One of the first big decisions Jon Scheyer made was to take his team to Houston on October 29th for a closed scrimmage with Houston.
And that’s going to be a load because Houston plays hard and defends very, very aggressively. They’re pegged at #3 preseason in the AP and the Coaches Poll.
The Cougars are coached by Kelvin Sampson, who has rebuilt his career and a legendary program at the same time.
Under Guy Lewis, the Cougars had legendary teams like the late ‘60s squad featuring Elvin Hayes and the Phi Slama Jamma team in the ‘80s, starring, among others, Hakeem Olajuwon.
They’ve been really good over the last few years, and particularly on defense.
For Duke’s young players, this is going to be a huge challenge. Houston is not huge, but they are deep and they’re going to be a great measuring stick for the Blue Devils and really much more productive than an exhibition game against a significantly lesser opponent.
In a sense, it’s a positive that Dariq Whitehead almost certainly won’t play. He’d be one of the best weapons Duke would have against a team like Houston and other guys will be forced to do things they might not have to otherwise.
It’s a great chance to find out how guys will react against a Final Four level opponent. The only shame is that no one will be able to see it since, by NCAA regulation, no one can attend.