Duke (21-4) vs Miami (17-8)
Coral Gables, Fla. - BankUnited Center
TV: ESPN / Tip: 7:00 PM EST
Program Vitals Conference: ACC Nickname: Hurricanes Colors: Green, Orange, White Head Coach: Frank Haith (6th season) Career Record at Miami: 105-81
Projected Starters: 1 Durand Scott (6-3, 195, Fr.) – 8.4 ppg, 3.6 apg 23 James Dews (6-4, 215, Sr.) – 12.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg 25 Garrius Adams (6-6, 195, Fr.) – 4.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg 21 Dwayne Collins (6-8, 240, Sr.) – 11.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg 45 Julian Gamble (6-9, 255, So.) - 2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg Key Reserves: 3 Malcolm Grant (6-1, 190, So.) – 10.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg 30 Adrian Thomas (6-7, 230, Sr.) – 7.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg 42 Reggie Johnson (6-10, 295, Fr.) – 6.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg 31 DeQuan Jones (6-6, 220, So.) - 5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Story Lines For Miami:
How They Got Here:
The Hurricanes enter the game in the midst of a major slump. Miami has lost three of four and seven of nine inlacing a 74-66 setback at the hands of Clemson on February 13th. Of the last four games, the Hurricanes only win was a 64-62 decision over Georgia Tech in the stretch's only home contest. In conference play the Hurricanes are 3-1 in the BankUnited Center, but 0-7 on the road.
Meanwhile the Blue Devils enter the game against the Hurricanes on a high note after defeating rivals North Carolina and Maryland last week to remain alone on top of the ACC standings. Overall the Blue Devils have won four straight.
Saturday's game will be the 14th time the two programs have met. In the previous 13 games the Blue Devils own an 11-2 series advantage. Duke has won four of the last five games played in Miami and 11 of the last 12 contests overall. Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski the program is 11-1 all-time against the Hurricanes.
Duke senior Lance Thomas continues to shake off the effects of a deep bone bruise sustained early in the second half against North Carolina. Thomas managed to play against Maryland, but suffered from reduced mobility.
Home Sweet Home
Both head coaches in Wednesday night's game have a legitimate beef with the ACC home office over the schedules. While the Blue Devils appear to be the team that is scheduled immediately following each opponent's long week off (and only after the Blue Devils have played later in the weekend), the Hurricanes have a similar complaint as the team who was forced to play a league high six of its first nine games and seven of the first 11 on the road.
While the frequent flyer miles are certainly nice, the Hurricanes have suffered an 0-7 mark in those seven road contests which has turned the 14-0 start into a 17-8 record overall. The flip side of the situation would be that Miami now has five of its final seven games at home beginning with the Blue Devils.
Under head coach Frank Haith the Hurricanes are a different team in Miami - posting a 67-24 overall record under the sixth year coach. That trend has continued this year as Miami has posted an impressive 11-1 home mark and have beaten then only ranked opponent to make the trip to the BankUnited Center.
Youth Is Served:
To say that the Hurricane roster is somewhat inexperienced is an understatement. Nine of the 13 scholarship players are competing in their freshmen and sophomore seasons. Overall the Miami freshman class has combined to make 26 starts this season while the sophomores have added another 27 combined starts between them. In the last game, the Hurricanes gave a third straight start to Garrius Adams and redshirt-sophomore Julian Gamble, as Haith started three underclassmen — two true freshmen and a sophomore — with a pair of seniors for the third-straight game.
The two upperclassmen - Seniors James Dews and Dwayne Collins - have enough experience to usually offset the youth movement. The pair made their 122nd appearances against Clemson. The two need to play in eight more games to set the program record for most games played.
Most Duke fans will tell you that the Blue Devil threads of the last few years leave a lot to be desired to the traditional follower. From the different shades of blue to the "hologram" on the back fabric, a number of supporters have been somewhat less than friendly to the changes. But, as has been the case for many innovations by Nike over the last few years, Duke was the initial program to try the Nike HyperElite uniforms - debuting them a season ago.
Now it's time to welcome the Hurricanes to the club of teams wearing that style of uniform as Miami debuted their version of the HyperElite jersey against Georgia Tech. The Hyper Elite uniforms take advantage of Nike Aerographics — an engineered mesh providing zoned cooling that reduces up to half the yarn, making the uniforms more lightweight and breathable. Nike made specific adjustments to the jersey, eliminating 13 inches of material, while the use of Dri-FIT woven fabric in the short reduced its weight to six ounces; 66 percent lighter than a traditional elite level Nike basketball short. Overall, the Nike Hyper Elite uniform is a striking 70 percent lighter than the traditional basketball uniform.
Perimeter Defense Key:
Miami isn't afraid to let shots fly from the perimeter. On the season the Hurricanes lead the conference with 197 made three-point field goals. The team makes a league leading 7.9 threes per contest while shooting 37.8 percent from the perimeter - good enough for third in the conference. Three Hurricanes - James Dews, Malcolm Grant, and Adrian Thomas shoot better than 40 percent from behind the arc. Thomas in particular has gotten hot at various times this season including a career best five-of-six from distance against Pepperdine earlier this year.
Watch Out For...
Big man Dwayne Collins, a 6-8, 240 pounder out of the Miami area has put together a strong final campaign averaging 11.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and 10.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 25 minutes per contest in league play. Blessed with a 7-4 wingspan, Collins was instrumental against the Yellow Jackets, and their NBA ready frontline duo of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal. In that game he scored 13 points and hauled in 11 rebounds while blocking three shots. A three year starter, Collins ranks in the top 25 all-time on the program's scoring list. During the off-season he's spent time training with former NBA player and coach John Lucas in Houston during the summers of 2008 and 2009.
Meanwhile, classmate James Dews has scored in double-figures in 18 of the team's 25 games this season. Able to score in the mid-range game off the bounce or from the perimeter, Dews recently eclipsed the 1,000 point mark - becoming just the 31st player in history to do that. He's the only player on the roster to start all 25 games this season and ranks fifth among active ACC players in career three pointers made and 12th in career scoring with 1,012 points. At the line Dews has been very good of late, hitting 20 of his last 23 free throw attempts.
Duke has enjoyed a fair amount of time off after two emotional wins last week. Now it's back to work as the Blue Devils look to become the first ACC team to 10 conference victories. Miami poses a different sort of challenge as the Hurricanes will look to neutralize Duke's size advantage with a barrage of perimeter attempts designed to pull the Blue Devils away from their basket. Miami has been a much different team at home this season, and that could also spell trouble for the Blue Devils. Look for the Blue Devils to establish control of the boards early and to attack Collins inside in hopes of creating foul trouble. On paper this would be a very good chance for Kyle Singler to break out of his shooting slump on the road as the Hurricanes don't appear to have a good matchup for the 6-8 junior. It should be a close game into the early portion of the second half, but unless it's raining Miami launched threes, the Blue Devils should be able to get that tenth league victory.