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Jayson Tatum's return from injury is likely to help Duke's spacing and perimeter shooting on offense.

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Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida



Duke will face a tough test Tuesday night against No. 21 Florida at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Jimmy V Classic. The Blue Devils are riding high on a six-game winning streak and just welcomed back freshman five-star recruits Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden in their last game against Maine. Here are three keys to success for Duke to triumph against the Gators:

Protect the Basketball

Florida's tough defense has fueled its early-season success, forcing an average of 16.9 turnovers per game. The Blue Devils have been careful with the ball thus far, only averaging 11.6 per game, but this will be the best defense Duke has faced this season besides Kansas. Senior guard Matt Jones will be depended on for his poise in the backcourt, and the Blue Devils’ customary three- or four-guard lineup will also combat the pressure defense by putting more players comfortable with handling the ball on the floor.

Hit 3-pointers

In Florida’s only loss this season against No. 8 Gonzaga, the Gators had trouble defending the 3-point line, allowing the Bulldogs to knock down 43.8 percent of their attempts from behind the arc. Duke has plenty of sharpshooters including Luke Kennard, who has been on fire to start the season. The sophomore is averaging 19.4 points per game and poured in a career-high 35 Saturday against Maine. Adding Tatum to the fold will only increase the Blue Devils’ potency, as the 6-foot-8 freshman is very comfortable behind the arc.

Crash the Glass

It is no secret that rebounding is often the key to winning basketball games. Duke has done an excellent job on the glass so far this year, outrebounding opponents by an average of 8.2 boards per game. Graduate Amile Jefferson has led the effort, averaging almost 10 rebounds a game, and now that Bolden is healthy, the Blue Devils have another option in the post. If the outside shots are not falling, it will be imperative that Duke crashes the glass for offensive rebounds to spark its offense. 


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