The Duke Basketball team takes to the court for the first time tonight after their loss to Ohio State in Columbus where they'll face Colorado State in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Rams come in 5-3, having recently lost to Northern Iowa, a likely NCAA Tournament team by a score of 83-77. The Blue Devils (7-1) are coming off some nice road wins before dropping a 20 plus point drubbing to #2 ranked Ohio State.
Wes Eikmeir leads the Rams averaging 17.5 ppg from the guard spot. The junior is a player that the Blue Devils will certainly focus on and that will shift the load to fellow junior guard Dorian Green, who knocked down 21 points in a road loss to a tough Northern Iowa team. Statistically, the teams are fairly even but Duke will look to improve on their rebounding totals which took a hit against the Buckeyes.
In the last outing, only Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee played consistently and you can bet that players have been challenged to step up. Look for some changes in the line up but nothing too earth shattering for some of the Blue Devils regulars which rode the bench in the last outing late in the game, are still the best bets for success.
It is thought by many that Quinn Cook will get a shot at the point guard spot, shifting Seth Curry off ball with Austin Rivers. But Tyler Thornton will be in the mix as well. For Cook to succeed, he will need to show better court awareness and make good quick decisions. The problem in some respects have been turnovers from the distributors and getting the ball to shooters in good position, so all eyes will be glued to progress in this area.
I still feel Austin Rivers is on the verge of big things and of all the players on the team, he has the most potential to raise his assists by hitting the open men on the wings off drives. And Mason Plumlee is playing like an All ACC player and showing off his game as he is coming into his own as a junior.
The Blue Devils will now try to extend their 89-game home non-conference winning streak and should come away with their 90th consecutive. One thing is certain, that being you will see the Blue Devils play with a wreckless abandon wanting to get the past of their first loss out of their mouth. While I certainly don'te expect the Rams to lay down, I do expect them to get worn down as the game goes on. Again, this team is better than some fans might think who are demanding a blowout for redemption, still when the dust clears, I too see a good effort and an 85-64 win.