Duke-Texas Preview: Can Texas Knock the Blue Devils Out?

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IMarch 21, 2009

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 19:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils has the ball stripped from Chretien Lukusa #34 and Reggie Fuller #25 of the Binghamton Bearcats during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 19, 2009 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Duke tangles with the Longhorns of Texas Saturday night with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line. The Blue Devils put away Binghamton on Friday, while Texas dispatched Minnesota.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes used to coach in the ACC and had some success against Coach K, going 4-5.

Season Records
Duke 29-6, Texas 23-11

Conference Records
Duke 11-5, Texas 9-7

vs RPI Top 50
Duke 7-5, Texas 7-6


Keys to the Game

1. Duke's Inside Defense
Texas presents a very large problem for the Blue Devils in Dexter Pittman and Damion James in the post. The two combine for nearly 26 points per game on the interior. The Blue Devils will likely start out with Kyle Singler and Lance Thomas inside, with Brian Zoubek coming off the bench. Zoubek needs to play like his seven-foot frame.

2. Texas' Perimeter Defense
When you play Duke, you better know where the three-point shooters are. In the ACC Championship Game, the Blue Devils hit 12 from outside the arc, shooting a blistering 48 percent.

The Longhorns are giving up 34 percent shooting on three-pointers on the season. Duke's offense is pretty simple, drive and dish, but very hard to stop.

3. Free Throw Shooting
Texas has had their struggles at the free throw line this season, shooting just 67 percent as a team. Duke normally is excellent from the line, but this season they are only slightly better than average in the ACC, hitting 73 percent.

If the Longhorns are to pull off the upset, they have to get to the line and hit their free throws.



Duke will have very close to a home crowd playing in Greensboro. The Longhorns have the inside and outside combination on offense to give Duke trouble on defense. But I think Duke gets enough defense from Zoubek and is able to hit outside shots against an average Texas defense.

Pick: Duke Wins By 5-12 Points

Season: 40-29 SU through 3/20