After a controversial finish to their game at Virginia Saturday, the Blue Devils take on Notre Dame at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Before the Tuesday night matchup, the Blue Zone has three keys to a victory:
Big men resurgence
Coming off of an overtime loss to Virginia, it is easy to get caught up in the controversy surrounding the missed foul call on Kyle Filipowski in the game’s final play of regulation. But one play does not define an entire game. As the Blue Devils turn to play the Fighting Irish for Tuesday’s matchup, it is imperative that they learn from the mistakes and unfocused play which caused strain down the stretch. Most crucially, Duke’s big men did not show up in a game where their dominating presence was much-needed. The center trio of Kyle Filipowski, Dereck Lively II and Ryan Young combined for only eight points. Held largely stagnant on offense, the three did little despite their considerable height advantage to dominate in the paint. Seven-foot Filipowski’s inability to post up against the significantly shorter 6-foot-8 Ryan Dunn led to five turnovers and no baskets made on the day. Notre Dame is tied for No. 350 of 352 teams in turnovers forced per game, averaging just nine a contest, which provides Filipowski and the Blue Devils an opportunity to limit the costly mistakes that have defined much of their recent woes. Against a less formidable opponent in the Fighting Irish, Duke must work to rediscover its offensive identity behind its strong and capable big men.
After two tough road losses, the Blue Devils are returning to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since their electrifying win against North Carolina. With a 12-0 home record, Duke is the only ACC team to remain undefeated in its home stadium. Notre Dame, at 0-6 on the road, is only one of two ACC teams to remain completely winless outside of its home stadium. It is not often that a team receives as stark of a home-court advantage as this, and Duke must capitalize on the advantage to secure a definitive and resounding win. With the Cameron Crazies cheering them on, the Blue Devils have a perfect opportunity to turn their recent woes around and gain some serious momentum with only six games remaining in the conference season.
Limit the scoring
As the No. 2 scoring defense in the ACC, Duke’s defensive capabilities have been one of its consistent bright spots throughout the season. Against a Notre Dame roster that put up 87 points Saturday against a strong Virginia Tech team, it is important that the defensive talents of Lively, Dariq Whitehead and Jeremy Roach continue to show up. Dropping 33 points against the Hokies’ tough defense is just one example of how the Fighting Irish’s veteran forward Nate Laszewski has put up incredibly impressive offensive numbers all season. The 6-foot-10 senior shoots at a clip of 42.7% from three and 54.1% from the field. Laszewski is a huge scoring threat that Duke must focus on limiting, as he averages 14.9 points a game. After a promising win against a talented Tar Heel team, Duke has largely stumbled and has been unable to capitalize on the momentum. In a home matchup against a weaker opponent, the Blue Devils can get back to the upward and rising trajectory that many of their fans expect of them.
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