The Blue Devils return home with a Saturday afternoon matchup against Miami. Before the game, the Blue Zone looks at a player from each side who is capable of leading their team to victory:
Duke: Kyle Filipowski
Filipowski has paced the Blue Devils in points and rebounds during his freshman campaign. The Westtown, N.Y., native has led the scoring for nine of the team’s 18 games while also recording a double-double eight separate times.
Filipowski is by no means a perfect player—as a freshman, he is still learning to navigate the college scene. He is susceptible to turnovers and typically misses a chunk of his shots each game. But what he has going for him is his persistence and confidence on the court. Based on his field goal percentage, which is a decent 42.1%, Filipowski is an asset, not the leader. But the center can put the ball up, which is what matters, as 42.1% percent of 20 attempts still means double-digits on the scoreboard.
Recently, Filipowski’s game has not been thwarted by the road—down in Clemson, S.C., Duke fell a few buckets behind the Tigers, but the Blue Devils' star forward scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The five-time ACC Rookie of the Week now looks to present a challenge to Miami.
Miami: Norchad Omier
If Miami has a rival for Duke, it's the Hurricanes' top forward. Norchad Omier does not quite reach Filipowski’s staggering 7-foot build, but his stats prove he has managed to suffice with his 6-foot-7 stature. Alongside Filipowski, the third-year sophomore holds a highly coveted spot on the Karl Malone Award preseason watch list—no doubt earned because of his successful 2021-22 season at Arkansas State, where he earned a number of accolades including Sun Belt Player of the Year.
Omier boasts a 61.6% mark from the field and most recently scored 16 points against Syracuse—a team with a better ACC record than Duke. In 33 minutes of play against the Orange, the feisty forward matched his season-high four blocks and also had 16 rebounds to help his team push past Syracuse in overtime.
The Bluefields, Nicaragua, native also tops Filipowski when it comes to double-doubles, with nine already in his first season with the Hurricanes. Omier is aggressive when it comes to defense.
If the Blue Devils want to protect their perfect home record, they need to be ready to stop a multifaceted Miami player who knows how to put himself into action.
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