Duke needs a reset of sorts on offense and No. 17 Miami likewise welcomes a chance to regroup.
Both teams will strive to find consistency when they enter Saturday afternoon’s Atlantic Coast Conference clash in Durham, N.C.
“Just building on who we are as a team,” Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer said. “It’s been a grind here for us, so getting a chance to evaluate who we have and health and all that stuff.”
Duke (13-5, 4-3 ACC) will be playing its first game of the season without a ranking, tumbling out of the Top 25 after last Saturday’s loss at Clemson.
Miami (15-3, 6-2) had a busy stretch, losing in overtime last Saturday at North Carolina State and then returning home to rally past Syracuse in Monday night’s 82-78 victory.
The Hurricanes can become more consistent if they keep the right players on the court.
“We have to be a little bit better in not fouling,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “In the last several games, we’ve had at least one player (in early foul trouble) and that impacts us. That impacts our substitute pattern. It impacts our defense and offense.”
Duke’s offense has gone awry at inopportune times. Since a blowout loss at NC State, the Blue Devils survived for a one-point victory at Boston College and then needed a comeback from a double-digit deficit to defeat Pittsburgh at home before the Clemson game.
Without injured guard Jeremy Roach, the Blue Devils have been ragged at times offensively. Scheyer said a fuller evaluation of Roach’s toe injury was among the goals for this week’s break in the schedule.
In the meantime, upgrading the offense has also been a focus.
“Just learning how to execute late-game (situations) where we don’t feel the burden of having to create off the dribble,” Scheyer said. “Our offense, we have to take a step in the right direction.”
If Roach isn’t on the court, the Blue Devils could have freshman Tyrese Proctor as the primary ball-handler.
Larranaga’s teams have traditionally tried to take advantage of first-year point guards.
“Running the point is not easy for anybody,” Larranaga said.
For Miami, this will be a different type of assignment after facing Syracuse’s zone. Duke will be primarily aligned in man-to-man defense.
The Hurricanes might have an X-factor in guard Harlond Beverly, who scored 16 points off the bench Monday night. He played only four games last season because of a back injury and had a long recovery period.
“He was 15, 20 points overweight,” Larranaga said. “When you’re out 10 months, a year, you slowly come back. As you can see, the month of January, he has been far more productive and the players on the team really enjoy it when he comes into the game.”
Third-year sophomore Nijel Pack reached the 1,000-point mark for his career earlier this week, giving the Hurricanes four players with 1,000 points on the current roster.
Miami forward Norchad Omier notched 16 points and 16 rebounds against Syracuse. The transfer from Arkansas State now has 44 career double-doubles in three total seasons.
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski has eight double-doubles and, across the last four games, has averaged 18.8 points and 11.5 rebounds. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the fifth time for his efforts last week.
–Field Level Media