Previewing UNC-Greensboro

Previewing the Blue Devils and Spartans who will tip off tonight in Greensboro as Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski prepares to become the winningest coach in ACC history.

UNCG (0-11) vs. Duke (11-0)
Greensboro, N.C. -- Greensboro, NC
TV: ESPNU 7:00 PM EST (Rob Stone & Jay Bilas)
MEET THE SPARTANS

Head Coach: Mike Dement (6th Year)
Record at UNCG: 57-106
Record v. Duke: 0-4

Projected Starters:
?13 Aloysius Henry (6-10, 235 Jr.) – 11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg
41 Aaron Brackett (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 5.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg
11 Korey Van Dussen (6-2, 175, So.) – 12.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
12 Kyle Randall (6-0, 170, Jr.) – 12.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
22 Brandon Evans (6-2, 200, Sr.) – 10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg

Top Reserves:
00 David Williams (6-6, 200, Fr.) – 7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
1 Drew Parker (6-2, 180, Fr.) – 2.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg
15 Trevis Simpson (6-4, 185, Fr.) - 6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
50 Brian Cole (6-9, 220, So.) - 5.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg


Series History: This will be the 9th meeting between the two programs with the Blue Devils owning an 8-0 record all-time against UNCG. Those eight wins have come by an average of 37.8 points per contest. The Duke offense has certainly been a big part of that huge margin as the Blue Devils have topped 90 points in five of the eight meetings.

Against teams currently in the Southern Conference, the Blue Devils have an all-time record of 141-24 and have won 46 consecutive games against teams from that league. Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski the Devils have an overall record of 46-2 against SOCON foes..

UNCG Roster: Click Here
UNCG Statistics: Click Here
UNCG Schedule: Click Here


PRE-GAME NOTES:

"We're 0-and-so-and-so, but I'm not going to say we can't win that game. If we play and execute, we just might beat them and send a message across the country." - UNCG freshman forward Aaron Brackett

"We've played a lot of people who make it difficult to judge how good we are." - UNCG head coach Mike Dement

Season To Date: This probably isn't what the Spartan coaches, players, or fans were thinking about in the offseason. 11 games played. All losses. Shooting just 40 percent from the field and averaging 66.1 points per game. The losses have come to a wide variety of competition including ACC foes such as Florida State (24 points), Virginia Tech (22), Maryland (43), Wake Forest (2), and Clemson (10).

The most recent ACC defeat, at the hands of the Clemson Tigers, was actually closer than the final score appeared. After the Spartans fell behind by 21 at the half, UNCG stormed back and cut the lead to two before running out of gas and eventually falling by 10.

Overall the 0-11 start is the worst in school history, breaking the record of the teams of the late 1960s who lost their first seven games of the year.

The Newest Impact Player: With so much change, Dement has searched long and hard for immediate impact players. He seems to have found at least one in the form of junior college player Aloysius Henry. The 6'10 prospect currently leads the team in scoring and is also the leading rebounder on the year. A native of St. Lucia, Henry has started all 11 games for the Spartans and is just the fifth player from St. Lucia to receive a Division I scholarship.

Scheduling Gets Tough: Despite the number of changes on the roster, the Spartans are not afraid of scheduling tough opponents. A season ago UNCG played 12 of the top 100 teams in the country as ranked by the RPI. This season the Spartans have seven contests against the top 100 teams in the country and 12 against teams considered among the RPI Top 150.

Uglying It Up: The Spartans are not afraid to play a style of play similar to Butler in that UNCG will play tough, physical defense and isn't afraid to slow the game down with multiple trips to the charity stripe. In 10 of the 11 contests played so far this year the Spartans have combined with their opponent to shoot at least 40 combined free throws. Against the Virginia Tech the teams combined for a whopping 54 fouls and 70 free throw attempts on the night. Not a bad strategy unless your team is hitting just 66 percent from the line as the Spartans are. It's worse when you consider opponents are hitting nearly 70 percent of the their attempts.

Not A Lot Of Defense: The Spartan defense is, as would be expected by the 0-11 record, not overly strong. UNCG ranks 342nd in points allowed per game (84.4), 339th in the country in defensive rebounds per game (19.8), 341st in assists allowed per contest (17.1), 345th in field goal percentage defense (51.1 percent), and 336th in three point field goal defense (40.7 percent).

Toetal Focus: Duke will once again be without freshman point guard Kyrie Irving who is out indefinitely with an injured toe. With his foot placed in a hard cast, it's unlikely the ACC's best freshman will see action for several more weeks. In the meantime, sophomore Andre Dawkins is expected to make his third consecutive start.

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 12-0 on the season against Elon, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Mike Krzyzewski is one win shy of passing Dean Smith for second place on the all-time coaching wins list. Coach K enters Saturday's game with 879 career wins.
  • The Blue Devils have won 21 consecutive games dating back to a 79-72 loss at Maryland on March 3, 2010. Duke has won 29 of its last 30 games overall.
  • The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 84 consecutive non-conference home games. The last home loss against a non-conference opponent for the Blue Devils was on Feb. 26, 2000 against St. John's, 83-82. Duke has won 47 straight home games against unranked opponents. The Blue Devils' last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked opponent was to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
  • Duke has now won 53 consecutive home games in the month of December with the last loss coming against Michigan on Dec. 8, 1996.
  • Duke has scored 80 or more points in nine straight games and in 10 of the 11 games this season. They are 491-46 all-time under Coach K when scoring at least 80 points. With a strong second half performance against Bradley that saw the Blue Devils put up 51 points, Duke has now scored 50 or more in the second half in five of the nine games on the year.
  • Kyle Singler is averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from three- point range in the last three games.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Simply put, Duke is going to win this game. By a lot. The Spartan defense isn't particularly effective and lesser opponents have beaten UNCG handily. For the Blue Devils this game will be more about shaking off the effects of a long lay-off between games and tuning up for the beginning of ACC season. The major attraction and drama will be watching head coach Mike Krzyzewski passing Dean Smith on the all-time wins list with his 880th victory overall. In the end, look for the Blue Devils to show signs of the layoff early on before putting together a run or two that will send Duke into halftime with the game in hand. From there it'll be about getting ready for the ACC season in 2011 and playing for the coach with the most wins in ACC history.

Prediction:
Duke - 97
UNCG - 55


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