Preview: Duke (4-1) vs. Davidson (4-2)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Wildcats who tip off in Cameron tonight at 7:00 PM EST


8 Duke (4-1) vs. Davidson (4-2)
Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)
7:00 p.m., Fox Sports South

Program Vitals
Conference: Southern
Nickname: Wildcats
Colors: Red & White
Head Coach: Bob McKillop  (18th year)
Career Record at Davidson: 286-215 (6 Southern Conference Titles)

Projected Starters:
30 Stephen Curry (6-0, 180, Fr.) – 22.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.5 spg

 2 Jason Richards (6-2, 190, Jr.) – 13.5 ppg, 7.5 apg, 41% 3pt
15 Thomas Sander (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg
 5 Boris Meno (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 11.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg
14 Max Paulhus Gosselin (6-6, 195, So.) – 3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg

Key Reserves:
41 Andrew Lovedale (6-8, 215, So.) – 4.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
22 William Archambault (6-6, 210, Fr.) – 11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
23 Stephen Rossiter (6-7, 230, So.) – 1.7 ppg, 2.5 apg

Storylines:

Series History:
Saturday's game marks the 102nd meeting between the two schools with Duke currently holding an 84-17 advantage in the series. The Blue Devils hold a 135-24 overall advantage against teams from the Southern Conference and have already defeated both Georgia Southern and UNC-Greensboro this season.

How They Got Here: After cruising to a 4-0 start, the Blue Devils were summarily pushed back by Marquette on Tuesday night's CBE Classic Championship in Kansas City. The Golden Eagles took control of the game in the final eight minutes and won comfortably as Duke made just two field goals in that time period. Meanwhile Davidson has earned wins over four mid-majors, but has lost to both "power conference" opponents - Michigan (78-68) and Missouri (81-75).

Duke Not The Only Freshman Powered Squad:
By now everyone who follows Duke basketball knows about the Blue Devil freshmen and their roles on this year's team. The Wildcats have a pretty good new comer on their roster as well. Stephen Curry, a true freshman from Charlotte, N.C. is one of the most explosive scorers in Wildcat history. The reigning Southern Conference Player of the Week, Curry averaged 21.5 points per game, scoring a game-high 27 in the Wildcats' 100-89 victory over Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 15. He made 9-of-10 shots in the second half including three buckets from long range in Davidson's home opener. If the name sounds familiar to fans in North Carolina, that's because Stephen is the son of former Charlotte Hornets standout Dell Curry.

Davidson Enters The Game On A High Note:
Unlike their hosts, who are looking to rebound from a loss, the Wildcats enter Cameron Indoor Stadium on the heels of a 30 point victory over Colby College on Tuesday night. In that game Davidson tied or broke four school records. The Wildcats' Stephen Curry set a new school record for three-pointers attempted and made, hitting 9 of his 20 attempts. As a club, Davidson broke the school and Southern Conference mark for attempts from behind the three-point arc with 52. The 19 makes from deep tied a Wildcat record that was established in a 105-48 triumph over Washington & Lee on Nov. 30, 2002.

Protect the Home Court:
Duke enters Saturday's game with the third longest non-conference home win streak in the country. The Blue Devils have won 43 straight non-conference home tilts and 173 of the last 176 non-conference home games. Illinois has the top mark in the country with 51 straight home non-conference wins. Oklahoma is second with 48 straight victories.

Emerging Leaders For The Blue Devils:
After battling injuries for two straight seasons, junior DeMarcus Nelson has begun to take ownership of this team as a junior captain. He was named to the CBE Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals in four games. Nelson, the CBE Classic Durham Regional MVP, shot 22-of-39 (56.4 pct.) from the field, including 7-of-14 (50.0 pct.) from three-point distance in CBE Classic action. He also set a new career high in the semifinals of the CBE Classic with 23 points in the win over Air Force. Meanwhile, teammate and sophomore captain Josh McRoberts has proven to be the most versatile big man in the conference, averaging 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. McRoberts will look to improve on his 4-of-16 shooting performance against Marquette in Kansas City, however.

Devils Not Valuing the Basketball:
As young as this Duke team is, turnovers are expected. However, no one could have foreseen this many turnovers per night. Duke ranks dead last in the ACC with a -2.00 turnover margin and next to last in assist to turnover ratio (0.76:1). On the season the Blue Devils have 68 assists, coupled with 90 turnovers. Sophomore Greg Paulus, who led the ACC in assists a season ago, has struggled mightily in his attempt to return to form after a preseason foot injury. Through five games he is averaging 4.4 assists and 4.2 turnovers per game. However, he has not logged more assists than turnovers since the season opener against Columbia when he recorded 7 assists and 1 turnover. Paulus has turned it over six times in each of his last two games, while logging only 8 assists.

Prediction:

Duke 81
Davidson 65


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