2007-08 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. #3 Duke

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

Info Center

TSL Roster Card



(PDF format)

Cassell
Coliseum
Seating Chart


2007-08 VT Roster
Duke Links

Official
Site

Duke Bask. Report
DBR
Msg Bd

Rivals Site
Rivals
Msg Bd

Scout Site
Scout Msg Bd
News
& Obs.

Herald-Sun
Charlotte
Obs.

W-S
Journal

USA
Today

HokieSports.com Links

Game Notes (PDF)

Radio Stations

Live Stats

(home games)

Virginia Tech (11-7, 2-2 ACC) vs #3 Duke (15-1, 3-0 ACC)

Thursday, January 24, 2008, 7:00

TV: ESPN HD


Special Preview Items:

Game
Preview Presented by:

Collegiate
Inn of Blacksburg
.

Hassle-free ownership is here! You can own a Luxury Hotel-Condominium in
Blacksburg. Imagine a fully loaded VIP experience when you’re in-house and fully
taken care of while you’re away1. The Collegiate
Inn of Blacksburg’s
rooms and amenities
include custom made cherry wood furniture, professionally designed interiors,
42″ LCD TV, granite countertops, and more. Prices start at $119,900. (Ownership
may include the opportunity to place your suite in a professional rental
management program.)

Preview: Virginia Tech has quite a challenge ahead of them on Thursday night. They
have to face #3 Duke in Cassell Coliseum, and they must do so without Jeff
Allen, arguably the best player on the team and one of the top freshmen in the
ACC. It was going to be a very tough game with Allen, and without him it will be
difficult at best.

Duke is arguably the face of NCAA basketball. When you think of college
basketball, you think of Coach K and Duke. They have great success every year,
and they are the model for competitiveness, effort, and playing hard. The Hokies
better be ready on Thursday, because the Blue Devils will bring it to them like
no one else has this season.


Duke Probable Starting Lineup

Pos
Player
Ht

Wt

Year

PPG

RPG

Assists

G

Greg Paulus

6-1

185

Jr.

9.1

1.9

56

G

DeMarcus Nelson

6-4

200

Sr.

14.3

6

46

G

Gerald Henderson

6-4

210

So.

13.1

4.8

29

F

David McClure

6-6

200

Jr.

1

2.1

4

F

Kyle Singler

6-8

220

Fr.

13.1

5.9

22

Ignore those starters for now. Let’s talk about Duke’s bench first. It is deeper
and more deadly than last year, partly because of some talented freshmen, and
partly because sophomore guard Jon Scheyer, who started as a freshman last
season, is coming off the bench this year.

Scheyer
has accepted his new role and developed into arguably the best sixth man in the
ACC. He’s an excellent outside shooter (more on Duke’s outside shooting in a
bit) and he’s averaging 11.4 points per game on the season. The Blue Devils don’t
have one superstar player, but they have a number of very solid scorers who can
blow up on any given night. Scheyer is one of those guys.

Taylor King is another guy who can come off the bench and score. A 6-6, 230
forward, King is another very good outside shooter that the Hokies must account
for when he’s in the game.

Now, let’s get to those Duke starters. The Blue Devils start four perimeter
players. They like to extend on defense and control the pace of the game. They
force opposing teams to extend on defense because of their outstanding
three-point shooting, and guys like DeMarcus Nelson and Gerald Henderson are
very effective at cutting and exploiting an extended defense on the inside.

The Hokies will have to go with a small lineup to have a chance in this game.
Check out how proficient Duke has been from three-point range this year.


Duke’s 3-Pt. Shooters
Player
3-Pt. Made

3-Pt. Att.

3-Pt. %

DeMarcus Nelson

21

48

43.8%

Jon Scheyer

24

59

40.7%

Taylor King

34

78

43.6%

Greg Paulus

29

71

40.8%

Kyle Singler

19

53

35.8%

Those are Duke’s top five three-point shooters, and it’s possible that they
could all be on the court at the same time on Thursday night. The Hokies are
going to have to go with a smaller lineup to compete with that. I would expect
the playing time of guys like Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell to increase during
this game.

Nelson is Duke’s only senior, and although he isn’t particularly flashy, he
is one of the top guards in the ACC. He isn’t great at anything, but he is solid
across the board. He has an inside and outside game, though he doesn’t shoot
free throws particularly well (62.3%). Nelson is also a very good defender and a
tough rebounder for his size.

Nelson, Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler like to score inside. Singler is a
small forward with post up skills. He’s a tough matchup for Tech. Henderson is
one of the few Duke players that isn’t a great three-point shooter. However,
he’s good cutting to the basket, and he’s a very proficient scorer inside.

Greg Paulus and Taylor King are predominantly outside players. 29 of Paulus’
45 field goals have come from three-point range, while 34 of King’s 50 makes
have been from the outside.

Although
Duke is averaging 85 points per game and are very balanced offensively across
the board, their defensive intensity is what separates them from other teams.
They are a talented team, but not quite at the level of UNC, Memphis or Kansas,
but their defensive focus and intensity allows them to compete with and beat
anyone in the nation.

The Blue Devils like to extend and pressure the basketball. In the past, Tech
has had good success against Duke for two reasons. First, Seth Greenberg
understands that you can’t get cute offensively against Duke. You have to make
basketball plays. Running a set offense doesn’t work very well. Ask Herb Sendek.
You have to spread the court and drive.

Secondly, the Hokies had the guards to execute Greenberg’s plan with perfect
precision. The Blue Devils never handled Jamon Gordon or Zabian Dowdell very
well, and Carlos Dixon gave Duke a lot of trouble in Tech’s victory in 2005 as
well.

This year, it’s going to be a lot tougher. The Hokies had an advantage on the
inside with Jeff Allen. Nobody from Duke can handle him one-on-one in the low
post. However, Allen is suspended, and Tech’s other options inside (Lewis
Witcher and Cheick Diakite) are not offensive threats. The Blue Devils will be
free to extend their defense even more with no Allen on the inside.

As mentioned earlier, look for guys like Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell to
get more time. Hudson has the offensive ability to make Duke pay when they
extend their defense, and Bell is a guy the Hokies can use at the 4 spot this
game to guard a perimeter player. Bell’s specialty at this point in his career
is defense, and that will be needed on Thursday night.

The Blue Devils have a big statistical advantage in this game.


VT vs. Duke


Category

VT

Duke


Advantage

Stat

ACC Rank

Stat

ACC Rank

FG%

43.70%

11

48.70%

1

Duke

FG% Defense

39.20%

3

40.90%

5

VT

3-Pt. %

34%

9

38.70%

4

Duke

3-Pt. % Defense

33.70%

8

30.20%

1

Duke

FT %

68.80%

10

69.80%

7

Duke

Rebounding Margin

+4.8

5

+2.5

8

VT

Turnover Margin

+0.17

8

+4.94

2

Duke

Assist/TO Ratio

0.88

9

1.12

2

Duke

Scoring Offense

67.6

11

85

2

Duke

Scoring Defense

60.7

1

64.1

3

VT

Average

7.5

3.5

Duke

Virginia Tech only has a couple of advantages over Duke: defense and rebounding.
However, you can throw that rebounding mark out the window, as Jeff Allen isn’t
playing.

Allen is 19th in the ACC in scoring, fourth in rebounding and third in steals
(pretty good for a guy that big). His loss has a tremendous impact on this game.
The Hokies had a chance with Allen, albeit not a great one. Without Allen, a
good game would be a moral victory. An actual victory will be very tough
to achieve.

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit