Preview: Duke (13-0) vs. Miami (12-3)

Duke enters its second away game of the ACC season against the Miami Hurricanes knowing that anything can, and usually does, happen in the state of Florida. After watching mighty Wake Forest fall in the sunshine state last night, the Blue Devils know anything can happen here. Throw in a Miami team that is calling this one of the bigger opportunities in the program's history and you've got all the ingredients for a rough night for Duke. <I>TDD</I> previews the match-up.

The Hurricanes entered their first season of ACC hoops play with one expectation from the experts – they weren't supposed to be a major threat. In fact, they were supposed to finish in the cellar, along with fellow Big East defector Virginia Tech. However, someone forgot to tell Coach Frank Haith and his young team that.

Miami has reeled off 11 wins in their last 12 games, including wins over then No. 18 Florida, and conference foes NC State, Florida State, and an 11 point win at Virginia. The ‘Canes are a fun group to watch, and rely on great guard play and solid post support. While their schedule hasn't been anything to write home about, they have proven the ability to hang with anyone if the perimeter attack is firing.

For Duke to maintain its perfect early season record, the Blue Devils will need to once again get stellar perimeter defensive pressure, while establishing big man Shelden Williams on the inside. The return of Shavlik Randolph, albeit not fully, will serve as a boost for woefully short bench, as Duke will look to take command of the early ACC race.

Meet the Hurricanes

C- Anthony King (6'9, 225, SO) – Last season as a freshman, King played just seven minutes per game and averaged barely a point per contest. Then, after Miami lost out on their top post recruit, CJ Giles, King found himself entering his sophomore season as the defacto starter in the middle for Haith.

So far he's been about as good as could be expected. With a very high level of athleticism and a nose for the ball, King has put up 6.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while ranking second to Duke's Shelden Williams with 3.5 blocks per game. He's already recorded season highs of 19 rebounds and 13 blocks, which was part of his first career triple double.

He still needs to work on his offensive game, as he's not a huge scoring threat, but his athleticism and quickness allow him to be a prescence on the floor in a number of other ways. Putting him on the free throw line is a safe proposition if you have to foul someone, as he's hitting just 51% of his free throws.

F- William Frisby (6'8, 235, SR) – Another player who entered this year as a largely unknown commodity, Frisby has continued the trend of strong play that began when he filled in for eight games as a starter last season. Like King, Frisby isn't an overly imposing offensive threat, but he is more advanced thanks to the three seasons of competition in the Big East.

In his final hoops campaign, he's hitting for 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds while having his minutes limited to just over 23 per contest thanks what seems to be constant foul trouble. In his four conference games, Frisby has been a monster on the glass, averaging a stellar 10.3 rebounds per game against NC State, Virginia, Florida State, and Georgia Tech.

Occasionally he'll step outside to the perimeter, where he has shown the ability to hit a three pointer, but mainly he makes a living on put backs and down on the blocks.

G- Robert Hite (6'2, 186, JR) – The team's leading scorer and overall top offensive threat, Hite has taken the ACC by storm through his first four games. In addition to scoring at a 19.0 points per game clip (44% FG, 88% FT), he's also helping out on the glass with 5.2 rebounds. He's also the team's best perimeter defender, averaging nearly two steals per game.

As a sophomore the Ohio native hit the double figure plateau in 83% of the games he played, and was considered among the five most improved players in the entire Big East Conference. Perhaps his defining moment came last year when Miami upset North Carolina in a non-conference game behind a then career best 27 points from Hite. Since then he's torched FAU for 38, and Florida International by 29.

Another very high level athlete, Hite can torch you from the perimeter (41%), but is also easily quick enough to get to the rim and finish or draw the foul.

G- Guillermo Diaz (6'2, 183, SO) – Like most high major freshmen, Diaz had his ups and downs last year for the Hurricanes. He certainly showed the ability to score, averaging nearly 12 points per game, but it was on the defensive end where he regularly struggled. Sure there were flashes of brilliance, like the game against St. Johns where he hit for 15 points and six rebounds, while also holding his opponent to two points including four steals against just one foul. However, those flashes were far between.

This year it's a difference story as Diaz is beginning to grasp the defensive concept Haith is trying to implement in South Beach, and it's resulted in him becoming a complete player for the ‘Canes.

More importantly, it's caught the ACC off guard in a big way. Through four conference games he's produced averages of 24.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 48% from the field (30-of-62) and 43% (13-of-30) from the perimeter.

G- Anthony Harris (6'2, 168, SO) – During his first full season in Miami, Harris didn't get much time, instead sitting behind now transferred point guard Armondo Surratt. Despite his scoring guard past, Harris has settled in nicely to a kind of combo guard role, ala his opponent, Daniel Ewing.

He's still scoring at a nice clip, at nearly 13 points per game, but he's also beginning to grasp the role of distributor, averaging nearly five assists per game. However, he's been plagued by turnovers, and is averaging three per contest, yielding just a 1.6/1 assist to turnover ratio – though most of the kinks have been worked out in conference play where he's dropped his give away average to just 2.0 per game compared to 3.8 assists per game.

Offensively his perimeter shooting has taken a hit this year, as he's hitting for just 28% on the year and a woeful 6% in conference play (1-of-17). The problem is the on the ball pressure he's facing and inability to get his shot off. However, with Hite and Diaz hot, his struggles have been somewhat masked.

The Reserves

Like Duke, Miami is a team built largely on the contributions of its starters. Off the bench comes 6'9, 245 pound junior Gary Hamilton, who, like his starting counterparts in the frontcourt, doesn't possess that game breaking offensive ability (4.3 points), but is a hard nosed rebounder (6.9 rebounds per game in 22.5 minutes per). 6'4 junior wing Eric Wilkins sees 12 minutes per game and spends most of his time on the defensive end. Freshman Raymond Hicks (6'7, 235), and Fordham transfer junior Glenn Batemon (6'11, 340) are both unknowns, that Haith is bringing along slowly.

Game Notes:
courtesy of Duke Sports Information

Duke (13-0, 3-0 ACC), ranked fourth in the nation by the AP and by ESPN/USA Today, faces Miami (12-3, 3-1) on Jan. 19 in the Convocation Center in Coral Gables, Fla. Tip-off is set for 8:30 PM.

*- Duke leads the All-Time series with the Hurricanes by a 4-1 margin.

*- Under Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils are 4-0 against Miami.

*- Duke has averaged 82.7 points in their last three wins over Temple, N.C. State and Virginia

*- With its 86-74 win at N.C. State on Jan. 13, Duke has won 128 of its last 155 games outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium, including victories in 41 of its last 52 ACC road games

Betting Line:

Duke by 7.5

Prediction:

Duke-83
Miami -72


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories