Preview: Duke (2-0) v. Princeton (2-0)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Tigers who tip off in the Maui Invitational on Monday night on ESPN. The game will begin at 9:00 PM EST. The winner will play the winner of the Arizona State-Illinois game on Tuesday.


Duke (2-0) vs Princeton (2-0)
Maui, Hawaii - Lahaina Civic Center
TV: ESPN / Tip: 9:00

Program Vitals
Conference: Ivy League
Nickname: Tigers
Colors: Black/Orange/White
Head Coach: Sydney Johnson  (1st year)
Career Record at Princeton: 2-0 (2-0 Overall)

Projected Starters:
22 Lincoln Gunn (6-3, 180, So.) – 12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.5 apg
 4 Kyle Koncz  (6-7, 200, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
30 Zach Finley (6-9, 230, So.) – 18.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
21 Marcus Schroeder (6-3, 185, So.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
35 Noah Savage (6-5, 220, So.) – 3.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg

Key Reserves:
10 Matt Sargeant (6-3, 190, Sr.) – 8.5 ppg
24 Kevin Steuerer (6-5, 200, Sr.) – 2.0 ppg
15 Alex Okafor (6-6, 205, Jr.) – 1.5 rpg
20 Kareem Maddox (6-8, 200, Fr.) - 2.5 rpg

Storylines:

How They Got Here:
After an easy season opening victory over NC Central, the Blue Devils beat New Mexico State by 25 on Monday (Nov. 12). The Aggies, who featured superior size and the returning core of a 25 win NCAA Tournament team a year ago, couldn't handle the defensive pressure and pace of the game forced by Duke.

Usually an NCAA Tournament favorite, the Tigers are looking to rebound from a disastrous 2007 season that left Princeton eighth in the Ivy League with an 11-17 overall mark - 2-12 in conference. After the season mercifully ended, head coach Joe Scott departed for a new job at the University of Denver, and Princeton handed the reigns of the program to former Pete Carril point guard Sydney Johnson.

Johnson's tenure has started strong with wins over Central Connecticut and Iona. In both games it was vintage Tiger basketball with a halfcourt style and slowish pace. A year ago the Tigers averaged just over 56 points a contest, but also held opponents to a similar number on defense. In the early wins this season, the Tigers are scoring at a 62.5 ppg clip, while giving up 57.5 points a night.

Series History:
Monday night's game will be the 18th time the Blue Devils and Tigers have met. Duke has won all but one of those games (16-1). Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski own a 3-1 all time record against Princeton. All time the Blue Devils are 45-9 against teams from the Ivy League.

Tough Year Paying Dividends:
The Tigers certainly struggled in the 2006-2007 season, but that 11-17 team provided young players valuable experience. In each of the last 14 games of the season, Princeton started three freshmen (center Zach Finley and guards Marcus Schroeder and Lincoln Gunn). Both Schroeder and Gunn started every game last season, while Finley started 17 games - shooting 47% in those contests. The trio is now averaging more than 36 points a game as sophomores.

A Leg Up On Offense:
Princeton's leading scorer in 2006-07, Kyle Koncz, did not practice after suffering a foot injury Dec. 30 at Iona. Though the injured foot only kept him out of two games, Koncz reached double figures just twice in the final 17 games of the year. Prior to that, Koncz hit for 11.5 points a night while shooting 50% from the perimeter.

A Contrast In Styles:
The Tigers will look to slow the game down and hope for a score in the 60s. In the last 38 regular season match ups, the Tigers have gone 36-2 when scoring at least 60 points in regulation.

The Blue Devils, meanwhile, will look to push the tempo and eye a scoreline that is much higher. Through two games the Blue Devils are averaging 103.5 points per contest, while allowing just 58.5 points per game. It's a stark contrast to last year's team that posted only 70.4 points per game.

Balanced Scoring:
Though the season is just two games old, the Blue Devil offense has been far better than a season ago. Duke currently sports five players averaging 10.0 or more points, with an additional four players averaging 7.0 or more points. Sophomore reserve guard Jon Scheyer leads the way with 17.5 points per game. The team's leading rebounder is wing guard DeMarcus Nelson (7.5).

Maui Wowee
The Blue Devils have never lost a game in the Maui Invitational, posting a perfect 9-0 record in Hawaii, winning the tournament title in 1992, 1997, and 2001. In those nine games, Duke has enjoyed a 20.3 margin of victory.

Notable Numbers:
This is the 103rd season of Duke basketball with the program holding an all-time mark of 1,820-802. Should Coach K guide the Blue Devils to another 25 win season, he'll have earned his 800th win. Currently Coach K has 777 wins overall and 704 at Duke.

Prediction:

Duke 81
Princeton 59


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