Scouting Duke

Syracuse travels to Durham (N.C.) for a rematch with the Duke Blue Devils. scouts Duke inside.

Syracuse will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season at Cameron Indoor. Meanwhile, Duke is coming off a battle with their biggest rival.


Duke uses several guards in their backcourt. All of them have started at one time or another. Quinn Cook is a steady point guard who fits into the Duke system well. He plays solid man-to-man defense, passes well and can hit from the outside. Cook has superior court vision and rarely turns it over. He is quick off the dribble and is a weapon when he penetrates.

Shooting guard Andre Dawkins might be the best shooter on the team. He is making over 47% of his shots from beyond the arc. He is a zone killer for the Blue Devils. He doesn't offer much else offensively, as most of his points come three-point land. Dawkins is the worst defender of the Duke guards.

Rasheed Sulaimon rotates into the backcourt with Dawkins, and is another sharp-shooting Duke guard . Sulaimon is more well rounded than Dawkins and is more of a playmaker. He is hitting over 47% of his shots from beyond the arc. He also has solid court vision as a passer. Sulaimon torched the Orange in the last meeting and has been starting in recent games. He is also a solid defender.

Tyler Thornton backs up Cook at point guard. He is a steady veteran who can run the show when needed. He doesn't take a ton of shots from beyond the arc, but he makes 50% of those he attempts. Thornton drilled three shots from beyond the arc against Syracuse in the first meeting, the most he's had in a single game all season.

Matt Jones gets a few minutes as well in the backcourt off the bench. He is a bigger guard who does most of his damage inside the arc. He plays very physical but doesn't get a ton of minutes.


Duke's two best players reside in their frontcourt, and starts with super talented freshman Jabari Parker at small forward. Parker is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, and leads the team in blocks. Parker is as complete an offensive player as there is in the country. He can shoot, take his man off the dribble, hit the mid-range jumper and score in the low-post.

Parker gave Syracuse a lot of trouble in the first matchup. He is also a skilled defender who uses his length, athleticism and quickness to cause problems for his opposition.

Rodney Hood is the other forward and is second on the team in scoring at over 16 points per game. The Mississippi State transfer can score from anywhere, and is a dangerous outside shooter at nearly 46% for the season. Hood is super athletic and could be dangerous playing in the middle of the zone. Hood can also drive, pass and score in the low-post.

Amile Jefferson starts in the middle for the Blue Devils. He is a solid rebounder and efficient low-post scorer. He only shoots 50.0% from the free-throw line, however. Jefferson has been playing more physical ball inside of late. Still, he is not a big time shot blocking threat.

Jefferson had his best game of the season against Syracuse, torching the Orange from the high-post. He is a skilled passer with solid court vision. He was also a force on the glass and attacked the rim very well.

Marshall Plumlee and Josh Hairston come off the bench to contribute at times. Neither play significant minutes, but Plumlee gives Duke some size off the bench..

Defensive System

Duke has a history of playing a pressure man-to-man defense that can extend to half or full court. They play physical all over the court and force a lot of mistakes by speeding up their opposition.

This season, the Blue Devils have used more zone than in the past. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski learned zone techniques from Jim Boeheim during their time together coaching USA Basketball. Expect to see Duke use some zone against Syracuse as the Orange have struggled against that look.

Team Stats

Duke is one of the best outside shooting team's in the country at 42% from beyond the arc. They are 19th in the nation in points per game at 81.2. Duke is 10th in the ACC in rebounding margin and 14th in blocked shots, but first in assist/turnover ratio. They also lead the conference in scoring margin at +14.4 points per game.

Final Thoughts

Syracuse will have its hands full with Duke who has shooters throughout their lineup to try to pick a part the Orange zone. In the first matchup, Syracuse had trouble with the Duke shooters, and the forwards really hurt the Orange from the high-post.

This will be a difficult matchup for an Orange squad that is not playing well of late in a very difficult arena.

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