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Next Up - Appalachian State

As the Mountaineers make the long ride down to Cameron

Duke v Ohio State
COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 30: Trevor Keels #1 of the Duke Blue Devils passes the ball during the second half of a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena on November 30, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
  • Date: 12/16
  • Time: 7:00
  • Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium
  • Video: ESPN2

Next up for Duke is Appalachian State in Cameron Thursday.

Coached by Dustin Kerns, who is in his second season at Boone, the Mountaineers have been doing okay since he showed up. Kerns came into the season with a 35-27 record at App State which might not sound like much but is actually pretty impressive. Remember he took over with someone else’s players and doesn’t have the resources of a Power Five team. He’s built and kept the team over .500 which is a significant accomplishment.

The Mountaineers have a deep rotation, with 11 guys getting double-digit minutes and they have a bit of size, albeit slim, with three guys 6-9 or taller.

Senior guard Adrian Delph is probably the most dangerous guy on the roster. The 6-3 senior is averaging 15.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg, highly impressive for a guard.

Michael Almonacy runs the point and is getting 9.3 ppg, 2.4 boards and 2.3 apg. He’s a 6-0 senior. Justin Forrest, a 6-2 senior, also starts.

Donovan Gregory, a 6-5 junior and James Lewis, a 6-8 senior, round out the starters.

Obviously App State has a smallish team but as we’ve already seen this season, that can be both an advantage and disadvantage. Delph (41.5 percent), Almonacy (35.2 percent) both can hit the three and so can CJ Huntley and Terrence Harcum off the bench.

And all it takes is for one guy to have an immortal night. The three point shot is like the Peacemaker of college basketball.

For Duke?

Well exam periods are always a bit erratic. It’s over, but it necessarily means less practice time and losing a bit of edge.

It didn’t hurt Duke much against South Carolina State, a team that showed a lot of discipline and heart despite taking a beating.

We were really pleased with how Trevor Keels and Jeremy Roach played against South Carolina State. Duke’s backcourt has been erratic offensively but in that game combined to shoot 7-13 overall and 5-10 on threes. Roach also had five steals.

Duke played without Theo John which worked out okay because that gave more time to AJ Griffin, who sparkled. He shot 7-8, had four boards, four assists and two blocks in 22 minutes.

Duke may take the opponent to tinker with some alternate lineups, as it has done before when Mark Williams has to deal with a lot of smaller players.

The odds of Appalachian State upsetting Duke are pretty minimal - DraftKings has Duke as a -21.5 favorite - but the game, as always, is settled on the court.