DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 12: Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils directs his team against the Virginia Cavaliers during play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 12, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke brings their high-powered offense to Littlejohn today. The Dukies average just over 80 points per game, good enough for 11th best in the nation, and rank 6th in the nation in overall field goal percentage. Coach K's club has 4 guys that average over 10 ppg in Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly.
Duke's backcourt is home to 2 of the best pure shooters in the country in freshman phenom Austin Rivers (14.4 ppg) and Liberty transfer Seth Curry (12.2 ppg), but the Dukies have struggled to find the right guy for the point guard position. Quinn Cook has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the country, and played a stellar game in his first start of the year in the ACC opener against Georgia Tech, but he had a bad game against Virginia, and was only on the court for 12 minutes. It's likely that Cook gets the start again at point, but it's also possible that Coach K will look at other options for the position. Rivers and Curry will likely light things up, but the level of play from the point is less of a sure thing.
Duke's frontcourt is tall, with the Mason and Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly all listed at at least 6-10. Devin's going to have his hands full.
Which Clemson team shows up? Will it be the team that destroyed one of the ACC's best teams in Florida State? Or will it be the team that couldn't even beat BC's all freshmen squad? The Tigers have to play their best game of the season if they want to beat the Blue Devils.
For us to beat Duke, a lot has to go right. Devin has to wake up. Andre and TJ have to shoot lights out. Tanner and Milton have to limit their turnovers and mental mistakes. And we have to actually make some free throws at the end of the game. If we can do all of these things (that's a BIG if), then we have a shot.
I'm not expecting a win today. What I want to see out of this Tigers team today is a team that plays hard and doesn't quit. I want to see guys play harder (Devin) and make less mental mistakes (Tanner, Milton). We aren't talented enough to win unless we play the best game of the year. And after suffering through the BC game, I expect this team to come out and play hard.
A lot of people don't think that these Tigers have even a chance against Duke. Most I've talked to are expecting a blow out, and who can blame them? People don't expect Devin to wake up. They don't think Milton can play with any confidence. They don't think Tanner can stop turning the ball over. They don't think TJ and Andre can go shot for shot with Curry and Rivers. I'm not so sure myself that we can change these things today, but I'm hoping these Tigers can prove me wrong.