Today Duke takes on UNC in Cameron with a lot at stake, firstly top billing in the ACC, and a jump on the regular season title, secondly bragging rights and momentum going into the last few weeks of the season. Both teams have gone through changes this year, obviously for Duke the loss of Kyrie Irving has been a big story for the Devils, that has caused an adjustment in play and personnel. The POY level of play by Nolan Smith during Irvings hiatus. Another Duke story line is the emergence of the bench and post play from the Plumlees as well as Ryan Kelly. Also Seth Curry coming into his own on the offensive and defensive side of the floor. These will all come to be important factors if Duke is to win this game. They will need to control the paint and rotate quickly on defense. Carolina will drive and kick and its going to be how Duke recovers and also covers the Carolina secondary break that will make or break this game for the Devils. It’s all about defense.
For UNC, it’s been up and down but now this team has won 5 in a row and are surging. They beat Florida State by 20, and B.C. by 32, and NC State by 20. Impressive to say the least. Kendall Marshall has established himself as a leader on the team, and with Larry Drew II leaving the team, after losing his starting job to Marshall, he will have more of an opportunity to be the man for UNC. The 16 assists against Florida State proves at least in the short term that he is ready to produce for an entire game. The other advantage UNC may hold is their length, with John Henson, and Tyler Zeller, and Justin Knox the Heels have formidable size and talent inside. The Plumlees will have a lot to deal with, and Duke, if they aren’t careful, may have issues with their foul prone front-court. Mason and Miles will have to rebound and defend without picking up cheap and unnecessary fouls, otherwise it will be a long night.
Some Random Musings:
Although I’m not a better or a gambler myself it is pretty interesting to chart NCAA Basketball Odds. The amount of data that gets worked into these types of algorithms is amazing, curious if sites like ESPN will start to integrate date like this in their site structure.
Also very cool feature on Kyrie Irving with video of the cast removal from GoDuke.com, and another from FanHouse on how turmoil is par for the course for a championship team. Also here are a couple of links related to the verbal commitment of Alex Murphy who becomes the first commit for 2012:
- Class of 2012 standout Alex Murphy picks Duke
- SLAM ONLINE | Â» Duke Lands Highly Ranked Forward Alex Murphy
- Top 10 forward picks Devils
- Younger Murphy picks Duke over Florida
Here are a few more links regarding Duke UNC for those who can’t get enough:
- Duke, UNC could be a battle in the paint
- Silly freshmen: Itâ€™ll take more than talk to emerge victorious
- Kangaroo Express FanCam Coming to Cameron
- Game Notes: vs. North Carolina, Feb. 9, 9 PM, ESPN
- UNC-Duke play for 1st place and much more
- Kyrieâ€™s only thing missing from Duke-Carolina
- UNC vs. Duke matches friends at the point
- Tar Heels and Blue Devils playing for first in ACC
- No. 2 with a bullet, is UNC ready to beat ACCâ€™s best?
- North Carolina is Back, Ready to Challenge Duke
- Luke Winn>INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL
- Carolina-Duke: Trash talk central
- Duke-Carolina as compelling as usual
- UNCâ€™s 3rd-best ballhandler? Right now, a 6-10 forward
- Tudor: UNCâ€™s Marshall the new Phelps?
- UNCâ€™s Barnes will face Cameron Crazies
- Tar Heels need to recruit point guard
- With ACC lead on stake, four players in spotlight
- Duke to host North Carolina in key ACC matchup
- Duke-UNC game is a reunion for old friends
- With Lack of Stars, College Menâ€™s Basketball Finds Parity
- Marshall, Phelps have similarities
- As the pendulum swings