duke will play without three players instead of two: Tre Jones and Cameron Reddish were already ruled out for the tour with injuries. For Jones it’s a hip and for Reddish a groin, both relatively manageable injuries.
Alex O’ Connor is in a bit worse situation.
Just three minutes into the game he got elbowed in the eye and left the game with an orbital fracture. He’s done for summer ball but will probably be back before too long. He was taken to a Toronto-area hospital but will no doubt get very closely examined when he gets back to Duke.
So Duke goes into the game with Toronto with a limited backcourt and still the heavy favorite.
We don’t know a lot about collegiate basketball in Canada but our understanding is that of the three teams Duke will play Ryerson was the best.
Toronto no doubt feels differently but beating Duke is not easy.
It’s easier with three guards sitting but still not easy. However, Toronto does have some advantages, starting with experience.
Toronto has 25 seasons of experience returning and five first-year players. And they’re playing in their own neighborhood which can be a real advantage.
Toronto isn't a huge team - the Varsity Blues have just three guys over 6-7 - but that could work in their advantage if their guards can get into Duke a little.
But Duke will almost certainly have an athletic advantage and in a running game should be in a good situation.
As was the case with Ryerson, we can’t get a whole lot of information on Toronto so it’s hard to say much and it’s not like Duke went out of its way to schedule teams that had a chance to win. It’s a summer tour for a very young team and the idea is to see what they can do, not to set them up for failure.
So odds are Duke will win and the main question is what lessons will be learned.