Duke Basketball: 5 Keys to a Blue Devil Victory on Super Bowl Sunday

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2012

Duke Basketball: 5 Keys to a Blue Devil Victory on Super Bowl Sunday

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    Duke squares off today at home against Miami. 

    The Blue Devils are still trying to hit their stride in terms of effort and consistency.

    Just last week, following the Blue Devils victory over St. Johns, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said

    "To me, it was a loss today. I didn't like today. And if my team doesn't like today, then we'll get better. If my team is OK about today, then we're going to fight a little bit, because I'm not going to change on this."

    The Blue Devils responded earlier this week by working hard to win a tough road-battle at Virginia Tech.

    Today's game against the Hurricanes should be another test in terms of the type of energy and focus the team brings in a game that is definitely not a "gimme."

    Here are five keys to a Blue Devil win on Super Bowl Sunday:

Don't Put Much into the Seven-Game Home Win Streak Against Miami

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    Just because the Blue Devils have beaten the Hurricanes every time that they have come into Cameron doesn't really mean anything with today's game.

    Miami's first year head coach Jim Larranaga was not on the sidelines for any of those losses.

    Coming from George Mason, he knows what it's like to play the David to another team's Goliath.

    It would be a huge mistake for Duke to come into today's game with any sense of complacency.

    Miami has an talented and physical backcourt in Malcolm Grant (13.3 ppg) and Durand Scott (pictured; 13.2 ppg; 5.0 rpg; 3.6 apg).

    Take the Hurricanes lightly and it may be Florida State all over again.

Don't Look Ahead to This Week's Match-Up with North Carolina

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    Duke vs. North Carolina is one of the premier College Basketball rivalries.

    The Blue Devils square off this Wednesday against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.

    As much as thinking about that game today makes no sense, it wouldn't be the first time that a team was less focused on a present game for one that was to come in the near future.

    Overlook Miami today and the Blue Devils will fall a game behind North Carolina and Florida State, who both sit on top of the ACC with 7-1 records.

    Harrison Barnes (pictured) can wait!

Austin Rivers Needs to Keep Playing Hard and Smart

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    Austin Rivers had one of his best games since coming to Durham this last week at Virginia Tech.

    Rivers played hard, played smart and played generously.

    The highly-touted freshman guard scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists (three above his season average).

    He also only turned the ball over twice and had no foolish fouls. Actually, he did not commit any personal fouls at all.

    Rivers is still the key to the Blue Devils' 2011-12 success.

    If he plays on a regular basis like he did on Thursday in Blacksburg, Duke will be a tough out against anyone in the country.

    If he reverts back to playing erratically and selfishly, Duke is vulnerable even against lesser opponents.

Duke Needs Multiple Perimeter Defensive Stoppers Today

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    This could be the biggest defensive test of the season for Duke's perimeter defenders.

    Malcolm Grant (pictured) and Durand Scott are relentless.

    Scott gets to the line and makes you pay (80.7 percent FT shooter).

    Miami is also getting lots of production from 5'11" freshmen Shane Larkin (7.3 ppg; 2.5 rpg; 2.5 apg).

    If Duke does not come ready to play good on-ball and help-side defense, the Hurricanes' guards could make it a long afternoon for the Blue Devils.

Seth Curry Needs to Find His Shooting Touch from Beyond the Arc

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    It's been a while since Coach K and Blue Devils fans have seen Seth Curry play and shoot confidently.

    The junior combo guard is in the middle of a shooting funk. He is 6-for-30 from beyond the arc over the last seven games.

    Duke is a much better team when Curry is hitting his shots from distance.

    Sure, if Dawkins or others take up the slack, it helps.

    But when Curry has his shooting stroke, other parts of his game just seem to improve.