The results from the Duke-Houston scrimmage are in and while Houston “won” 61-50, there are some important caveats.
First, it’s a scrimmage and winning is not necessarily the goal.
Second, Duke played without two likely starters as Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead sat out.
So that aside, let’s see what we can glean.
Duke started Ryan Young, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor with Jaylen Blakes, Jacob Grandison and Jaden Schutt coming off the bench. Young and Mitchell (3-3 and 3-4) shot well but no one else did: Duke shot 15-41 and just 2-17 for threes.
Houston hit 23-43 and 3-9 for threes. Duke, as is so often the case, took made more free throws than the opponent attempted: Duke was 18-25 while Houston shot 12-17.
The Cougars also outrebounded Duke 29-23 but the Devils matched them offensively with 8. Interestingly, Duke forced more turnovers, 10-8.
As we said, the purpose of a scrimmage is not to win or lose but to learn. It’s not surprising that Houston apparently played with more cohesion. Those guys have been together for a lot longer than Duke’s scant few weeks.
There are bound to be more insights and we’d assume at this point that virtually every significant program has invested in analytics and Duke should have that info, if available. They’ll pick over that for the near future.
The best news?
Duke, with only two significant returnees, hung with a Final Four caliber team for most of the game. Toss a healthy Lively and a lively Whitehead in and things might well have been different. For instance, Whitehead might have been able to help limit Houston’s Marcus Sasser, who scored 17.
We’ll add more as we find it, but there is encouraging stuff here.